Fall Bark - Time Changes Affect Your Dog

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

 

When the time recently changed, you may have enjoyed getting an extra hour of sleep due to the clock “falling back.” But it probably didn’t take long to be significantly less excited about this change since it also means the sun going down so much earlier in the evening. While this change is mostly just an annoyance for the majority of the population, some people do experience more significant issues related to the time shift. Those issues are referred to as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Given the minor and more significant impact the end of daylight savings time can have on humans, you may be wondering if animals are affected by this shift. In the case of dogs, the answer to that question is yes. That’s why we’re going to explain exactly how dogs are affected by the fall time change, along with what you can do to help your dog best manage this transition.

What the Fall Time Change Does to Dogs

Unlike humans, dogs don’t use analog or digital clocks to manage any part of their routine. However, they do have a very strong internal clock. Specifically, much of what dogs do throughout the day is governed by their circadian rhythm. This internal component keeps everything from sleeping to eating to going to the bathroom on track for dogs.

Given that dogs are so used to following this routine, what happens when the fall transition means their human counterparts start doing everything an hour later than normal? Not surprisingly, this can cause quite a bit of stress for dogs. Whether it’s getting anxious because they want to go out or feeling concerned because you’re not walking in the door at your normal time after work, these are things that will affect how your dog feels and acts.

How to Help Your Dog Deal with This Seasonal Change

The ideal way to help your dog with these changes is to gradually ease into them in the days or weeks leading up to daylight savings time. Although you can keep that strategy in mind for next year, we’re already past that point for this year. That’s why the best thing you can do now is be aware that your dog may be a little thrown off and try to help with these changes whenever possible.

Another option is to use this time of the year to break your dog out its normal routine. If you’ve been thinking about dog daycare for some time but have yet to actually try it out, now is the perfect time to take action. By giving your dog a new environment during the day, it can more easily adapt to a new routine. So if you’re looking for a place you can count on to take great care of your dog, we encourage you to check out all the details of our dog daycare.

Spring forward Fall BARK!

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

 

On March 10th at 2 a.m., Daylight Savings Time begins. We set our clocks ahead one hour, losing the extra time we picked up back in November. What does this mean, other than causing confusion or making those who forgot to change their clocks an hour late?

One way or another, we know something’s up with the clock and time of day. But what about your dog? There’s no turning his clock ahead. Unless he has an amazing talent, he can’t even read a clock. Unlike the rest of us, he doesn’t ponder why we go through this ritual every year. Dogs just know something is different — unless, of course, it’s a dog that lives in Hawaii or Arizona, states that don’t observe Daylight Savings Time.

That one hour does take a psychological toll on dogs. As we know, they are creatures of habit with a biological clock, or circadian rhythm which, according to Wikipedia “is present in the sleeping and feeding patterns of animals, including human beings” and is determined by natural sunlight.

So, if you take your dog for a walk every day at 7 a.m., come March 10th, don’t be surprised if Fido gives you a grumpy stare and wants to sleep in. Or, if you usually feed him the same time every day, you might expect a little confusion when you suddenly start putting his bowl out “early.” Okay, confusion may not be the right word. More like, anxiety.

Dogs may also get stressed out when you leave home in the morning before you usually do. Other than asking your boss to arrive late, and good luck with that, there is not much you can do to change when you leave for work.

However, you can ease your dog into these other changes by slowly altering walking and feeding schedules, playtime, and so on, until the routines are back on schedule. The best time to start is now, ahead of the change, starting regularly scheduled events a few minutes earlier each day. By the time of the changeover, your dog will already be used to the new routine. As a bonus, you won’t be thrown off by losing that extra hour of sleep over the weekend.

The effects of the sudden time change can last for a few days or up to a few weeks. So a little extra attention and understanding now can go a long way in getting your dog back on the time track.

 By Michael Barmish