The Solar Eclipse and Your Pet-
Should you be Concerned?
The total solar eclipse will occur on August 21 and travel across the entire United States. According to NASA, experiencing a total solar eclipse where you live happens about once in 375 years. The last time anyone in the United States witnessed a solar eclipse was almost 40 years ago, on February 26, 1979.
So, do you need to worry about your pets during this months' solar eclipse?
According to live science, animals will probably be fine, as they don't
usually look directly into the sun normally. "But it doesn't hurt to be
safe and protect cats, dogs and other pets during the eclipse"
(link). Eclipse watchers can remove their protective eyewear only when the sun
is completely hidden by the moon, but good luck explaining to your pets why they shouldn't look at the sun during the eclipse. Mike Reynolds, an astronomy professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida, said at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in April "...pet owners can't exactly ask their pets to follow these rules, it's best to outfit them with protective glasses" (link)
The sudden darkness may make your pets think it's time to have dinner and go to sleep. They may even be a bit disoriented, thinking the night is awfully short.
Gail White, a dog trainer said:"Well, I think that with anything that is unusual, timid or shy dogs are going to react," White said. "Dogs that don't pay attention anyway aren't going to notice much." (link)
Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director said," your pet may also think its night-time, and act accordingly.
During the last eclipse that I was involved in, my Labrador just slept through it."
So - his advice to all animal owners out there?
Dr. Moore said, "I think just continue your normal day and keep calm and carry on." (link)
The Challenger Learning Center opens its doors for a solar eclipse viewing party in Tallahassee on Monday, from 1-4 PM.
Want to participate in research? Record your and your pets' experiences during the
eclipse. There's an app for that!
An app called iNaturalist is available to record observations and submit them online to compile a database about animal behavior during the eclipse.
Bradfordville Animal Hospital, Alex Steverson, DVM
August 3, 2017