How Daylight Saving Time Affects Animals
This morning, you may have noticed that Fido and Fluffy did not wake you up and were not excited about getting up in the dark. Just like you, they lost an hour of sleep and are still adjusting. Daylight Saving Time (DST) has an affect on wild animals and pets, leaving them feeling a bit ‘jet-lagged.’
Similarly, many wild animals set their routine to sunlight. They rise with the sun, and they prepare to sleep when the sun sets. These animals will simply adjust their behavior to mimic the sun. The benefit is that there will temporarily be fewer car accidents due to animals like deer, opossums, and raccoons, which tend to move more at dusk.
DST reduces the amount of wild animals moving during peak commute home times. The extended sunlight allows us to return home after work safely, and the animals to migrate with less traffic. Colorado Parks and Wildlife posted, “According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, November sees more car accidents involving wildlife than any other month.” That is when DST ends in Colorado.
Pets are affected as well, but in a different way. Since our pets live with us, they mimic our schedule. Dogs and cats have internal clocks that are set for food, walks, and bedtime. The time they ask for these things has been established by pattern. The time that you usually feed them breakfast will be stored, and they will let you know if you are late.
They may be confused as to why everything is an hour earlier. You may notice your pet may not want to go for your daily walk until an hour later. Just like people, some pets adjust immediately, while others will take a few days to adjust to the “spring-forward” schedule. Aside from waking up earlier in the dark, they will receive their food an hour earlier. That is something to bark about!
So if you notice that your pet is not eager to eat at his normal feeding time, try again in an hour. They cannot take a shot of expresso like us and may need some time to adjust. On the other hand, if Fido is too energetic and not wanting to go to bed early, give hime some extra play time to tire him out. Be patient and lend a sympathetic ear to the whines of your sleepy dog in the morning.