Diabetic alert dogs are highly skilled trained dogs that most of the time are able to smell and recognize the chemical changes that occur in human’s body when the levels of the insulin drop or increase. We are able to train diabetic alert dogs for children who have insulin-dependent type one diabetes. Such dogs can be of great help to children and their families. A dog will not replace a blood glucose meter or a glucose monitor, but it can provide one more layer of security for their partners and their families, who will maintain a better control over their blood sugar levels.
Dogs are known for their powerful noses and their detection abilities. Dogs who have the qualifications and somehow are talented with a strong nose are chosen to be trained to act as an extra safety net for diabetic situations.
Children who have a diabetic alert dog gain more independence as they grow older and become more mature.The Nina Service Dogs organization trains and places diabetic alert dogs to children with type 1 diabetes. If we have diabetic alert dog requests for teenagers or adults we will occasionally train and provide a service dog to those who will for all intents and purposes never be independent and function more like children. This means that the certified service dog team will consist of the service dog, the partner (adult-child with disability) obligatorily and strictly under adult control.How can a diabetic alert dog become help?
When the child‘s insulin levels drops or increases, the typical scent of his/her body will change. The service dog with the right training in scent detection, will most of the times be able to recognize and sniff body changes. Upon sensing this the dog will perform a signal to alert the parents or caretakers so that they or the child can check the blood sugar levels. Although it is not guaranteed that our diabetic alert dogs will always be able to recognize chemical changes, their ability to do so can be increased by interacting and bonding with their partners.
A diabetic alert dog will not just help children with type 1 diabetes but it will also be a companion, a special friend which helps them and provides them with comfort while visiting a doctor’s office, or hospitals for medical procedures.
Diabetic alert dogs can be also trained to retrieve, in order to retrieve and provide the person with medicines, water etc if needed.
*Note: Despite the fact that diabetic assistance dogs significantly improve the quality of life of individuals with diabetes, it is not 100% certain that the service dog will always be in a position to identify the blood sugar fluctuations. Even if this is indeed realistic, it is implied that the training of the dog will require continuous cooperation of the dog trainer, the diabetic individual and his/her doctor, throughout the duration of the training.Elena Palagka, Nina Service Dogs