Humans across the United States are preparing for Monday’s solar eclipse, stocking up on special glasses and in some cases traveling hundreds of miles to see the sun totally obscured by the moon – a natural phenomenon that hasn’t been glimpsed by Americans in almost 40 years. But how should we prepare our pets, especially ones that freak out during a common thunderstorm let alone a once in a generation astrological event?
Solar eclipse basics for Broward County
While parts of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total solar eclipse, people in South Florida will see a partial solar eclipse with roughly 80 percent of the sun covered. (It will still be fairly bright outside.) The eclipse will last from about 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator at Florida Atlantic University told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the eclipse will peak locally around 3 p.m. when the sun will be the most obscured. However, with a chance of storms forecast for Broward County, the weather could affect how prominent the eclipse will be. Experts urge people not to look directly at the eclipse or to wear special glasses.
Should I worry about my pet looking at the eclipse?
Quick answer: probably not. While some people have been blinded by looking directly into the sun during an eclipse most animals typically behave as if it were nighttime and don’t give the sky any extra attention.
“On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun, and therefore don’t damage their eyes. And on this day, they’re not going to do it, either,” Angela Speck, director of astronomy and a professor of astrophysics at the University of Missouri, told reporters recently at a NASA news conference.
Can I get my pet some snazzy eclipse glasses?
Well, anything’s possible. But a quick search of Amazon for “pet eclipse glasses” comes up empty. And Amazon even sells “banana slicers” and a laptop desk for your steering wheel. Efforts to make your pet wear human eclipse glasses are likely to end failure. Best case scenario, they will wear them long enough for the inevitable Instagram post.
Will the eclipse make my pet freak out?
While the eclipse is unlikely to affect your pet’s vision, some animals are more excitable than others. Thunderstorms and Fourth of July fireworks can cause some dogs to panic. So what happens when the sun suddenly dims midday? Again, experts stress that most animals will be unfazed by the eclipse. However, owners of skittish dogs and cats can exercise some caution and common sense and keep extra sensitive pets inside and comfortable during Monday’s eclipse.
Can my pet and I contribute to science during the eclipse?
Yes! NASA and other experts have general advice about animals and eclipses, but the subject has not seen major study. According to Forbes, the California Academy of Sciences is looking to change that. The San Francisco Museum is asking people to observe animal behavior during the eclipse and record their findings using their iNaturalist app.