Diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic attacks, both of which can be fatal to a patient's health. During such critical times, it is imperative that a diabetic gets his medications immediately. Most diabetics rely on their families to help them during such emergencies. However, it is impossible to have a family member present with you at all times. Diabetics who live on their own, often find it difficult to get help on time and may have to face serious health hazards. To all such people, diabetic alert dogs can prove to be a blessing in disguise. They can act as your constant companion, alerting you or family members whenever your glucose levels reach an unsafe value.
Diabetic Alert Dogs
Diabetic alert dogs are specially trained dogs which aid diabetics during critical situations. They can detect abnormal blood sugar levels, which are oblivious to human senses. They are also trained to act appropriately whenever they sense abnormal glucose levels in their handler's body. They respond in various ways, depending upon their individual training. Some dogs may find a human caregiver and alert him regarding the patient's health. Alternatively, some dogs may alert the handler himself. Interestingly, some dogs are even trained to fetch the medication kit of a diabetic. Thus, these dogs can prove to be a great companion for diabetes patients.
Diabetic Alert Dog Training
Diabetic alert training for dogs greatly relies on the natural instincts of a dog. Most dogs have an impeccable olfactory sense. Thus, they are capable of detecting many smells which we are not perceptive to human senses. Apart from this, dogs also have certain other abilities which help them detect changes in chemical composition in their surrounding. Although, the exact principle upon which the working of dog alerts is based, is yet unknown, it is largely attributed to the exceptional sense of smell inherent to dogs. When the sugar levels fluctuate from the normal range, the subtle chemical changes in the body and body odor are perceptive to dogs. Dogs are trained to recognize these smells and act accordingly.
Training a dog for this purpose is a long and laborious process. The training is strictly provided by professional trainers only. There are only a handful of institutes which impart diabetic alert training to dogs. There aren't any special dog breeds as such, as the trainers choose dogs as per their intelligence and other qualities such as obedience. The dog training starts at a very early age, sometimes as early as 8 to 12 weeks. Diabetic alert dog trainers expose dogs to scents that are similar to human odor during hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic conditions. The training needs to be repeated time and again. Even the owners have to train the dog on a daily basis so that he is not out of action when the time strikes. The training is of two types partial and complete. Partial training requires quite a lot of efforts on the owner's side, while complete training takes a lot of time. Partial training involves only basic scent training and obedience training. Complete training on the other hand is an elaborate one, with emphasis on corrective measures during a crisis. Most completely trained dogs can work with an accuracy of 85 - 90%, in critical situations. The dogs are trained to work in different scenarios such as home, public places, etc. Thus, they act as living medical alert devices!
Getting a diabetic alert dog is an expensive business. Besides, there is often a long waiting list of clients at the training organizations. Nonetheless, such a dog can be quite an addition to your family and greatly relieve you of stress while leaving a diabetic family member alone.