Assistance dogs can warn sufferers of low blood sugar. But they do not replace the proven tools. Nevertheless, they are a soothing supplement for diabetics in therapy. Long-nosed dogs are very good for this task because they can smell very good. These include poodles, hunting dogs, collies and shepherds. In addition, these dogs must be very humane and able to form a close bond so that they are permanently on the side of the patient.
Why Dogs are the best option to choose?
Dogs are not only proverbially the best friend of humans but can also become the early warning system on four paws namely, if they are trained as a diabetes indicator dog on the specific smell of low blood sugar. Display dogs are also called seizure dogs and trained to alert people to certain signs before they enter into health-threatening situations. The display can be made by barking, nudging, licking, and paw-laying or a similar behavior which is otherwise rarely or rarely shown in everyday life. Because their dog behaves conspicuously, the diabetic noticed that something is wrong and can then test the blood sugar with the meter. Trained diabetes display dogs have a hit rate of 90-95% in the display but never replace the electronic glucose meter or the regular visit to a specialist.
How can dogs recognize low blood sugar?
Dogs have 100 times more olfactory cells per square centimeter than humans (depending on the breed 125-225 million olfactory cells, the human has about 20 million compared to humans). Thanks to their enormous nose performance the change of hormones in the blood can be noticed. They smell stereo that is they detect where the smell comes from and they can locate the lowest concentrations of an odor. In addition to the odor component, the body language of the diabetic changes in the case of hypoglycemia just as the ability to express oneself can change. And dogs are on the one hand microstate, which means living beings with a very well-developed sense of smell but on the other hand good observers who register immediately changed behavior of their caregiver.
Diabetes: Dogs sniffing low sugar
The sense of smell of dogs is far superior to yours. With their phenomenal nose Service dogs for people with Diabetes can detect buried victims, find explosives and apparently also sniff a dangerous hypoglycemia in diabetics. The hint gives them a substance that diabetics increasingly exhale in low sugar. The substance in the human breath that provides the dogs with the warning, the chemical substance could be isoprene.
Conclusion: Not every breed suitable
Not every dog breed is suitable for the diabetes warning dog. If the muzzle of the animal is not well formed as in a pug the animal often has difficulty sniffing under or over sugar. On the other hand rats and cats have a good nose. It is much harder to train them to reliably tell the diabetic patient when their values are no longer in order. When you do get your service dog, make sure that you feed them the absolute best dog food so that they remain happy and healthy. Check out this website to learn more about the best dog products.
For diabetic patients hypoglycemia is an emergency. Specially trained warning dogs should help to recognize a hypo in good time. How safe is that? There have been some case reports of dogs that have sensed an early hypoglycemia at their owners early and warned against it. However, larger studies are missing on this phenomenon. It is therefore not proven whether or which dog reliably detects and report low blood glucose levels. It is also not examined whether the attitude of a warning dog has a long-term beneficial effect on the health of diabetes.
What are the facts that you should know?
Do dogs have a sixth sense for low blood sugar? There are many such anecdotes about dogs warning of emergency situations. For some years now, scientific research has also been conducted into whether dogs can warn people who have diabetes about hypoglycemia. Some institutions in the US and Europe see specially trained dogs as an opportunity to better manage diabetes. The dogs cannot replace the regular measurement of blood sugar and the administration of insulin. But they should act as blood sugar control bodies and reliably recognize and report impending hypoglycemia. But the four-legged remain around the clock near mistress or master. That means they also go to school, to the church or to the grocery store. As soon as they perceive hypoglycemia they should draw attention to it by special behavior by nudging with their muzzle, jumping up or licking their hands. Some dogs also retrieve the blood glucose meter or can get help by pressing an emergency button.
Many hints, no evidence
Various institutions train diabetes warning dogs. The purchase of such a dog is expensive and associated with a lot of responsibility. But a sound scientific basis for the assessment of whether dogs can reliably detect low blood sugar is unfortunately missing. Therefore, much better studies are important. Because the undoubtedly fascinating and positive case reports and surveys may indeed provide interesting information but statements about the reliability of the warning dogs cannot be met in this way. It would be important that unbiased people judge the performance of the dogs. In agreement with laboratory values determined in parallel it would be possible to show how quickly service dogs for people with Diabetes recognizes hypoglycemia and what stimuli are decisive for this.
