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How The Solar Eclipse Might Affect Pets


It’s been all over the news lately just how important it is for you to wear special glasses to watch the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st. Regular sunglasses, even if you wear two pairs, are nowhere near strong enough to allow you to look directly at the sun without risking your vision. And it’s important to find solar eclipse glasses that have been certified – ripoff eclipse viewers could steal your vision permanently.

But what about your dog? Surely their eyes must need to be protected, too, right?

Image source: Waifer X via flickr


Not necessarily.

At a NASA news conference discussing the eclipse, Angela Speck, director of astronomy at the University of Missouri, said:

“On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun, and therefore don’t damage their eyes. On this day they’re not going to do it, either.”

Dogs experience the same burning feeling we do when looking at the sun, so it’s unlikely they would ignore their instincts and stare at the sun. Still, it is theoretically possible that a dog might decide to look and see what everybody around them is looking and pointing at. Use your own discretion about whether or not you feel it’s necessary to protect your dog’s eyes from the eclipse.

Here’s a video on how to tell if your eclipse viewing glasses are certified to protect your eyes.

While dogs and cats may be confused by the eclipse, they are more likely to be spooked by the crowds gathered to marvel at it. If your dog is frightened by large crowds, it may be best to leave them at home.

Other animal species are more likely to be affected by eclipse. Many animals, such as birds, think that night has come and begin roosting. Some nocturnal animals such as mosquitoes will start to become active, so you may want to bring bug spray. Many animals will hide, fearing an impending storm.

Since total solar eclipses are rare, there hasn’t been much scientific research into how animals react. If you’re interested, the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) is encouraging people to record eclipse-related animal behavior using the iNaturalist app. To read more about what HAS been observed in animals during previous solar eclipses, you can check out this article and this news story.

(H/T: Mother Nature Network, WYFF  /Featured image: Waifer X via Flickr)

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Written by Jennifer Nelson

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