Does The Time Change Affect Our Dogs?
6 November, 2017
When we set our clocks back an hour, some of us are affected by the time change while others don’t even notice it. And those who are affected, it usually takes a couple days for us to readjust our internal clocks. And how about our pets. Does the time change affect our dogs?
Dogs have inner biological clocks, circadian rhythms, that regulate their sleep, and hunger
Dogs have circadian rhythms (our body’s biological system of timekeeping) just as we do that regulate sleep, hunger, and activity levels throughout each day. In nature, these rhythms are triggered by natural sunlight. But, in our artificial environments, where morning starts with the sound of an alarm clock and the flip of a light switch, our circadian rhythms (and our dogs’) are largely self-driven.
So, in the same ways that we have to adjust our eating and sleeping patterns and just feel awkward until we adjust this time each year, our dogs will go through it too. When we gain an hour and can sleep in, our dogs are still on daylight savings time and don’t understand why we’re still in bed when they are up and ready to go. Their internal clock is saying morning has arrived and it’s time to get moving (and get fed!).
Our dogs are used to their routine of their first potty break so be prepared
Many dogs need to go outside for a potty break first thing in the morning. When you sleep in for an extra hour, your pup might be confused and sit next to your bed waiting for you to put on your slippers and grab the leash. If you ignore his pleas, he might not be able to hold it in and will have to find a houseplant or rug to do his morning business. It will take some dogs just a little time before they can adjust to your new schedule.
Dogs might act out a bit if not fed at their certain time
If your dog is used to being fed at a certain time, they might be a bit upset when breakfast or dinner is coming an hour late. Don’t be surprised if your pup sits by his empty bowl, looking up at you with his best feed me dog eyes. When food doesn’t come on time, your pup might act out by begging, chewing things he shouldn’t chew, or raiding the garbage cans.
Even some cats might turn their noses up at food if that comes an hour before the normal time.
To make the transition smoother, keep the schedule the same and add ten minutes each day
A few things you can do to make the transition easier is to keep your dogs on their normal schedule and slowly begin to change their daily routine by 5-10 minutes each day. Keep doing this until you make up for the hour change adjustment. Moving their feeding times, play time and walks back a little each day can make it easier for dogs to adjust.
The good news is that dogs are resilient and will adjust to the change quickly. So, yes, our dogs are affected by the time change, but they’ll adjust to it just fine every year, just like we do. And most cats won’t be as affected as dogs will while some pets won’t even notice.
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