Conclusion: The studies in detail
For some years there have been reports in the scientific literature about dogs which warn their owners and masters of hypoglycemia. This behavior also seems to show some dogs who have not received special training. The animals bark, whimper and howl, stare, jump or nudge with their nose. Sometimes they also wake up their people when they fall into the dreaded nighttime sugar lows even if the dog and master or mum sleep in separate rooms. Since this behavior does not seem to be accidental the experts started to train diabetic warning dogs. There are no uniform standards for training or quality control at the dog suppliers.
You or your child have type 1 diabetes and are no longer in the remission phase. During the remission phase, the pancreas still produces its own residual insulin which can influence and confuse the dog’s warning performance. They have difficulties with the timely perception of hypoglycemia and suffer from a hypo-sensory disorder. Life is limited by the disease and you promise to improve the quality of life through a diabetic dog. The diabetic should be prepared to measure their blood sugar every time the dog warns and then take countermeasures such as taking carbs or insulin.
How to determine the best quality?
The diabetic is ready and able to build and maintain close ties to the diabetic dog. The Service Dogs for People with Diabetes must have the closest ties to the diabetic so they know who to take care of. All other family members must restrict their interaction with the diabetic surveillance dog so as not to jeopardize the reliability of warning the dog. The diabetic always stays near the diabetic dog so the dog can help them. The diabetic dog is the only dog in the household so that other dogs do not distract them from their work. Other animals, cats, etc. in the household pose no problem. Specially trained dogs can smell the hypoglycemia of their sick owner and sound the alarm in time. The fine nose of the dog supports not only detectives in the search for drugs or explosives but also diabetics.
Animal helper in critical situation
The regular monitoring of blood sugar levels by blood glucose monitoring is especially important for type 1 diabetics. On the one hand, they know when to inject insulin. On the other hand, it can be used to avoid hypoglycemia which can damage organs. This medical responsibility cannot and should not be assumed by the specially trained dog. A diabetic dog is a partner who raises the alarm because they smell the hypoglycemia, they should be given more security in everyday life and be a friend. Theoretically, every dog can become a diabetic dog. But more suitable are four-legged friends with a pronounced sense of smell such as German shepherd or Labrador. The more the dog can smell the more fun they have at work.
Conclusion: What does the dog smell like?
A diabetic dog best perceives hypoglycemia when it sniffs its owner’s mouth. You do not know exactly what a diabetic warning dog smells because it is assumed that it is a cocktail of stress hormones and it is trained with breath and saliva samples of hypoglycemia. A study has shown that people with type 1 diabetes that have a diabetic surveillance dog experience less hypoglycemia since they had the dog. There were also fewer phases in which the subjects had problems with hypoglycemia. In any case, the dogs must be extremely human-related. Short-nosed breeds such as Pug or Bulldog are less qualified for the training to diabetic dogs. They have fewer olfactory cells and more often suffer from respiratory problems.
Diabetic dogs are trained assistance dogs. They are usually trained 18 to 24 months, comply with the standards as well as an assistance dog who accompanies a wheelchair user and have all the rights of an assistance dog. Diabetic dogs can save lives daily, preventing coma, seizures and death. In addition, well-trained diabetic dogs can reduce the risk of complications and allow the diabetic to live almost normally. Diabetic dogs are trained for both children and adults, mainly in self-education. In recent years, it has helped numerous assistance dog organizations at home and abroad to establish reputable diabetic warning dog programs in order to give diabetics the reliable help of a diabetic warning dog in other countries as well.
How they help to counter diabetic situation?
