Diabetic Alert Dogs an Increasingly Popular Line of Defense in Managing Diabetes
A recent article in the New Yorker examined the incredible advancements humans have made in training dogs for all sorts of public safety or military measures. In the article, we learn how dogs are being deployed in Afghanistan to sniff out improvised explosive devices and how New York City policemen use them to catch would-be criminals or terrorists in subways and on the streets.
Now comes another encouraging development for individuals living with diabetes: diabetic alert dogs.
These dogs can, quite literally, smell if a diabetic’s blood sugars are low. More incredibly, the dogs can sense changes in blood sugars from as far away as five miles – or an hour or so before a meter detects it.
To say a dog’s sense of smell is amazing is an understatement: while the average human has five-million scent receptors, a dog has close to a quarter-million. As a result, when a diabetic’s blood sugars rise, they release a chemical that only dogs can detect. When this occurs, the dog is trained to paw at the owner to alert them to take insulin.