In the UK, we change our clocks by one hour twice a year. On the last Sunday of March, they go forward (Spring Forward), and on the last Sunday of October, they go back an hour (fall back)
Changing the clocks often confuses people, but it is even more confusing for our pets, especially those that are used to a routine (I have never had a routine for my dogs, and they are pleased and don’t get affected by the change of clocks)
Losing an hour on the last Sunday in March means we get lighter evenings to enjoy, but our days suddenly start earlier.
However, for action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, so this means we gain the hour back at the end of October, and so our routines start later, but the downside is the darker nights (I think we should leave the clock alone. Here is why we change them https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/z6kdpg8)
As I am sure you have worked out by now our pets do not need an alarm clock to wake up on time, and as a result, the changing of clocks causes stress and confusing.
How to help your dog when the clocks forward routine
Humans often adjust very quickly, but our pets often find it harder. However, like most things, you can help prepare them for the change in time by changing your routine (and theirs) slowly and a little bit each day
Don’t force your dog to wake up an hour earlier, as this could be stressful. Adjust this gradually over a week, for example, by moving breakfast, say, 10 minutes earlier each day
Doing this, they will start to wake up earlier with the knowledge that they will receive breakfast and be let out for a wee (if you have a garden)
Many dogs also have a set bedtime where they get put in their crate. If this is the case, then repeat the steps above by giving them their supper 10 minutes earlier, etc
Clocks going back routine
Like the clocks going forward, you can help your dog and other pets prepare for this.
Whilst it is probably not possible to get up 10 minutes later each day (although I am sure you want to), you can still make your dog’s breakfast 10 minutes after each day, which hopefully means they will start to sleep in that little bit longer knowing breakfast is ready, and so adjusting their body clocks and routine naturally.
How do the clocks changing affect my dog?
Increased levels of stress and anxiety
When the clocks change, and our dog’s daily routine is slightly disrupted, this can often cause mild stress. The more we can prepare them for this change in routine, the more relaxed they will be
The clocks going on an hour in the spring and bringing the warmer and lighter evenings often mean we are out later and for more extended periods.
As a result, our dogs are often left for extended periods, which can bring separation anxiety and changes in behaviour, such as howling or causing destruction and even accidents around the house.
One solution would be to use a dog walker or pet sitter to break up the day or sit with them in the evening, especially if it is late.t
Enjoying the great outdoors (clocks go forward)
As the mornings and nights get brighter and the weather improves, this often creates a new lease of life in dogs. As a result of the extended daylight, dogs often want to be outside more, enjoying the weather just like humans.
However, it is essential to remember that with summer come dangers for your dogs, such as wasp sticks, stinging nettles, and adders. This also (usually) means warmer weather, which becomes a problem.
Related article Summer dangers for your dog
Top tips for helping your dog with the clocks changing
- Adjust your pet’s feeding and medication schedule
- Slowly change your pet’s feeding times by 10 minutes each day.
- Take them on a nice walk before bedtime
- Change their toilet break times.