By, Katy Cable-TWR
A 3 minute read
It's time for a change! This Sunday, if you live in the US, (excluding Arizona & Hawaii*) you get an extra hour to sleep in. At 2 AM, on November 7th, we FALL BACK! I typically love this time of year and getting the extra hour in the morning!
Then I got to thinking… “What about our dogs?” “Can your dog tell time?” Many people claim that their pets know, to the minute, when it's mealtime, walk time, or time for their owners to arrive home. Is it true? Can dogs tell time? As research shows, the answer is an overwhelming YES!
It seems clear that dogs are aware that time is passing, but many pet owners are amazed by how well pets are able to learn household routines. Dogs are highly adaptable and able to tell time well enough to stick to a schedule. They can also quickly adjust to a new one.
Dogs, in particular, have evolved to be very skilled at picking up social clues and reading human behavior. You may not realize that your body language sends subtle cues about your mood and intentions, but your dog certainly does. Maybe you always grab the leash or your commuter mug before you venture out on your afternoon walk. Perhaps you stand up and walk toward the kitchen just a little more purposefully than usual when it's feeding time. If your dog is paying attention, they may be able to convince you that they're anticipating your every move in advance.
Most dogs are also quite good at figuring out associations between events, so your dog probably knows that when you pick up his leash, it's time for a walk, and that when they hear a can opener or the pitter-patter of kibble, it's mealtime. And those are the “no-brainer” cues. They also seem to know when you're preparing to travel long before the luggage appears. The stacks of clothes, the way things are being organized and you're general demeanor is a dead giveaway to your dog.
Internal Clocks: Like most living things, dogs derive most of their time sense from their circadian rhythms. Earth takes approximately 24 hours to rotate once around its axis and experience a full cycle of night and day, so most life on the planet has evolved to wake, eat, survive, and sleep on that 24-hour schedule. Scientists have observed this in humans, dogs, cats, and interestingly enough, insects, fungi and even some microbes.
An animal's circadian rhythm is governed by it’s genes, but these cycles are also very dependent on light and dark. Your dog's circadian rhythm probably plays a big role in when your dog thinks it's time to play, sleep, or eat. This was very clearly demonstrated by my dogs always waking at the exact same time of the morning even though the time had changed. It also explains why as the daylight hours get shorter they will adjust to the new time and sleep a bit later. This internal clock along with aligning to the circadian rhythms is what gives all of us, including our dog's, the sense of time.
If your dog is having some trouble with the time change, I advise these 3 easy tips: ⏰
1. Begin slowly adjusting feeding and walk times by 10-15 minutes the week PRIOR to the time change. They should be adjusted within the week. Since, in this case you didn't get the memo with much notice, you can still slowly adjust time their schedule in 10-15 minute increments until your dog has transitioned. Then, in the SPRING start a week prior.
2. What I personally do is keep my feedings & walks not at a specific time but within a 1-2 hour time window. I get up and walk Olive between 7 & 8 AM, then feed her when we return home. I have the same 1-2 hour window for walks. This makes it an easy adjustment not just for time change, but also when we travel or have unexpected delays that throw off our schedule.
3. Another easy tip is to tire your dog out with more exercise to help them sleep and adjust to transitions. I have also found using CBD/Hemp products**can drastically help a pet having difficulty adjusting to the new time or a schedule change.
Your dog should adjust easily to the shorter daylight hours and new time change. You, on the other hand might want to hold off on taking your dog for a run after work (since it’s going to be pitch dark) and enjoy morning yoga or meditation while you adjust to the return of longer sunny days!. Happy FALL!
Pugs and 😘 kisses! -Katy🍁🍂🦃
*Arizona & Hawaii are the only 2 US states which don’t participate in Daylight Savings Time and therefore stay on the same time schedule.
**Visit my store on my website for excellent CBD products that I use and trust. 10% discount codes provided on your order.
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🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick.