Diabetic alert dogs also known as hypoglycemic alert dogs are able to sense a dangerous drops or increases in blood glucose before it begins, allowing people to potentially prevent an episode altogether. They are primarily used with those who have type 1 diabetes since they are most at risk of hypoglycemic episodes. While scientists are still uncertain how the dogs are able to detect the changes specifically there is support that they can do it.
Some of the issues with the current state of training for these dogs is that they are extremely limited. Since there are only a handful of places that are training the dogs it is very hard to be able to be paired with one. On top of this is the overall cost to own, as they are very expensive to train thus the dogs themselves also cost quite a lot to own one.
Many people state the cost is worth it though. Especially in the cases of children many parents have been happy to pay the money for the dogs. All it takes for most of people is the first time the dog wakes you up in the middle of the night due to either one’s child or self dropping very low in blood sugar.
There are some issues with some of the non-profits as there are no industry standards. There are some non-profits that are not as true to the training as they state. Since on average the cost of training these dogs is around $20,000 many companies exist simply for the goal of creating fraudulent business activities. These companies often do not do the training themselves though asking the owner to do it or by having only part time training. Thus to avoid this it is recommended to ensure that program one is getting the dog from is one which has intensive training and the dog itself is mature. Many of the dogs from such places are excellent and do exactly what is expected of them. Those researchers that have been looking into the subject though would only ever recommend an adult dog to rely on for detection of diabetes.
One of the most trust worth associations out there is the Diabetes Alert Dog Alliance. They are working to set industry standards to ensure that no one is tricked into getting a dog that is nothing more than an expensive house pet. Their owner is also committed to the goal of ensuring that people who do get a dog from them get one that will save and protect their life from the risks of low or high blood sugar Their website Diabetes Alert Dog Alliance.
Sources: Battled Diabetes about dogs.