Diabetes Assist Dogs are trained to monitor smells in the air for a specific scent from their human partner that is related to rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. If detected by the dog, they then “alert” the person with diabetes, usually by touching them in a significant way such as pawing or nudging. The handler will now know to check their blood sugar level. It also informs them that they should get something to eat or drink to avoid hypoglycemia.
Diabetes Assist Dogs are also trained to:
- Retrieve juice or glucose tabs
- Get an emergency phone
- Alert another person to come to the aid of their partner
You may be wondering how to determine if a dog is a Diabetes Assist Dog. They wear a backpack identifying them as an assistance dog. The backpack has pockets where medical information, a sugar source, and emergency contact information can be stored. This is great because it provides an extra safety precaution if the person with diabetes cannot get help in time. Anyone finding the person unconscious or acting abnormally would know it may be a medical emergency and know how to assist and get help.
Diabetes Assist Dogs can detect low blood sugar throughout puppyhood. Once their interest in smells has been identified, scent training takes off. A person experiencing hypoglycemia produces a particular scent, found on the breath or in sweat, due to chemical changes in their body. All people produce the same scent when they have low blood sugar.
As you can see, Diabetes Assist Dogs are very special working dogs. Diabetes is a life-threatening health concern that a dog can assist with daily. This is more proof as to why and how dogs are so important to humans!