Kingstonist’s Wizard of Paws: The future’s so bright… but your pet don’t gotta wear shades

They might look adorable, but sunglasses won’t protect your dog’s eyes during the 2024 total solar eclipse any more than they would yours. Photo by Nahima Aparicio.

So yeah, I hear there’s this crazy once-in-a-lifetime event soon… No, the Maple Leafs will not win the Stanley Cup this year. It’s the total solar eclipse!!

It’s gearing up to be a wild event here in Kingston and many people have been curious about how their pets may be affected.

Generally, your pets don’t normally look at the sun, so the eclipse shouldn’t be any different. And while they do make goggles for your dog or cat, they won’t be necessary. If you are still concerned, I would suggest keeping your pets indoors. 

Most animals’ eyes are sensitive to light, so they don’t look directly at the sun. Photo by Serhat Beyazkaya.

If you do have them outside, leashes should be used to avoid getting loose or any other accidents — remember, the City of Kingston is predicting thousands of people coming to the city for the eclipse, so it’s going to be busy. Your pet may be intimidated by the sheer number of people out and about – yet another great reason to keep them home. If they are out with you, it would be reasonable to talk to your vet about some short-term anti-anxiety medications.

During the eclipse, your pet may think “is it nighttime?” and you may notice normal nighttime behaviours during totality, particularly in instances where they have anxiety issues or cognitive dysfunction (dementia or sun downers-like symptoms). Similarly, livestock may head back to the barn thinking it’s night.

Ultimately, while we humans will participate in the spectacle that is the total solar eclipse, your pets will likely not think much of it. You still have time to make plans for them whether you’re home or not, and do what is best to keep them as safe as possible… and buying your pet a pair of eclipse glasses isn’t part of that!

And don’t forget ticks are back — sadly eclipses don’t eliminate them!

If there’s something you’ve often wondered or questions you have about regarding pets, let us know by email at [email protected].

*Please note that specific medical questions about your pet cannot be addressed and you should speak with your personal veterinarian.

Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with a cat, three dogs, two horses, and a rabbit. Dr. Llera also contributes writing to various other animal and veterinary related blogs. You can see what else he is up to on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

Disclaimer: All columns are personally written and my opinion, and may not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.

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