How to keep your pets safe during the solar eclipse



Weather permitting, millions of people will look skyward next Monday to glimpse the day turn to twilight when the moon blots out the sun, and while there are known ways to keep humans safe, what about pets?

Parts of five provinces in Central and Eastern Canada will be in the path of a total solar eclipse on April 8. Major tourist destinations such as Montreal and Niagara Falls are expecting visitors, perhaps in the millions, from across the country.

People must wear eclipse glasses to prevent eye damage. The only time it’s safe to ditch protective glasses is during totality or the few minutes of complete darkness.

Dr. Karen Ward, Chief Veterinary Officer at the Toronto Humane Society, offered some critical tips and advice for pet owners, emphasizing the importance of their safety and comfort during the solar eclipse.

How to keep your pets safe during the solar eclipse:

Keep pets indoors: Strange shadows and changes in lighting during the eclipse may confuse pets. Keeping them indoors can prevent them from becoming scared or disoriented.

Provide distractions: Keep your pets occupied with toys or treats to help divert their attention from the unusual event happening outside.

Avoid encouraging your pet to look up or point to the sky: If you’re outside with them, refrain from encouraging pets to gaze at the eclipse.

Return home if already out with your pet: If you’re already out with your pet during the eclipse, try to return home if possible. The sudden darkness can confuse animals and may cause them to become scared or anxious.

Be mindful of wildlife and livestock: If you’re driving during the eclipse, be aware of wildlife and livestock on the road. The sudden darkness could cause them to behave unpredictably or stray onto the road.

In the simplest terms, Dr. Ward said not to risk it and to leave your pet at home.

“If you plan on experiencing the eclipse, leave your pet safe, comfortable, and happy at home, and enjoy the eclipse with human family or friends,” Dr. Ward said.

“Interestingly, the primary concerns for your pet’s well-being during an eclipse may actually stem from human-related activities surrounding the event. Large crowds, travel, and loud noises from festivities can all impact your pet’s comfort.”

Dr. Ward added that if you’re feeling anxious or overly excited about the eclipse, your pet may react to those emotions.

Practically everyone on the continent will get to see a partial eclipse. You can watch the whole thing unfold online, too. NASA is offering several hours of streaming online from several cities along the totality path.