Since the countdown to Monday’s total solar eclipse is in full fierce effect, you’ve probably (well, hopefully) secured a trusty pair of for-the-special-event glasses and have your viewing plans in order. But if your itinerary includes a pup by your side for the rare sight, you might want reconsider and have your furry friend sit this one out.
By now we all know that it’s dangerous for humans to watch the eclipse without proper eye protection. But you may not have known that it’s just as unsafe for your canine companion to do the same—even though it’s reportedly unlikely for this breed of astrology buffs stare up into the sun in the first place.
Even looking at the eclipse briefly can cause blindness or retinal burns from the sun’s rays.
“On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun and therefore don’t damage their eyes. And on this day, they’re not going to do it, either,” Angela Speck, PhD, director of astronomy at the University of Missouri, said at a NASA press briefing.
So sure, there’s a good chance your dog won’t look at the sun, but there’s still a chance nonetheless. And, just like with humans, even looking at the eclipse briefly can cause blindness or retinal burns from the sun’s rays, potentially causing permanent damage. Since it’s painless, you might not notice something feels off for the first few days after that jaw-dropping moment of celestial magic—but your dog will never be able to tell you if anything is wrong.
If you’re set on taking your pet on an out-of-this-world date, make sure to strap on some protective eyewear (first on yourself, then on your companion, airplane-safety style). Also, make sure purchase your eyewear from an American Astronomical Society-approved retailer.
If you already bought a pair, make sure they’re real by checking to see if they’re labeled as “ISO 12312-2” (also written as “ISO 12312-2:2015”) on the side, to ensure they’re the real deal.
Once you’re set on the safety front, get in the outer-space spirit with a meteor body scrub. Perfect, now you—and your pup—are totally ready.