Good evening, fellow yogis! I’m currently playing with my main man, my (old) puppy Gregory!

Yes, I know you all were probably expecting a much more yoga-inspired name, but not everything I do and enjoy is centered around yoga! Well, my ex-boyfriend who got me Greg as a puppy did have a big hand in choosing out the name – I was thinking Vrishnu but he didn’t think it was ‘cute’ enough.

Gregory is almost 8 now, as strange as it is to say that. I remember when I first met him, I could literally hold him in the palm of my hand. Now, Greg is a full grown Burmese Mountain Dog and weighs in at a healthy 80 pounds, so I’m not so sure I could lift him up even with both hands!

As he gets up there in age, I want to make sure I am on constant watch for any indication of disease, whether it be cancer, painful arthritis, or even something internal, like a heart problem. I have had quite a few dogs in my life and my family were never the most attentive pet owners, so those poor pups never made it far past 10 years old or so.

I want Greg in my life, happy and tail wagging, for as long as possible, so I make sure to take every precaution when it comes to his health. That means ensuring he always gets the most nutritious food possible, and he is taken to the vet at least twice a year for test screenings for any disease common to his breed.

One of the big items to watch out for Burmese Mountain Dogs like my lovable pooch is cardiovascular issues. For whatever reason, the breed is not usually long lived at least partially due to their weak hearts, so I do what I can to beat the average with Greg and make sure his heart is as healthy as possible.

This, of course, starts with the stomach – avoiding the typical high-grain diet for dogs and sticking instead to a more natural meat-and-starchy veggie diet. A good diet and a very active exercise program will do wonders for the longevity of any creature, let alone your dog.

When worse comes to worse, though, and you suspect your dog may be suffering from a potentially deadly heart problem, it’s best to go the direct medical route. Getting a echocardiogram and other diagnostic tests from a practiced veterinary cardiologist can mean the difference between your pup making a full recovery and adding to the early death statistics.

If you are in southern California and are wondering where to find an experienced and fully-hands free veterinarian who can remotely analyze your pet’s test results, consider Dr. Carley Saelinger of Cardiac Vet, Inc. She’s been working for decades treating pet health problems at one of the most prestigious animal hospitals in the state, and her clients have nothing but praise for her abilities and bedside manner.

Greg is just as chipper and fun loving as he was when I first held him at two months old, but that doesn’t mean danger doesn’t lurk around the corner! With help from veterinarian professionals like Dr. Saelinger, I’ll be sure to keep him around for some time yet!

Cardiac Vet, Inc.