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Dr. Ashley Priddy Is Helping Pets This Holiday Season

The Dallas Veterinary Clinic owner offers tips and tricks so you can make the most of the holidays with your pet.

Article by Christiana Stephens

Photography by Dallas Veterinary Clinic

Originally published in Park Cities Lifestyle

Christmas and the holidays can be extra special spent with your pets, but this joyful season can also bring added stress to your dog or cat—and a list of things for you to remember while juggling the demands of holiday plans, gatherings, and travel. You might have to take your pet somewhere new, buy them cold-weather gear, or make sure they don’t get into Christmas treats. With extra factors to consider, this can lead to greater anxiety for both you and your pet. Luckily, Dr. Ashley Warren Priddy can help.

Dr. Priddy is the medical director and owner of Dallas Veterinary Clinic on Sherry Lane, one of the oldest vets in Dallas. It was originally founded in 1954 on Cedar Springs, and Priddy purchased the clinic in 2016 when it was located off Walnut Hill. It then moved to its current location in Preston Center—in the heart of the Park Cities.

“I went to Highland Park,” Priddy says. “I grew up in Highland Park. So it was good to move back to where I grew up.”

Having been a veterinarian for a decade, Dr. Priddy has helped many animals and their owners through various seasons of life. “Obviously every vet loves animals,” he says. “That’s why they get into it. I’ve always loved animals and I think once I found out you could be a doctor, but just for creatures, I thought that was pretty cool. It’s like being an investigator, solving problems and fixing things. Pets are family members, so seeing these people and building relationships with them is an added advantage.”

Dr. Priddy and his team at Dallas Vet Clinic care for up to 2,000 pets, the majority of which are dogs and cats. They put a large focus on preventative medicine to try to treat certain things before they even happen, ensuring that humans get the most time with their pets as possible. When animals are sick, it tends to be ear or skin issues or gastrointestinal trouble.

But the holiday season can add new external factors that may warrant some extra planning. The first thing to consider is providing stability for your pet during a time when their routine might look a little different. You might be preparing to go on a trip with or without them or to host friends and family in your home.

“See if they’ve got a special place they can go hide at home if they need to,” Priddy says. “And if they’ve got to go anywhere on car rides or airplane rides, depending on the situation, we sometimes send home some pharmaceuticals to calm them, something to keep them happier and calmer for certain parties. For dogs and cats, there are pheromone diffusers and sprays, a synthetic pheromone that is natural to the dog or cat that calms them. If your relatives are bringing their own pets into your home, just keep an eye on them and make sure that all the creatures are happy together.”

Another change the holidays can bring is colder weather. Even in Dallas, temperatures can reach freezing, and the ground can get cold or icy. If you have a dog, it’s a good idea to purchase booties and a coat for them if you plan to go on longer walks. Booties not only keep their paws warm but also keep salt off them if the city has put down salt to melt ice. According to Dr. Priddy, canine paws aren’t as susceptible to cold as human hands, but there can still be damage with long enough exposure.

Festive food can be one of the best parts of the holidays, but it can also cause health issues for your pets if they are left unsupervised next to a sugary pie or a turkey containing bones. Aside from the obvious foods you normally avoid giving dogs, like chocolate and grapes, it’s a good idea to keep fatty, rich foods out of their reach. And if your pet does get into food or desserts that they shouldn’t, it’s best to take them to the vet. You can even call on the way to alert staff that you’re coming and will need immediate assistance.

“There was a client the other day who talked about last year when the whole family came over,” he says. “While they were setting everything up, this dog managed to jump on the dining room table and devoured the entire butter plate for the rolls. Sure enough, that dog was pretty sick everywhere. They took the dog to the vet thankfully.”

Dogs and cats can also be tempted to get into shiny ornaments and decorations, so it’s best to keep an eye on them around boxes and trees so you and your pet can enjoy the scenery.

Spending time with and caring for your beloved pets can make the holiday season that much brighter. They are part of the family, after all. “We’re focused on family,” Priddy says, “and trying to keep them comfortable and happy.”