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How To Get A Free Diabetic Service Dog

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Are Diabetes Alert Dogs Reliable

Diabetic Alert Dog Training Video – Service Dog Certification Scams – Seizure Epilepsy Alert

Specifically, people always wonder about the reliability of these dogs versus using a continuous glucose monitor .

Through a partnership with Eli Lilly and other scientists, it was the work of Dr. Hardin that led to the first groundbreaking small 2015 study with dogs that diabetes service dogs can, in fact, successfully alert to hypoglycemia.

Hardin believes the dogs are better than a CGM in part because the dogs can be persistent in alerting versus a device that might go unheard or be inaccurate.

Yet, not all studies have produced positive evidence that service dogs are adequate for alerting to diabetes emergencies.

For every paper that says it works, theres another that says it doesnt, Hardin tells DiabetesMine. She notes that the studies are inconsistent because methods often cant be duplicated, or because of unclear training or how the researchers classify a successful alert.

Often, what you get from the research is more of an anecdotal statement, she says.

One small 2017 study indicated that the dogs do have a higher rate of false-positive alerts for low blood sugar. But in the context of that research, dog trainer Becky Causey, tells Endocrine Today that dogs may provide a safety net to their owners just by having a sense for other important variables.

For her part, trainer McNeight says, If you had asked me this question 10 years ago, I wouldve said CGMs are crap compared to an alert dog. But now, she says, CGM technology has improved immensely.

Hypo Hounds Is A Diabetic Alert Assistance Dog Charity

Hypo Hounds train dogs to detect and alert to the dangerous changes their Type 1 Diabetic owners blood sugars.

These are known as hypos and result from low blood sugar levels.

Diabetic alert dogs can also be trained to detect potential episodes of hyperglycaemia when blood sugar levels are too high.

Hypo Hounds services are focused on children, enabling them to gain independence and freedom.

We are able to help adults if they have a clinical need.

If It Is Determined That I Am Eligible For A Service Dog What Benefits Does Va Provide For My Service Dog

VA will pay for veterinary care and the equipment required for optimal use of the dog. Veterinary care includes prescribed medications, office visits for medical procedures, and dental procedures where the dog is sedated . Vaccinations should be current when the dog is provided to the Veteran through an accredited agency. Subsequent vaccinations will be covered by VA. Prescribed food will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Veterinary care does not include over-the-counter medications, food, treats, and non-sedated dental care. Grooming, boarding, and other routine expenses are not covered.

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How Do Service Dogs Provide Emotional Support Why Is This Important

The majority of diabetes service dogs are also trained with emotional support and wellness skills. This means that in addition to helping people manage their blood sugar, these dogs can also help improve their owners mental and emotional wellbeing. This is especially important for people with diabetes because of the stress that often comes with long-term management of a chronic condition learn about diabetes distress and how to reduce it here. People with diabetes are also two to three times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than the general population, according to the CDC.

Ruefenacht is keenly aware of the relationship between diabetes and mental health, and he has worked to address this through his diabetes service dog training programs. Ruefenacht says his clients appreciate the diabetes management component of the service dog training, but they value the companionship and emotional support more. Like most other dogs, diabetes service dogs are companions and become part of the owners family. Many owners appreciate the stress-relieving experience of walking, playing, or just being with a dog, which can be incredibly helpful for people with diabetes. Denton says Troy understands not only my need to have normal glucose levels but also my need for comfort and companionship when my diabetes gets me down. Dogs can also be trained to cater to specific mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

How Do I Train My Dog To Check My Blood Sugar

How To Get A Free Diabetic Service Dog

Teach the signal on command, associate the signal with location of a low blood sugar sample, then remove the command so the alert is performed in response to the scent of low blood sugar sample. Chase and I are currently in the beginning stages of training our dog and so far she has done extremely well.

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The Challenges Of Having A Service Dog

Just like with any relationship, its vital to form a good connection with your diabetic alert dog so they can perform at their very best. And like any dog, a diabetic alert dog needs to feel loved and cared for to have a good quality of life themselves.

Diabetic alert dogs require feeding, exercising, bathing, and regular visits to the vet just like any other dog. Having a diabetic alert dog can also be costly too, especially if youre unable to receive a service dog from insurance coverage, making you responsible for significant costs in getting the dog.

How To Get A Diabetic Alert Dog For Free

There is no surefire way to get a diabetic alert dog for free, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances. First, contact local service dog organizations and ask if they have any diabetic alert dogs in need of homes. You can also check online classifieds websites and forums where people often give away or sell their service dogs. If youre lucky, you may find someone who is willing to donate their diabetic alert dog to you. However, be prepared to cover

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the necessary tools and materials needed to get a diabetic alert dog for free may vary depending on the specific organization you work with. However, some general items you may need include: a valid ID, proof of diabetes, proof of income, and/or a recent utility bill.

