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September 16, 2004

Hypoglycemia

Question from Tracy, California, USA:

Recently I heard a diabetes specialist talk about her diabetes. She said that her dog was specially trained to alert her when she is low. I have been searching for more information on this subject and have found none. Do you know where I can go to learn more about this

Answer:

Service Dogs Today, Inc. is one organization you may contact for more information on organizations who train service dogs to alert on hypoglycemia. While they do not train dogs, they do refer people in need of a service dog to organizations who can help meet their needs as well as provide small grants for such. You may acquire their contact information from their website at www.servicedogstoday.org or reach them by phone at 573-632-4202.

An organization who trains these “Hypoglycemia Alert” dogs is Heaven Scent Paws, Inc. You may acquire their contact information from their website at www.heavenscentpaws.com or reach them by phone at 573-493-2627.

If you wish to train your pet to perform such a task, please realize there is no guarantee that this will work with all dogs. In fact, quite often it won’t. Without specialized training a dog can respond unpredictably, may become confused, and may even become aggressive towards its owner.

These dogs should never be the sole tool an individual uses to “catch” low blood sugars. Rather, when used, they should be an additional tool. They are dogs, and like any other dog, they are subject to mistakes as well as requiring a lot of extra effort on the individual’s part. They are not robots and will need a lot of care and attention. They are a wonderful tool but you may want to make sure you know what you are getting into before deciding to do such.

Michele Reinkem
Mom to two kids with diabetes, both of whom use a Hypoglycemia Alert Dog