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The End of Daylight Savings and your Dog

The End of Daylight Savings is not that far away! That means it’s time to start preparing your dog to “fall back”.  With a little preparation in the days or weeks leading up to the end of Daylight Savings, you can save you and your dog a little less angst later on.  You may be excited about gaining an hour of sleep, but if you don’t plan ahead, the whole time change can upset your dog.

Falling Back CAN Impact your Dog Negatively

Most of us plan our days around our calendar and setting alarms on the clock, but our dogs rely on their internal clock.  When the dog days of summer end, you may be ready for the shorter days, but your dog isn’t. In fact, his day and routine is set by the sun.  Dogs have a circadian rhythm. This means that his day and relative behaviors are set by the light and dark of a 24 hour day. Humans have it, too, but most of us can more easily adjust to the change, especially when it means we will get more sleep.

While most dogs don’t have too much trouble adjusting to the imposition of the clock, some dogs really struggle with it.  In fact, dogs that may be prone to anxiety due to slight changes throughout the year may exhibit some signs of anxiety due to the changes relating to “falling back.” You may know that anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways with our dogs.  Self-harm and other destructive behaviors are at the top of the list.  You can help your dog though.

You Can Help your Dog Adjust to the End of Daylight Savings

Some people opt to do nothing and go with the flow.  If you take that route, you and your dog may end up with a little upset in the household. In mild cases, your dog may show signs of discomfort and anxiety. Dogs are hard-wired to know when to wake up, when to go out, when to play, and when to go to sleep. They also know when you should be coming through the front door at the end of the day. You know this already if you have had your dog for any period of time.

Why not make some simple adjustments to your schedule in the days and weeks ahead of the official end of daylight savings? Even starting as soon as the week before you can make a difference in how your dog reacts to the change. In fact, a few slight adjustments to your schedule now and he’ll “almost” be none the wiser. Start by adjusting your dog’s walking and eating schedule. Wake him a few minutes later, feed him a few minutes later and well, adjust all of his day and night activities by just a few minutes. This shift should include adjustments to mealtimes, and potty breaks throughout the day as well as playtime, outdoor time and even your departure from home and arrival home from work time. Let’s say that you start the week before. Change your dog’s schedule by ten minutes on day one. Day 2, move to a 20 minute time change. Each day, alter your dog’s schedule by 10 minutes. By the time, it’s time to fall back, you’ll be able to enjoy that extra hour of sleep and not worry about how your dog will respond to the changes. These simple changes will help your dog ease into his new schedule and this will result in less trauma to the household overall.

Your dog’s circadian rhythm dictates his day.  As with any other change in your dog’s life, he can be a little picky about it, at the very least.  On a more severe scale, your dog may respond by acting out in ways that will cause him harm.  Put your plan in place to help your dog now while there’s still time to begin with the end in mind.

 

 

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