Preparing Your Epi-Dog For The Solar Eclipse

Article Updated 04/04/2024
There is a lot of buzz about the upcoming solar eclipse, especially for folks who are in the path of totality. No matter where you live, if you plan on watching the solar eclipse, aside from protecting your eyes from “eclipse blindness” with special American Astronomical Society approved eclipse glasses, but did you know that the eclipse could have an affect on your Epi-dog (epileptic dog)?

With the simulation of “night” as the sun is covered by the moon, animals may go into a nocturnal mode, or seem restless or confused, while others, will be unfazed. However, the excitement of the eclipse by humans could create excitement in our dogs, whether they have epilepsy or not, as they pick up on our energy and moods. The same as with non-epileptic dogs, if there is a lot of noise, whistling, clapping, or fireworks to celebrate, dogs could be frightened and attempt to escape. As with any loud or stressful holiday or event, be sure to have your pets securely and safely kept away from opening and closing doors, and keep their collars on with up-to-date ID and microchip tags, just in case they slip out during the commotion, or while you are eclipse gazing (only with the certified eclipse glasses, of course). And, as with any lunar phases, solar flares, changes to the Earth’s magnetic field, and/or environmental shifts, the eclipse could also be a possible trigger for your Epi-dog. 
Be Sure To Check Out Our Epi-Dog Preparation Tips for Eclipse Further Down in Article!
From a different perspectives - vision - I'm sharing these video tips from a board certified veterinary opthalmologist, Dr. Josh Broadwater:

 Keep Them Safe!
Another point to consider is that this eclipse is going to bring a lot of traffic from folks wanting to see the eclipse. Be sure to keep your dog safely indoors, and have their tags and microchips up to date in the event that in all the excitement, they escape.
The Companion Animal Epilepsy Research Lab at North Carolina State University-College of Veterinary Medicine have shared this interesting information with us about "A citizen science article on some animal responses during the 2017 eclipse-we do not know what effect a solar eclipse has on epilepsy in dogs...however, wanted to share the following article based on the 2017 Eclipse and some animal behaviors that may be of interest."
In the article, "Comparing Social Media Observations of Animals During a Solar Eclipse to Published Research" by Robert Ritson, Dustin H. Ranglack, and Nate Bickford from the Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney, they state: 
"Solar eclipses offer a unique opportunity to evaluate the relative influence of unexpected darkness on behavior of some species of animals due to their sudden interference with local light levels and meteorology...A wide variety of environmental stimuli can influence the behavior of animals including temperature, weather, light, lunar and seasonal cycles, seismic activity, as well as other perturbations to their circadian rhythm. Solar eclipses offer a unique opportunity to evaluate the relative influence of unexpected darkness on behavior of animals due to their sudden interference with local light levels and meteorology. Though occasionally bizarre, modern studies have lent support to the idea that at least some individuals of certain species display altered behavior during these events."
And, here is an interesting factoid from the article: "The first recorded observation of an animal responding to a solar eclipse, to our knowledge,was made in mid-1500 noting 'birds falling out of the sky and ceasing to sing.' Though occasionallycbizarre, modern studies have lent support to the idea that at least some individuals of certain species display altered behavior during these events." 1500s!
In the National Geographic article titled, "How Do Animals Respond to Eclipses? Help NASA Find Out" they are holding a "massive citizen science project will study how the animal kingdom reacts to April 8’s total solar eclipse."

They also state, "The early onset of darkness disrupts animals’ circadian rhythms, sparking a possible chorus of owl hoots, cricket chirps, or even coyote calls, depending on the eclipse-viewing location. For centuries, biologists and spectators have shared stories about how animals respond to eclipses, yet few formal studies have tested this. NASA hopes to change that this year—and you could help.  

Through the citizen-science project Eclipse Soundscapes, NASA is studying how these interstellar marvels impact the animal kingdom. Eclipse enthusiasts have a host of ways to participate: recording data, analyzing audio, or submitting their own multisensory observations."

NASA Citizen Science Project Eclipse Soundscapes Has Info & Wants Your Info, Too! Here's How to Help...
 The Solar Eclipse Safari Needs Your Help!

"What do animals do during a solar eclipse? Do they look towards the sky? Do you group together for protection? Do animals that are usually awake during the day get ready for bed? Do nocturnal animals wake up?" asks Solar Eclipse Safari. "We want to know how different animals behave during a solar eclipse during the total solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024.
Here's how you can help...

  Questions? Email the Solar Eclipse Safari!
NOTE: A good way to track your dog's actions/reactions/no reactions is to make notes of time during eclipse for: time/what your dog was doing/where was s/he and jot the info down in your Epi-dog's journal. (See bottom of this post for the Royal Veterinary  College's mobile "journal" epilepsy tracker).
So, will your Epi-dog definitely have a seizure? No. Could s/he? Yes. Therefore, it’s always good to be prepared, just the same as in any situation where there are stressors present or when there are any incidences that stray from the norm, such as dietary, environmental, weather, and/or atmospheric changes.

