Diabetic Alert Dog

The Diabetic Alert Dogs can be indispensable companions to people who are struggling to manage their glucose levels. Additionally, this type of dog can be used by persons with rare gut diseases that interfere with their glucose levels. The Diabetic Alert Dog can be used by children and adults alike, these dogs can increase your independence and contribute to a safer and more fulfilling life with their attentiveness and strong food motivation.

How does a Diabetic Alert Dog work?

People who are struggling to manage their glucose levels may have blurry vision, feel tired, feel very thirsty or hungry, lose weight a lot and have stomach pains, nausea as well as vomit. Having a dog with them can help alleviate anger, depression, feelings of loneliness and keep them more active. The core work that Diabetic Alert Dogs are trained to perform is scent-based. The dogs are trained to detect biochemical changes in your breath that signal changes in your glucose levels. The changes are associated with rewards when the dog alerts their user. Successfully detecting a low or high blood sugar level results in a treat. Trainers usually use low values that are below 70 and high values that are above 120. A well-trained Diabetic Alert Dog can use pawing, nudging, or bark to notify their user that their glucose level is too high or too low.

What can I expect?

Diabetic Alert Dog users have reported a lower number of calls to medical workers, increased independence, and significant improvement in detecting their glucose levels prior to a crisis episode. There is a very informative paper called “An Owner-Independent Investigation of Diabetes Alert Dog Performance” from 2019 that supports the thesis that Diabetic Alert Dogs can be great companions and improve the overall quality of life of their users in a meaningful way.

How to choose a service dog candidate for training?

It is possible to train a Diabetic Alert Dog at home in 2-3 months, but practice and patience are key to reliable detection. This type of training can be rather rigorous and the dog will need a lot of practice and some have a great talent for this type of work. Some dogs do better than others as Diabetic Alert Dogs, but you can still enjoy their companionship, the sense of security they provide, and their ability to attract attention. Dogs that are excellent choices for Diabetic Alert Dogs include — Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Standard Poodles, Great Pyrenees. A good service dog candidate for this type of work is one with an excellent sense of smell, a strong attachment to humans, a good ability to focus, and a friendly character.

We have a great course for dog owners who may consider training and using a Diabetic Alert Dog in their life here: https://www.servicedogtrainingschool.org/online-school/diabetic-alert-service-dog-training-course