Daylight savings time can be a pain. It means waking up a whole hour earlier (or struggling to stay up later) and it can throw your entire week off. While we try our best to keep on schedule, many of us pet owners might wonder: does the time change affect our pets?
As it turns out, not only do our furry friends notice the time change, but it can also cause them a lot of confusion and even stress.
While your pet might not be able to read your watch, animals have their natural time clocks based on sunlight. Plus, they know your routines and learn when to expect meals, their walks, and even when to expect you home from work. So when you change the clocks and do everything an hour earlier (or later), your pet’s demeanor could be affected.
3 Ways to Prep Your Pets for Daylight Savings Time
Knowing that the time change will affect your pet’s sense of order, you will want to make sure the transition goes smoothly. While you can’t necessarily explain what is happening with daylight savings, there are some great ways to help your pet prepare.
- Take Baby Steps
One great way to get your pet adjusted is to make the change in small increments. Mark your calendar a week or two ahead of time and start adjusting bed and dinner time by five or ten minutes so that on the day you switch your clocks, your pet won’t notice as much of change. This might even help you warm up to daylight savings better.
- Stick with a Routine
It’s always weird to go to bed when it feels so early in Fall, and it’s hard not to hit snooze when you’re supposed to be up an hour early in Spring, but try to stick with your schedule. The sooner you commit to the time change, the sooner you, and your pet will adjust.
And if you’re someone that usually sticks with a routine, maybe it’s best to rethink making any significant adjustments to your schedule during daylight savings. Since our pets are already accustomed to our daily habits, not only will they feel the effects of the time change, but they will most likely be doubly thrown off if you switch up your routine on top of it! So maybe re-think starting that new 5 AM jogging challenge until after you’ve gotten used to the time change? This is probably a good idea in general, but the key is to make things seem as healthy and normal as possible for your pet during this time change.
- Get Enough Sleep
You and your furry friend should take care to get plenty of sleep (maybe even sleep in the same bed as your pet). It might be hard to get into a new rhythm, but even if you have to adjust your caffeine intake to get to bed earlier, your cat or dog doesn’t have that option, so it’s up to you! If your pet has trouble getting to sleep or is particularly sensitive to the time change, take your pups for longer walks or extend play time with your cats so they’ll sleep better. If that doesn’t work, talk to a veterinarian about natural sleep remedies like relaxing scents to give them a better rest.
Plan Ahead to Help Your Pet
Of course, we all want our pets to be happy and healthy. We do all we can to make sure our cats and dogs are comfortable on a daily basis, and that doesn’t change when it comes to something like daylight savings.
Here are a few things you can do to plan for years to come.
- Make Sure They Have the Best Foods– Mealtime is always an essential part of your pet’s day- and you want it to be essential for their health too. Avoid sugary foods (especially before bedtime) and try to stay away from too many carbohydrates. A healthy diet will help them with a healthy sleep cycle. Plus, make sure to watch for any changes in their eating or drinking habits.
- Know What to Expect With the Seasons– Reading your pets, and their signs, is your best way of communicating with them. You’ll know better than anyone when something is troubling your furry friends, but remember that many animals change their habits with the seasons. They might get more rambunctious during the long summer days and chill out in the winter months. You might consider writing down notes in your calendar about how your pet was acting shortly before and after daylight savings so you’ll know what to expect for the next year.
- Lots of Love– Remember that this change is a lot harder for your pet than it is for you. In the weeks leading up to the time change, give your pup lots of extra love, snuggles, and playtime.They’ll appreciate it, and you’re sure to enjoy the extra bonding time too!
With all these daylight savings tips, you’re sure to have a smooth transition as you change your clocks. Remember, you and your pet are in this together, and knowing that just might make the time change a little bit better.