  • Wait for the dog to be deliveredtrain with the dog to get used to each other
  • Apply for a diabetic alert dog through one of the programs
  • Research available assistance programs

There are a few things to consider when trying to get a diabetic alert dog for free. The first is that not all organizations offer free dogs, so it is important to do some research. Additionally, there are a few things that need to be considered before bringing home a new dog, such as whether or not you have the time and resources to care for another animal. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that not all diabetic alert dogs are created equal some dogs may be better

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Does Insurance Pay For Diabetic Alert Dogs

Few health insurance companies cover the costs of diabetes alert dogs, because their effectiveness has not been proven in scientific studies. Harris hopes that the research D4D is doing will change that. D4D does not charge for the dogs it places, but it does charge an application and service fee of about $150.

Are Diabetic Service Dogs Reliable

How to get a DIABETIC ALERT DOG. Step by step process. CYCLE TRAINING

âSeveral scientific studies have found that diabetic service dogs are successful in alerting more often when their owner has low blood sugar than when their blood sugar level is normal.â

Other researchers found that diabetic alert dogs varied greatly in how accurately they detected blood sugar changes, with many dogs performing no better than they would have by chance.

A 2016 study showed that diabetic alert dogs often detected hypoglycemia in their owners when those people had no symptoms and would not have otherwise known that their blood sugar was low. But the dogs were much less accurate than a continuous glucose monitor, a wearable device that checks your blood sugar throughout the day.

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What Is The Cost

The exact cost will depend on the particular organization and training program selected. But on average an investment in a Diabetic Alert Dog can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000. There are non-profits that grant dogs for free and only require that you pay for your training with the dog. Dogs 4 Diabetics out of Concord, California, provides diabetic alert dogs and training for free if you qualify.

Read Dog Talk with Early Alert Canines to learn more on average training fees.

Are Diabetic Service Dogs Covered By Insurance

Few health insurance companies cover the costs of diabetes alert dogs, because their effectiveness has not been proven in scientific studies. Harris hopes that the research D4D is doing will change that. D4D does not charge for the dogs it places, but it does charge an application and service fee of about $150.

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Does Insurance Cover A Diabetic Alert Dog

There is no one definitive answer to this question. Insurance policies vary greatly in what they cover, and whether or not they will pay for a diabetic alert dog can depend on a variety of factors. Typically, insurance companies will not cover the cost of a diabetic alert dog if the animal is considered a pet. However, if the dog is used as medical equipment to help monitor blood sugar levels and provide alerts to an impending hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic event, some companies may provide coverage. It is important to check with your specific insurance company to find out if they will cover the cost of a diabetic alert dog.

How Does The Dog Alert Its Owner Or Bring Help

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Diabetes alert dogs are specially trained to give their owner a specific signal if the owner is going dangerously high or low. Some signals may include:

  • Tapping the owner repeatedly with their nose
  • Pawing at the owners lap
  • Jumping up into the owners lap
  • Barking or whining
  • Alerting other family members by running to them to bring help
  • Bringing over needed objects, such as a diabetes supply bag
  • Retrieving a phone for the owner
  • Some dogs may even be trained to dial 911 on a special device to get help

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Are Diabetes Alert Dogs Effective

A dogs sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more sensitive than a humans, making them excellent service animals for all types of health needs.

Dogs have more than 225 million scent receptors in their noses , and 1/8 of the brain is devoted solely to the olfactory bulb, making dogs highly accurate when it comes to smelling.

With the proper positive reinforcement training that these dogs receive for detecting the correct scent of a low or high blood sugars, most diabetes alert dogs have a 95% success rate of deciphering whether their owners are experiencing a hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic episode, before they become dangerous.

Having an animal of any kind has been proven to help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, which is also a great thing if you live with a chronic illness, including diabetes!

Is A Diabetic Alert Dog Right For Me

First of all, lets get the bad news out of the way: a DAD cant replace your glucose meter. Instead, these dogs are meant to serve as a second line of defense against blood sugar highs and lows. If you dont experience warning symptoms along with changes in your blood glucose level, diabetic alert dogs can supplement your blood testing regimen.

Along with the costs associated with a DAD , youll also need to be willing to put time into training your dog and keeping its skills sharp. That means participating in part of its initial training, along with follow-up training sessions. Of course, youll have to be ready for the time commitment that comes with owning any dog, too that is, taking time to feed it, bathe it, make sure it gets exercise, and so on.

