How Does Daylight Savings Time Affect Your Dog

February 27, 2020

Everyone in the US, apart from Hawaii and Arizona, looks forward to the second Sunday of each March when they can set the clock forward by an hour at 2 a.m. The result is that millions of Americans miss the following morning’s worship and stay sleepy for a couple of weeks. A cup of coffee helps us keep off sleep on Monday. But how does daylight savings time affect your dog?

History of daylight savings time

Benjamin Franklin is one of the reasons we adjust our clocks by an hour. He noted that people wasted valuable oil, wax, and free light by burning candles to work into the night and sleep through the morning sunshine. In his essay, An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light, he suggested that Parisians used the seasons to adjust clocks in order to maximize productivity and save resources. Germany became the first country to implement the idea in 1916. When the US followed suit in 1918, the result was grumpy Americans complaining about a lost hour every Marchfor almost a decade.

Daylight Savings messes our body’s natural rhythm leading to moodiness, insomnia, and reduced productivity. Our dogs also suffer the effects of daylight savings, but in a different way.

How are dogs affected by daylight savings time?

Animals, particularly dogs, have their physiology and behavior tuned to the cycles of light and dark. They wake with the sunrise and sleep after sunsets. They work like clockwork and develop precise patterns. But dogs can’t read clocks, so why should a 60-minute modification affect them?

It isn’t the time modification that really affects them, but the sudden change in your routine that does. Their interactions with you suddenly change, and you will take them to go potty an hour early or late, serve them meals at a time they are not used to and reschedule their walks. The mornings are suddenly earlier and the evening walks are late and warmer. They find these changes so sudden and challenging. There is a need to help them adapt to the time changes.

Helping our dogs adjust to daylight savings time

The first week is quite unsettling, however, that can be corrected by an additional walk or an extra shot of caffeine. It helps to develop a routine and stick to it. Go to bed at a normal time even if you aren’t feeling tired. Put the dog to sleep at regular times even when it’s not ready. The sooner it settles into the new schedule the more rested it will be. Besides, a little more sleep won’t hurt, will it?

More playtime and longer walks are usually enough to get them into the new routine and improve their sleep patterns and quality. Relaxing scents and nutritional supplements such as melatonin can be used if the dog is extremely sensitive to time changes. However, make sure that you get advice from a veterinarian before using supplements.

Avoid sugary or high carbohydrate meals before bedtime. Since dogs cherish routines so much, try to feed it at the same time every day. Before leaving the house, wake the dog, take it for a walk, feed it and take it for one more walk.

Prolonged spring and summer times will also help them become more active. Dogs have a close connection to the environment. The spring solstice makes them friskier, and as the weather warms, they get renewed vigor.

Basically, your dog is welcome to the time change. It means more playtime, longer and warmer naps, and more bonding time with you. It is your response to daylight savings that affects them. If you become grumpy, you could affect your pups mood.