The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 is finally here, so you might be wondering if you need special solar eclipse glasses for your dogs and cats. The good news is, unlike humans, they do not need special glasses since they are unlikely to look at the sun. It should be just like a normal day for your Figaro and Fido.
“It’s no different than any other day,” Angela Speck, co-chair of the National Solar Eclipse Task Force, said during an August 21 meeting with the media, the Wichita Eagle reports. “On a normal day your pets don’t try to look at the sun and therefore don’t damage their eyes, so on this day they’re not going to do it either.”
If your dog or cat somehow resists its reflexes to look away from the sun, it could damage their eyes.
“Our ophthalmologists don’t see much need for concern with animals during the eclipse,” Rob Warren, a spokesman for the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, told the Sacramento Bee. “Yes, their eyes could be damaged permanently if they looked directly into the sun, but animals don’t do that on normal days so there’s no reason to believe they would do it during an eclipse.”
Pet Safety expert Melanie Monteiro agrees, telling Today, “There’s really no reason to be concerned about that. Dogs and cats don’t normally look up into the sun, so you don’t need to get any special eye protection for your pets.”
Warren explained that if you are concerned about your cat’s or dog’s safety, it would be wise to just leave them indoors during the eclipse.
Technically, if you don’t plan on watching the eclipse yourself, then you don’t need solar eclipse glasses to protect your eyes from permanent damage. But if you plan on looking up at it – even if your area only has a partial solar eclipse – you do need the special glasses. Another option for viewing the solar eclipse if you don’t have the special glasses is pinhole projection. You can find directions on creating a pinhole projector at the American Astronomical Society.
Patrick Pirotte, optometrist at Child & Family Eyecare in Wichita, also told the Wichita Eagle that animal eyes are almost the same as human eyes, but their reflexes keep them from looking at the sun. (Although dogs do see a different color spectrum than humans do.)