The Wanderer.

Fall Back: How do Winter Hours Affect Dogs?

October 30, 2018

Winter is approaching, and with it, shorter days and the end of Daylight Saving Time. Clocks fall back one hour, which means an earlier sunrise and sunset. But what do these changes mean for your pup?

Dogs are creatures of habit and tend to do the same thing at the same time every day according to their natural biological clock known as their circadian rhythm. Just like humans, dogs are naturally conditioned to wake up when the sun rises and sleep after the sun sets.

We know they can't tell the time by looking at the clock so what effect will the one hour time change have on their daily routines? You can expect your dog to wake up an hour earlier than you're used to. This will likely mean he needs to go potty earlier and his meal will seem like it's being served at an earlier time.

Mornings are brighter, while evening walks will be darker. It all adds up to a brief disruption in the daily schedule you've gotten him accustomed to and can be challenging for some to get used to. Here are some suggestions for how to help your pup adjust to the end of Daylight Saving Time:

  • Set up a routine and be consistent. Dogs thrive from having a routine. Instead of abruptly shifting your schedule by one hour, gradually adjust your schedule to be later over the coming days. Young puppies, in particular, may need careful consideration as they're just now getting the hang of their training.
  • Try to keep their mealtimes consistent, to the best of your ability, year-round.
  • Some dogs will have difficulty adjusting to a time change and in these cases it's important to talk to your vet. They may recommend a supplement to help with sleep or other natural remedies.
  • Like humans, animals are sensitive to the lack of sunlight in the winter months, and may become lethargic. Make sure your dog has exposure to sunlight from windows while you’re away, and take advantage of the brighter morning hours to take a longer walk. Leaving artificial “daylight” bulbs on for your dog may also help stave off symptoms of winter blues.
  • Keep your dog active after dark with the help of the LINK’s LED light. Turn on the light from your LINK app to illuminate your dog’s way, as well as help you stay safe and visible to traffic at night.

How you tackle the Daylight Saving Time change can have a big impact on your pup. Keep your routine as consistent as you can and they'll not only adjust more easily but stay healthy and active during the shorter days of winter.