How does the solar eclipse affect animals? Vets share their ideas and advice on pet safety

With around 180 million people living in or near the Solar eclipse of 2024 On the path to totality, many pet owners are wondering what impact the eclipse might have on pet behavior and how their pets might react.

Vets said they have answered questions from some worried pet owners about the impact of the eclipse on animals. Ultimately, there is no clear answer for pet owners because eclipses occur very rarely. The researchers planned to observe the animals’ reactions during the eclipse of April 8 has learn more about how it affects animals.

“There isn’t a lot of scientific research done on the subject of animals and eclipses, mainly because they don’t occur often,” said American Kennel Club Chief Veterinarian Dr. Jerry Klein. “And a lot of it is anecdotal reports and volunteer information.”

How does a solar eclipse affect animals?

Although there isn’t much information available, veterinarians and animal researchers have an idea of ​​the impact the eclipse could have on dogs, cats and more.

“Most animals will be largely unaffected by the eclipse, but pet owners may notice brief periods of confusion, and dogs and cats may show fear and confusion,” said Dr. Katie Krebs, veterinarian and professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. .

Pets may hide, howl, pace or pant during the eclipse, Krebs said. As the sky darkens, some animals may begin their nighttime routine earlier.

The average indoor dog or cat likely won’t be affected by the eclipse, said Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, a veterinary expert with the pet care company Rover.

“So homeowners should be reassured and reassured to know that,” Greenstein said.

Why do solar eclipses affect animals?

It’s not so much the eclipse that affects pets, but people’s behavior, Klein said.

“They will take inspiration from us,” Klein said. “So if they’re kept inside and we’re not trying to force them into a particular situation, there should be little to no reaction.”

Many people gather during eclipse parties and these large gatherings can impact pets if they are brought along, Klein said. Travel, noise and crowds can be stressful for animals.

Some animals that rely more on the light-dark cycle, like birds, may be more affected because the sky darkens during the eclipse, Krebs said.

“Things like fireworks and thunderstorms are probably a much bigger phenomenon than an eclipse that only lasts a few minutes,” Greenstein said.

Can animals watch the eclipse without going blind?

Animals generally know not to look at the sun themselves: they have learned that it can blind them temporarily, making them vulnerable.

“Dogs know that if something hurts them, they probably shouldn’t do it,” Klein said. “So left to their own devices, dogs probably won’t look at the sun.”

Pets may look up if they see that people around them are preoccupied with the sky, veterinarians said.

“Dogs follow your cues, so if you’re concerned about looking up, your dog is watching your cues to understand how to behave,” Greenstein said. “Maybe this is the time to not take them, or if so, reassure them with their favorite toy or treat and just keep them preoccupied with what’s happening at ground level.”

A dog wears eclipse glasses in New York as people gather to view the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse.

Fatih Aktas/Anadolu via Getty Images

Pet owners don’t need special eclipse glasses for their dog or cat, Krebs said.

If you have a pair of eclipse glasses nearby, be careful not to leave them unattended with your pet, who could chew or eat them, Klein said. Eclipse glasses those with scratches or punctures should not be used.

Should you keep your pets indoors or outdoors during the solar eclipse?

Vets agree that it’s probably best to keep pets indoors during the eclipse, especially if they’re stressed by crowds or events like storms or fireworks.

“If possible, keep them indoors in a comfortable environment where they will feel safer, because that feeling is probably the most important thing,” Klein said.

Owners planning to attend eclipse events should respect their pet’s boundaries.

“Not all pets do well with large crowds or having you distracted by other things, so leaving them at home or calling a trusted pet sitter is probably the best solution,” said Greenstein.

At home, owners can try to distract their pet with their favorite toy, veterinarians say. Pets who are often anxious may benefit from anti-anxiety medication during the eclipse, but owners should check with their veterinarian for details before giving their dog or cat medication, Krebs said.

“If you plan to stay home during the eclipse, your pet may be looking for extra attention or comfort, so providing extra comfort and reassurance can help,” Krebs said.

More Pet Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

If you’ve decided to take your dog to an eclipse event, it’s important to make sure he has a microchip with current information in case he gets stressed and runs away, Klein said. During your stay, make sure they are well controlled on a leash.

“Overall, we don’t think this poses a major danger, but pet owners should certainly use their best judgment,” Greenstein said.


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