Solar Eclipse – Is your pup safe?

Err on Safety

Got your total solar eclipse-viewing plans all worked out for Aug. 21?

Awesome! But, wait — one thing. Is the solar eclipse safe for pets? The answer, it turns out, is a little complicated; some experts think that your pet will be fine outside while the eclipse is occurring, while others prefer to err on the side of caution. Regardless as to which decision you make, though, it’s worth considering the fact that there is a little bit of danger involved in letting your pet runaround outside during a solar eclipse — mostly because you can’t always control where your pet looks, or when.

The danger for pets is pretty much the same as it is for humans: Looking at the sun during an eclipse without adequate eye protection can result in some pretty gnarly damage to your peepers. Trouble is, while humans are capable of understanding this (hopefully) and taking proper precautions (hopefully), pets, uh… aren’t. Because they’re pets.

Live Science pointed to a statement made by Mike Reynolds, an astronomy professor at Florida State College, at the Northeast Astronomy Forum earlier this year: “Safe solar viewing is always a must, no matter who it is.” This includes dogs, cats, and other furred, feathered, four-legged, and scaled friends; indeed, Reynolds made this statement while showing a picture of his dog wearing a pair of solar eclipse glasses.

It’s worth noting that it’s actually probably pretty unlikely that your pets will suddenly decide to turn their gaze skyward at the precise moment the eclipse is capable of doing its worst. As Angela Speck, director of astronomy and professor of astrophysics at the University of Missouri, said in a press conference for NASA (via People), “On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun, and therefore don’t damage their eyes. And on this day, they’re not going to do it either.”

Fun fact, though: If you’re in the path of totality, you might observe some hilarious behavior from other kinds of animals when the sky gets dark. It’s going to look kind of like dusk, so farm animals like cattle and chickens might think that it’s time to head to the barn of the coop; bugs and frogs might start making those irritating noises they make during the summer at night; and birds might make begin chirping their, “Well, I’m off the bed!” chirps.

Err on the safe side and keep your animals in!


-Special Thanks to NASA and Live Science



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