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The Webmaster harness by Ruffwear is our all-time favorite all-purpose harness for front and rear legged amputee dogs, but many new Tripawd pawrents aren’t sure how to put the harness on and take it off their new three-legged hero.
In this community’s helpful spirit of sharing tips and information, here are two great videos of Murphy showing us how he gets dressed with his Webmaster:
This is Murphy showing us how easy it is to put the Webmaster on. His Mom Kathi says:
Here is the video of Murphy putting on his Ruffwear harness. We probably shouldn’t have waited until after his walk to do it. He is much calmer than he normally is when the harness comes out. Still, you can see how he lifts his leg up to put it through the strap.
Later that day, Murphy demonstrates how to take the Webmaster off a three-legged dog, with a disclaimer by Kathi who says:
He has had close to two years of practice on this. It just seems to get easier over time.
Learn more about why the Ruffwear Webmaster is
a great harness for Tripawd Dogs!
Tagged: harness, Ruff Wear, Webmaster
Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!
The best bed for a Tripawd dog is one that provides firm support in a comfortable, washable bed that’s suitable for all types of weather. We’ve looked everywhere for a mattress that fits this criteria and now we’re hoppy to say it’s here!
Ruffwear’s new Urban Sprawl™ bed is the best bed for our three-legged family members. This plush 6″ thick two-sided mattress gives dogs the option of a soft or firm sleeping surface. With an easy to clean microsuede cover, it’s by far the best sleeping surface for your Tripawd dog during amputation recovery and beyond.
Here’s why we love it, and Wyatt does too!
Why the Urban Sprawl is the Best Bed for Tripawds
- Durable microsuede fabric cover in gorgeous colors; soft, yet tough enough for dogs of any size
- The 6″ thick two-sided mattress provides the option of a soft or firm sleeping surface
- Mattress is made with plush, memory foam-like recycled polyester
- Removable cover is easy to clean, allowing the cover and mattress to be washed separately.
- Waterproof, non-skid bottom creates a moisture barrier and keeps the bed stable on slick surfaces.
- Integrated handle allows you to move the bed from room to room or across borders
- Machine washable mattress and cover
One of the best features is the 6″ thick two-sided mattress. Use the soft side for cold weather, or the firm side during hot days.
The Urban Sprawl also has an integrated handle for dogs on the go:
Tripawds Spokesdog Wyatt tried the bed and gave it three paws up! It fit his 80 pound body just right and gives all the support he needs for power naps.
- Medium: 28 x 35” x 6” loft (70 x 90 cm x 15 cm loft)
- Large : 36 x 48” x 6” loft (92 x 122 cm x 15 cm loft)
- Trailhead Brown
- Overcast Blue
Ruffwear’s dog beds have come a long way since we first tried one of their early beds, the now discontinued Flophouse bed. Today’s Urban Sprawl offers far more comfort and better sizing for large dogs, yet remains just as portable and easy to clean. Tripawds Spokesdog Wyatt loves this bed and we know you will be too.
Ruffwear Urban Sprawl:
This large plush dog bed is ideal for dogs recovering from amputation surgery. With an easy to clean cover, the two-sided waterproof, memory foam mattress gives your dog the option of a firm or soft surface and also features a non-skid bottom.
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DOES NOT INCLUDE PURCHASE PRICE!
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Tagged: bed, Ruff Wear
Snow will be here before any of us would like it, so if you live in a snowy climate, now’s the time to prepare your #Tripawd for wearing boots and safely living with the white stuff.
This is how Mulligan and his Momma Cheryl started dog boots training, with Izzy and Angel Ted getting a good chuckle!
Mom took Mulligan for a run in the snow without me. I knew they would be back, Mom wanted to take a video or 2 of Mulligan in his new boots.
He is such a smarty pants. She put one on him as soon as she got the boots in the mail, he did great. Then while out in the snow she put another one on. Well that one didn’t stay on very well. I think it was because she was in the snow and it the wind was blowing up a gale.
After a bit we went inside to warm up. The she put all four boots on him, as usual he did just what she wanted him to do. He kept the boots on the whole time and the two of them played ball while I wandered around in the backyard happy as can be.
