I have gotten a lot of inquiries from clients about the solar eclipse as it generally relates to the safety of their pets (dogs and cats), so I deemed it a worthy topic to share among my blog readership to provide clarification of the risks. While there is no real data or anecdotal evidence to examine to provide information (the last solar eclipse visible from the US was in 1979 and the last one one to be visible as it stretched from coast to coast was in 1916), it is unlikely that the eclipse will have the potential for any more harm to dogs and cats than a typical sunny day would.
Dogs and cats generally have an aversion to bright light emitted by the sun as they peer more directly toward it. The discomfort it causes them as they squint is sufficient to override any curiosity they may have to look directly into the sun. They will not be cognoscente that an amazing astronomical event is about to take place and will likely be no more inclined to stare at the sun than they normally would.
On the other hand, you never know. Pets are known on occasion to do things that we simply would simply not expect them to do. Thus, it may be wise to keep your pets in doors during the peak times of the solar eclipse in your geographic area as you might do for a weather related event or during fireworks. Confinement would not just prevent the unlikely possibility of a pet staring into the sun, but may help weather sensitive pets to cope with any psychological effects from the solar eclipse that may induce stress, fear or panic.
The light will be significantly lessened in a faster manner than the gradual, natural approach of night time, and the temperature will subsequently more suddenly drop. While I cannot tell you with any degree of accuracy whether or not a weather sensitive pet may be affected by the solar eclipse, it is reasonable to assume that there could be some effect and if there was, being outside in public may not be the best situation for such a pet.
Overall, I have far greater concern for children than I do pets with the upcoming eclipse. I bid you all a happy and safe solar eclipse with your whole family enjoying it with the proper safety precautions in place.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality throughout a number of subjects and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.