Do 3-Legged Dogs Have Shorter Lives? [2 Things To Know]

Are you a loving caretaker of a three-legged dog, or are you planning to adopt one? You must be wondering what challenges lies ahead of you.

Three-legged dogs can lead an everyday life without any significant life threats. In some cases, weight gain and inadequate muscle strength can be problematic. Regular exercise, weight management, a good diet, and providing the best care will help your pet to lead a healthy life.

Let’s learn more about your adorable 3- legged dog and how to take care of them.

Do 3-legged dogs have shorter lives?

To simply answer the question, NO. Having three legs does not make your pet’s life shorter. On the contrary, it will extend your pet’s life.

Road traffic accidents, cancer, or any other serious injury to the limb might have led to the amputation of your loving pet’s leg. If your veterinarian suggested amputation, he has gone through all the other possibilities to save your pet.

Your vet is trying to keep your pet’s life if he suggests the amputation of a leg. We humanely extend your loving pet’s life by allowing the procedure.

Many pets lead normal lives and, most notably, healthy life after amputations. Amputations help your pet lead a pain-free life and a life where he doesn’t have to rely on painkillers and other medications.

Are there any life risks for three-legged dogs?

The following few weeks after an amputation can be crucial for your pet. He will have to get used to the situation, and you will have to help and care for him very closely.

Suppose you follow all the necessary treatments as the vet suggested and observe your pet very closely. In that case, he will suffer no additional life risks.

However, suppose your pet has fully recovered from an amputation, or you are planning to adopt a new 3- legged dogs who is stable. In that case, there are no significant life threats that you have to worry about.

Dogs can lead a very normal life with three legs. They would walk, run and jump the same way if you helped them to adapt to their new life.

However, owners feel that their pet is not able now. They feel sorry for their pets and tend to take extra care of them. We know that you do it out of love for your pet.

However, if you want your pet to lead a normal life, you need to make him feel that he is normal. Your pet needs adequate amounts of exercise for him to gain strength in muscles, tendons, and bones.

Now he has to bear the body weight from three legs rather than four. Therefore, your vet will suggest physiotherapy and other strengthening exercises for your pet’s muscles and joints after recovery.

Do follow these exercises as your vet suggested. Do not feel that your pet might be very tired, and it might cause him pain. Have small sessions every day.

If your pet feels tired, stop for some time, but do not give up on the whole process. These exercises will help your loving pooch to be active again.

If you do not follow the exercise routines, there are a few challenges your pooch will have to suffer. They are excessive weight gain and inadequate muscle strength.

Suggested Reading: Does Having A Dog Ruin Your Life?

1. Weight gain.

When it comes to three-legged pets, less weight is better than being overweight. Because your pooch will have to bear the body weight of three legs.

We feel sorry for our pet’s condition and tend to overfeed him and give him more treats with lack of exercise. This will easily increase your pooch’s body weight, leading to many bad side effects.

2. Inadequate muscle strength.

Muscle strength is very important for your 3- legged dog because he has to bear the extra weight from the three remaining limbs. If your pooch doesn’t have enough muscle strength, it will lead to:

  • Difficulty in walking, resulting in slow gait.
  • Unable/difficulty in standing.
  • Limping.
  • Avert from physical activities.
  • Muscle and joint pains are characterized by whining during physical activity, frequent slipping, and stiffness.

Other than these risks, your pooch can be a target of other dogs during playtime or walks. Be protective of him from potentially harmful threats.

If yes, how to avoid such life risks?

The above-mentioned risks can be avoided by managing your pet’s diet and following physiotherapy and regular exercises.

Your pet must have undergone an amputation for several reasons, including cancer, road traffic accidents, or other leg injuries. The new diet plan after the amputation can slightly change according to your pet’s condition.

Therefore, before starting the diet, it’s best if you can contact your vet and get advice.

If your pet has cancer, his diet needs to be nutritious and might require supplements. If it was a road traffic accident, he might need more muscle and bone-strengthening proteins.

Follow your vet’s diet plan; however, do not give him extra treats because you feel sorry for your pet. Gaining a lot of weight is uncomfortable for your pet.

If your pet is already obese, consult your vet on weight reduction methods and follow the exercise routines.

Regular exercise is important to increase muscle strength and to keep the joints and bones healthy. Soon after your pet recovers, you can start with an exercise routine.

If your vet has suggested physiotherapy or hydrotherapy, follow them regularly. Then when he is much better, you can keep him active by yourself.

Maybe your pet loves long walks; however, long walks will make him more tired as he has lost one leg. Therefore, you can start with short, frequent walks.

During these walks, let your pooch decide the walking pace, do not drag his leash. If your pet feels tired, stop, let him rest, and provide him with enough water.

Besides walking, swimming is also a very good physical activity to strengthen the muscle and joints of your pet. Consult your vet, and find out what’s best for your pet.

If your pet has cancer and is still under treatment, follow them precisely to make him healthier and stronger. That will help him to lead a long healthy life.

Can dogs live a normal life with 3 legs?

The most significant concern of a pet parent is if their pooch is going for an amputation. An amputation is a lifesaver for your pet than a disadvantage for him. It can humanely extend your pet’s life and make him more healthy.

The best thing is that your dog will adapt to his new life very quickly if you support him. He can lead a very normal life; he will run around your house sooner than your think.

So do not worry, your medical team will do their best to save your pet’s life, and then you can take care of him as you did in the past.

Things to be aware of.

We cannot stress enough that amputation is a life-saving surgery for your pet. However, before going for an amputation, you can raise all the concerns regarding amputation with your vet.

You can talk about all the other options available for your pet to lead a healthy life.

After your pet goes through the surgery, it will take him some time to learn to stand and walk as before. This period is crucial for your pet; therefore, follow all the treatments and guidelines your veterinarian suggests.

Do not allow your pooch to jump, even though he wants to. This can damage the limbs and will not help the recovery process.

Physiotherapy, routine exercises, and diet are some main concerns of 3- legged dogs. Therefore, contact your veterinarian and do not change anything without contacting your vet.

If you feel that your pet is not adapting to his new self, visit your vet and get any treatment and advice which will help your pooch to recover.


Tripawds can lead a normal life like any other dog. If your pooch just went through amputation or you plan to adopt a 3- legged dog, this article will address all your concerns.

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