When I went to pick up Heidi from the vet after her amputation, she recommended putting a t-shirt on Heidi instead of using a “cone of shame”. Since Heidi is a big girl (95lbs @ the time), I did not have any dog shirts. (I don’t think any owner of a GSD owns a dog shirt.)
Once home, I used one of my own t-shirts. It worked okay, but there were issues. It was loose, so one of her back legs whould get caught up in it and she would be unable to get up. It was also a pain to deal with when it was time for her warm compresses.
About a week after her surgery, I had to run some errands. While in a store, I saw Underarmour’s compression shirts (for women). Because it was the compression shirt, I figured I would not have the issues with the loose-ness I had with traditional t-shirts. The issue I did have was with the sleeves. (Heidi had her front left leg removed)
To fix the sleeves required some sewing. Now, I am not the best sewer in the world. In fact, I can barely sew a straight seam, but I gave it my best shot. First, I turned the shirt inside-out. Next, I sewed BOTH sleeves shut. Then, I measured the distance from Heidi’s collar to her only front leg. I took this measurement to the shirt, starting from the shirt collar. I believe her measurement was 10″. I measured 10″ down from the shirt collar and cut an opening big enough for her leg to fit thru. I then hemmed the opening with a zig-zag stitch on my machine.
I found that Heidi liked the compression shirt a lot better. It moved with her, hugged her body and the material breathed. (When buying the shirt, I suggest a woman’s shirt. To determine the size you need, measure the dog’s chest (behind the front leg) and get the size that corresponds to the measurement on the price tag.) I also found that the compression shirt helped to keep her post-surgery swelling down and helped hold her warm compresses in place.
We made Heidi wear the shirts until most of her hair had grown back. She never seemed to mind them. I know these shirts can be pricey (I paid $25 each, and they were on sale!), but you only need 2 (one to wear & one to wash) and I found them to be worth the money after a little doggy alteration.
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