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Should we worry about pets during the eclipse?

There has been a lot of talk in the lead-up to the April 8 total eclipse about eye safety, safe solar viewing, and the risks associated with ignoring these warnings. Humans are very adept at overpowering natural instincts to not stare into the sun. Luckily, our pets are far more intelligent.

The consensus among experts suggests that it is safe for most pets, such as dogs or cats, to be outside during the eclipse. Most animals do not tend to look up at the sky unless responding to cues from their owner, so the likelihood of animals damaging their retinas is quite small, so long as owners act responsibly.

 

Experts agree that pet owners do NOT need to purchase an extra set of glasses to protect their pets during the eclipse PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

At the same time, some experts suggest bringing your animals inside like you would for weather related events or fireworks. It is well known that eclipses can cause unexpected behaviours in animals, and being inside could help limit any stress caused by the changing environment during the eclipse.

According to Dr. Jerry Klein, the veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club, the greatest risk to pets during an eclipse are most likely human-related activities associated with the event. It may be best to leave pets at home if attending any sort of viewing activity that involves additional stressors such as travelling, crowds, or loud noises.

Fortunately, most experts agree that outfitting pets with protective eyewear is not necessary and could in fact be dangerous in the event lenses are accidentally chewed or ingested. (SR)

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