Last fall I wrote about how to keep your pets safe during the loss of time and gain in darkness, especially concerning dog walks. Indoor/outdoor cats are a discussion for another day.
Well now the question arises about whether the leap forward would cause any safety concerns? I honestly thought that there wouldn’t be much to find concerning, but I was surprised to find that we should actually pay a bit more attention to how the time change can affect our pets.
We change the time to suit our work environment and lifestyle. If we push forward in spring we buy ourselves more daylight. Same for the fall, when we push back we are trying to capture every last light-saving second.
So as we jump forward in the time-space continuum (I know not really, but go with me, it sounds good) while the darkness is no longer a concern with the days getting longer – our pets routine certainly can be.
How Can Changing Your Pet’s Routine Cause Harm?
According to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, by changing our pets routine we could be causing psychological and physiological stress on them. Since our pets’ routines are designed and maintained by us, when we change what we do they can’t make sense of the why. Your cat has no idea why she’s getting fed earlier all of a sudden.
I’m sure while Fluffy and Fido might not complain about the earlier grub time, they are a little befuddled. Their humans are acting strangely all of a sudden on two days a year – what’s up with that?
I haven’t found a study showing the exact affects this strange behavior has on our pets but it certainly does impact them when the stability they have come to understand suddenly goes awry.
What Can You Do to Minimize the Impact of the Time Change?
While the work day routine might not have any wiggle room, especially as we leap forward and loose that valuable hour of sleep – do your best to start off Sunday March 12th – the actual day of the time change, as easy as you can. Try to establish a transition so if you normally get up at 8, maybe get up at what will then be 7:15 on Sunday and feed them around what would be the normal feeding time before we lost that precious hour.
Do this over the next few days and you will certainly reduce or eliminate any stress on your pet in the change in routine. Gradually adding tome of course. This will help them transition easier rather than than the shock of such a sudden change in routine.