You’ve likely heard by now, the Great America Eclipse is scheduled to cross the US on August 21. The rare occurrence (last coast-to-coast total solar eclipse took place in 1918), in which the sun is totally blocked by the moon, will cross through 14 states. People from all over are planning to experience this phenomenon safely with their own eyes.
As people excitedly make travel and viewing plans, we’re left wondering what kind of preparation, if any, we need to protect our pets from this unusual event. The top question is probably whether pets need to wear special sunglasses the way people do. Luckily, it’s very unlikely that pets will look directly into the sun the way humans have been urged against.
“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, said at a recent NASA news conference.
That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Looking directly at the sun normally or during a partial eclipse can cause eclipse blindness, which is a condition that occurs when the sun’s rays burn the retina. For that reason, people are warned to wear protective eyewear and it’s not a bad idea to strap a pair of the glasses on your pet if you plan to take it out for a walk during the eclipse or if it often rests in a favorite sunny spot.
Try to keep your pet indoors with the shades drawn, just in case – if for no other reason than protecting your dog or cat from the crowds that may gather outside during the solar event.