Solar Eclipse & Pets: What You Need to Know

Effie Orfanides

Ahead of Monday’s solar eclipse, many people are wondering if their pets will be affected. Many with dogs prone to seizures tend to worry about moon phases and, according to Meaghan Callahan, DVM, MS, CVA (Veterinarian and Acupuncturist) at Pebble Creek Animal Hospital in Tampa, Florida, there is less evidence about pets being negatively affected by a solar eclipse, but there are some things you can watch for to make sure that your pets are okay.

“There is evidence to show that animals (including people) are influenced by moon phases, however there is minimal data/evidence that supports/predicts animal response to a solar eclipse due to their scattered nature in both time and location. There is, in fact, anecdotal evidence revealing changes in animal behavioral dating back over 700 years. There is so much we, as scientists, do not yet understand about the interactions of the solar system and it’s effects on the animal kingdom, however in my opinion, there is a direct correlation,” Dr. Callahan explained.

When it comes to the moon phase, many pet owners have noticed that their animals act differently when there is a full moon. In addition, dogs that suffer from things like epilepsy can be more prone to suffering seizures on days/nights when there is full moon.

“There are many published, peer-reviewed articles demonstrating the lunar cycle’s influence on the animal biorhythm, however the research supporting seizure frequency during different lunar phases is mixed. Additional studies have proven a statistically significant increase in the number of ER visits on a full moon, which I can vouch for,” says Callahan.

When asked what pet owners should watch for in regard to a “reaction” to the eclipse, Dr. Callahan responded, “Anxious behavior and any exacerbation of known underlying conditions.” If you notice either of those things and/or are worried about your pet, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to your vet. Fortunately, for most people living in the United States, the solar eclipse is occurring on a week day during business hours, so most veterinary hospitals should be open.

If you are worried about your pet having any kind of adverse reaction to the solar eclipse, Dr. Callahan suggests doing what you can to keep your pet’s mind occupied.

“Give extra love and attention for a distraction during this time. Having an ‘eclipse party,’ featuring their favorite treat is a great way to pass the time.”

Dr. Callahan doesn’t want anyone sitting home, worrying that something bad is going to happen to their four-legged loved one. She suggests enjoying the event with your pet and not worrying too much about the “what ifs.”

“If the eclipse is visible in your state – bring your pet outside with you and enjoy it! Your pet should not need goggles, since they know instinctively not to stare at the sun.”

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