Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
What Kind of Flooring Can I Get for My 3-Legged Dog?
"Our 8-year-old lab will lose her front leg this Wednesday due to a mast cell tumour. We saved for 10 years to get polished wooden floorboards, so putting down carpet is not an option. What is the next best thing? Carpet tiles? Yoga mats? Those foam jigsaw-fitting squares?
Also, our favourite walking trail is bituminised. Is this too hard on her joints in the long run, given she is now using only one front leg?" —Anne-Marie
Most Tripods (or Tripawds) Are Pretty Sturdy!
The good news in all of this is that a lot of times, dogs do not need any extra help after they have a leg removed in surgery. Small dogs do a little better, but even a big Lab can do okay on most surfaces. She may have no problems with your hardwood floors.
Artificial Grass Carpet
When she first comes home, you will need to put something down in the area she walks in, even if it is only an artificial grass carpet. You can get something cheap and just use it outside later.
When she recovers, you can do several things for her. The best thing you can do in your situation is to provide her with rubber booties that she can use to run around your house.
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Not all dogs are going to be okay with them all of the time, but if you put them on her while still recovering, she is more likely to accept them.
If the boots are too heavy for in the house, you can also try these anti-slip socks. There are also toe grips available, and at least one study has shown that they help without causing discomfort. (1)
Keep Her Weight Down
As far as walking outside on the trail, it is hard for me to tell you if she is going to have any joint problems. The biggest causes of arthritis are things you cannot help with (genetics, age, etc.), but the one thing you can do to make the trail and the house easier for her is to keep her very thin. (2)
I know this is not easy with a Lab as they do like to eat, but it is vital for her long-term well-being.
I hope the surgery goes well.
- Roush JK, Moore LE, Renberg WC. Dr. Buzby's ToeGrips® Application Results in Minimal Changes in Kinetic Gait Parameters in Normal Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2017 Jul 13;4:111. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507962/
- Anderson KL, Zulch H, O'Neill DG, Meeson RL, Collins LM. Risk Factors for Canine Osteoarthritis and Its Predisposing Arthropathies: A Systematic Review. Front Vet Sci. 2020 Apr 28;7:220. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198754/
This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Dr Mark