How will cats, dogs and other animals react?

How Do Cats, Dogs, and Other Animals React? Unveiling Their Responses to Various Stimuli

In Columbus, Ohio, as the total solar eclipse on April 8 approaches, pet owners are curious about how this rare event might affect their furry friends and what precautions they should take for their safety.

M. Leanne Lilly, a veterinary behaviorist at Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center, explains that pets are more likely to react to their owners’ behavior changes—such as anxiety or excitement—than the eclipse itself.

Lilly points out that pets, particularly cats and dogs, are generally smarter in this aspect and don’t usually look directly at the sun. The concern is more about the environment changing around them, like neighbors hosting eclipse parties or more people moving in and out of houses, which could be unusual for pets.

She advises pet owners to be cautious when opening doors or gates during the eclipse to prevent pets from escaping. The unexpected shift to darkness during the day might confuse some animals, making them think it’s nighttime and start their evening routines or seek comfort.

However, Lilly reassures that if pets decide to nap or display bedtime behaviors during the eclipse, it’s perfectly normal and not something to worry about.

For pets that are used to being alone, staying unattended during the eclipse shouldn’t be a problem. But for those with separation anxiety, the event might cause additional stress or confusion.

Regarding the concern of pets staring at the sun and harming their eyes during the eclipse, Lilly believes it’s unlikely unless the pet has a habit of looking at the sun. She humorously mentions that there’s no need for pet eyewear unless you’re planning to make your pet stare at the sun, which she advises against.

Maybeck Animal Hospital in Florida suggests erring on the side of caution by keeping pets indoors during the peak times of the eclipse, similar to precautions taken during severe weather or fireworks.

The hospital notes that pets might act unexpectedly during the eclipse, so it’s safer to keep them inside during this time.

Additionally, the eclipse might cause nocturnal wildlife like raccoons, foxes, and opossums to appear, thinking it’s dusk or dawn, which is something residents in rural areas might want to consider.

This unique celestial event brings a mix of excitement and caution, not just for humans but for their pets as well. Being mindful of our furry companions’ needs and reactions can help ensure they stay safe and comfortable during the solar eclipse.