Dr. Monica Sterk, DVM
It’s the talk of the month – the total solar eclipse of 2017 is on Monday, August 21st. Everyone is running out for eclipse glasses, throwing eclipse parties, and preparing to see the rare event.
In people, looking directly at the sun during the eclipse can lead to retinal damage, blurry vision, and potentially blindness. Avoiding looking directly at the sun during this time and wearing protective eyewear is something that we can actively do in order to protect ourselves.
But, what does this mean for our pets?
Luckily for our pets, they don’t watch the news and aren’t preparing for their own eclipse parties. What I mean is that they are not aware that this eclipse is happening and therefore are unlikely to watch it.
Since our pets don’t usually look up into the sun on a regular day, it is also comparatively unlikely for them to look up into the sun on this particular day.
According to other experts, the main animal effect of the eclipse will be on wild animals, who may think that the sun is setting and potentially confuse the eclipse with nighttime occurring in the middle of the day. Barn animals such as horses and cows may head back to the barn during the eclipse, as they naturally do in the evening.
If you are concerned about your pet during the eclipse, it is always better to be safe than sorry. The only way to truly assure that your pet will not look directly at the eclipse and potentially damage their eyes is by keeping them indoors during the hours of the eclipse. Check for approximate times of the eclipse being seen in your area and avoid taking your pets out during that time.
As always, don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian about your concerns. It’s better safe than sorry!