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Weather Wise: Animals and Daylight Savings Time

Weather Wise: Animals and Daylight Savings Time
Posted at 6:34 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 11:15:04-05

“It's time to get up. It's time to eat. What do you mean the time changed?” probably thought many pets this weekend for the ending of Daylight Savings Time.

It's only an hour, but animals are so in tune with their owners' schedules that the one-hour fall back can cause some confusion.

Just like humans, animals have internal clocks that tell them when to eat, sleep and wake. Their biological timekeeper, their circadian rhythm, is set in motion by natural sunlight.

Cows become accustomed to being milked at particular times of the day. If a rancher were to arrive an hour later to milk the cows, they will be waiting because their internal routine tells them they're late. Horses likely are lined up at the gate, anxiously waiting for hay and oats. Cats and dogs are accustomed to going for walks or being fed at a particular time of day.

To our animals, it is inexplicable that suddenly feeding time is an hour later come the first Sunday in November.

Veterinarians suggest gradually changing the animal's activities by a few minutes a day rather than the whole hour at once.

The “fall back” is also harder than springing forward, when some animals think it's their lucky day getting food an hour earlier.