Be sure to help your four-legged friend adjust to Daylight Saving Time when you “Fall Back,” this weekend. Photo courtesy The Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

It’s hard enough for us humans, but what about your pets?

Yes, it only happens twice a year, but the switch to Daylight Saving Time in the spring and back to Daylight Standard Time in the fall can be confusing for pets.

The Rancho Coastal Humane Society reminds animal lovers that a little patience goes a long way in helping your pets adjust.

“The time change can be hard for pets,” RCHS spokesman John Van Zante said. “Animal shelters, veterinarians, and behaviorists get calls from people saying their dogs and cats don’t want to eat. Some pets seem to sleep all the time. Others are awake and doing ‘Zoomies’ at 3 in the morning.”

Pets usually adjust to the schedules of their owners. They get up when we get up and go to sleep when we go to bed. Pets love having a routine and they like being fed at about the same time every day. They understand when it gets light and dark and adjust their lives accordingly.

Van Zante said, “Just like humans, animals have internal clocks that tell them when to eat, sleep and wake up. But it might be different for pets because they rely on natural sunlight while humans are more likely to use artificial lighting.”

Animals that live with humans develop routines related to human activity. This might be dogs who are walked at the same time or cats who get fed at the same time every day.

“When humans switch to DST or back to Standard Time, we adjust our routines. Pets have no idea what’s happening. To us, it seems like the animals are behaving oddly. It’s us behaving oddly. And we can’t explain it to them,” he said.

When you “Fall Back” and set your clock back an hour this weekend, remember that your pets need a little paw-holding during the time change. If you can make a gradual change, that’s great. But, since that’s not possible for everyone, be patient and give your pets lots of reassurance that everything is OK.

Rancho Coastal Humane Society is located at 389 Requeza St., in Encinitas. For more information call 760-753-6413, log on to www.sdpets.org or visit the shelter Friday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Wednesday and Thursday by appointment.



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Ellen Bullock