My Epi-dog Gibson loved the calming coolness of his water bed!
Preparing Your Epi-Dog For the Solar Eclipse

Prior to the eclipse, have a chat with your veterinarian, and do a little pre-planning, as you would for any out-of-the-ordinary situation or event that could have an adverse effect on your Epi-dog. While the eclipse (hopefully) may not trigger seizure activity in your dog, some helpful hints in preparing, include:

1 Keeping your Epi-dogs safely inside during the eclipse. 

2. Having your Epi First Aid Kit ready and waiting. 

3. If your Epi-dog is on anti-seizure medications, be sure  s/he has been properly dosed on time and have any emergency doses at the ready. 

4. If you use natural anti-anxiety supplements or treats, be sure to administer them early enough, as according to the directions and vet instruction.

5. If you use an anxiety vest or shirt on your Epi-dog, this is a good time to put one on, just as a precaution.

6. Playing soothing music or white noise in the background.

7. Plug-in a calming pheromone diffuser or use a spray.

8. Diffuse a calming essential oil*, such as lavender (but NOT spike lavender oil). Also, when diffusing, choose either #7 or #8, not both at same time.

9. Put a cooler or herbal calming collar on your Epi-dog.

10. If you use a cooler mat or bed for your Epi-dog, have it refreshed and encourage your dog to lie on it.

11. Stay close to your dog, petting and talking to him/her in a reassuring manner until after the eclipse is over.

12. Have an emergency plan. Be sure your vet/ER hospital numbers are handy, as well as having a means of transportation, should your dog should go into seizures.

Please note, that even with the best of preparations and care, a dog with Canine Epilepsy, even if on anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), still may experience anxiety, pacing, and/or seizure activity. Not sure if your dog is having a seizure? Contact your vet immediately.

*A word about essential oils – again, it is important to check with your veterinarian before using, especially if trying for the first time. Some essential oils, such as spike lavender, eucalyptus, hyssop, rosemary, sage, camphor, tea tree, et al., can trigger seizures.

What's In Your Epi First Aid Kit?

In addition to your regular dog First Aid Kit items, for an Epi-dog, also be sure to have:  

  • Seizure medications.
  • Instructions in case of a seizure (for when you have a pet sitter). 
  • A journal to note episodes, length of seizure, reactions, meds, etc.** Videotape seizure on your phone if you can.
  • Instant ice packs. (See my Where Do I Put Cold Packs* below)
  • Rubbing alcohol wipes. (I prefer ice packs). 
  • Emergency contact numbers: vet, neurologist, 24-hour vet hospital, poison control, a friend/neighbor to help.
  • Natural/herbal anti-anxiety calming oral spray (I use Rescue Remedy). 
  • Calming pheromone room spray.   
  • Herbal calming collar. 
  • Portable water bowl
  • Dog Ear Thermometer
*To Keep Your Epi-Dog Cool, Here's Our Vetted Poster:

Additional Items to Have on Hand  
For Post-Seizure:
  • Natural vanilla ice cream. 
  • Organic honey or maple syrup.  
  • Source of protein, i.e., organic creamy peanut butter, low-fat mozzarella sticks, cottage cheese, organic yogurt, chicken, tuna, etc. (low-fat healthy protein treat to help raise the sugar levels back up after the ice cream or honey/maple syrup).  
  • Fresh water.  
  • Pet bath wipes (for post-seizure clean-up).
  •  Disinfectant wipes (for area clean-up).  
  • Paper towels.  
  • Latex gloves. 
  • Collar, harness, leash.  
  • Car Ramp or blanket as a makeshift stretcher to transport pet if incapable of walking.

 **For keeping a digital journal, as well as important seizure information, download the FREE Royal Veterinary College (RVC) mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Check out my blog post with Gibson all about this great app HERE.
Other Related FiveSibes Reading:
(Click on images to read articles)


Please Note...

Visit our FREE FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong Online K-9 Epilepsy Awareness Resource Library by clicking on the image below:

*Updated 04/04/2024







  1. I never thought about the eclipse affecting our dogs. I was planning to keep them inside anyway, just in case. But this is great, thanks for sharing. Our dog Boomer has thankfully not had a seizure in almost a year. Lets hope it stays that way through Monday

    1. Thank you! And yes, I hope Boomer does not have any more seizures - a year is great! Let's go for another!

  2. Hope the eclipse doesn't trigger seizures, poor pups!

  3. I wondered about any impact the eclipse would have on animals. Thank you for sharing this information. We're in the path for a total eclipse. The girls will definitely stay inside. I haven't decided where I am going to watch it. I have my glasses.

    1. Where did you watch it from? We did on TV (I didn't get the glasses); pretty amazing. Yes, eclipses, lunar phases, and solar flares, in addition to weather, barometric changes, etc., can all trigger seizures in some dogs. Hopefully, all pups did okay.

  4. My goodness! I would never have thought that an eclipse could affect our dogs health! You learn something new everyday! I hope everything goes well for you and your dogs and they don't have any side effects.

