Does daylight savings time affect pets?

Every year on the second Sunday of March most Americans and Canadians set their clocks forward one hour. On the first Sunday of November, they set their clocks back one hour. This is called daylight saving time. According to Livescience, daylight saving time is sometimes inaccurately called daylight savings time. It was created to conserve energy; giving people an extra hour to enjoy daylight in the evening.

For some people, daylight saving time can disrupt sleep schedules, leaving people feeling groggy and tired. It also causes other issues as we try to adjust our schedule to the changes. With a few extra alarms and a cup of coffee most of us adjust to daylight saving time pretty quickly. But does daylight saving time affect our pets?

How daylight saving time affects dogs and cats 

Dogs and cats rely heavily on daylight to determine time and they often adjust their routines to the sunlight. It’s no coincidence that many pets become less active during the winter when there is the least amount of sunlight. The time your pet wakes up to go potty, eat dinner, exercise, nap and sleep are all dependent on the amount of daylight. Our pets can’t read the time on a clock, so when we change our clocks forward or back an hour, our pets don’t notice. What they do notice is the change in their schedule and routine. 

At the start and end of daylight saving time, dogs and cats that are used to waking up at a certain time are now being asked to wake up an hour earlier or an hour later. They are suddenly required to go potty at a different time than they usually would. Their dinner time, the time they go for a walk and the time their owner leaves and comes home has all changed. The sudden change of daylight saving time can be confusing to dogs and cats who are creatures of habit that feel most comfortable with a predictable routine. 

How to help cats and dogs adjust to daylight saving time

If your pet gets confused by the changes caused by daylight saving time there are some steps you can take to make the transition easier for them. 

  • Start getting them used to the change in meal time. In the weeks leading up to the time change, feed them a few minutes earlier (or later) until eventually their meal time has changed to daylight saving time. 
  • Keep your pets meal time the same year round. Conversely, some experts recommend feeding your pet at the same time year round regardless of the time change. That means that you adjust your feeding time so Fido or Fluffy stays on the same schedule.
  • Get up early to give your pet time to go potty. Plan ahead so that if your pet is confused by the time change they have a few extra minutes to adjust. This is especially important for dogs that are used to going potty at the same time each morning. If you’re running late for work it stresses you and your dog out. The extra few minutes will give you both time to adjust and maybe you can have an extra cup of coffee while your pup is sniffing around.
  • Consider a pet sitter or dog walker. Some pets become lonely when their owner begins leaving earlier or coming home an hour later. Consider having a pet sitter or dog walker stop by to spend time with your dog or cat

As with any new changes in your dog or cat’s daily schedule, it may just take some time for your pet to get used to. Give your pet lots of snuggle time and spoil them with some yummy freeze-dried treats for cats and dogs. Vital Essentials also makes RELAX Freeze-Dried Hemp Chews for dogs. The custom spectrum hemp oil found in these chews can help ease the stress your dog may experience during time changes or any time your dog needs to relax. 

For more tips and tricks for dogs and cats be sure to check out our growing collection of blog posts. Enter your email into our mailing list to receive exclusive savings on Vital Essentials and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and contests.