Are Eclipses Dangerous to Dogs?

Share with fellow dog lovers!

Eclipses, both solar and lunar, are celestial events that capture the human imagination and have been observed with awe and wonder throughout history. While humans are aware of the precautions needed to safely enjoy an eclipse, dog lovers might wonder about the effects of these astronomical events on their pets. Specifically, is there a danger to your dog’s vision, and can eclipses cause behavioral changes in dogs?

This is a subject we’ve been particularly interested in since we’ll be in the path of totality next month for the 2024 solar eclipse. We want to be sure to keep Barli and Isla safe and comfortable while we enjoy this unique phenomenon.

The Impact on Your Dog’s Vision

Let’s tackle the most pressing concern first: vision safety. The primary concern during a solar eclipse is the potential damage to the eyes from looking directly at the sun without proper protection. This is because the intense sunlight can burn the retina, leading to permanent damage or even blindness—a condition known as solar retinopathy.

For humans, the risk is significant because we understand the event and are likely to look up, drawn by curiosity.

Dogs, however, do not have the same inclination to stare directly at the sun under normal circumstances or during an eclipse. Their instincts do not drive them to look up and gaze at the sun, making the risk of retinal damage from an eclipse exceedingly low for them.

However, this doesn’t mean precautions shouldn’t be taken.

If you’re planning to watch an eclipse and want your dog to be with you, it’s wise to be cautious. Dogs can be influenced by their owners’ actions, and if they see you looking up, they might be tempted to mimic you. Although this behavior is unlikely, it’s a scenario worth avoiding. Keeping your dog indoors or, if outside, distracted. This is a great time to let your dog enjoy a treat scatter. Get a big handful of treats or even kibble, toss it wide across the grass and let your dog enjoy a little “Easter egg hunt” while you check out the eclipse.

Behavioral Changes During Eclipses

If you enjoy coloring, don’t miss our new Eclipse Coloring Book!

While the physical risk to dogs during an eclipse is minimal, the event can still impact them in other ways, particularly their behavior.

Dogs are highly sensitive to environmental changes, and an eclipse can create a sudden shift in daylight, temperature, and even barometric pressure—all of which can affect your dog.

Many dog lovers report unusual behavior in their pets during eclipses. Some dogs become anxious or agitated, while others may become confused or exhibit fear responses. These reactions are likely due to the abrupt change in light and possibly the excitement or nervous energy of the people around them.

Dogs have an acute sense of routine, and an eclipse can disrupt the day’s natural rhythm. The sudden darkness can confuse them, making them think it’s time to sleep when it’s actually the middle of the day.

Additionally, if an eclipse viewing party is particularly loud or if the dog is in an unfamiliar environment with a crowd, the noise and unfamiliarity can contribute to stress and anxiety.

How to Support Your Dog During an Eclipse

Maintain Routine: Try to keep your dog’s daily routine as normal as possible. Familiar activities can help reduce stress and keep them calm.

Create a Safe Space: If you know your dog is easily stressed by changes in the environment, create a comfortable and safe space indoors where they can relax away from the excitement.

Stay Calm: Dogs are very attuned to their owners’ emotions. If you remain calm and collected, it can help reassure your dog.

Avoid Crowds: If possible, avoid taking your dog to crowded viewing areas. The noise and unfamiliar faces can add to their stress.

Monitor Your Dog: Keep a close eye on your dog during the eclipse. Look for signs of stress or anxiety, such as panting, pacing, or whining, and be ready to comfort them.

Consult Your Vet: If your dog is particularly prone to anxiety, consult your veterinarian before the event. They may recommend ways to help keep your dog calm, including the use of anxiety vests like Thundershirts or calming supplements.

While eclipses pose minimal physical risk to dogs, they can impact their behavior. By understanding how these celestial events might affect your furry friend and taking steps to mitigate stress, you can ensure both you and your dog enjoy the spectacle safely and comfortably.

Paris Permenter is the award-winning co-author, with John Bigley, of over 30 pet and travel books including The Healthy Hound Cookbook and Texas with Dogs, both available through Simon and Schuster. Paris is also a member of the Dog Writers Association of America. Latest posts by Paris Permenter (see all)

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Hot Deals & Shop
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart