Spring is (thankfully) fast approaching and we are all looking forward to that extra sunshine the changing season brings. It seems like everyone has a little extra pep in their step once the clock moves forward an hour but can that change affect our canine companions? Just like humans, dogs are naturally conditioned to wake up when the sun rises and sleep after the sun sets. This natural biological clock is known as circadian rhythm. Take a little time to help your pup adjust to the routine change that comes with Daylight Saving Time.
Dogs are creatures of habit and tend to do the same thing at the same time every day. We know they can't tell the time by looking at the clock so what effect will the one hour time change have on their daily routines? You can expect your dog to wake up earlier than you're used to. This will likely mean he needs to go potty earlier and his meal will seem like it's being served at an earlier time. Mornings are brighter, evening walks are warmer and later. It all adds up to a brief disruption in the daily schedule you've gotten him accustomed to and can be challenging for some to get used to.
Here are some suggestions for how to help your pup adjust to Daylight Saving Time:
- Set up a routine and be consistent. Dogs thrive from having a routine. For example, while it's tempting, don't change your bedtime too abruptly with the longer evenings.
- Our dogs are very attuned to the environment so the longer days of Spring and Summer cause them to naturally be more active. Schedule extra time to be outside, take longer walks than you were in the Winter and find other pups to have play-dates with.
- Try to keep their mealtimes consistent, to the best of your ability, year-round.
- You might consider gradually changing your dog's activities by a few minutes each day for the first week to ease them into a new routine. Young puppies in particular may need careful consideration as they're just now getting the hang of their training.
- Some dogs will have difficulty adjusting to a time change and in these cases it's important to talk to your vet. They may recommend a supplement to help with sleep or other natural remedies.
How you tackle the Daylight Saving Time change can have a big impact on your pup. Keep your routine as consistent as you can and they'll not only adjust more easily but love spending the added time outdoors with you.