Solar Eclipse Pet Safety

Happy Solar Eclipse day! In case you didn’t hear, a total solar eclipse is taking place today, April 8, at around 3:30pm in our neck of the woods here in Maine. While this natural phenomenon is certainly something us humans don’t want to miss, many pet parents are wondering about the safety risks to animals during this time. We’re here to help you work through some solar eclipse pet safety concerns you may have around this captivating event!

Protecting your pet’s eyes.

The most common concern around the solar eclipse is whether or not it poses a risk to our pet’s eyes. According to veterinary ophthalmologists, however, animals are unlikely to naturally stare up at the sun and therefore should not be affected at all. Unlike us humans who want to get a better look at the phenomenon (while wearing safety glasses!), our pets are unaware that such an event is happening and therefore will not be interested in staring at the sun. It’s just not in their nature!

Unusual behavior.

Another common concern regarding the eclipse is whether or not our pets will act differently during the event. According to the peer-reviewed, open-access journal Animals, written by zoologists and veterinarian scientists, some pets may exhibit small behavior changes during an eclipse due to their circadian rhythms. When the moon covers the sun, it starts to get darker and cooler as the sunlight gets blocked. Since the eclipse is happening during the normal daylight hours, this might disrupt your pet’s sense of time and could cause confusion.

As such, it’s important to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for your pet during the eclipse just in case they are more sensitive. The eclipse is estimated to last for about 2.5 hours, but totality will only last for about 4 minutes. This means the moment when the moon is entirely blocking the sun will be less than the time is takes to get a cup of coffee down the street!

Prioritizing your pet.

Perhaps the biggest but less obvious threat to your pet during the eclipse will be the excitement from us humans. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us and, therefore, crowds of people traveling to observe the phenomenon poses a unique kind of danger to animals. If you want to go out or travel to observe the eclipse, consider leaving your pet at home or with a caretaker.

Even if the eclipse itself poses no danger, crowded areas with lots of noise, people, sights, and sounds can be scary for your pet. Statistics show that more pets go missing during holidays and major events than any other time. When thinking of how you want to celebrate, make sure you prioritize your pet!

We hope you can enjoy this amazing event with safety in mind and that you and your pet are prepared. If you plan on viewing the solar eclipse, please remember to wear appropriate eye protection and to leave your pets at home. Happy Eclipse Day!