Our dogs wake up around 7am everyday, excited to have their morning walk. By 10:30am, they are already beside our dining table, waiting patiently for lunch to be cooked and served. After an afternoon nap, by 4pm they will be by the area in our house where we keep their leashes, they know it’s time for another walk. The same thing happens when it’s time for their dinner. So the question is, can our dogs tell time?

Dr. Jason Rabe, DVM, a Los Angeles-based vet with 17 years of experience practicing, told Popsugar in an interview that dogs are very social animals that can immediately understand their family’s routines quickly.

“There are probably multiple components to a dog seemingly knowing it is time to eat – their feeling of hunger, the routine of the owner, as well as their circadian rhythm,” he said.

“Dogs are also really in tune to their family group’s activity periods,” added Will Bruner, a pet behaviorist at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center in Colorado. “My dogs will sleep as long as I sleep, but as soon as I begin to wake or my breathing changes or I shift a little in the bed, they’re up. They will follow your family’s cues.”

Dr. Rabe explained that there were recent studies that dogs likely have internal mechanisms to explain time, including their senses to light, smells and routines.

“Like most animals, dogs also are heavily influenced by circadian rhythms, where the amount of daylight influences their daily routines such as their sleep-wake cycles,” he said.

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