There are many little-known facts about Daylight Saving Time when it comes to our dogs. Did you know that dogs have episodic memory where their memories are linked to specific times and places so they remember when and where their daily milestones should occur?
Their episodic memories and circadian rhythms – natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours – make them have a routine for when they go out for the first time of the day when they eat, and even when you leave and return from work. Since pups don’t use an alarm clock to start their day, the time change affects them a bit more drastic.
4 Tips for Success
- Make note of the end of daylight saving this year, which is November 3rd at 2:00 AM.
- Adjust your clocks so that they’re an hour behind, giving you an extra hour of your day.
- Change your clock as long as you don’t live in Arizona and Hawaii, where they don’t observe daylight saving time.
- Be careful using cell phones as alarm clocks on November 3rd because they sometimes don’t update the time until after they are turned off and then back on again.
Dogs Don’t Understand the Changing Time
Waiting an extra hour to let Fido go out to potty will be confusing for him. He may remain at your bedside lurking and staring, maybe even whining and whimpering for you to get up and at ’em. Risk ignoring them, and you may have an unwelcome surprise in your living when you do roll out of bed.
Similarly, your pooch may react the same to a later feeding time. Animals thrive on routine, and when that routine changes, their disposition changes. When it comes to adjusting to a new feeding time, he may act out and chew things that he wouldn’t normally chew.
Coming home from work or school at, from your dog’s point of view, an hour later may lead to anxiety and acting out too. The acting out may result in having potty accidents and destroying your belongings.
How to Avoid Daylight Saving Anxiety and Mishaps
You can help prepare your dog for the end of daylight saving time so that he can avoid anxiety and naughty behavior. In the weeks and days leading up to the end of daylight saving time, tweak your and Fluffy’s schedule by a few minutes at a time. Wait to begin the morning walk for a few minutes. Don’t force your pup to hold it for long, just long enough to get used to the new time. Feed your pup’s meals a bit later in the weeks leading up to the time change so they can gradually adjust to new feeding times.
Run short, few-minute errands before arriving home from work so your dog can adapt to your coming back when the sun is down. Most of all, be extra observant of your dog’s needs during this transition. He may need coddling while adjusting to the new schedule, so provide extra comfort if he shows signs of anxiety.
As daylight saving time ends, make sure you ease the changes in your new schedule on your dog. Enjoy the extra hour of sleep, but be proactive and prepare to reduce your pup’s anxiety. This way, you can avoid daylight saving time, stress, and make the switch a positive experience.
If you have a pet sitter or dog walker during this time, make sure you account for that when planning the timing of home visits or dog walks so that your pup doesn’t have to hold it longer than they can. If they do have an accident in the house, don’t worry! We will clean up after them, and you will return to a clean home & a pet that has been well-loved!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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