Fall Back: Will It Affect Your Pet?

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On Sunday when we “fall back” to Standard Time, and while you are excited to get an extra hour of sleep, don’t be surprised if your dog is up at his usual time ready and waiting to go. Remember, it’s not your dog’s fault. Take a few extra minutes this week to try to prepare your dog for Sunday’s change.

Early Sunday morning, November 6, 2016, we will segue out of Daylight Savings Time back to Standard Time.

Since dogs are creatures of habit and love consistency in their daily schedule, they may experience confusion for a few days. When a familiar routine is disrupted, this change can affect your dog’s behavior. Is there anything you can do to help them adjust?
William Berloni, author of Broadway Tails and director of behavior for the Humane Society of New York, says, “If we start adjusting their schedule in 15-minute increments a few days before the time change, it makes the transition easier. This incremental change is easier than trying an hour all at once. You can transition to the new wake-up time this way too. Try setting the alarm 10 or 15 minutes later each day until everyone is getting up at the correct time. Unfortunately, you wont get that extra hour of sleep, but your pets will have a smoother transition to the new schedule.

Since dogs are more attuned to human activities, they will probably accept these changes as soon as they realize that they will get their meals and walks, just a little later than expected. Cats, on the other hand, are notoriously oblivious to human needs and are more likely to complain loudly if a meal is late. If you free-feed your cat dry food, the transition shouldn’t be an issue, but if she’s made to wait for her breakfast and dinner, you’ll hear about it.

However, some activities must shift by an hour. If you are away from the house at work all day and your dog has to wait an extra hour to go outside and relieve himself, accidents can happen. Be patient with these incidents and don’t punish him. He’ll adjust within a few days and your household will once again run like a well-oiled machine—at least until Daylight Savings Time returns in the spring.

 

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