Expert tips for keeping pets safe during the solar eclipse

The total solar eclipse occurring on Monday, April 8 has humans excited with anticipation, but the phenomenon, and even more so the crowds it attracts, could be disorienting and anxiety-inducing for pets.

During solar eclipses, birds stop flying and grow quiet, and nocturnal creatures emerge.

But the bigger concerns for pets, veterinarians say, are the anticipated large gatherings and crowds that will likely provoke strong emotions in humans, which could unsettle animals. Veterinarians are “more concerned” with the impact of human behavior and activity on pets during the event “rather than actually what the eclipse is going to do to the animals.”

It’s important for pet owners to plan ahead—think about where you are going to be, the best place for your pet to be, and then prepare to make them safe and comfortable—says.

“Make sure that wherever your pet is or your animals are, their needs are met,” advises.

Here are 10 tips from experts about how best you can protect your pets during the solar eclipse.

Don’t bring pets to large gatherings

Veterinarians say that their main advice is to avoid bringing pets to eclipse viewing events with big crowds, potentially loud noises, and excitable humans that could stress the animal.

“You really need to think about all the crowds, all the people, all the noise, and that’s the biggest concern I have with the pets. Honestly, they’re going to be reacting to our excitement and all the commotion that’s happening during the eclipse, rather than the eclipse itself,” notes.

“Most animals are going to be unphased” by the physical phenomenon, the veterinarian adds, explaining that what they will react to most is human behavior.

Keep pets inside

Experts say the best thing to do is to keep your pets inside, at home, to avoid unnecessary stress: “Really that is the best advice, just keep them inside,” says.

says dogs “might not be as excited about this phenomenon as we are,” but they take their cues from humans because of our closely interviewed behaviors and actions.

“I would say try to keep things as regular as possible, and if they’re in their own environment, they feel more safe and secure,” says.

Try and ensure your pets don’t stare at the sun

Looking directly at the sun can be harmful to animals, as it is to humans, but experts say pet owners shouldn’t worry during the eclipse because animals do not naturally look at the sun—and we shouldn’t encourage them to.

“We shouldn’t force our pets to do something that’s potentially dangerous or personally they don’t want to do,” says. “That’s enough to potentially harm their vision, and you don’t want to do that.”

However, experts say it’s not a good idea, and unnecessary, to put eclipse glasses on your pet.

“Don’t try to put glasses on them, that’s going to be more annoying and they’re going to wonder what the heck’s going on,” says. “My dog would be the one that would paw them off their head and chew them up and eat half of them.”

Experts reassure pet owners that animals don’t look at the sun naturally, so even if pets are outside they will probably be fine, but if you’re concerned they may look up by accident, keep them inside to minimize the risk.

You can also take an added measure to reduce pets’ stress and exposure to the sun by drawing curtains or moving cat climbing posts or other items away from windows during the eclipse, a veterinarian at the Prince Edward Island Humane Society in Canada, tells TIME.

If you leave home, be prepared for long travel

During the last total solar eclipse in the U.S. in 2017, says that a normal two-hour drive took up to 10 hours due to traffic. Transportation officials have warned drivers to brace for heavy traffic and plan extra time getting to and from eclipse destinations, with other 2017 eclipse-viewers also reporting extended travel times.

The veterinarian warns pet owners, if they are traveling with their animals, to be prepared for much longer than expected trips, bring extra food and water, and plan stops to exercise your pet.

If you’ve left a pet at home, “be mindful of the fact that you may not get home as quickly as you thought you would” and “have that contingency plan” that your pets’ needs are met by others in your absence.

If you’re in public, keep your pet on a leash

If you do bring your pet, such as a dog, out to an event, keep them on a close leash, as canines may panic, run away under stress, and could get lost in a large crowd, experts say.

“Changes in the environment may trigger stress, confusion, or fear in your dog. Concerned owners should keep an eye on their dog during the eclipse, checking for signs of worry so they can provide their dog with reassurance,” a dog health expert at The Kennel Club in the U.K., tells TIME in an emailed statement. “Sometimes stressed or fearful dogs may try to run away, so do ensure your property is secure and your dog has a collar with an ID tag, and their microchip details are up to date.”

Watch out for and respond to stress signs

Signs of stress for dogs include panting, pacing, and changes in facial expressions, such as eyes bulging to show eye whites, experts say. They warn pet owners to recognize these signs early, and if you notice them, remove your animal from the stress trigger and soothe them in the best way you know how.

If you’re at a large event, it could be wise to bring your dog back to your car or another quieter place to hang out and ensure they don’t get frantic, says.

“When animals get frantic, that’s when accidents happen and they get into a fight or flight mode and end up just trying to run away from what they’re scared of,” the veterinarian continues. “The sooner that you notice those more subtle signs, and try to de-escalate from there, you’re generally going to have better results and hopefully a better outcome.”

“The best thing to do is just to avoid these very stressful situations in general,” she adds.

If needed, provide distractions

If your pet is stressed, your animal with toys or treats. You could absorb your canine with a training session with their favorite treats, proposed.

Be prepared your pet may be hungry or tired

Animals are creatures of habit who follow visual cues, so some pets may ask for dinner a lot earlier than normal because they think it’s nighttime, spokesperson for the Prince Edward Island Humane Society, says. Pets also may become a little bit more lethargic because they think it’s time to go to sleep.

Minimize risks around outdoor animals

The reactions of larger outside creatures, such as horses or farm animals, will depend on the personality of the animal and their circumstances during the eclipse, clinical assistant professor of food animal field services at Texas A&M University, tells TIME. Some animals may spook, be more on edge, and potentially group together, while others might not react at all.

The veterinarian’s advice for people who own large animals is to