Diabetes alert dogs arent a one-size-fits-all solution to diabetes symptoms. If you dont regularly suffer from hypoglycemia or you can generally keep your blood sugar under control with oral meds, the benefits of having an alert dog might not be worth it. However, if youre dealing with hypoglycemia unawareness, depend on an insulin pump/injections, or often have low blood sugar levels, a DAD could definitely help.

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The Current Percentage Of Premature Deaths Attributed To Diabetes In The United States Diabetes Is The 7th Leading Cause Of Death

This is why we do what we do… Until there’s a cure, there’s a dog.

Diabetic Alert Dogs In A Nutshell

A Diabetic Alert Dog , is a dog that has been specially trained to detect dangerously low or high blood glucose events in a person. This is done through odor detection training, meaning that the dogs are able to smell these significant changes in the blood sugar of the patient.

When a dog alerts to a low blood glucose event they are detecting a rise in the chemical Isoprene. Isoprene is a common chemical found in every humans breath, but when our blood glucose level drops, our isoprene level rises. These rises become more dramatic as the glucose continues to drop. Isoprene is completely undetectable by humans, but miraculously enough dogs are able to smell it.

When a dog alerts to a high blood glucose level they are detecting high ketones in the body. Ketones also affect the breath of a human just like isoprene, and in fact cause the patient to have a fruity or sweet smelling breath. Detecting a high blood glucose event is much easier for a dog than detecting a low because of this prevalent odor that is given off in the breath.

Our “Training Cycle” Program


Ready To Apply?

How Do Diabetic Service Dogs Help People With Diabetes

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âIf you have diabetes, your body has trouble processing the food you eat and turning it into energy. This means that diabetes can cause your blood sugar levels to build up and reach dangerous levels. This is called hyperglycemia, and it can lead to serious complications, like eye diseases, kidney damage, heart attacks, and strokes.

To treat diabetes, a medicine called insulin can help keep your blood sugar levels from rising too high. But, a common side effect of insulin is hypoglycemia. This means your blood sugar level drops too low. Hypoglycemia can cause seizures and coma, so itâs important to treat it as soon as possible.â

Dizziness, confusion, and drowsiness are symptoms of both severe hyperglycemia and severe hypoglycemia. A diabetic alert dog is trained to alert you of a blood sugar drop or spike while youâre still awake enough to treat your blood sugar levels or get help.

The way a diabetic service dog tells you that you need to check your blood sugar depends on their training. Some diabetic alert dogs are trained to paw, nudge, lick, or stare at you, while others are taught to jump, bark, or whine. Some dogs have been taught to bring a blood glucose monitor to their owner.

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Learn More About Diabetes

If youre looking for additional information about how to live a fulfilling life while keeping your diabetes in check, US MED can help. Check out the Living With Diabetes section of our website for blogs, recipes, and more!

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

How Do You Get A Service Dog

You can contact a professional organization such as Assistance Dogs International, to find out more about programs in your area that may train diabetes service dogs. You may also ask your endocrinologist for recommendations for potential dog-training organizations.

You can also contact organizations that train service dogs directly. Many of them have online applications where a person who is interested in obtaining a service dog can begin to find out more. Many organizations will ask for:

  • Your medical history
  • Letter of reference, which may be personal or professional
  • Application form with information on your address, age, etc.

The selection and match process can vary based on the organization. The selection process can be extensive and often requires that a potential owner meet with a dog several times before the dog is specifically trained to recognize the owners specific scent.

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Challenges With Diabetic Service Dogs

âOne of the main reasons many people with diabetes want a diabetic alert dog is to alert them when their blood sugar drops in their sleep. But the problem with this is that dogs have to sleep, too, and their accuracy has been found to be much lower at night.â

Another challenge with diabetic alert dogs is that they typically cost between $8,000 and $20,000 initially. Although, some organizations provide free service dogs if you pay for the training, so it may be worth doing more research.

As with all animals, there are ongoing expenses to keeping a diabetic alert dog, like veterinarian bills and buying food. The dog may also need to be regularly tested by a trainer to make sure they are still able to detect changes in your blood sugar levels. This could lead to some dogs needing additional training from time to time.

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When someone with diabetes repeatedly experiences low blood sugar, their body becomes less able to recognize it. This condition, called hypoglycemia unawareness, can cause unpredictable fainting, seizures, and even comas.

The fear of a blood sugar drop shouldnt keep you from leaving home or living alone.

Adding a diabetic alert dog to your current routine can lessen the frequency of undetected lows and provide additional independence.

An assistance dog offers individuals greater freedom to improve their quality of life. They are an additional tool that can sense when blood sugar begins to decrease and alert their person to take action prior to the blood sugar reaching a dangerous level. Preempting a dangerous low can prevent serious injuries from falls and other related complications.

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