NORMALLY, a person can feel the warning signals of low blood sugar (sweating, shaking, nausea, and confusion).
However, some are unable to feel these symptoms and are thus unaware that their blood sugar is dropping or is dangerously low. This can lead to seizures, brain damage, or passing out while driving.
Diabetic Alert Service Dog: A dog that gives a trained signal to alert its partner to low or high blood sugar levels.
Animal behaviour consultants can train your dog to be a Diabetic Alert Dog by guiding and training your dog to alert you in advance of low (hypoglycemia) or high (hyperglycemia) blood sugar events before they become dangerous, so you can take steps to return their blood sugar to normal.
The dogs are trained to accompany their owners wherever they travel in the manner of guide dogs and assistance dogs. The training process is done much like that of a termite detection dog. The dog is rewarded for finding high blood sugar (it is supposed to smell like tutty fruity gum), or the low blood sugar that is supposed to smell like rusty water or nail polish remover.
Diabetes Alert Dogs are trained to detect the scent of low blood sugar levels and are right 90 per cent of the time, according to consultants.
Dogs are trained to lick the hand if they sense a low. When a diabetic sleeps, the dog will stand guard and get on top of the person to try and wake them is she smells a low.
If you would like more information on how your dog can be trained in this and other ways, talk to your vet or you can email me at [email protected] for advice.