Tips & Tricks

5 Tips to Help Your Dog Adjust to Daylight Savings Time

happy dog with sunglasses floating ring

Sunshine, warmer days, and… a dog staring expectantly at you at 5 am? Spring might be here, but Daylight Saving Time can mess with more than just your sleep schedule. Our furry friends rely on routine, and that sudden time shift can leave them confused and cranky (just like us, sometimes!).

No worries! This guide is here to help you and your pup navigate the time change with ease. We’ve got tips and tricks to get your dog’s routine back on track so you can both enjoy the beauty of spring (and maybe even sleep in a little!).

Does My Dog Know It’s Daylight Savings?

The short answer is – not really. Dogs aren’t checking their watches or syncing their calendars with the DST switch. They don’t inherently understand the concept of “springing forward.”

However, dogs are creatures of habit and are highly attuned to their daily routines. They know when it’s time for breakfast, walkies, playtime and bedtime based on the patterns you’ve established. So when daylight savings hits, and suddenly the sun is up earlier, and you’re shuffling around at a different time, they notice the change in schedule.

old person with their beagles dog

Interestingly, dogs also aren’t necessarily “diurnal” (active during the daytime and sleeping at night) the way humans are. Their natural sleep patterns actually involve taking many naps throughout the 24-hour cycle. But since they live with us and adapt to our routines, most pet dogs do end up syncing with our schedules and sleeping more at night.

smiley woman petting dog high angle

Why Is My Dog Waking Up So Early Now?

There are two main reasons your pup might be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at an ungodly morning hour:

  1. Habit & internal clock: Dogs learn our routines and habits. If your dog is used to waking up and eating at 7am (in the “old time”) that internal alarm clock is still going off even though the clock says 6am now. Their body rythmns will take a bit of time to adjust.
  2. Sunlight: Increasing morning light with the time change can prompt your pup to wake up. If you’re not ready to rise with the sun, consider investing in some blackout curtains for your bedroom. Then everyone, two-legged and four-legged, can snooze until the alarm goes off.
closeup labrador couch with christmas decor

So, how can you help your dog adapt to the daylight savings transition? Here are some tips to make the change as smooth as possible:

1. Gradually Adjust Feeding & Walking Schedules

Don’t expect your dog to magically adjust to the new time overnight. Instead, gradually shift meal times and walks by 10-15 minutes each day during the week leading up to daylight savings. This will help their internal clocks slowly adapt.

If the time has already changed, you can still use this method, just stretch the adjustments over a few days or a week post-switch. Slow and steady shifts will be easier than a hard reset.

smiling woman walking dog at park

2. Maintain Consistent Bedtime Routines

Even though the clock says 8 pm and you’re not feeling sleepy yet, aim to keep bedtime at the usual time those first few days after the switch. Tuck in your pup when you normally would, even if they give you that adorable confused head tilt that says “but it’s still light out!”

Stick to your usual evening wind-down routine – maybe it’s a final potty break, then teeth brushing (yours and theirs), and some cuddles before lights out. The more consistent the bedtime routine stays, the quicker their body will adjust to the new schedule.

dog sleeping bed with book

3. Use Puzzle Toys & Interactive Play

If your furry friend is restless or waking up earlier than usual due to the time change, it can be challenging for both of you to get enough rest. One effective way to help them burn off that extra energy and keep them engaged is by providing puzzle toys and interactive play options, especially in the evening or early morning.

Interactive Puzzle Toys are a fantastic tool for mentally stimulating your dog and slowing down their eating pace. These toys come in various shapes and sizes, from simple ball dispensers to more complex designs with hidden compartments. You can fill them with your dog’s favorite treats or kibble, encouraging them to work for their food. This not only keeps them occupied but also satisfies their natural foraging instincts.

Long-lasting chews, such as bully sticks, deer antlers, or rubber chew toys, are another excellent option for keeping your dog busy. These durable chews can keep them engaged for extended periods, providing a satisfying outlet for their chewing needs. Just be sure to choose an appropriate size and hardness for your dog’s breed and chewing habits to ensure safety.

close up beautiful dachshund dog with chewing toys

Snuffle mats and lick mats are two more interactive feeding options that can help redirect your dog’s attention and energy. Snuffle mats are made of soft, fluffy materials with hidden pockets or layers where you can hide treats or kibble. Your dog will use their keen sense of smell to search for the goodies, providing mental stimulation and satisfying their natural scenting instincts. Lick mats, on the other hand, have textured surfaces that you can spread with soft foods like peanut butter, yogurt, or pureed fruits and veggies. The repetitive licking action can be soothing and calming for dogs, making it a great option for early mornings or evenings when you want to encourage relaxation.

Stuffed Kongs are another classic choice for keeping your dog engaged and content. These durable rubber toys have a hollow center that you can fill with a variety of tasty and long-lasting treats, such as canned dog food, cream cheese, or frozen broth. As your dog works to lick and chew out every last morsel, they’ll be mentally and physically stimulated, helping to tire them out and promote better sleep.

With these fun activities, you can help your dog burn off extra energy, keep their minds occupied, and establish a more consistent sleep routine. This will lead to a smoother transition for both of you and ensure your pup is happier and more relaxed!

dog kong toy

4. Provide Extra Exercise & Enrichment

With longer days and warmer weather, your pup may have more energy and need some additional exercise after being cooped up over the winter. Now is a great time to extend those walks a bit or spend more time playing outdoors. A tired dog is a good sleeper, after all!

This is especially important for senior dogs who may get stiff or sore in cold weather – the return of warmer temps may mean they feel ready to be more active and need extra exercise to stay comfortable and limber.

running dog frisbee malinois

5. Consider Supplements & Sleep Aids

If your dog is really struggling with the time change, check with your vet about over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. Melatonin is a common supplement that can help regulate sleep-wake cycles for both humans and pets.

Your vet can advise on proper dosage for your dog’s size. Never give human sleep medications, which can be very dangerous for pets.

You can also try calming pheromone sprays or diffusers in the bedroom. Dog-appeasing pheromones mimic the calming scent of a nursing mother dog and can help with mild anxiety and restlessness.

close up cute dog vet check up

Final Words

Daylight savings can be a tricky time for dog owners as everyone gets used to the new schedule. But with some preparation, patience and a good plan, you can help your dog adjust quickly to ensure you both enjoy the longer spring days together.

The Loobani Pet Blog is all about helping pet parents enhance their pups’ health. To learn more about our top-notch dog puzzle toys, visit Our clever designs make snack time fun and enriching, giving dogs the mental and physical exercise they need. We strive to provide plenty of enrichment for our furry friends so they can enjoy their healthiest, happiest lives.


About Zelda D.Nelson

As a lifelong dog lover and proud mom to two energetic rescue pups, I know firsthand how important puzzle toys are for providing dogs with much-needed mental and physical stimulation. After over a decade of experience raising well-adjusted, happy dogs, I joined the Loobani Pet team to help other pet parents discover the joy and benefits of dog puzzles. Through my work at Loobani Pet, I've become an expert on the ins and outs of various interactive dog toys. My goal is to simplify the selection process so you can easily pinpoint the perfect puzzles to match your pup's needs and lifestyle. Whether you need a toy to challenge your brainy breed, keep your power chewer occupied, or simply provide some rainy day fun, I've got you covered.