Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, March 13 in 2022 at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to “jump ahead” and set your clocks!
For humans, the skipped hour of daylight saving time can simply mean we’re missing an hour of sleep. But for dogs, the effects can be very different.
Animals don’t set their routines to the clock that we as humans use to stay on schedule. They have their own circadian rhythm — a biological clock that helps them know when to eat, sleep, potty train and do everything else in their day.
So when people change the clock for daylight saving time, it can affect dogs more strongly.
Here are a few ways daylight saving time can drive your dog crazy, and keep reading to the end to find out what you can do about it.
Many dogs need to go out early in the morning for a potty break. If you wake up an hour early, your pup may be confused as to why you’re dragging him out of bed. They may not even need to go yet, and some dogs may even resist the lead and fear the early morning walk.
If they don’t go potty when you want them to, they can hold it in until their usual potty time. Then you may already be out of the house. Your dog can find a houseplant or rug to do his morning chores while you are away. Or they may just go potty at their normal time out of habit.
Most puppies stick to regular potty sessions throughout the day. It will take them a while to adjust to your new schedule.
If your dog is used to eating at a set time, he may get a little upset if you serve breakfast or dinner an hour earlier. Don’t be surprised if your pup turns his nose at his food bowl because he’s not ready to eat yet.
If the food comes early, your pup may not want to eat right away, 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, loot the trash, or engage in other unwanted behaviors.
When you go to work, your dog misses you. You are their family – their pack. They will probably be happy if you come home earlier than usual at night, but they may be anxious if you leave an hour early in the morning.
This nervousness can lead to all kinds of unwanted behavior, including accidents or destroying your belongings.
What can you do about it?
You can help your dog prepare for the onset of Daylight Saving Time in a way that reduces stress or unwanted behavior. Here are a few steps you can take:
- In the weeks leading up to Daylight Savings Time, adjust your schedule for a few minutes each day. Wake up and start morning walks a few minutes earlier every time. Don’t disrupt your dog’s sleep by an hour all at once, just enough to gradually get used to the new time.
- Feed your dog a little earlier change in weeks prior to time so they can acclimate gradually.
- Get out the door a few minutes early every day, and do some errands before work with the extra minutes. This way your dog can get used to you leaving at the new time.
- Another thing to consider is that of your dog medication schedule† Talk to your vet about how to adapt to the time change. Most medications will not harm your dog if taken earlier than normal. However, there are exceptions and your vet can give you individual advice for your dog.
- Above all, pay extra attention to your dog’s needs during this transition. It’s important to give them extra comfort if they’re showing signs of anxiety.
When Daylight Saving Time kicks in, be sure to mitigate 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 clock forward!
Does your dog lose these during the DST shift? How do you help them relax? Let us know in the comments below!