Routines

Mar 18, 2017

Do not disturb - it's too early!
Credit Army Medicine [Flickr]

Pets (and many people) are happier when they have a regular routine.  Sometimes, though, things happen that disrupt or adjust our routines, and it may take a little time to adapt to the change.

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Many of us experience stress in our lives, whether it’s related to our work or school or family or other issues. Our pets can also experience stress. One thing that can upset our animal companions is a change in routine.

Pets like routines. Consistency reduces confusion and helps them to know what to expect and even anticipate. So the recent switch to Daylight Savings Time can be difficult for them to understand. You wouldn’t think a one-hour change would matter to an animal, but because it changes our routine, it ends up changing theirs.

I have a friend who keeps her dogs confined at night. She calls them in, feeds them and closes the gate. But last Sunday night when she called, they didn’t come. To them, it was too early. They couldn’t look at the clock and see that we humans had made the decision to adjust the timing of our routines. Eventually they came, puzzled as to why they were being fed and confined so early. Over the week they have adjusted, but it took a few days, and it’s still a work in progress.

Routines are reassuring for pets. They like order in their world. They become accustomed to being fed at certain times, being groomed, play time, even sleeping on a set schedule. When their routine gets disrupted for any reason, it may take a little while to adapt – like it does us, and supposedly we understand it. I’m still trying to adjust to the change to daylight savings time. It’s nice to have some extra daylight in the evening, but not so easy to get up while it’s still dark outside. So until your four-legged buddy becomes accustomed to the new time schedule, be patient and know that your pet will eventually catch up, along with us.

Whether it’s daylight savings time, or a vacation trip, or a new job, or something else that requires a change in your schedule, remember that may have an impact on your furry friend. A little extra attention and affection might be just the thing to ease the stress – for both of you – when you’re speaking of pets.

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