How To Transition Your Dog to Daylight Savings Time
12 March, 2018
When we spring forward and push our clock’s an hour ahead, we all are a little cranky for a few days. So imagine how dogs feel when we switch to Daylight Savings Times and their schedules are changed! Our dogs are so in tune with when they are going to be fed and what time to go out every morning that they will feel a bit unbalanced.
How are dogs affected by daylight savings time?
Dogs are creatures of light. Dogs tend to wake when the sun rises and sleep after sunset. Many dogs have set routines; they do the same things at the same time every day like clockwork, but they can’t read clocks and therefore just get messages from outside. Cats are affected too, but not as much since they don’t rely on us to go out to potty every day.
Dogs and cats have internal clocks that affect their rhythm
Just like humans, dogs and cats have internal clocks that tell them when to eat, sleep and wake up. This biological timekeeper, also known as circadian rhythm, is set in motion by natural sunlight. However, for pets this effect is minimized by the artificial environment we create when light comes on not with the rising sun but with the flip of a switch. Dogs and cats might get grumpy when they show up to an empty food dish at their perceived dinner time.
Dogs can feel the time change affecting their daily routine
What really disrupts our dog’s lifestyle during daylight savings time changes are the sudden differences in our daily routines. Your dogs will probably be awakened an hour earlier to go potty. Their meals will be served at a different time; walks are rescheduled and mornings come later and evening walks warmer and later.
Helping our dogs adjust to daylight savings time
For most dogs and people, the time switch doesn’t affect us at all. The first week may be a little unsettling but we do adjust because we understand it. For dogs, the best way to adjust is to have a routine and stick to it. Let your dog outside and put him to sleep at the regular time. He may stare at you and get a big agitated to tell you he’s not ready. However the sooner you adjust to the new schedule, your dog will too.
If you have a dog that has difficulty sleeping or is extremely sensitive to time changes, longer walks or more playtime, can help improve sleep quality and patterns.
Make a set, consistent schedule and stick to it
Meals should be fed at roughly the same time each day. Dogs are true “creatures of habit” and love routine (as do cats!). Because our dogs are closely connected to the environment, the prolonged days of spring and summer naturally encourage them to become more active. Don’t be surprised to find them waiting for you to go on an even longer walk during these seasons.
The bottom line is your dog and cats will learn and adjust to the routine. They just might be a little grumpy during the transition.
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