Diabetes Alert Dogs
A nose to help you
Living with diabetes is challenging. Modern technology has greatly improved, but the need to constantly monitor one's glucose levels while going through daily activities is still a balancing act. When patients don't feel the onset of a hypoglycemic episode, it's easy to get distracted and forget to monitor, or to sleep through an episode. And the consequences can be scary.
If you have lost the ability to sense when a low is happening, a diabetes alert dog, with its incredible sense of smell, can make a significant difference. When you experience a drop or a rise in glucose levels outside of normal range, you release a specific smell. A dog can be trained to pay attention to that smell and react by alerting you that it's time to check your glucose levels.
Although a diabetes alert dog (DADs) should never replace a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor, it provides an extra layer of security along with a friendly watchful presence for better peace of mind.
Along with Dr. Dana Hardin, pediatric endocrinologist, and Wes Anderson, a statistician at Lilly, Jennifer Cattet, Ph.D., owner of Medical Mutts are the first ones to have proven the ability of diabetes alert dogs to smell the difference between a low sample and a normal sample.
How do service dogs for diabetes alert?
A unique and distinct behavior
When the diabetes alert dogs smell a change in glucose levels, they are taught to give vigorous pokes with their nose as a way to alert the person that they need to check. We don't encourage barking as an alert, as that would be problematic in public. Unlike an electronic device that you might not hear or could ignore, a diabetes alert dog will keep pestering you until he/she gets a reaction. Our diabetes alert dogs are also taught to wake the person up, get help, press a button to call a relative or 911 or bring glucose tablets or a juice.
Our training methods are scientifically validated and adhere to the highest standards of training. The quality of our program is also exported overseas where we coach other organizations with their training protocols.
In addition to their alerting skills, our diabetes alert dogs are taught all the behaviors required to pass the Public Access Test and meet or exceed the minimum standards of training established by the International Association of Assistance Dogs Partners (IAADP). You'll be able to safely and reliably take your diabetes alert dog to work, to school, to the mall, restaurant, etc.
"I cannot describe how thankful I am to you for all your help and support and for bringing Juniper and me together. Though life with a service dog can be trying at times, it is a huge weight off my shoulders to know that I can continue to do the things I love to do -- Showchoir, prom, travel, camp, college -- and Juniper will always be there to watch over me. I have learned to trust her alerts far more than I ever trusted my own sense.
"The best thing medically is the low alerts. Our 13 yr old daughter isn't always aware, but our service dog is! We couldn't ask for better. He is never wrong and he never alerts if there isn't a high or low. They are the best. Our dog is very well-trained and well-behaved.
The support system is a must and we feel like we are special and important to them."