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How Do Dogs Help With Diabetes?

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What do service dogs do? Service dogs can be trained to carry out a variety of tasks to make life easier for persons with a disability or persons who are suffering from a condition so that they are able to carry out their daily activities like everyone else. Among other things, service dogs can be trained as: Autism Assistance Dogs – these dogs give persons on the autistic spectrum support and provide them with confidence and a sense of independence. Diabetic Alert Dogs – these dogs alert a diabetic person when their blood sugar level is reaching dangerously high or low levels. Hearing Dogs - these dogs alert a person with hearing difficulties when there is something that needs their immediate attention such as a knock on the door, a smoke alarm or a baby crying. Mobility Assistance Dogs – among other things, these dogs are trained to pick up or carry objects and open and close drawers and doors for people who have mobility issues or are wheelchair-bound. Seizure Alert Dogs – these dogs alert a person who is prone to seizures that an episode is imminent so that the person can lie down or take other precautions such as stop driving. Therapy Dogs – these dogs provide comfort and a sense of peace and security for people with mental health conditions. There are as many types of service dogs as there are conditions which can be eased by training a dog to perform a task! For the time being we are focusing on training Autism Assistance Dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs and Therapy Dogs with a special emphasis on training dogs to work with children. If you think you or a member of your family would benefit from the services of an Autism Assistance or Diabetic Alert Dog you may contact us to obtain a relevant application form. The Service Dogs are given to the persons who need Continue reading >>

Service Dogs That Can Monitor Their Owners’ Diabetes

Service Dogs That Can Monitor Their Owners’ Diabetes

Hypoglycemia unawareness is a common — and dangerous — condition that can develop in those with type 1 diabetes. This condition means you don’t experience the symptoms most people do when their blood sugar gets too low. Normal symptoms of low blood sugar include sweating, shaking, or confusion. At very low levels, you may experience seizures, or go into a coma if your blood sugar is too low for too long. One of the solutions for this condition is man’s best friend: a diabetes service dog. Dogs have a naturally heightened sense of smell that makes them excellent hunters. Professional trainers have learned to harness these skills by training dogs to recognize certain smells. These could include the fruity smelling ketones a person’s body produces when they are experiencing a hyperglycemic episode when blood sugar is too high, or the unique scent a person gives off during a hypoglycemic episode when blood sugar is too low. A diabetes service dog isn’t a replacement for checking blood sugar levels. However, it is a safeguard for those who experience episodes low or high blood sugar, especially if they do not have warning symptoms. There are several service dog-training programs across the country. Examples include the National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs (NIDAD) and Diabetic Alert Dog University. These organizations train a dog to recognize the difference between certain scents. This includes the scent a person releases when their blood sugar is high or low. According to Dogs 4 Diabetics, there are two different levels of service dogs for people with diabetes. Medical response dogs for diabetes are trained to respond to signs that an owner may be experiencing low blood sugar levels, once they have become symptomatic. A diabetic alert dog, on the other hand Continue reading >>

Guide: Training A Diabetes Alert Dog

Guide: Training A Diabetes Alert Dog

Have you ever wondered what it takes to teach your dog to sense your oncoming low blood sugars and actually alert you to them? I’ve spent a great deal of time with a friend whose dog, Becca, does exactly this for her diabetes, and it is impressive every time. But unless you’re fortunate enough to get involved with a charity that trains diabetes alert dogs, or you can afford the pretty penny it costs to have your dog trained by a professional, it’s not easy to simply teach your own dog how to be a “Diabetes Alert Dog.” Veronica Zimmerman recently published the most comprehensive guide for training your dog to be your best friend in diabetes management, titled, DOG – A Diabetic’s Best Friend Training Guide. Having lived with type 1 diabetes since she was a child, Veronica has developed her own training program and dog-training business centered around hypoglycemia awareness dogs, called “Veronica’s Cloud-9 K9.” This book provides its readers with knowledge on: How to choose the right dog for the job How to assess the temperament How to train the basic obedience training needed to pass the American Kennel Club’s, Canine Good Citizen test How to train for hypoglycemic / hyperglycemic alerts How to collect and store hypoglycemic / hyperglycemic samples How to do the scent training How to train your dog to alert at night What handlers must know in regard to the American Disability Act regulations As a proud dog-lover myself, I’ve often wondered if my very attentive and rather intuitive goldendoodle would have made a great diabetes alert dog, had I taken the time to have him trained (or trained him myself). One of the first paragraphs I found intriguing in Zimmerman’s book was when she explained how not every dog is meant to be an alert dog: “I just Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dogs

