Animals’ biggest eclipse issue could be dealing with humans

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 8/17/17

While some are curious about possible effects of the upcoming total solar eclipse on pets and wildlife, two local veterinarians say they should adjust to Monday’s celestial event with no …

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Animals’ biggest eclipse issue could be dealing with humans

ACE, a mixed breed canine, tries on some glasses that people planning to view the total solar eclipse are instructed to wear. Pets should be fine during the eclipse, say local veterinarians, but they add that animals may react as if nighttime is approaching early.
ACE, a mixed breed canine, tries on some glasses that people planning to view the total solar eclipse are instructed to wear. Pets should be fine during the eclipse, say local veterinarians, but they add that animals may react as if nighttime is approaching early.
Banner photo, SARALYN NORKUS
Posted

While some are curious about possible effects of the upcoming total solar eclipse on pets and wildlife, two local veterinarians say they should adjust to Monday’s celestial event with no problem.

Both Dr. Howard Hamilton and Dr. Bart Bain said it is not a bad idea to have pets brought inside the house or garage during the eclipse, but this isn’t a necessity.

“These pets will be aware that there is less sunlight at a time they expect it, but most will just feel it is night falling earlier than normal,” Hamilton said. “I think that the big issue for the animals is the way people are acting on Monday.”

Individuals who plan on viewing the eclipse are being cautioned to wear approved solar eclipse glasses, or just not look at the sun at all. The vets said they don’t expect that to be a problem for pets.

“I don’t think that animals normally look at the sun,” Hamilton said. “I think seeing the anxiety or anxiousness of their owners will be what they notice — the way that the owners will be acting differently.”

Bain said he also feels that the animals will not be looking at the sun, so that should not cause a problem.

Bain said a bigger concern is the increased amount of traffic on the roads, and the threat it poses to pets who might not be inside, restrained, in an enclosure or in a fenced-in yard.

“There will be more people driving around, many in areas they have never been, so they need to watch out for animals,” Bain said.

The veterinarian said that he is unfamiliar with any study on how such an eclipse could affect an animal. “I checked, and couldn’t really find anything that deals with that,” Bain said.

Hamilton did not quote from any study either, but just said using common sense is the best way to avoid any issues with pets and livestock.

“They will just feel that this is the shortest day of the summer,” Hamilton suspected.

Bain said animals have keener senses than humans, so they will know something is different, but, once again, will not be looking at the eclipse in the sky but instead might go into their pens or barns thinking it is time to retire for the day.

Hamilton said that there will some animals that will be affected by the twilight conditions seen during the eclipse. He said that crickets will chirp and frogs will croak in reaction to the slow darkening of the sky. Nocturnal animals will think it is time for them to go into their nighttime routine.

“There might be more animals such as raccoons or skunks out thinking it is nighttime, but I doubt that will be a big problem,” Hamilton said.

Both veterinarians said it is best to continue with the normal routine for their pets, but it would not be unadvisable to keep pets inside. They both said they expect that with the animals possibly thinking the sun is going down, they will probably go to their normal overnight areas.

“Having your pets in a safe, protected place will not be wrong to do for their owners,” Bain said.

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