Daylight Savings Time and your Dog

Can you believe it’s daylight savings time again? Daylight savings ends at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 4th. The good news is that we will gain an hour of sleep! The bad news is that it takes some adjusting for all of our family members, even the furry ones, believe it or not.

How does daylight savings effect our dogs?

We tell time by looking at the clock, but our dogs look inward.  Well, they don’t really “look”.  They are just set to do certain things by their internal clock.  Many humans are hardwired by the internal clock, too.  That is why some people struggle to sleep in even when they want to.  However, our dogs do everything by their “clock”. They eat, sleep, take potty breaks and more by their internal clock.  In fact, their “to do” list perfectly aligns with the sun, believe it or not.  Circadian rhythm dictates when they do the things they do, or when they want to anyway.  Some dogs, more than others become a little anxious when things don’t happen according to when they are supposed to.  This is especially hard for dogs who have owners that must operate by a very strict schedule. 

So, how do help your dog adjust?

Many people simply do nothing.  While your dog won’t simply die if you go about your business of adjusting your own schedule, he may show signs of discomfort and anxiety.  With a simple adjustment over the next week, you can ease any confusion, anxiety or problem behavior that could potentially result due to the “falling back” in time. Starting tomorrow, change your dog’s schedule by just a few minutes.  He won’t even notice that. By falling back 15 minutes each day, your dog will slowly ease into the change.  So, if you wake ordinarily at 5 am, adjust your clock by 15 minutes. Don’t hit snooze! Take your dog out and begin his morning routine as you normally do.    Think of all of the other events your dog’s day is guided by.  Meals, dinner time, pay time and potty breaks should all “fall back” by 15 minutes.   Each day adjust your dog’s schedule by 15 more minutes.  Meaning, day 2 fall back 30 minutes instead of 15 and day 3 fall back 45 minutes instead of 30.  Catch my drift? Before it’s time to officially fall back, you and your dog will have already adjusted.  If you start earlier, you can operate by 10 minute increments instead.  Either way, your dog will be much happier for it!

Any change in your dog’s routine, as simple as it may seem to you, can wreak havoc. Dogs don’t understand things like we do, and like I said they operate on their internal clock for everything.  Make the gradual change now so that you may lessen the likelihood that your dog feels the transition at all.  He’ll feel better about it and so will you.

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