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Solar eclipse preparation: How your pet and other animals are expected to react

Dogs wearing sunglasses sit on a street in

Dogs wearing sunglasses sit on a street in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, June 10, 2012. Photo Credit: AP / Itsuo Inouye

Millions of people across the country are preparing for the “Great American Eclipse” on Aug. 21, 2017, by purchasing proper eyewear to prevent potential retinal damage, but some are worried what effect the solar phenomenon will have on animals.

For centuries, biologists has recorded unusual reactions from animals during the solar eclipse, National Geographic reports.

They note one occurrence in particular in Poland on Aug. 21,1560, in which astronomer Christoph Clavius recorded that during a total eclipse,“stars appeared in the sky and (marvelous to behold) the birds fell down from the sky to the ground in terror of such horrid darkness.”

Modern astronomers and eclipse experts have also reported that wild animals, such as cows and giraffes, have unusual reactions: Cows have returned to their barn, giraffes have scattered frantically in the darkness, whales breach in the sea, and orb-weaving spiders have destroyed their webs.

Although wild animals have displayed unusual reactions, it’s unlikely that household pets will exhibit odd behavior.

As far as safety is concerned, pet owners questioning whether or not their cats and dogs would need protective glasses can rest easy. Dogs and cats will most likely notice no change and it goes against their natural instincts to stare directly at the sun, according to the experts at Petmd.com.

The eclipse shouldn’t have much of an effect on pets or their behavior, according to Edward Guinan, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Villanova University, who said the only thing that might startle your furry friend would be your excitement over the event.  

If you still want to put your pet in the glasses, there’s no harm in doing so. Pets can keep their eyes safe on their own during the solar phenomenon, but the glasses could make for a fun photo opportunity.

For those still concerned, Guinan suggests an extra precaution could be keeping pets indoors 30 minutes before and after the eclipse.

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