Caitlin UltimoHealth / Pet Safety & Injury Prevention

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Pet Safety Tips

The path of the total solar eclipse today starts in Oregon and goes through South Carolina, but the entire country will be able to experience this natural marvel to some degree. It’s the first total solar eclipse that’s been visible in the continental U.S. since Feb. 26, 1979, and it won’t be again until April 8, 2024. So, the excitement around Total Solar Eclipse 2017 is understandable. But, with that excitement also comes a bit of a concern—some schools are even excusing absences today, even though it’s the first day of classes for many. If you are out and about today, you know not to look directly into the sun. And if you are planning on viewing the total solar eclipse, you most likely purchased a special pair of solar eclipse glasses for yourself. Still, some are now wondering—if it is safe for pets to be outside unprotected during this natural phenomenon?

“Dogs and cats, just like us, are at risk for damaging their retinas if staring at the eclipse,” warns Dr. Alison Birken, owner and DVM of Victoria Park Animal Hospital who recommends that all pets stay safely indoors during the hours of the solar eclipse. And Dr. Stephanie Liff, DVM, medical director of Pure Paws Vet Care of Hell’s Kitchen and Clinton Hill points out, “In general, with strange phenomenons in terms of the weather and lunar cycles, we can see strange and anxious behavior increase in our pets.” While animals typically know not to stare directly into the sun, “I recommend putting pets inside for the total solar eclipse,” relays Dr. Liff. “I think it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

And if your pet tends to react to severe weather, like thunderstorms, consider using the same calming aids for dogs and cats you would typically use to ease any anxiety symptoms.