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Keep Your Pets Safe During The Total Solar Eclipse — Everything You Should Expect

Solar eclipse pets

The upcoming solar eclipse may be exciting for us, but our four-legged friends could feel some anxiety as the sun shifts over the moon. An animal behaviorist explains how to help them deal with the rare celestial event.

Eclipses affect plants and animals by confusing their natural rhythms. The seemingly quick shift from day to night makes farm animals walk back to the barn and causes birds to stop chirping. Extreme temperature drops of about 10 degrees can happen, as well, which also signals a change to night.

But it’s not just wildlife that will feel off-kilter during the event. Cats and dogs will also experience some strange feelings, and they may showcase the same type of nervousness they would during a thunderstorm. Others may simply curl up and go to sleep.

“The most likely response is animals starting their evening routines and showing evening behaviors,” Erica Cartmill, a professor of anthropology, animal behavior, and cognitive science at Indiana University, told PEOPLE. “If you have a dog or a cat, they might go to bed, get quieter, or start yawning and stretching.”

Pet Owners Should Be Aware Of Behavioral Changes During The Total Solar Eclipse

Pets who feel anxiety may act out of the ordinary or show the same behaviors they have after typical triggering situations like visiting the vet or hearing fireworks. They may hide or pace. Dogs may start scratching or howling.

“Obviously, if you see your animal gets anxious during the eclipse, comfort them,” said Erica. “Be there for your animals and also be attentive to what they’re interested in.”

Erica also noted that we don’t need to worry about pets’ eyes during the solar eclipse. Animals likely won’t have any interest in looking at the sun, and if they do, they will probably be following our gaze. But short glances won’t hurt their eyes.

“If they are staring at the sun, maybe distract them a little bit,” she added. “Brief looks are fine. We don’t want to encourage staring.”

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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