Your Pet and the Solar Eclipse – Making it a Stress-Free Experience

Dr. Jana Bryant
Partner Veterinarian CityVet Coppell

This April, many of us and our pets are on the path to witness a once in a lifetime event for a full solar eclipse. While this event is exciting for many; those with pets can be better equipped so our furry friends can enjoy the day too!

Our pets’ behavior is often guided by biological rhythms, akin to our own circadian rhythms, that influence their sleep cycles and daily routines. This is why your dog may eagerly anticipate your partner’s return from work or why your cat insists on being fed at precisely 7 am, regardless of your desire to sleep in. These rhythms help them adapt to the changing seasons and are also affected by environmental shifts in light, temperature, barometric pressure, and even seismic activity.

Animal Behavior During Solar Eclipses

Studies involving zoo animals during solar eclipses have shed light on how these celestial events may impact our non-human friends.

Observations of vertebrates and invertebrates have revealed varied reactions. Gorillas and baboons, for example, exhibited signs of anxiety during the darkness of an eclipse. Conversely, other animals appeared to slip into their nocturnal behaviors as the sky darkened, and birds have been noted to fall silent during the eclipse, only to erupt in noise once the event concludes.

How Indoor and Outdoor Pets May React

For indoor cats, a solar eclipse may pass unnoticed. Their indoor environment shields them from the dramatic shifts in natural light, and they are less likely to react to changes they cannot see.

Dogs, on the other hand, might react differently if taken to an eclipse-watching party. More often than not, they may respond to the excitement of the humans around them rather than the eclipse itself. Thankfully, there’s no need for concern about your dog’s retinas during this event; they typically don’t look up at the sky as humans do.

Preparing Your Pet for the Solar Eclipse

If you’re planning to include your furry companion in your solar eclipse watching activities, here are some tips to ensure they remain calm and happy during the event:

  1. Maintain Routine: Try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible on the day of the eclipse. This can help reduce any potential stress caused by the change in environment or your excitement.

  2. Create a Safe Space: If you’re staying at home, make a cozy and secure area for your pet where they can feel safe even as the light outside changes.

  3. Leash and ID: Should you decide to bring your dog along to an eclipse gathering, keep them on a leash at all times. Ensure their microchip information is up to date, just in case they slip away in the excitement.

  4. Monitor Behavior: Watch for signs of anxiety in your pet, such as restlessness or whining. If they seem distressed, remove them from the situation and provide comfort.

  5. Post-Eclipse Activity: Once the eclipse is over, engage your pet in a calming activity they enjoy. A familiar game or a gentle petting session can help them relax.

Be Prepared and Have Fun!

A solar eclipse is a thrilling event for us humans, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one for our pets. With a bit of preparation, you can ensure that your pets feel just as comfortable during the eclipse as they do on any other day. And remember, at CityVet, we’re always here to support you and your pets through all of life’s extraordinary moments—cosmic or otherwise!

Prevention is Key

  • Pet-Proof Your Home: Regularly inspect your home for any potential hazards and keep them out of reach. 
  • Educate Your Family: Ensure all family members are aware of what items can be dangerous to pets. 
  • Store Medications Safely: Always keep medications in secure cabinets.
  • Choose Pet-Safe Plants and Products: Opt for non-toxic options when buying plants and household products. 

As we observe Animal Poison Prevention Month, let us all commit to creating safer environments for our pets. The well-being of your furry friends is our top priority at CityVet. For more information on how to protect your pets from common household dangers or to schedule a wellness visit, please visit our Home Page. Together, we can ensure the health and happiness of our beloved pets for years to come.