Do pets experience distress during an eclipse?


The natural phenomenon known as a total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s dark silhouette moves in front of the solar orb, darkening the sky except for the corona of the sun surrounding the edges of the moon.

eclipse petsAnswer:

“A lot of domestic animals probably won’t be distressed by the eclipse,” says board-certified veterinary behaviorist E’Lise Christensen, DVM, a Fear Free certified practitioner. “However, those with night blindness or sleep/wake cycle abnormalities may exhibit symptoms. Patients with thunderstorm phobia who trigger when the sky darkens may show signs of distress like panting, pacing, urination, defecation, whining, trying to get close to family members, or hiding.”

Ways you can help pets feel safe include closing the curtains, playing light classical music, diffusing a small amount of lavender essential oil or species-specific pheromones such as Feliway or Adaptil, or giving your pet a special toy such as a food puzzle. Playing a pet’s favorite games such as tug or fetch is another way to make triggers less scary, Dr. Christensen says. Most important, don’t punish signs of fear, anxiety, or stress. That can make distress more intense.

In most cases, your pet won’t even notice the eclipse, and you can be free to enjoy the sky show with them.

You can read more about the eclipse and pets here.


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