daylight saving time tips for dogs and cats

This Saturday evening, in Canada, we will officially begin daylight saving time (DST). Good news: That means Spring is just around the corner! 

Now, the bad news: if you are anything like me, being robbed of an hour of my sleep, even just once a year, has me moaning, groaning, and struggling for a few days.  At least we know why we are suddenly changing our schedule…what about the dogs and cats in our homes who see us alter our behaviours for no reason at all?

Why Daylight Savings Time affects us all, including pets

Dogs and cats will not be checking the clock, but they will certainly feel the effects. Why? Simply put, it is all about you. After all, a change in your routine, or a hiccup in your schedule, can affect your pets.

Our pets are creatures of habit and their habits keep them happy, calm, and comfortable. Their lives revolve around you; they love you, you are their world. Rising even 60 minutes earlier, where the natural cues of how much morning light is available, tell them something is different. Certainly, receiving breakfast earlier is a sure sign that something is off.

It’s also important to remember that our pets are are incredibly intuitive: your stress is their stress. Just a small amount of frustration or time-change slump can set your poor guy and girl reeling for the rest of the day feeding of your emotions and even thinking that he did something to upset you.

So, the best thing you can do to help your pets make it through daylight savings is to quickly and smoothly adjust your own schedule.

How to make the transition smoother

  1.  This is a hard one. Go to bed at least half an hour earlier. It will give you a leg up on the hour you’ll be robbed on Sunday morning. It might cramp your style on Saturday night, but you will be much happier come the next day.
  2.  Wake up when your alarm goes off even if you didn’t manage the extra sleep you were hoping for. It is easy to hit the snooze button thinking that it is only Sunday. But, you will only be delaying the pain until Monday morning, and no one wants that.
  3.  Eat breakfast and drink some coffee if that is your normal routine. The fuel gets your metabolism and brain going.
  4. Stick to your routine. Even if you feel the drag of that missed hour out of your day, actively think of your pet and how your decisions will affect them.
  5. Get a little exercise. Of course, take your dog for his normal walk. But adding just a few minutes of exercise, will have your heart pumping and energize you for the day ahead.
  6. Go to bed another extra half-hour on Sunday night. That will leave you ready to transition on Monday morning.

So, as appealing as it is to drag through the day blaming it all on that missed hour of sleep, don’t do it! Lace up your walking shoes, grab the pet toys, put a smile on your face. Daylight Saving Time is here…get ready to spring forward!


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