Polish Lowland Sheepdog - pons - pon the dog
Breeder: Sabine Holdorf.
Senior PONS: Which activities will benefit them ?
Your Senior PON will undoubtedly slow down some as he gets older, but he still needs reasonable exercise to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally fit. My two Seniors are taken on walks twice a day and return feeling invigorated and happy ! A proper diet combined with exercise appropriate to your PON's general health and condition will help keep him a healthy weight and will tone his muscles. Further, it will help his cardiovascular and digestive systems stay healthy. Daily exercise will prevent boredom and depression, and help your old pal lead the life of a happy, healthy senior citizen. A professional weight management program (guided by your vet) will ensure a longer life. Avoid too many treats and consider a home-cooked diet.
If your PON hasn't been on a regular exercise program, have him checked out by your vet before beginning one. Then see to it that he gets out and about every day, within proper limits for his health and condition. When he gets caught up in the fun, he may not acknowledge his limitations. It's up to you to monitor his activity and keep him from overdoing it. Start slowly and increase exercise every day.
Watch for signs of overexertion, especially when the weather is hot or cold. Coughing or shortness of breath during or after exercise can indicate heart problems, so report them to your vet. If your PON has arthritis or other orthopedic problems, speak to your vet about appropriate exercise. Swimming is good for dogs with joint problems, but risky for a dog with heart disease. An older PON can become chilled more easily than he did when younger, too, so he should swim only in reasonably warm water and in fair weather. Walks on leash are less stressful than running and playing, and better for PONS with various medical problems. Two or three short walks a day may be better than one long one.
If your PON is healthy and physically fit, there's no reason he can't remain active. A number of older PONS are involved in therapy work, visiting nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. In fact, senior PONS are often more reliable and less rambunctious than their younger counterparts. Older PONS can also participate in obedience or other sports, many of which offer senior or veterans classes or divisions for dogs over seven years old. If your PON doesn't seem to enjoy an activity, or if it's too taxing, don't force him. But if he's having a good time and he's physically capable, there's no reason he shouldn't keep on with his activities. Mine love to roll around on their backs after local activities and have a PON "smile" on their face. This tells me more than anything else about their general health and well being. Regular check ups are important and you should follow your veterinarian's advice.