Cheryl says that “Now every time he sees I have them in my hand, he knows what is going to happen and he patiently waits for me to put them on him.”
As you can see, Mulligan is a four-legged dog but the principles for getting a dog used to boots are the same. To learn more about dog boots, hop on over to these Tripawds Gear Blog posts. and follow these tips from Ruffwear and you can’t go wrong:
Here are a few tips to keep your dog from doing the moonwalk in their Ruffwear boots (or at least keep the moonwalking to a minimum!).
Work them. When you first get the boots, work them in your hands so the sole becomes more pliable. Because of their weight, small dogs have a particularly hard time softening the outsole, so breaking them in with your hands can really help them become more comfortable, quickly.
Don’t laugh. This may be difficult, but laughing is likely to cause your dog further anxiety.
Engage your dog. Immediately engage your dog in their favorite activity to distract them from the boots. For example, a walk, a trick, or fetch with their favorite toy. Eventually, if you are consistent, they will associate the boots with this activity and will have a positive reaction when the boots come out.
Break in the boots. Dogs will need to build up a tolerance to the boots just like human shoes. Take your dog for short walks prior to your first long adventure with the boots.
Make sure the boots fit. Measure your dog’s paw width (front and back) carefully prior to purchasing the boots. A good fit maximizes comfort and will ensure the boots stay on the paws through rigorous exercise. Many of our customers are surprised to find out that a 100 pound dog can actually fit any size from X-Small to Large, so don’t assume you know your dogs foot size. Overall dog size doesn’t translate to paw and boot size. Click here for more sizing instruction.
Use boot liners. Boot liners will not only enhance the fit of the boots, they will help keep your dog comfortable by softening any potential abrasion spots, insulating the boot, and wicking moisture away from the paw.
Take it slow. Start by putting the boots on in the house for a couple minutes, then try short adventures outside; gradually increasing the time spent in the boots.
Stop and check. Each time you use the boots during the break-in period, stop and check for rubbing and hot spots. This is also a great time to check the strap tension and fit, so the boots stay secure.
Tagged: boots, Ruff Wear
The Get-a-Grip harness for mobility-impaired dogs is one of our favorite harnesses for Tripawds. This harness is especially useful for:
- Dogs recovering from amputation surgery, especially giant breed dogs
- Dogs who need extra lift assistance because of rear-end weakness
- Helping dogs through other difficult surgery recoveries like cruciate tear repairs and hip replacements.
- Assisting during physical therapy exercises
The Get-a-Grip comes in three different sizes:
Small. This size is for dogs with a 22″ – 27″ girth. It features longer handles so you won’t have to bend so far down to lift your dog up.
Small Get a Grip Pet Support Suit Harness for Dogs
Medium. This size is for larger breeds with a girth size of 27″ – 34″.
Medium Get a Grip Pet Support Suit Harness for Dogs
Large. This harness is for the big kids who have a girth size of 34″ – 42″.
Large Get a Grip Pet Support Suit Harness
The Large Get a Grip Harness differs from small and medium sizes in one big way: it features FOUR handles, two in front and two in back, so that two people can more easily lift a heavy dog off the ground.
Get-a-Grip Harness, Four Handles for Lifting Giant Breeds
Like the other Get-a-Grip Harnesses, you can order removable handles for easy on-off. This allows your dog to wear it all day without risking the handles will get caught on something.
Get-a-Grip Harness with Removable Handles
This Made In America harness is durable, washable and strong. If you find that your dog is in-between girth sizes or your dog is hard to fit, for just a few dollars more the Custom Pet Support Suit harness is a great investment and an assured fit.
For more information about Get-a-Grip Harnesses please see:
Tagged: AST, harness, three legged dogs
Tripawds pawrents it’s time to go back to school and learn all you can about keeping your amputee canine hero fit and strong on three legs. Thanks to the Fenzi Online Dog Sports Academy and world-renowned canine fitness expert, Dr. Debbie Gross, DPT, MSPT, Diplomat ABPTS, CCRP, now you can learn how to safely and effectively exercise your Tripawd at home with the first ever online Tripawd Conditioning Course!