    1. So many things can be a trigger, even eclipses, lunar phases, and solar flares, in addition to weather, barometric changes, etc! Hopefully, all pups did okay - we were fine, here!

  5. Wow, these are great tips for any dog, whether an epi-dog or not. I hadn't even considered the eclipse might make such a difference. Thank you!

  6. Thank you for these thoughtful tips. Being in San Francisvo, We are not in the path of totality but I will keep an eye out anyway for our pup.

    1. Thank you, Baymonkey! Hope all went well there in San Fran!

  7. Great info. So often, people don't think to consider the effects on fur kids.

  8. Excellent tips and a great idea to make everyone aware!

  9. Wow I never thought about it affecting the pets either, but it's a good thing to keep in mind even if you don't have epi dogs.
    As always, thanks for the great advice and I hope you pups make it through fine.

    1. Hi, Lorie! Thanks so much! We were all fine here!

  10. I am very interested in seeing how my dogs and horses react to the eclipse. Very exciting! Great tips, and I hope those animals stay safe.

    1. Thanks, Heather! How did your horses and dogs do - fine, I hope!

  11. We are all planning to stay inside well away from the windows that day. Those are some very good pointers for epi-dog owners. We would never want to see Angel Ciara have to deal with more seizures, but we so wish she were still here with us, as we know you are feeling the same for Gibson:(

    Woos - Lightning and Misty

    1. Thank you! And thinking of both of our sweet furangels. <3

  12. Fabulous post about a critical matter that affects Epi-Dogs! May I add it to our own eclipse post - I think this will be most beneficial.

    1. Thank you! And many thanks for adding to your post as well. Awareness education is so important!

  13. Never thought of it that way. Fortunately, we doesn't seem to be getting "much of it" where we are; just a partial eclipse.

    Though I have seen a full eclipse long time ago and it wasn't all that impressive.

    1. I remember the ones from the late 70s! This time, we had only had a partial here as well.

  14. Very thoughtful post! It never occurred to me that the eclipse could cause any problems. I definitely agree with the moto to always be prepared and will be keeping a close eye on my dog that day.

    1. Thank you, Mary. Many folks do not realize things such as eclipses, solar flares, lunar phases, and weather can be triggers for dogs prone to seizures. Pray for the best, but always good to be prepared!

  15. Thank you for providing this resource for other people who have epileptic dogs. I never would have thought of the eclipse causing an episode, but it makes sense. I read an article today about how wild animals are also affected. So interesting.

  16. I've decided to watch it safely on the news. I'm sure the dogs could care less. The traffic in my state will be obscene so we plan to avoid it at all costs. Thank you for sharing valuable info.

    1. You are welcome! I heard the traffic was wild in many of the areas in the path of totality. We did exactly that...watched it on the TV!

  17. I honestly never even had this cross my mind! This is great advice for those with an epileptic dog!

  18. Thanks for sharing what you should have in your Epi Dogs first aid kit! This will be really helpful for a lot of people.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. You are very welcome, Cathy! I hope it helps others. :-)

  19. I had never considered how an eclipse could affect our animals. Thanks for such a detailed and informative post, and I especially appreciate the advice on first aid kits and post seizure items to have an hand. Even if a dog hasn't had a seizure, I would encourage all dog parents to have some of these items on hand, or at the very least learn about the signs of a seizure and what you can do. The first time Red had a seizure I was in a panic and totally unprepared.

  20. Traffic - oh my yes. We aren’t getting totality but we were traveling to an area that is for unrelated reasons. Holy cow the people (and the price of the hotel rooms.) I’ll just be inside doing normal things when it goes dark. I never thought that it would affect my animals. I figured they’d either sleep through or just go one with life. It will be interesting to see how they actually do. (Emilia. Blogger only lets me comment anonymously)

  21. Terrific information to prepare properly for the eclipse, Dorothy! I hadn't really considered how it would impact Henry too much. But he is super sensitive to any change. I'll definitely keep him inside and away from the sun during the partial eclipse here tomorrow. I'm now interested to hear what the song birds, geese, hawks, bunnies, squirrels, and goats and chickens next door do during the event. Gosh, I wouldn't have thought about the eclipse possibly causing a seizure. Great idea to always be prepared and your Epi-Dog emergency kit is a wonderful idea to have on hand at all times. I have to say, I've looked at those goggles for Henry a few times. I'm still really tempted to get him a pair to protect his bad eye more. Super info! I'm sharing with all my dog parents

  22. I had no idea it might in fact affect animals, so this is essential reading thank you. How gret there are Citizens Science projects. It is things like this which will help veterinary studies, and pet health professionals as well as astronomers.

    Marjorie and Toulouse

  23. Fantastic post as always, I never thought about this till I started seeing posts pop un in my newsfeed on FB and it really opened my eyes to it all for our pets. I am going to make sure Layla is indoors most of the day as with her age would rather be safe than sorry.


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