Hypoglycemic Alert Dogs

Have you ever heard of a dog that could sense when blood sugar is dropping to an unsafe level? They are called Hypoglycemic Alert Dogs and they are changing lives.

The March 2008 issue of Diabetes Forecast, the consumer magazine of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), features an article about assistance dogs that are trained to sense episodes of human hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, and sound a life-saving alert.

According to the article, these dogs seem to sense a dangerous drop in blood glucose before it begins, allowing the people they work with to prevent an episode altogether. Some dogs seem to sense high blood glucose, too. Mark Ruefenacht is a forensic scientist with type 1 diabetes who started a hypoglycemia alert dog training center in California and has been placing trained dogs with people who need them for three years.

“Clients are coming back saying, ‘I have never had better control of my blood sugar in my life as I have since I got this dog.’”

Scientists remain unsure about how the dogs are able to sense changes in their human companions. It is believed that the dogs are reacting to scents created by chemical changes related to glucose imbalance, but no one knows exactly which chemicals cause the scent. Despite this scientific uncertainty, hypoglycemia alert dogs have provided a great sense of relief to people with diabetes and their families, including parents of young children with diabetes and adults whose history of hypoglycemic episodes made it difficult or even dangerous to live alone.

Currently, there are only a few groups in the United States that are training assistance dogs to sense hypoglycemia. The training requires years of expensive work, which severely limits the number of people who can be paired with dogs. For those who do get the chance, however, the benefit can be remarkable.

“The first time that dog gets you up in the middle of the night because your child is dropping into a serious low, rapidly you realize it’s worth every penny you spent, and every minute you had to wait,” says Donna Cope, whose child has diabetes.

Related Article

Canine Diabetes Treatment

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

It is common knowledge that people with (or without) diabetes should exercise regularly. But why is exercise so important if diet appears to be...

In an age of pharmaceuticals we tend to forget that there are things like herbal teas that can help improve our diabetes. Herbal teas are gaining...

It's important to follow a healthy diet if you have diabetes. Maintaining a frequent and nutritious eating schedule helps stabilize blood sugar...

The so-called "diabetic diet" is not a diet at all. In fact, there are several methods that can be used to create healthful meals that meet the...

There are two types of diabetes, and both children and adults can develop either type....

Coumadin® (warfarin sodium) is a prescription medication that treats existing blood clots and aids in the prevention of new ones. Coumadin is...

Diabetes has a major impact on people who live with the disease, their family members, and society as a whole. According to the National...

Diabetic test strips are one of the biggest expenses in diabetes care. People who are on a fixed income need to watch every penny that they spend...

According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive alcohol consumption can increase a person's risk of developing type 2...

Diabetes can be deadly if left undiagnosed, so it is very important to pay attention to your body if you are displaying any of the symptoms. Early...

Diabetics are inundated with advice about the right foods to eat and which ones to avoid. Since particular foods can have more of an impact on...

If you're trying to follow a specific diet or stay on track with your weight, it might be wise to stay away from those friends who like pizza and...

A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is not a guarantee that you will develop Type 2 diabetes. However, it is...

During a time when sugary treats are found at every turn, steering clear of carbohydrate-rich cocktails becomes even more important for people...

Drinking beer or alcohol for that matter, can result in high blood sugar which is a condition when...