Have you adjusted to daylight savings time yet? Losing an hour when we spring forward can affect people in different ways. Some hardly notice it, while others struggle to get their sleep and body rhythms back on track. But, what about our pets?

Pets are creatures of habit and tend to do best when operating on a consistent schedule. If you’ve noticed your pet acting a little off this week, it could be because they don’t understand why it’s darker when their humans get out of bed in the morning, or why their dinner time has seemingly been changed. These may seem like small changes, but to a pet they can at first be unnerving.

Pets, and dogs in particular, find comfort in knowing what to expect. When routines are in place and they have a sense of how their days will go, they feel less anxious. When schedules change and the patterns they’re used to are altered, it can trigger a level of stress in some pets. Try as we might, we just can’t explain to them why we moved the clock ahead an hour one Sunday morning.

It’s not just daylight savings that can cause pets to be off their game. Any change in schedule could be a culprit. For example, back-to-school time can be confusing. Pets don’t understand why all summer the house is filled with kids and then suddenly they disappear for a large chunk of the day. The holiday season can also be a doozy. The house is often filled with unfamiliar faces and the daily schedule is sacrificed amidst the hustle and bustle.

How can you help your pet?

Do your best to ease them into any changes in routine. When that’s not possible, cut them some slack. They may need a little extra patience if their sense of stability has faltered.