While many people are getting prepared with special solar eclipse glasses and cameras plus finalizing the logistics for the upcoming total solar eclipse, one thing may have escaped the checklist so far: ensuring that their pets are kept safe during the event. 

No matter the size or age of the pet, owners should take precautions, experts say.

While four-legged family members don’t need to have specialized shades — it’s highly unlikely that the animals will look directly up at the sun, even if they’re outside, say experts — there are still some extra steps that pet owners can take to ensure their pet’s safety during the atmospheric event.

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The 2021-2022 American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey (the most recent one available) found that 70% of U.S. households own some type of pet — a number that rose from 67% in the 2019-2020 survey. 

So this issue will impact millions of households. 

When the moon sails across the sun at midday on April 8, 2024, a total eclipse will be visible to those in the path of totality — in U.S. states from Texas to Maine.

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While animals will detect light and temperature changes during the solar show, their basic reflexes will almost certainly deter them from looking directly at the sun. 

Rather, human reactions are likely what will startle them during the shadowing of the sun.

Dog playing outside in the sun

Edward Guinan, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Villanova University, told PetMD that pets shouldn’t really react to the eclipse itself. 

“I do not expect unusual behavior — like pets going crazy — unless their owners get real excited during totality,” he said in 2017, as Fox News Digital noted then, during the total solar eclipse of that year. 

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To guard against stress in animals, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance recommends that pet owners keep their furry friends inside during the solar eclipse — and to cover windows and blinds to minimize the animals’ potential anxiety over the event.

Pet parents should also strive to keep the animals calm while monitoring their behavior. 

Solar eclipse

The company also noted that if there is any concern that a pet has experienced eye damage due to the eclipse, owners should bring the issue to a veterinarian’s notice as soon as possible. 

Dr. Rena Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, told NPR that while certain dogs may exhibit some of the behaviors they normally do when it starts to get dark outside, the eclipse is unlikely to directly affect pets significantly.

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However, things like crowds and traffic can impact them — “which is why experts recommend leaving animals at home to be safe,” the same source noted. 

The 2024 eclipse is estimated to last for more than four minutes. 

Pet and owner looking in the sun and solar eclipse

By comparison, the last solar eclipse in the U.S. in 2017 was about 2½ minutes long.

A solar eclipse occurs when the sun, the moon and the Earth are “almost” perfectly aligned.

“Most of the time at new moon, the moon’s shadow either goes below the Earth or above the Earth by just a little bit, so we don’t get an eclipse every time the moon comes around,” Dr. William Blair, an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, told Fox News Digital. 

“But every once in a while … if you get a new moon at the right time, then the moon’s shadow can go across that vast area of space and actually make a little stripe across the Earth. And that’s what we see as a solar eclipse.”

The next solar eclipse in the U.S. will occur more than 20 years from now, on Aug. 23, 2044, according to Blair and NASA — even though solar eclipses can happen multiple times a year around the world.

Angelica Stabile of Fox News Digital, as well as Janine Puhak, contributed reporting to this article. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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