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Medical Alert Dogs

  • by Bec
  • 2 min read
Image courtesy of www.assistancedogs.org.au
Image courtesy of www.assistancedogs.org.au

Dogs are not only fantastic companions and man’s best friend but some dogs have an even more important role to play. Some dogs save lives.

Medical Alert Dogs are specially trained dogs that can alert their owner to health dangers such as seizures and hypoglycemia. These amazing dogs can provide people that suffer from potentially life threatening conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes and seizure disorders with some independence by acting as an early warning system and supporting or helping them through an episode.

Diabetic alert dogs have been trained to alert owners when their blood sugar levels are becoming too low or too high. The dogs can smell when there is a chemical change occurring in the blood sugar levels. For sufferers of diabetes there are often no warning signs that  hypoglycemia is imminent. With no warning signs a person can suddenly go into a hypoglycemia and collapse and even go into a coma. This is why the dogs are so important as they can alert the owner that this may be about to happen and they can take action to prevent it.

Seizure Alert Dogs & Epilepsy Alert Dogs are highly sensitive to human body language and trained to recognise, respond and even help a person with a seizure disorder. In some cases they are able to alert the person that a seizure is imminent which allows the person to get into a safe location.

These Medical Alert Dogs are so talented that not only do they alert the person to an imminent health risk but they can also;
* summon help
* retrieve medication
* roll a person into the recovery position
* move furniture or objects out of the way
* rouse an unconscious person
* retrieve a phone
* use the phone to dial for help
* use a medical alert device to alert help

Most importantly though the dogs provide the person with companionship and a friend. The dogs provide the handler and their families with a sense of a “back up” system, as there is someone else watching over them and helping them to manage the illness.

Here in Australia there are not many of these Medical Alert Dogs but numbers are growing with many more dogs being trained and homed. For more information on Medical Alert Dogs and Animal Assisted Therapies in Australia please visit Assistance Dogs Australia (ADA), Aussie Angels Assistance Dogs (AAAD) or The Australian Network for the Development of Animal Assisted Therapies (ANDAAT).

Until next time,
Bec

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