Diabetic Alert Dogs

If you are serious about managing your or your child's blood glucose levels, you know it is a constant challenge. The payoff for your ongoing work with your D.A.D. is that it can give you peace of mind and help you lead a more confident, independent life through better management of your diabetes! Our Diabetic Alert Dogs (D.A.D.'s) are specifically trained to detect and alert to the changing blood sugar levels (highs and lows) in Type 1 diabetics. We start our puppies with basic D.A.D. training at a very young age. Over an approximately 16-24 month period, they must pass high standards of behavior, health, obedience and skills training. They are exposed to a wide ranging variety of circumstances, people, animals, and places to help give them the confidence and self assurance they need to perform with distractions and to be good canine companions for a diabetic. PawPADs strives to maintain strong continuing working relationships with our clients to ensure the dog's long term success. After you are selected, we provide the support and training for you to have the highest possible chance of success with your D.A.D. Continue reading >>

Welcome To Scent Angels, Llc

Welcome To Scent Angels, Llc

Making a difference in the quality of a Diabetic's life, one Service Dog at a time. Have you heard of dogs that can sense when blood sugars are dropping to an unsafe level? They are called Hypoglycemic Alert Dogs / Diabetic Alert Dogs (D.A.Ds) and are enhancing lives every day! ....a D.A.D is a living assistive device to help T1, T2 or Hypoglycemic persons suffering from the inability to feel blood sugar dropping to the dangerous levels that cause unconsciousness. Relatively new to the world of service companions, protected by the Federal government, they are here to help until there is a cure.... While most Diabetics feel symptoms of blood sugar approaching a dangerous level, some do not which is called "Hypoglycemic Unawareness" and some suffer crazy fast blood sugar drops called "Brittle". These people need help recognizing the approach of severe low blood sugars to reclaim independence. CGMs are one option (that does not work for everyone), a properly trained Diabetic Alert Dog (D.A.D) is another option. Because of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), these service dogs are able to accompany their Diabetic at all times to “alert” when blood sugars may be moving in a direction that could cause serious harm. These dogs are providing a great sense of relief to people with diabetes. When a Diabetic's level of sugar (glucose) in their blood drops too low, the situation can quickly become a medical emergency. This serious health threat and adds psychological baggage to every day. Diabetics do complicated mathematical equations before eating anything, going anywhere, doing anything and yet still can suffer from unexpected low blood sugars! Most Diabetics feel blood sugar changes, BUT Some Type 1 Diabetics, some Type 2 Diabetics and some Hypoglycemics DO N Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dogs And Your Breath

Diabetic Alert Dogs And Your Breath

A recent study from the University of Cambridge may have pinpointed one of the chemicals diabetic alert dogs smell when they detect low blood glucose. Earlier this summer, we wrote about Diabetic Alert Dogs (DAD) and the ways in which they can help monitor and alert people with Type 1 Diabetes to dangerously high and low blood glucose levels. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell and a much more sophisticated olfactory system than humans, including an extra smell-related organ. Their keen ability to detect odors and to hone in on specific scents makes it possible for dogs to be scent trained to perform certain tasks. In the case of a DAD, scent training is related to biochemical changes in the body that relate to high and low blood glucose levels. Scent-training requires rigorous, consistent, and ongoing training, but exactly "what" these dogs are detecting that marks low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) has remained a bit of a mystery. New UK Study Focuses on Breath A recent study from the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge may have pinpointed at least one of the scent markers DADs detect during hypoglycemia. In a controlled study, researchers "hypothesized that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath might change at low glucose." Focused on VOCs, the study identified naturally-occurring chemicals that appear on the breath (including acetone, methyl nitrate, ethanol, ethyl benzene, propane, and isoprene) and measures the levels of those chemicals at varying blood glucose levels. What researchers discovered was that the levels of isoprene in exhaled breath almost doubled when blood glucose was low. Other VOCs measured in the study did not show change correlated with blood glucose. Isoprene is a chemical that hum Continue reading >>

