Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, March 14th in 2021 at 2:00am. Remember to “spring forward” and set your clocks!
For humans, the skipped hour when Daylight Saving Time begins might just mean we miss out on an hour of sleep. But for dogs, the effects can be very different.
Animals don’t set their routines by the clock that we use as humans to keep on schedule. They have their own circadian rhythm – a biological clock that helps them know when to eat, sleep, go potty, and do everything else in their day.
So when humans change the clock for the start of Daylight Saving Time, it can affect dogs more strongly.
Here are a few ways Daylight Saving Time might drive your dog bonkers, and keep reading until the end to find out what you can do about it.
Many dogs need to go outside for a potty break first thing in the morning. When you wake up an hour early, your pup might be confused about why you’re dragging them out of bed. They might not even have to go yet, and some dogs might even resist the leash and dread the early morning walk.
If they don’t go potty when you want them to, they might hold it in until their usual potty time. By then you may have already left the house. Your dog might find a houseplant or rug to do their morning business while you’re away. Or they may simply go potty at their normal time out of habit.
Most pooches stick to regular potty times throughout the day. It will take some time before they can adjust to your new schedule.
If your dog is used to eating at a certain time, they might be a bit upset when you serve breakfast or dinner an hour early. Don’t be surprised if your pup turns up their nose at their bowl because they’re not ready to eat yet.
When food comes early, your pup might not wish to eat immediately, and if you put the food away, they may get hungry later and start chewing or eating things they shouldn’t.
They may gnaw on your laundry, raid the garbage can, or engage in other unwanted behavior.
When you go to work, your dog misses you. You’re their family — their pack. They’ll probably be happy when you come home earlier than usual in the evening, but they may be anxious when you leave an hour early in the morning.
This nervousness can lead to all sorts of unwanted behavior, including having accidents or destroying your belongings.
What You Can Do About It
You can help your dog prepare for the start of Daylight Saving Time in a way that will reduce stress or unwanted behavior. Here are a few steps you can take:
- In the weeks leading up to Daylight Saving Time, adjust your schedule by a few minutes each day. Wake up and start morning walks a couple minutes earlier every time. Don’t disturb your dog’s sleep by an hour all at once, just enough to get used to the new time gradually.
- Feed your dog meals a bit earlier in weeks leading up to the time change so they can acclimate gradually.
- Get out the door a few minutes earlier each day, and run some errands before work with the extra minutes. That way, your dog can get used to you leaving at the new time.
- Another thing to consider is your dog’s medication schedule. Speak to your vet about how to adjust to the time change. Most medications will not harm your dog if taken earlier than usual. However, there are exceptions, and your vet can give you individual advice for your dog.
- Most of all, pay extra attention to your dog’s needs during this transition. It is important to offer them extra comfort if they show signs of anxiety.
As Daylight Saving Time begins, make sure you ease the effects of your new schedule on your dog. Take steps to reduce your pup’s anxiety. This way you can make the Daylight Saving Time switch a positive experience, rather than a stressful one.
And don’t forget to set your clocks forward!
Does your dog lose it during the Daylight Saving Time switch? How do you help them relax? Let us know in the comments below!