If viewing the eclipse is bad for unprotected human eyes, do pet owners need to worry about their furry friends during Monday’s celestial event?
The short answer: not so much.
While dogs and cats eyes are susceptible to the same damage humans would encounter looking into the sun during the eclipse, they typically don’t stare at the sun, experts said.
Looking directly at the sun without authentic eclipse glasses can cause vision loss or permanent blindness, according to the American Astronomical Society.
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“Our ophthalmologists don’t see much need for concern with animals during the eclipse,” said Rob Warren, a spokesman for the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital. “Yes, their eyes could be damaged permanently if they looked directly into the sun, but animals don’t do that on normal days so there’s no reason to believe they would do it during an eclipse.
“However, if owners are concerned for their pets’ safety, the only way to guarantee their eyes won’t be damaged by the sun is to keep them indoors,” Warren said.
At least one astronomy professor says otherwise. He suggest equipping pets with eclipse viewing glasses.
“Safe solar viewing is always a must, no matter who it is,” Mike Reynolds, an astronomy professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida, said at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in April.
Securing protective glasses for your pet doesn’t seem like a viable option at this point—assuming your furry friend would actually wear them. All identifiable sources of protective eye wear in the Sacramento region are sold out. While Sacramento will experience a partial eclipse, several groups will be holding viewing parties. No word on whether they are pet-friendly.
In Sacramento, the moon will start to cover the sun at 9:02 a.m. on Monday. Maximum coverage, about 79 percent, will be at 10:17 a.m. The eclipse will be over at 11:39 a.m, scientists estimate.