Sderot, an Israeli town that abuts Gaza, has endured constant rocket attacks for more than a decade. When a siren wails, residents have only 15 seconds to rush to a nearby shelter to save themselves — and their pets. Living under constant threat of a rocket attack can stress not just human beings but pets too.
Recently, veterinarians examined dogs at an animal shelter in Sderot and believe that over half of them showed signs of stress due to rocket attacks. They have asked the Ministry of Health to examine if medical cannabis could be administered to dogs to relieve their stress.
More than half the dogs at the Sderot municipal shelter suffer from symptoms of anxiety — diarrhea, vomiting and pressing themselves up against walls — due to the rocket attacks.
The vets say dogs are especially sensitive to the sound of sirens, rocket fire, and air defense system interceptions because they possess a more developed sense of hearing than humans.
Alon Davidi, the mayor of Sderot, has described here how stressful is the life of residents living under rocket attacks.
Some experts believe dogs can even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) though this has not been recognised in veterinary medicine. For several years, dogs in Israeli areas under rocket attacks have been observed to have developed symptoms of stress many experts would associate with PTSD.
“A huge number of dogs have been abandoned or fled from bombs in southern Israel and Gaza, and got lost,” Eti Altman, spokeswoman for the animal rights and rescue organization Let the Animals Live, told Haaretz a few years ago. “The ones who’ve been caught and placed in shelters demonstrate acute stress at every rocket siren or explosion.” She said some dogs raced to hide if possible, under tables, for instance, while many had begun circling as if chasing their own tails and could do this for hours.
However, there is no final word on how safe is marijuana or various cannabis products for pets. Research has not yet established if marijuana can effectively treat dogs of any disease. Marijuana can even prove to be toxic for pets.