When a solar eclipse happens, people all over the world ready themselves with the appropriate glasses and other equipment so they can look on this natural phenomenon without hurting their eyes, but, most people don't stop to consider how the eclipse might affect their dogs. If you've ever wondered if your dog can look on and enjoy an eclipse with you, we've got the answers here!
Unfortunately, a solar eclipse can be incredibly damaging to your pup's eyes. However, it's likely this won't be an issue for your dog, as they're not likely to look up into the sun.
This is because they're widely affected by their daily routines as well as their human's sunlight schedules - meaning if your dog is indoors or on your schedule, he or she won't be likely to seek out the sun and endure the damage. That being said, if you keep your dog outside during the eclipse, it is possible that your pup can suffer from eclipse blindness. Want to know more about eclipse blindness? Want a better idea of how you can help your dog avoid the eclipse issue? Read on for more information!
Signs Your Dog Has Eclipse Blindness or Other Eye Damage
Solar eclipse blindness isn't a common condition, but it's certainly something that can happen to your dog. If your pup is left outside during an eclipse, he or she could look up, confuse the eclipse for twilight, and continue staring until they've damaged their retinas. The damage typically involves the lens of the dog's eyes, which, is like looking into the sun's rays with a magnifying glass, potentially scorching your pup's retinas if they're unprotected.
Typically, you'll be able to tell if your dog is suffering from some sort of eye damage due to an eclipse. Your pup might have bad vision and bump into furniture, stumble, trip, and run into people or other animals. It's likely your dog might see spots or dots, have blind spots, or even have an interruption in their color or tint perception.
Your pup might also become especially sensitive to light and they could even deal with metamorphosia, a condition where your dog has disruption or distortion of colors. Your pups eyes might water excessively, bleed, puss, or dry out easily.
History of Eclipse Effects on Dogs
When it comes to how eclipses can affect dogs, historical record states that it can affect them in many different ways - including emotionally. For example, according to Pets on Board, dogs are the most affected household animals during eclipses.
The site states that during a major eclipse in 1932, the Boston Society of Natural History recorded data that suggested that around half of the nation's dogs were emotionally affected by the eclipse. What does this mean? For most, it meant that pups were frightened or nervous by the phenomenon, but for others, this resulted in serious terror that caused dogs to hide, run, or panic.
The Science Behind Eclipse Retinopathy in Dogs
If you're wondering what it is about eclipses that can be so damaging to your dog's eyes, we have the answers you're looking for. Consider your own eyes. What happens when you stare into the sun? You likely can't do this for long (and we don't recommend that you do) until you turn away. That's because your eye lenses are like magnifying glasses, and when you look into the sun, you can scorch your eyes.
When you or your dog look into the eclipse, you can cause solar retinopathy damage to develop in the retinas, which is located in the back of the eyeball. This damage can be immediate and permanent, or it can be reversible. It's also possible that this damage can be delayed and won't happen directly after looking into the eclipse.
Training Your Dog to Avoid Solar Eclipse Blindness
When it comes to training your dog to avoid eclipses that could damage your retinas, much of the responsibility is going to be on you. Though dogs can typically sense a myriad of different supernatural events, they're not likely to understand what it means if an eclipse is oncoming.
While your dog's instinct is likely to take over and they are not likely to stare deeply into the sun (think about it -- how often do you see your dog staring directly in the sunshine?), it is possible that your pup, if left outside during an eclipse, could have damage to their eyeballs. We suggest a few different training techniques for keeping your dog safe during an eclipse.
For starters, we suggest crate training your dog and ensuring that they know and acknowledge basic obedience commands. This way, when it comes time for an eclipse, a simple "no" or "stay" will keep your dog indoors. If your dog is comfortable in his or her crate, then it's likely that they won't be frightened when you usher them in during the eclipse.
Additionally, we suggest training your pup to wear sunglasses in order to prepare for this moment. After you purchase a pair of doggo sunglasses or eclipse glasses, we suggest you gradually train your pup to wear them. Start by allowing your dog to simply sniff and get to know the new object. Then, slowly and with lots of treats, gradually put your dog's glasses on them and reward them when they allow this to happen. Continue doing this until this is routine.
By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus
Published: 05/29/2018, edited: 04/06/2020