A week ago today was World Diabetes Day, a day for raising advocacy and awareness for this increasingly common condition. Did you know, however, that dogs are also very good at increasing awareness of diabetes?
To be specific, dogs have been proven to be able to actually smell hyper and hypoglycemia. This allows them to warn their owners when their blood sugar begins to drop before they get dangerously high or low, a skill that can be honed by training. They are able to do so by changes to the scent of their owner’s breath. These trained medical detection dogs will alert their diabetic owner by alerting them to the coming crisis and can even bring them their blood testing kit.
This special and trainable relationship has been recognised by the Canadian Diabetes Association and the first organisation to develop medical assist dogs for diabetes was started in 2008 in the UK under the patronage of the Duchess of Cornwall, the charity Medical Detection Dogs.
For additional information on how dogs can alert their owners to changes in blood sugar levels, visit medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk, and for other information on the management of diabetes, go to diabetes.ca.