As we mentioned in last week’s Tripawds Downloads announcement, Dr. Gross is willing to lead a Tripawd-specific online canine conditioning course starting February 1, 2015, IF we can get at least six participants to enroll.
Ready to Get Your Tripawd Fit?
Class spots are guaranteed to fill up fast! Here’s how to guarantee a spot:
- Get on the Fenzi Academy e-mail list located here
- This January, about 4 days before enrollment opens, watch for a newsletter that lists upcoming Fenzi classes. You’ll notice the date and time registration will open for the Tripod Conditioning Course.
- Hurry and register! Some classes are very popular and fill in a matter of minutes or hours.
While many exercises will involve simple household objects like step stools and cushions, some FitPAWS gear will be required. We are announcing this course now so that everyone can gather up their supplies. Here is a short list of supplies to prepare to purchase.
The FitPAWS Balance Pad
The FitPAWS Balance Pad is the best beginning balance training tool for Tripawds because it provides low balance challenges for dogs recovering from amputation surgery or other injuries. It builds strength in remaining limbs and help improves balance, limb awareness and proprioception with weight shifting and stretches.
You can adjust the level of balance difficulty by stacking two or more balance pads on top of one another, or place pads side-by-side to customize for use with larger dogs. Here are its main benefits:
- Unstable surface work helps with proprioception and neurological issues.
- Weight bearing exercises build strength in remaining limbs.
- Weight shifting challenges their balance and builds core muscle strength.
- Obstacle course enhances limb awareness and gait adjustment
Read our full FitPAWS Balance Pad review.
The FitPAWS Peanut
Help your Tripawd stay fit not by walking, but with weight-bearing exercises using a tool like the FitPAWS Peanut. This inflatable peanut-shaped stability ball is specifically designed for advanced canine core conditioning, which Dr. Gross will review in the Tripods Conditioning Course.
Dr. Gross’ Rottie Student Gets Strong on the FitPAWS Peanut
The Peanut is used for core muscle conditioning. The unique shape limits its movement to front/back or side/side, which is important for this type of training. Read the full Tripawds Peanut Review for more information.
The Peanut comes in many different sizes; feel free to email Dr. Gross
to ask about the best size for your Tripawd!
In the coming weeks we hope you’ll consider enrolling in the Tripawds Conditioning Course, it’s gonna be a blast!
Tripawd Wyatt Gets on the FitPAWS Peanut
Loving Life on Three Legs; Canine Fitness and Conditioning for Happy, Healthy Tripawds
Tagged: exercise, fitpaws, video
Rehabilitation therapists have so much life-changing advice to offer cats and dogs on three legs. And when the rehab vet also happens to be a veterinarian, well that wisdom is priceless! Today we are honored to welcome Dr. Dicki Kennedy, founder of Animal Rehab and Conditioning Center in Greenville, South Carolina, to the Tripawds community.
Thanks to Tripawds members Domino and Cassie, we were introduced to Dr. Kennedy, who also happens to have a Tripawd kitty! Dr. Kennedy spent time with this dynamic duo to share her best physical conditioning tips for three-legged dogs and cats.
In the next couple of months we’ll share her fun rehab session with Domino, but for now, get to know Dr. Kennedy, who has written this informative blog post featuring tips and tricks for nutrition, gear and living life on three legs:
Domino Gets Rehab
“Hello – I am Dr. Dicki Kennedy and I am a rehabilitation veterinarian. I was in general practice when I found that I was not satisfied with the quality of pain management that we were doing as a profession, so I began this long journey of finding different methods to help manage pain in our pets.
I became certified in canine rehabilitation, canine acupuncture, veterinary pain management, canine massage and finally animal chiropractic – one thing led to another and they are all great tools for helping to manage our pet’s pain.
I opened ARCC — Animal Rehab and Conditioning Center last year as part of a dream to help pets live longer, healthier and better lives. At ARCC I have the privilege of helping canine athletes improve their performance, helping aging pets to live a more comfortable and productive life, and to help pets with injuries learn to reuse their body in the way it was meant.
Lifestyle Tips for Tripawd Dogs and Cats
I have some tips for Tripawds:
If your pet is about to receive an amputation, speak to your veterinarian about possible prosthetics after the surgery.
