The longed-for “Fall Back” in November and the dreaded “Spring Forward” in March can produce a range of complications for humans, from barely a blip to a good few days of cantankerousness. Soon, though, life goes on as normal.
Have you ever wondered what your pet thinks about these artificial schedule re-sets? Humans and animals alike are biologically predisposed to circadian rhythms, nature’s 24-hour cycle for physiological processes; however, humans tend to react more on external cues when it comes to operating on a schedule than pets do. So, while we can find DST disconcerting, your pet may be adversely affected to a greater degree, dogs much more so than cats.
Exercise, feeding, and potty times are fairly “set” in your pet’s mind and aren’t reliant on the external clock. While you’re enjoying that extra hour of sleep in Autumn, your dog is expecting you to get up and let him out to potty. Conversely, your dog may wonder why you’re waking him “in the middle of the night” to let him out. This schedule “upset” can cause some anxiety to your fur-baby who simply doesn’t understand DST.
What to do? You can help ease anxiety by adjusting your dog’s schedule in smaller increments in the weeks leading up to DST. Adjust your pet’s schedule forward or back by 10-15 minutes for a few days. Then adjust another 10-15 minutes for a few days. On the actual day of clock changing, your pet (and you!) will already be on your new schedule.
Cats are more resilient to external schedules and generally won’t need any coaxing from you. Since your cat has “indoor facilities” and usually has some dry food and water available at all times, they’re free to stick to their circadian rhythms. Besides, we all know cats do what they want whenever they want!
If your pet seems anxious through this period offer lots of extra cuddles. Your favorite VIP pet sitter may have more tips and tricks, specific to your pet. Feel free to call as your pet sitter is always happy to help! Even if your pet seems just fine, it’s always a great idea to offer extra cuddles!