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Posted on 08-14-2017

Pets and the Eclipse

by Dr. Christa Young, DVM - Veternarian, Bellalago Veterinary Hospital

Many people are excited to view the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 coming up on August 21st.  What about our pets?  Well, I don't think they share the same excitement, but how will the eclipse affect our pets and animals?

Solar EclipseNASA and the veterinary sciences do not have fast and hard studies to say exactly how animals and pets are affected during a solar eclipse, but it is safe to assume that an animal staring directly at the eclipse can suffer the same eye damage as a human doing so.  Typically pets and wildlife do not stare at the sun, but the unusual and unexpected mid-day darkening may be a bit confusing for them.  While it may appear cute, trying to place and keep in place the special viewing glasses will be rather difficult.  It may also create a false sense of security as the glasses are designed for human use and not for the use on pets, creating areas where the pet’s eyes are not protected.  As the eclipse only lasts for a few minutes, it is best to just keep your dog or cat indoors during the eclipse to avoid any accidental eye injury from the pet looking at the sun. 

More likely than eye injury are changes in normal behaviors of your pets and wildlife due to their internal clocks thinking the eclipse is the start of the evening.  Farm animals may start to settle in for the night or head back towards the barns, frogs may start to chirp early, birds may start to nest early, dogs and cats may start to settle in for the "night."  Of course, animals may become confused due to the early “night” starting and then reversing itself right away.  Any abnormal behaviors caused by the eclipse should disappear within hours or a day or two.  Again, keeping an animal indoors during the eclipse is the easiest way to prevent confusion.

Unfortunately, there are not any studies available to tell us exactly what could happen.  We’re a bit in the dark, no pun intended!  Keeping your pet indoors for the eclipse is probably both the best and safest way of handling your pet during the event. 

Should your pet need veterinary assistance before, during, or after the eclipse, please give us a call or come on in.  

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