Diabetic Seizures In Dogs

Diabetic Seizures In Dogs

Seeing your dog have a seizure can be pretty scary, especially the first time this happens. If the seizure is caused by diabetes complications, the good news is that future seizures can be prevented by controlling the dog's diabetes. Why Seizures Happen Any seizure—in a dog or a human—is caused by a kind of electrical storm in the brain. If a dog has diabetes, her body doesn't produce the right amount of insulin for control of blood sugar levels. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, and diabetes can be caused by too much or too little. Very low blood sugar levels can interrupt the normal functioning of the brain, leading to a diabetic seizure. Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia Problems relating to diabetes in dogs usually stem from a state of either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. A hypoglycemic dog has very low blood sugar and may experience a seizure as a result. In diabetic dogs, hypoglycemia commonly occurs when an insulin dose is given without sufficient food for the dog's body to utilize the insulin properly. The opposite diabetic state, hyperglycemia, occurs when the dog's blood sugar levels are extremely high. Although hyperglycemia does not typically cause seizures, this is a serious state in which the dog may become depressed, weak and anorexic. Hyperglycemia can cause a dog to become comatose. Seizure Prevention If your dog is diabetic, seizure prevention primarily involves preventing a state of hypoglycemia. Use insulin that is formulated specifically for dogs—Novolin, Vetsulin and Caninsulin are some of the most commonly used forms of canine insulin. Monitor your dog's blood glucose regularly to make sure the insulin dosage is correct and having the desired effect. Monitor your dog's feeding and exercise patterns, if possible with a regular daily schedule Continue reading >>

Dogs Detect Diabetes. Do They Smell This Chemical?

Dogs Detect Diabetes. Do They Smell This Chemical?

Dogs have an uncanny ability to detect changes in human physiology, and can even draw attention to diseases like cancer. As our canine companions have a powerful sense of smell, it's thought this is achieved through the nose. One thing dogs seem to smell is an abnormal drop in blood sugar level, which occurs in people with type I diabetes. Low blood glucose -- hypoglycaemia or 'hypo' -- can occur suddenly and cause symptoms such as fatigue, which might lead to seizures and unconsciousness if left untreated. As a consequence, charities like Medical Detection Dogs train animals to act as 'medical alert assistance dogs' that tell owners when they're at risk of a hypo. But precisely what dogs detect has long been unknown. Now researchers at Cambridge University have found that a fall in blood glucose coincides with a rise in 'isoprene' -- a natural chemical we release while breathing. The new study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, involved using insulin to gradually lower blood sugar level under controlled conditions, then used mass spectrometry to measure the concentration of molecules in exhaled breath. This preliminary analysis was done with eight diabetic women (average age 46). The results show that levels of isoprene spiked during hypoglycaemia, and would almost double in some patients. Isoprene is common in our breath, but it's unclear how the chemical is produced or why levels rose (one possibility is that it's a by-product of reactions that make cholesterol). There was no significant rise in other volatile organic compounds such as acetone, ethanol and propane. The small study has prompted inaccurate headlines like 'We Finally Know How Dogs Sniff Out Diabetes'. But the research only shows that isoprene rises during a hypo -- it doesn't prove that dogs detec Continue reading >>

How Do Dogs Sense Human Emotions?

How Do Dogs Sense Human Emotions?

Jen deHaan does a great job bringing some recent studies. Here are three stories from my 20 years of experience with dogs about them detecting human emotions. Freakout has a smell My dogs loved my mom and would exuberantly greet her whenever she was at my home. (I remember reading a study that dogs could detect genetic similarity in humans - I'm guessing they knew she was a pack member). I've written elsewhere that my mother had a condition that made it difficult for her to moderate her emotions. So one afternoon she and I were out to lunch and she became enraged at the waitress. Even after we left the restaurant, she continued to rage uncontrollably in my car and didn't calm down until we were at my house. Mom (now quiet) was standing in my living room facing the front window and I went to the back door to let my dogs in. My german shepherd, China, saw her and bounced over to greet her. When the dog was about three feet from my mother's back, China stopped in her tracks like she had hit a wall, backed up and retreated to my bedroom (where she hid during thunderstorms). One of my brothers said he could "smell" when mom was going to go off, and I believe China was reacting the cloud of pheromones he described. My dog used my "emotional" gestures to self-medicate for anxiety Thunderstorms are not common in Southern California, but if you live next to Camp Pendleton, explosions can be a weekly event. While my malamute was blasé about the booming, Buni-Raku - a Tibetan Mastiff, would have full scale panic attacks. In a search to comfort her I spoke with a dog trainer who suggested we humans elaborately yawn when the bombing would start. It worked like a charm. The malamute would join us - big, long, jaw stretches as he looked purposefully at the cowering mastiff. It worked Continue reading >>

How Can We Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Without Taking Medicines And Insulin?

