Just like us, your dogs have an internal clock that tells them when they should eat, sleep and wake up. It’s known as their circadian rhythm and is governed by daylight hours. Changes to this biological process can explain why they may seem lazy as the nights draw closer or more energetic in summer, as their exposure to natural light decreases and increases. It’s one explanation if you think your pet has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Changes in sunlight levels happen gradually throughout the year, but what about a sudden clock change that occurs overnight?
+ 1 Hour (Forward) - End of March
- 1 Hour (Back) - End of October
Whilst the seasonal adjustment of the clocks each year won’t have any direct affect on they as they don’t have a concept of time – it does change our schedule and therefore their routine and that is what we should be aware of.
Our dogs routine started when we wake up and go to work and then other events like our return home, taking them for walk and letting them out for exercise, it is with the change of the hour adjustment that affects their routine which can cause them stress.
Dogs rely on routine – waking up, eating, going to the toilet, walks, you going out, you coming home, going to bed – there’s a lot of mundane things you do which are incredibly important to your dog. When the clocks change, it’s particularly vital to help dogs adjust by gradually changing wake up, meal, walk and bedtimes.
If your dog is having to wait an hour for food, or to be let out, or conversely is being woken up for a meal or walk, it can cause them anxiety. Supporting your dog with wake up, toilet and walk times is especially important, as dogs typically rely on you to let them out of a room or into the garden.