Can the solar eclipse hurt my dog or cat?
The Great American Eclipse unfurls across our country this Monday, and those in its path of totality (from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina) will get to observe one of the greatest, rarest sights in our world- a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes. Those of us outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.
Everyone is talking about how to watch the solar eclipse safely (normal sunglasses won’t protect your eyes!), and of course pet parents wonder if the solar eclipse will hurt their dogs’ or cats’ eyes as well.
Short answer: Yes, but…
Yes, the solar eclipse can hurt your dog or cat if you let them stare into the sun. According to LiveScience.com, “As the moon’s shadow begins to block the sun’s light, parts of the sun’s fiery disk will continue to be visible, and can literally burn any eyes — human or otherwise — directed at it. This condition, commonly known as eclipse blindness, happens when the sun’s powerful rays burn sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina. ” Read that well- in order for the solar eclipse to hurt your pet, they’d have to stare directly into the sun. Animals don’t do this of their own will, so if they are acting like themselves they will not stare for prolonged periods of time.
Your best bet is to keep your pets indoors during the solar eclipse
However, you will want to keep your dog or cat indoors during certain aspects of the total eclipse (and we’d say partial eclipse as well). Animals will easily be able to sense the change that occurs during a total eclipse, where almost all of the sun will be obscured and the temperature drops. You also want to account for the crowds of people scaring your pets, or people celebrating with fireworks during the day. Make sure to keep their collars on.
How to safely watch the solar eclipse
So you want to watch the solar eclipse while your dog and cat are safely tucked away at home, sleeping in their favorite spot? Use these tool to watch the solar eclipse:
- Solar eclipse glasses (make sure you buy from a legitimate source)
- An indirect viewer, such as a pinhole camera (make your own pinhole camera with NASA’s guidelines)
- An eclipse-safe filter
Don’t use these:
- Your unprotected eyes
- Smoked glass
- Camera film
- A mirror
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see the full eclipse in Miami, but we will be able to see a partial eclipse. You can track the total solar eclipse’s path via NASA’s interactive map. Enjoy, and remember to be safe!