How Can We Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Without Taking Medicines And Insulin?

The good news is that type 2 diabetes is a highly preventable disease. Well-conducted scientific studies (Diabetes Prevention Program, Da Qing study) have shown that lifestyle modification leading to weight loss can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes, by up to 58%. And if you’re already living with diabetes, don’t fret! Let me share with you my 3 simple secrets to a good healthy life, that doesn’t involve medications or insulin. This is what i’ve distilled from my years of clinical experience dealing with patients with diabetes. If you do this, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of nasty complications. Actually, it isn’t really a secret because all of you know this already ;) Eating right Moving More Monitoring Regularly Eating Right There is no special diet for diabetes! You can still enjoy all of the food you like…BUT (with a big but). Everyone with diabetes is different. Do a blood sugar check before eating and 2 hours after your meals. Over time, you’ll learn which foods work well for you and which ones are more challenging. And you’ll be able to make the right changes that work for you. Moving More Increasing your exercise levels means that you are using your muscles more often and in doing so your sensitivity to insulin will increase. This will make it easier for your body to use insulin and to remove excess glucose from your bloodstream. You will see this reflected in lower blood glucose levels after physical activity. And when I say exercise, I don’t mean you need to do the kind of exercise that makes you pant like a dog - even simple things like brisk walking for 20 - 30 minutes on alternate days, or taking the stairs instead of the lift, help. If you don’t believe me - try it yourself. Find one good day - test your b Continue reading >>

How Can I Limit My Dog’s Chances Of Getting Diabetes?

How Can I Limit My Dog’s Chances Of Getting Diabetes?

Dog Diabetes What causes diabetes in dogs? What should you do if your dog has diabetes? Understanding this complex disease will help you get a head start on limiting your dog’s chances of getting it. Understanding Dog Diabetes Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin, the hormone that regulates how sugar is absorbed and used by cells and tissues in the body. It most often afflicts dogs between the ages of 5 and 7, and female dogs are more susceptible to it than males. Know the Symptoms of Diabetes Every dog is unique, and no one knows your dog better than you do. Keep an eye out for irregularities in your dog’s behavior if you suspect he may be at risk for diabetes. Watch for: Sudden extreme thirst. A frequent and urgent need to urinate. Notable exhaustion and lower than normal activity. Obesity. Consult Your Veterinarian Have your veterinarian give your dog a thorough examination to determine whether or not he has diabetes, prediabetic symptoms, or a disposition for diabetes. Your vet can help you form a diet and exercise plan to maintain and improve your dog’s health, as well. While there is no sure cure for diabetes, hopefully some of the information in this article can help you better understand it. Continue reading >>

Diabetes In Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Diabetes In Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Chances are you’ve known someone who has diabetes. So you know it takes a lot of work to manage the disease. There’s the regular glucose testing and always being prepared for unexpected shifts in blood sugar levels. At the same time, diabetes is a manageable condition and those who develop it usually carry on normal lives once their condition is under control. But when we think of diabetes, we usually don’t think about our canine companions. Just like people, our pups can become diabetic too. And like diabetic people, diabetic dogs can live normal lives with proper care and treatment. Overview of Dog Diabetes When it comes to dog diabetes, there are similarities between pooches and pet parents. Dog diabetes can be classified as either Type I or Type II. Dogs most frequently develop Type I, which means their pancreas is not producing insulin. Diabetes Type II, which is actually more common in cats, means your pet is not correctly processing the insulin that is being produced. With either diagnosis, your dog’s blood sugar will rise and cause an excessive amount of glucose in the blood. While there’s no cure for dog diabetes, once the symptoms are identified and treatment is outlined, there’s a good chance your dog will lead a relatively normal life. Common Dog Diabetes Symptoms Diabetes is most commonly seen in middle–aged and older dogs, but it’s not unheard of in younger dogs. If you see any of the following behaviors in your doggy, young or old, get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances are that your dog will enjoy a healthy life. So what are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs? Change in appetite Weight loss Excessive thirst Increased urination Urinary tract infections Cloudy eyes Lethargy Dehydratio Continue reading >>

