It’s time to “spring ahead” folks! Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday we were “falling behind”. For us humans, daylight savings means that we will need to adjust our clocks. Other than losing an hour of sleep this weekend, most of us will be able to quickly adjust to the new time change as we welcome the extra daylight. Our dogs might not adjust so quickly.
So, what does this mean for our dogs?
Our dogs operate by the clock – just not the same clock we operate by! Dogs depend on their internal, or biological, clock to keep them on schedule. Feeding time, sleeping time, playtime, and potty time are all set by your dog’s internal clock, which just so happens to be aligned with the sun. This is called circadian rhythm. Our furry little creatures of habit may become a little (or a lot) confused as we changed their schedules this weekend. Often times, your dog’s confusion may present itself in the form of anxiety. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do worry. The rigidness of your current schedule may directly impact just how much havoc the change wrecks on your dog.
You can help your dog adjust to the new time change and spring ahead with ease.
Abruptly changing your dog’s schedule won’t ruin his life but again, your aim should be to avoid any undue situations of anxiety. You can achieve this by gradually adjusting your dog’s schedule over the next few days. If you usually wake at 6 am to let your dog out for a potty break followed by breakfast, try adjusting your schedule by 15 minutes each day until the official time change occurs. Do the same with any other scheduled events in your dog’s daily schedule. Meals, walks, play time, snack time etc. should all be adjusted by 15 minutes. The next day, adjust your dog’s scheduled events by 30 minutes and continue to adjust his schedule each day by increments of 15 minutes until the fourth day. It will then, officially, be daylight savings and time to really “spring ahead”.
If your dog already wakes you up an hour earlier than he or she should, check out this article from Whole Dog Journal on how to help your dog wake up a little later.
This simple and gradual change in your dog’s schedule should reduce any anxiety or unexpected events, such as accidents in the house or destroying property due to the stress associated with change. Do your creature of habit a favor and help him spring ahead with ease!