Keep your pet lean.
Make your pet as strong as possible on their remaining limbs and don’t forget their core which includes the abdominal and back muscles.
Working out core muscles.
I recommend glucosamines for everyone no matter how many limbs they are using.
Comfortable bedding – orthopedic bedding is recommended for everyone.
The Big Barker
Ramps are a great addition to most homes – too many pets are jumping out of high SUVS and placing a tremendous amount of weight on their forelimbs let alone the exertion on the rear limbs to jump up into the car.
The OttoStep Dog Loader
Elevated food and water bowls are recommended to keep your pet from placing too much weight on their front legs.
I love flexion and extension exercises followed by massage.
Massage is great Tripawd Therapy
Lots of love, attention and stimulation.
I was told to keep this at about 300 words and we are way over – I still have a lot to say so maybe I will get to post another blog soon.”
Stay tuned for lots more informative tips from Dr. Kennedy about living healthy and strong on three legs!
Until then, check out her blog and download her free e-book, “What Do I Do Now, Doc?”
Tagged: ARCC, recovery, rehab therapy, rehabilitation therapy
Look no further for the best Tripawds pre and post amputation recovery gear, Dieter’s List has you covered!
A while back, Dieter’s pack shared their favorite “Must Have” items for amputation surgery recovery, which we’d like to pass along to you today:
- The Big Barker (7″ of American-made support for your big 4-legged friend – yeah!)
- The Webmaster Harness – I’ve been using Ruffwear stuff for years and this product is outstanding, as are all their other things.
- A soft towel to act as a sling for getting in and out of the car until he can wear the Webmaster
- Random “dog towels” – for whatever spills, accidents, oozing, and/or drooling may be going on
- Grip Trex booties – these I bought for Otto many years ago and he HATED them. I’ve been easing them onto Dieter’s feet for familiarity in case they’d be helpful at the vet’s office down the line
- Inflatable cone – somehow this just seems a teeny bit more dignified than the “cone of shame”
- I’m going to buy Bella’s hot/cold pack for pain management
- The BF showed up on Friday night with 500 sq ft of commercial-grade carpeting in his truck. The whole house, which has stained concrete floors, is now carpeted. I doubt you have as amazing a BF as I do, but now you know the secret.
- A baby gate with a swinging door to cordon off his recovery area (aka the bedroom)
- New toys to destroy as he recovers (Goodwill and Costco are cheap sources of soft toys that destruct gratifyingly easily).
- Elevated Food Bowls – really tall ones since he’s such a tall boy. His current 12″ ones will not be good for his posture on three legs. I can’t remember the brand name, but these are 16″ tall and I ordered them from amazon.com
- Soups, canned fruits, cereal, yogurt, Clif bars and other easy-to-prepare and reasonably healthy foods (oh, ok, except for the 15-pack of mac and cheese) so that I would not have to think about what I was going to eat while I was paying attention to his recovery
- The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’ll review it when I do.
- A good book to read for when I can’t concentrate on work or just want to hang out with him while he’s less mobile.
Do you have other “Must Have” gear for Tripawds that should be on this list? Share your tips with us in the Comments field below!
We often get asked, “Can my dog wear a harness after amputation surgery?”
New Tripawd Wyatt wears the Webmaster
The answer to that is, it depends on which harness you buy, and whether your dog is losing a front or rear leg.
The Get-a-Grip and Pet Support Suit Harnesses
If you’re considering the AST Get-a-Grip Harness or Custom Pet Support Suit, these rugged harnesses are made especially for post-surgery dogs. The unique wrap-around design shouldn’t interfere with amputation stitches in the front or rear, but it’s always good to check with your vet first.
This Wyatt wears a Get-a-Grip Harness
The Webmaster and Convert Harnesses
Although we recommend not using the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness or EzyDog Convert Harness until the surgery has completely healed and stitches or staples are removed, some dogs like Wyatt (pictured in the first photo) can wear them over a body stocking.
Tripawd Eva loves her Webmaster harness.