Diabetes Research Helps People And Dogs

Diabetes Research Helps People And Dogs

As the owner of a beagle, I know they can eat until they vomit, and then some. Thus, because of their enthusiastic vigor for eating, they can be prone to obesity. Aside from the strain the extra weight puts on their joints, it also renders them susceptible to a disease we normally associate with humans – diabetes. The typical diabetic dog is overweight, female, and middle aged. However, strides in research using dogs as models have benefitted both Fido and his owner. Type 2 diabetes is more common in the human population and occurs when the body can no longer use insulin properly. Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, helps the body absorb sugar, store excess sugar, and lower blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance occurs when insulin is produced, but not used. On the other hand, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreatic cells that normally produce insulin are unable to do so. Insulin therapy is always needed for this type. About 5 percent of people with diabetes are affected by type 1, and it is very similar to the type of diabetes dogs develop. Dogs’ Contributions to Advancements in Diabetes Research Diabetes has been described in medical literature since 1500 BCE, but it was not until 1889 that Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering were able to demonstrate that removing the pancreas of a dog resulted in developing diabetes. An effective treatment, however, was not devised until 1921. Before that, diabetes was considered fatal. The only treatment was to keep sugar intake to a minimum. A Canadian surgeon, Frederick Banting, and his assistant, Charles Best, found that injecting pancreatic cell extracts in dogs with induced diabetes could relieve diabetic symptoms. The extracts contained insulin. Later, Banting and a biochemist, Bertram Coll Continue reading >>

Training Service Dogs For Diabetics

Training Service Dogs For Diabetics

Not every dog possesses the qualities necessary for success as a service animal for diabetics. The rigorous training programs used to prepare canines for this lifesaving work identify and prepare dogs that will aptly fill the role of alerting diabetics when medical attention is needed. Best Breeds Dogs from the Labrador and golden retriever breeds are most commonly found working as service animals, according to the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners. It's because those breeds are characterized by an overwhelming desire to seek out, develop and maintain strong bonds with human companions. This is a huge plus for a dog destined to have a diabetic person depend on his willingness to focus on the relationship with a human. Other dog breeds showing some promise to work as assistance dogs include Samoyeds and two types of collies -- the smooth coated and the rough coated. German and Australian shepherd dogs also have some potential due to their strong herd mentality, but they must not be prone to nipping when trying to alert diabetics. Scent Training When a diabetic experiences a drop in blood insulin levels, a specific scent is released through the biochemical changes in their body that is easily detected by a dog's keen sense of smell. This is particularly true of Labradors, which have more than 200,000 specific smell sensors that detect scent elements in parts per trillion, according to the Dogs4Diabetics website. Dogs training to assist diabetics are exposed to the scent on the breath of someone experiencing changes in their blood insulin. The dogs are then taught to react to that scent by first staring at the person and then jumping on them gently if the first tactic does not engage the diabetic individual. Another way dogs are trained to alert is by gr Continue reading >>

Type You Support Group

Type You Support Group

Frequently asked questions about Medical Assistance & Diabetic Alert Dogs What is a Service dog and why does it have special rights for access? Service dogs are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities – such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides public access rights for these dogs and their disabled handlers. What is the difference between a Medical Assistance Dog, a Diabetic Alert Assistance Dog and a Medical Response Dog? Medical Assistance Dogs are service dogs that have been trained to respond to an identifiable element that is available to their senses in order to support the medical condition of their handler. Diabetic Alert Assistance Dogs are a specific type of Medical Assistance Dog that has been trained to use their highly sensitive scent capabilities to identify the changes in blood chemistry that occur during rapid changes in blood sugar levels. Medical Response Dogs are another type of Medical Assistance Dog that has been trained to assist persons based on recognition of symptoms pertaining to a specific medical condition. The differences between medical alert and medical response training is the trigger that the dog has been trained to identify. In the case of a Diabetic Alert Dog, the trigger is the change in blood chemistry, allowing the diabetic to treat hypoglycemia prior to becoming symptomatic. A Medical Response Dog for diabetes responds to the handler as symptoms are occurring. D4D’s testing and experience with its clients has shown that there is a 15 to 30 minute difference in this response. How can the dog notify its handler when it se Continue reading >>

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