A total solar eclipse will move across the United States next Monday, August 21, and while it will be exciting for humans, it may have some effect on area pets. Though a full blackout is not going to occur, Long Islanders can enjoy this incredible astronomical event starting at 1:23 p.m. and ending at 4 p.m., with maximum viewing at 2:44 pm.
People will surely be affected as the eclipse forces out of our homes and businesses and causes many to stand upright with neck crooked and head aimed toward the sky—some may even be compelled to wear one odd form of glasses or another. But how, exactly will the eclipse affect our furry friends?
In a release from the Suffolk County SPCA, Dr. John Charos of Valley Stream’s Central Veterinary Associates says pet owners shouldn’t be overly concerned, though it may be wise to take certain precautions. “Pets and other non-wild animals might have a relatively mild reaction,” Charos writes, adding, “Since the eclipse is silent, there is no noise that typically might scare pets like fireworks or thunder during a storm.”
The veterinarian did note, however, that the temperature will drop suddenly by about 10 degrees during the eclipse, and birds are likely to stop chirping and calling, which creates an eerie atmosphere—as if the sun disappearing wasn’t enough.
“Pets and animals often react as if it’s about to be a heavy rainstorm,” Charos continues. “So if your dog reacts to storms, they will be getting visual cues but no barometric pressure or precipitation, and so might get anxious in anticipation.” He also noted that shadows will become much sharper and come at different and unexpected angles. “So if your dog is a watcher, they might get a little suspicious about what they are seeing,” Charos adds. “We suggest keeping pets leashed during the eclipse just to be safe.”
As for getting a pair of those nifty eclipse glasses fitted for your dog or cat, Charos says pet owners need not worry. “Normally dogs and cats don’t try to look at the sun, so there should be no concern that they will do so during the eclipse,” he explains, also pointing out that the disruption is relatively brief, so pets will be back to their normal schedules before you can say, “The sun is gone and no birds are chirping and I’m really, really scared—please help me, Fluffy, I need your furry, four-legged comfort.”
The Suffolk County SPCA is a private, nonprofit, charitable organization that is dedicated to protecting animals in Suffolk County and prosecuting those who hurt or neglect them. Donations are needed to keep their mission going. Mail your donation to Suffolk County SPCA, P.O. Box 6100, Hauppauge, NY 11788-0099 or visit suffolkspca.org.