Diabetic dogs do not first indicate direct hypoglycemia and over-hypnosis but rather respond before blood sugar levels rise below 70 or above 250. Service Dogs for People with Diabetes already indicate impending hypoglycemia when blood sugar drops to low blood sugar. They warn the diabetic against impending hypoglycemia and over-sugar before it actually occurs. Good-working diabetic dogs already indicate impending hypoglycemia if the blood sugar is 120 or 148 and falls into hypoglycemia within the next few minutes. However, the diabetic dog does not show blood sugar levels of 148 or 120 if they remain stable and no hypoglycemia threatens. Also, a blood sugar value of 80 is not displayed by the diabetic dog, if it is stable and does not sink further.
A dog has to be born as a diabetic dog: you cannot turn it into a diabetic dog
The ability to warn before a life-threatening event becomes acute cannot be learned by a dog. Either they have this sensitivity for a threatening event or not. Therefore, choosing the right dog that has this innate ability is crucial. Not every dog can recognize impending hypoglycemia and over-sugar. The diabetic warning dog warns their diabetic by nudging or hanging up their paw. The way in which the diabetic warning dog indicates impending hypoglycemia is already innate and does not have to be trained first. In training, this natural ability is promoted. Warning dogs are born as such and bring with them this alertness from birth. Puppies with this ability start at the age of 3 weeks, when they start to run to detect hypoglycemia and over-sugar a few minutes in advance without any training.
If a dog does not want to alert the diabetic to the impending attack they will not do it. If they do not have the ability to anticipate hypoglycemia and over-sugar they will never see it. The reliable warning in advance is hardly influenced by the trainer or diabetic and depends on many different factors such as the ability of the dog, the attachment and the reaction of the diabetic. During training at the assistance Dog Center, the qualified assistant dog trainer will help the team to promote and maintain reliable warnings and avoid mistakes so that the diabetic can rely on their Diabetic Surveillance Dog.
Diabetes detection dogs monitor the blood sugar levels of their masters or faucets and sound an alarm in an emergency. To develop this gift, dogs must learn some lessons. A potential diabetic warning dog should first be socially acceptable. In the future, it will be taken to the public anytime, anywhere. In addition, it should be playful and also eaten away in order to be able to train them accordingly. If the dogs recognize the smell of under and over-sugar after six weeks at the latest, they are qualified for further training.
What does a diabetes warning dog do?
In case of hypoglycemia, chemical processes take place in the body of the diabetic. This recognizes the dog in the breath and sweat of the patient and warns their master or mistress. For patients with type 1 diabetes, their illness can quickly become life-threatening. Without realizing it, they hypnotize within 15 minutes. Your body does not show the symptoms of low blood sugar typical of other diabetics, such as thirst, dizziness and nausea. Hypoglycemia can lead to permanent brain damage, coma and even death. Diabetic warning dogs often notice the threatening situation sooner than the affected person and raise the alarm even at night. For the diabetic and their families, this is a clear relief and relaxation in everyday life. A diabetes warning dog is not a substitute for a regular blood test.
How are the dogs trained?
Some dogs seem to bring this gift from birth. Scientists suspect that they recognize hypoglycemia by the fact that the chemical composition of the sweat changes and also the breath of the master or faucet exude a different smell. In addition, the dog may also react to their owner unconsciously behaving differently. In a special training, the Service Dogs for People with Diabetes are learning to give a warning signal. This can be barking, scratching, nudging or licking. They also learn to open the front door to seek help if needed and are trained to deliver dextrose or juice at a critically low blood sugar level. The training for diabetes warning dog is intense and takes about eight to twelve months depending on the duration and intensity of the training which also depends on the learning ability of the dog.
Conclusion: May such a companion dog is accepted everywhere?
Assistance and accompanying dogs including designated ones may not be denied access to the social code actually anywhere. Assistance dogs also apply to the statutory health insurance as a kind of health aid. However, it is not clear whether the dogs may therefore be taken in general in medical practices or hospitals. For medical-hygienic reasons nothing speaks against taking them to health facilities or grocery stores. This is confirmed by various reports and studies and one can safely refer to this. However, there may be factual reasons that speak against the carrying an assistance dog. In individual cases, owners of a café can also exercise their house right and ban the dog. However, more and more businesses and airlines are tolerating assistance dogs and giving them access.