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Pet schedules also affected by end of day: animal care workers – National |

In recent autumns, when Jocelyn Rutgers tried to take advantage of the extra hour of sleep afforded by the end of the day, her cat would stick to its daily regimen and demand to be fed as usual.

“My cat in particular is extremely routine and likes to be fed at his preferred times,” said Rutgers, a registered veterinary technician based at the Ontario SPCA’s Midland Animal Centre.

“He tends to be quite loud and meow when he knows it’s breakfast or dinner time. Any change from that time and he tells me about it.

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While seasonal time changes have been linked to health complications such as headaches and heart problems in humans, Rutgers says many finicky pet owners may find them very unpleasant when the day ends in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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Indeed, like us, pets have natural circadian rhythms and internal biological clocks adapted to light and dark cycles. But their feeding, exercise and treatment schedules are also closely tied to their owners’ daily routines, she explained.

From the animals’ perspective, everything related to their routine will be delivered an hour later than usual when the clocks go back an hour, said Karen Van Haaften, a Toronto-based veterinary behaviorist.

“If you get up and walk your dog every day at 7 a.m., then that dog is behaviorally and physiologically ready to walk at 7 a.m. He’s going to be excited, his bladder is going to be full, he’s expecting to go out at 7. that time,” Van Haaften said.

“If you think you can sleep an hour later in the day, they might not have the same opinion.”

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Standard time moves back to 2 a.m. local time on Sundays for most provinces and territories, and lasts until March 10. Yukon and most of Saskatchewan keep their clocks the same all year round.

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This change means darkness will arrive earlier in the evening and daylight will begin earlier in the morning, prompting cities like Mississauga, Ontario to remind drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be vigilant on roads during and after reduced daylight hours.

Not all pets will notice the difference, but for those on strict schedules, Van Haaften recommends making small, incremental changes of 10 or 15 minutes in the week or days before the change to help them make a gradual transition.

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If you haven’t prepared in advance, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society recommend feeding your pet 30 minutes later than usual on the day of the time change. You can also ignore the time change and gradually change planned activities in 15-minute intervals in the days following the change.

It’s also helpful to pay attention to your own routine and circadian rhythm, Van Haaften added, because your pet will notice if you’re not feeling well.

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Rutgers, of the SPCA, said small animals like birds, amphibians and those that are nocturnal are not as strict with their routines as cats and dogs and may have an easier time making the transition.

She also recommended using the switch as an opportunity to verify that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and to update or create a pet-inclusive home emergency preparedness kit.

“A lot of people don’t think about getting one for their pets,” she said of packing an emergency bag in case of an evacuation or evacuation order. shelter in place.

The SPCA website says an emergency pet survival kit could hold three days’ worth of food and water, including bowls, medications, medical records and a pet first aid kit. company.

“For most cats, dogs and humans, the time change is not a big deal,” Rutgers said.

“The key is to have a routine and stick to it.”

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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