O C F I T B L O G Business Opportunity Will the total solar eclipse hurt my dog’s eyes? What to know about pet safety in the path of totality

Will the total solar eclipse hurt my dog’s eyes? What to know about pet safety in the path of totality

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Bonnie Tyler immortalized metaphorical total eclipses of the heart in her 1983 hit song, but this rare natural phenomenon will take place in real life in just a few weeks. The moon will temporarily block the sun, causing a dip in temperature and darkness in the middle of the afternoon. April 8, 2024, is the big day in North America, according to NASA.

It is natural to want to prepare oneself for the event, but don’t forget to factor in your dogs, cats, and other pets, too.

The impact of April’s total solar eclipse depends on your location. Parts of Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine all fall into the “path of totality.” This means that the moon will completely cover the sun. Those not on the path will still experience a partial eclipse. Although Tyler never sang about that, a partial eclipse can still damage your eyes if you view it without proper protection. But what about animals? Read on.

Animals behave in mysterious ways

Because an eclipse of any kind doesn’t happen every day, there is not a ton of scientific research on how this will impact animals, although there have been many reports of animals acting strangely. As CNN reported last week, researchers plan to take advantage of the April eclipse to observe how animals behave at the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas and collect more data.

Erica Cartmill, an animal behavior professor at Indiana University, told People magazine that she believed some pets may react by either starting their night routines early or getting anxious because of the shift from the norm. She recommends cuddles and having their favorite toys or items around to help calm them.

Many people are traveling to the path of totality to get the full effect of the eclipse. The last total solar eclipse visible in the United States occurred on August 17, 2017, and 1.6 million people made the trip to South Carolina alone just to celebrate it.

Pet owners who live in the 2024 path are urged to plan ahead and stock up on all the supplies they need for their furry, feathered, and scaled friends ahead of time. In Texas, for example, Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly issued a disaster declaration on March 4 because he fears the area will be overrun by visitors. The county has a population of 53,000 and traveling eclipse enthusiasts could triple that number. He made sure to urge pet owners to be “stocked up on provisions for any animals in your care over the duration of eclipse weekend.”

Those bringing their dogs or other pets to eclipse viewing parties should exercise caution. If you know your animal is timid or aggressive, a crowded public place may not be the best venue for them. Consider leaving them home.

Okay, but will my dog stare into the eclipse?

Experts such as Dr. Jerry Klein, the chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club, generally agree that animals know instinctively not to look at the sun, so special glasses are not necessary. “They know enough not to,” he explained back in 2017. “That’s why they’re smarter than people.”

However, if you look at the sun in your protective eyewear and notice that your pet is copying you, simply redirect their interest. One other thing to note: The totality of this year’s total eclipse is between only two and four minutes, depending on where United States you’ll be viewing it.

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