Will Daylight Saving Time Impact Your Dog Or Cat?

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We may not have noticed it, but many people find themselves feeling out of sorts until their circadian rhythms catch up with that lost hour. Just as our bodies are impact by time changes – whether Daylight Saving Time or traveling to a different time zone – our pets may be impacted as well.

As humans, we know the time change is coming and we prepare for it. Our dogs and cats, who are creatures of habit don’t have the capacity for pre-planning for time changes. They are accustomed to eating their dinner and going for walks at specific times and going to bed and getting up on a routine schedule.

As a pet parent it’s important to take into consideration your dogs and cats are still on the same time schedule they were before the time change.

How to help your Pets Adjust

Until your pets are on the new schedule, here are a few ways you can help them adjust:

  • If possible, ease them in increments toward a dinner time that is on the “new” time. If you can take about a week to fully adjust it may be helpful to your pets. Try moving their dinner times by ten minutes a day. Often pets are more flexible with their morning meal as morning schedules often vary.
  • Be prepared for your pet to begin nudging you an hour earlier than the clock for her dinner or for a walk. He can’t tell time. Be patient. If he’s nudging you for a walk and it’s an hour early, you are better off going along with his body’s request. This is the instances where, if possible, you can try to make pets wait ten minutes from the time they begin nudging for dinner until they have gotten on the schedule of the “new” time.
  • Pay attention to whether your pets seem stressed or anxious. Yes, some pets may be so impacted by the time change they exhibit “bad” behaviors. These include: scratching, pacing, refusing to eat or craving more attention. Practice patience while his body clock catches up. Your pet may also pick up on your emotions relating to the time change and act out because of her empathy to your moods.

The time change may not be anything you’re particularly impacted by, but your pet may be. The time change will upset your dog or cat’s internal clock and can take a psychological toll. Give them a few days to get their body clock in sync to the new time.

You may need to adjust your dog or cat’s medication schedule – if she is on medication – to compensate for the time change. You don’t want to overdose, or underdose, or skip any doses because the time changed. 

Your dog or cat may not even notice the change in the time- in which case you may not see any change in behavior. Enjoy the longer days and take your dog for longer walks!

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.