We have heard of no specific cases where any harness has hampered healing, but we believe direct pressure from the straps might irritate the wound. This may not be the case with rear-leg amputees, whose stitches are usually beyond the harness straps. However please consult your veterinarian with any concerns.
Wyatt runs in the EzyDog Tripawd Convert Harness.
If you find the harness irritates your dog’s incision or don’t want to risk it, try using a soft towel slung under the belly if additional post-op mobility support is required. A reusable canvas shopping bag slit down the sides also makes a handy temporary sling.
One of the best ways you can help your three-legged hero get strong after losing a leg is through canine rehabilitation therapy. A rehab program provides endless life-changing benefits for all dogs but especially three-legged ones.
Tripawd Lucy gets a rehab workout
A qualified canine rehabilitation practitioner can help your Tripawd in many ways, including:
- Locating existing skeletal and muscular weaknesses to reduce the risk of additional damage.
- Diagnosing and fixing a physical problem instead of relying solely on painkillers to hide symptoms.
- Correcting your Tripawd’s gait in order to reduce the physical stress of the “Tripawd Hop.”
Not all doggie rehab centers and practitioners are equal, however. Two of the most important factors a clinic needs in order to provide a safe environment are:
- Rehabilitation staff with the CCRT or CCRP credentials.
- A partnering veterinarian who is also certified in canine rehabilitation.
The most highly trained individuals will have the initials “CCRT” (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist) or “CCRP” (Certified
Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner) after their name, which means they graduated from one of only two accredited courses in the world recognized for outstanding training and education:
When done by qualified practitioners, canine rehab is s0 much fun for you and your dog. If you’re unable to work directly with a clinic, fear not, there’s plenty you can do at home to aid your Tripawd in building strong core muscles and stamina. Here are two beginner level pieces of equipment that will help you get started:
FitPAWS® Balance Pad
FitPAWS Balance Pad for Four and Three-Legged Dogs
The FitPAWS Balance Pad is the perfect beginning balance training tool and provides low balance challenges for dogs recovering from amputation surgery or other injuries. The closed-cell foam construction makes the FitPAWS Balance Pad impervious to water, great for when you need to hose it off between uses or use during under-water therapy. Read our Balance Pad review here.
Getting strong with the K9 FITBone
Instability training develops strength, endurance, proprioception, balance and flexibility with the K9FITbone™. Provides a low–impact, platform to add full–body conditioning and toning for small and large Tripawds. Features sensory bumps for neural stimulation. Balance challenge can be adjusted by adding more or less air to the platform.Read our K9FITbone™ review here.
Loving Life on Three Legs: The Tripawds canine fitness and conditioning handbook
The Tripawds Gear Blog: Best of Gear and Fitness Tips for Three-Legged Dogs
Veterinary Rehab Therapy Benefits for Three Legged Dogs
Tagged: exercise, fitpaws, recovery
Did you know you can get a custom dog harness made exactly to your dog’s unique shape? The Custom Pet Support Suit by Animal Suspension Technologies is our all-time favorite made-to-order mobility harness for dogs.
Here’s why we love it:
We became fans of the Pet Support Suit when we tried it on Tripawds Founder Jerry (see video below). The suit is exactly as described:
- Great for hard-to-fit breeds with long or short torsos, or a very thin belly compared to the chest
- Works for both front and rear leg amputees
- Non-slip fabric won’t rotate
- Complete wrap-around design for total support
- Design allows for male anatomy
- Several points of adjustment
- Adjustable handles for taller people
- Easy to put on and remove
- USA-made to order in about 3-5 business days
Your Custom Pet Support Suit will be tailored with your dog in mind and built to size. Here’s how to get the exact fit for your dog:
First click the image below to view general measurement instructions. The image will open at a larger size in a new window.
Next, confirm your measurements by doing the following:
- Wrap a towel or pillow case around your dog
- Fold the fabric to fit from just behind the front legs to just in front of the rear leg (this is how the suit will fit). Be sure to accommodate for male/female anatomy and space to urinate.
- Measure the folded towel to get the body length from front leg to rear leg.
- Write down the measurements.
Read our original review to learn how the Custom Pet Support Suit can help your three-legged dog. Contact us with questions or