Diabetic Service Dogs

I am curious about the service dogs that detect low blood sugars. I have a friend who is very excited about getting one for her son, but I know I just read something controversial about their ability to actually pick up lows. I can not remember where i read the information so I am curious if anyone out there has any experience or thoughts on it. Thank, Nancy

Nancy, here’s a link to check out: www.heavenscentpaws.com Tells the story and what led to the use by this family of a diabetic alert dog. Very interesting!

I ahve been checking it out for several months. Here is what I found:

  1. Heaven scent paws is currently under investigation by the MO attorney General for contract and consumer fraud. It is expected the investigation should be concluded soon. Contracting with them shuold likely wait untl after the MO AG investigation is complete.

  2. I found a trainer in KY who does work with diabetic service dogs and this issue. They use clothing for training, When one has a low they ask that you send the socks you were wearing during the low. I understand they try to get the dog to smell the glucose on them. It is really interesting. The trainer does not grantee the dog will react correctly. One important thing to remember there are no standards for this training. So you are really on your own and need to understand if it doe snto work, you have a very expensive well behaved dog.

  3. A new trend and one i really embrace, is to purchase hearing service dog. These dogs can be trained to react to CGM alerts. i am currently evaluating the CGM to make sure it is working pretty well before i pursue this idea. Like ly diabetics my issue is sleeping. I do not wake up, so I can no longer travel by myself. If the CGM works and a dog is trained to respond, it may free me to be travel again. Several trainers are certified as hearing dog trainers and the training is relatively straight forward.

Rick Phillips

I took care of a patient in the hospital who has a female yorkie who senses her low blood glucose levels. She trains the puppies to do the same. This patient uses towels that she wipes her face with during a low and gives the dogs treats when they show any kind of reaction, especially to lick her face or jump up on her lap if sitting or chest if laying down. When I told my husband about them, he wanted me to have one. She sold me a little 9 month old male Yorkie who had been a seizure alert dog for a young man who didn’t like him. The man’s mother thought he would hurt this tiny dog so gave him back to my patient. He did indeed sense my lows so I started training him through an organization in Tucson who helps people train thier own service dogs. He did a great job. Unfortunately, I was not consistent. Everytime he performed a task for him, he recieved a treat. Everytime he sensed my low BG, I got the treat. You know what it is like to be low…we don’t always think clearly and I forgot to reward him for doing what I wanted him to do so he has become inconsistent. His sister, however works for a little 7 year old girl and consistently wakes her parents when she has low blood glucose levels. Sometimes, just figuring out what a dog is trying to tell you is all you need. Some dogs just sense lows instinctively without any training and others never will even with training.

Thank you so much for all of the info. THe info from Rick Phillips was what I remembered reading but have
no clue where I read it. I am glad someone’s ability to recall is better than my own!!! It is so interesting to hear about the hearing dogs as possible diabetic alert dogs with the monitors. I will pass all of this on to my friend. Thanks for
the quick responses!!! Nancy

I have a son who is 14 and doesn’t feel lows either. I have walked in twice to take his blood sugar in the middle of the night and he’s been in the middle of a seizure. I know wake every 1 1/2 - 2 hours to take his blood sugar since he is active and plays soccer four nights a week and does have delayed drops in his blood sugar numbers. We tried the continuous glucose monitor however it’s alarm and vibration doesn’t wake him when he’s low. We met someone in Florida that has a service dog and he loves it. I’m thinking it may allow me to sleep through the night but I would like to talk to others who have a dog and how it affects their family and lives. I have three other children.
Thanks, Lisa Lander

Thank - perhaps I will find another family or two that I can chat with about their dog and how it’s changed their life. I would like Richard to be able to chat with a few others who have a dog to see how they like it. Liz Norris did say she had a dog that would be great for us so I asked for a few contact names. Just waiting for them. Love this site…thanks so much for introducing me to it.

Would love to chat with anyone that has a service dog and how it has affected them and their families.

Here is the url for a blog by a woman who has a service dog. http://damdiabetes.blogspot.com/

Lisa this site provides some back and forth on HSP and another program in N CA.





rick phillips