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Pet owners sent warning ahead of solar eclipse today

Pet owners sent warning ahead of solar eclipse today

Just how will the total solar eclipse impact our furry friends?

There's been a lot written about today's total solar eclipse which will plunge much of North America into darkness, turning the day skies into night.

The cosmic event will see flares of the Sun’s corona appear like a diamond ring in the sky.

As the Earth is plunged into darkness, planets and comets may even be visible to the naked eye, and the eclipse could disrupt communications back on Earth.

A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon completely covers the Sun, and observers are within the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow.

But how does this all impact on pets?

Vets have spoken about how the total solar eclipse could impact on pets.
Vets have spoken about how the total solar eclipse could impact on pets.

Well, unfortunately there is no clear answer, due to how infrequently total solar eclipses happen. But a few veterinarians have departed some handy advice for concerned pet owners.

American Kennel Club Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein told CBS News: "There's not a lot of scientific research done on this topic of animals and eclipses mostly because they don't come often. And a lot of it's just been anecdotal reports and just volunteering information."

Another veterinarian, Dr Katie Krebs, who is also a professor at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, told the news outlet: "Most animals will be overall unaffected by the eclipse, but pet owners may notice brief periods of confusion, and dogs and cats may exhibit fear and confusion."

Some animals may start their night time routines early, and you could even see some pets "hide, howl, pace or pant during the eclipse", she told CBS.

However, Dr. Rebecca Greenstein from pet care company Rover, also offered up some comfort, telling the outlet: "The average indoor dog or cat is likely not going to be affected by the eclipse. So owners should take heart and take comfort in knowing that."

Dr Greenstein added: "Dogs follow your cues, so if you're preoccupied with looking up, your dog is looking to your cues to figure out how to behave. So this may be a time to either not bring them along, or if you are, to reassure them with their favorite toy or treat and just keep them preoccupied with what's going on at ground level."

The phenomenon itself will last two hours, with the eclipse starting in North America shortly after 2pm EDT (7pm BST).

The path of totality – meaning where the total solar eclipse will be fully visible – will start shortly after 11am local time in Mazatlan, Mexico.

From Mexico the total eclipse will last 4.5 minutes, and while this does not seem long, the maximum eclipse length possible is about 7-8 minutes.

As always, the usual rules about not looking directly at the Sun apply!

Experts say the eclipse can be viewed safely through real solar eclipse glasses – not 3D glasses or anything similar.

Featured Image Credit: patty_c / Avector / Getty