Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Diabetic Alert Dogs - Fact or Fiction?

>> Monday, July 14, 2014

Some dog-owning diabetics have reported that their dogs alert them to the fact that they are having a low blood sugar.  As such, there are a number of organizations out there that train dogs specifically to alert their owners to a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) event.  So, does having a hypoglycemia alert dog actually work?

A recent study evaluated seventeen diabetics (age 5-66) who acquired trained hypo alert dogs.  Though the accuracy of the dog alerting the individual of a low blood sugar was variable, all 17 people reported reduced paramedic calls, decreased unconscious episodes, and an increase in independence compared to before they had the dog.  Pretty impressive!

People who have diabetes and require insulin, or are taking a type of diabetes medication called sulfonylureas, are at risk of low blood sugars.  Having a low blood sugar can be a very unpleasant feeling, and can be downright dangerous, as both the heart and the brain depend on sugar to function.  Older people with diabetes, people who have had diabetes for a decade or more, and people who have frequent low blood sugars, may not feel their low blood sugars.  Not feeling a low makes it even more dangerous, as people who not aware that they are low don't recognize the need to take steps to bring their sugars back up.  It is for these people that a hypo alert dog may be of particular benefit.

How could a dog know that a person is having a low blood sugar?  When a person is having a low blood sugar and doesn't know it, they may show symptoms of decreased blood sugar to the brain - for example, confusion, or a change in behavior.  The dog may be noticing and responding to this.  It has been suggested that there may be a scent released by the person with the low blood sugar that the dog may pick up, but this has not been proven.

Interestingly, even untrained dogs have been shown often to attract their owners' attention when the owner is having a low - to my knowledge, there is no research to study directly how a trained dog performs compared to an untrained dog.

Perhaps another reason to call a dog a wo/man's best friend!

PS thanks to Erin for the inspiration for this blog. :)

@drsuepedersen © 2014


Gingerbread Momma July 14, 2014 at 9:29 PM  

I would be concerned that limiting grains limits the nutritional breadth / content of the diet too much. the focus of a sound diet should be making choices from all food groups - unfortunately what people define as food is not always correct. I tell my patients that if it looks like something they could find on the farm, in a field , on a fruit tree - it's a good choice. Of course balance is key. You can follow the food guide and make awesome choices or choose a lot of processed refined "food". I think processed food should not be called food but something else - like "food substitute". Anyway, just my thoughts.

Gingerbread Momma July 14, 2014 at 9:29 PM  

I love this idea; even looked into it for some of my patients!


I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

  © Blogger templates Palm by 2008

Back to TOP