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It happens every fall, like clockwork, you could say — and you’d be right. On that first Sunday after daylight saving time ends (Nov. 4 this year, if you haven’t made note), we set the clocks back and look forward to enjoying a longer night's rest. An extra hour of sleep is such a wonderful thing, especially on a cold morning — except that sometimes, not everyone in your house understands that this is a time to sleep in.
Unfortunately, your dog isn’t as easy to set as the clocks. Wait an hour for breakfast? Not in his world! It's time to get up!
Most dogs will adjust to the time change within a few days, but others will continue to demand that you get up and at 'em at the old time for weeks without realizing — or caring — that for you, there’s still another hour to go before the day starts. And some dogs are just early risers by nature, regardless of where we are in the daylight saving calendar. Can you adjust your dog's internal clock? You probably can, and here’s some help.
If your dog is a puppy, you’ll need to listen to him when he asks to go out, no matter what the time. That’s because puppies don’t have the ability to “hold it” the way a healthy adult dog can. When you’re house-training a puppy, you must give him every opportunity to do what you are asking of him. That means if he needs to go out in the middle of the night and again at 4 a.m., out you both go. Don’t be a grump: Your pup is doing what you want him to do, so be full of praise for him when he does.
Likewise, you’ll need to cut an older pet some slack. Those of you out there with AARP cards know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, as we get older, sleeping through the night without a potty break becomes the Impossible Dream. The same can apply to older pets, although your veterinarian can help with some chronic problems that cause urine leaking, so please discuss these issues with your pet's doctor.
And finally, realize that any sudden change in drinking or urination may be a symptom of disease in a pet of any age. If your pet's demands to go out are not obviously related to a time change, talk to your veterinarian right away.
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