Diabetes Alert Dogs


Diabetes Alert Dogs

A group for people who own an alert dog or wants to learn about them...or just likes the idea!

Members: 337
Latest Activity: Feb 25

Diabetes Forum

diabetic alert dogs

Started by ILA. Last reply by ILA Oct 27, 2014. 2 Replies

Thinking about a DAD, Questions

Started by Nell. Last reply by ILA Oct 26, 2014. 36 Replies

travel WARNING!! us airways is EVIL

Started by vickim1970. Last reply by Regina Jan 16, 2014. 6 Replies

How to get "service dog" status for self trained DAD?

Started by Biedronk. Last reply by Gracie-n-RiverCity Nov 16, 2013. 7 Replies

Canadian Diabetic Alert Dogs

Started by 93. Last reply by baileysiera Jun 26, 2013. 8 Replies


Started by Sweetgirl. Last reply by Laura May 30, 2013. 21 Replies

DAD Discrimination

Started by Sarah Truex. Last reply by Eileen Apr 27, 2013. 13 Replies

Interview with DAD veteran, Terry O'Rourke

Started by GuitarManDave Dec 27, 2012. 0 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Richard157 on September 22, 2014 at 7:22am

I have read several owners saying their cats can do this. These people are Facebook friends. It is not likely that a cat can be trained to give an alert, but they will sometimes have the ability to do it. Maybe it is just the curious nature that cats have. One lady says her cat will jump on her lap and paw her face when she has a low.

Comment by missrobbie on September 22, 2014 at 7:11am

Can a cat detect high and low blood sugar level?????

Comment by kathy lincoln on December 30, 2013 at 5:16pm

My DAD was trained for me, but I have seen books on training a DAD yourself, one of them might be helpful to you.

Comment by kathy lincoln on December 30, 2013 at 5:11pm

Comment by PaulaO on December 30, 2013 at 2:01pm

I recently adopted/rescued an older service dog whose owner had just died. One of the things the dog was trained to do was detect blood sugar highs and lows. The dog (Whisper) was owner trained. With other Service Dog tasks, this dog is great. On basic obedience, she's iffy. But the owner did a lot of commands in German (a lot of German Shepherd owners like to do that) so it could be a language barrier. The owner also loved to use the prong collar and it could be she relied on that for basic stuff (walking Whisper on a leash is extremely difficult).

Another SD friend of mine is excited because she thinks Whisper (the dog) can now automatically help me with my diabetes. But I don't think she can.

- I don't know what her alert behaviors are.
- She doesn't know my "smells" for my highs and lows.
- I don't know what she was trained to alert to, as in is over 200 what she alerted to? Less than 70?
- While Whisper is very, very scent oriented (that's where her brain is, bless her heart), I don't think she is even interested or even knows to note changes like she did her previous owner.

Whisper is basically retired now as I have my own Service Dog (non DAD) but I do want to do thinks to keep her mind active. Is there anything I can do scent training wise? Let her smell a q-tip from my mouth when I have crashes?

Comment by Sheri on August 9, 2013 at 8:11am

Here is the newest email I received from Dr. Bill Quick regarding his feeling about DAD. I sure wish I could sit down and have a long conversation with this man!

Diabetes Alert Dogs Don’t Detect Hypoglycemic Scent
Dr. Bill QuickBy Dr. Bill Quick, Health ProThursday, August 08, 2013

I’ve written previously about my skepticism that dogs can accurately warn humans that blood sugar levels are low (Diabetes Alert Dogs Are Still an Unproven Concept). Now there’s scientific evidence, from a medical and veterinary school collaborating with DAD trainers, about whether these dogs can do what is claimed that they are able to do: reliably detect a scent that reflects hypoglycemia.

On August 24, 2012, there was a posting at Facebook from a representative of a dog-training organization as follows:

“On Saturday, I will be conducting a study with OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University) where we will investigate the dog's ability to smell the metabolic change in a diabetic's body. It is amazing to have some of the dogs I trained in a clinical research study! Send me and my dogs some good energy Saturday morning!”

There has been no followup at Facebook, nor at the organization’s website, about the outcome of the study, but the July 2013 issue of Diabetes Care describes the study and its results, in a letter titled Can Trained Dogs Detect a Hypoglycemic Scent in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes?

The authors included (among others) a veterinarian, several physicians, and trainers from a dog-training organization. The three dogs in the study had previously been trained by the organization, and the procedure used to test the dogs’ abilities “was chosen because the dog-training organization affiliated with one of the authors used this method to train dogs to respond to hypoglycemia in their human companions. The three adult dogs used in this study had been trained to respond to hypoglycemia by pressing a bell after sniffing the open-capped container with the hypoglycemic swab. Each of these dogs had been placed in the home of a person with T1D. The owners and trainer believed that the dogs chosen for this study were consistently able to detect hypoglycemia in the home.”

The results must have been very disappointing to both the dogs’ owners and their trainers: the dogs were unable to identify hypoglycemia using the method that the organization had depended upon. The percent of the time that the three dogs could detect low or normal blood glucoses ranged from 50 to 58.3%. Of the 24 samples presented to the dogs (12 were between 47 and 59 mg/dL, and 12 between 101 and 130mg/dL), only two hypoglycemic samples were detected by all three dogs. One normal sample (112mg/dL) caused all three dogs to alert. Several “normal” samples was alerted by two of the three dogs, and several hypoglycemic samples were not detected by two of the three. And these were dogs that both the owners and trainer believed were “consistently able to detect hypoglycemia in the home.”

Despite these clearly negative results, the organization’s website continues to claim that their dogs can detect both low and high blood sugar levels: they “are trained using positive reinforcement to detect the chemical change a person’s body goes through when experiencing a high or a low blood sugar level. It is not known for certain what the dogs are smelling, but the process for training works, nonetheless… Once trained, a diabetic alert service dog is able to detect both a high and a low blood sugar level. ”

Sorry, but I don’t believe this claim. The evidence is now clear that DADs can’t detect hypoglycemic vs normoglycemic scent reliably, and if they can detect something else, there's no evidence of what it might be.

Comment by Jolynn on June 15, 2013 at 6:33pm

Thank you!!!

Comment by missrobbie on June 15, 2013 at 6:13pm

If you're going to train your own DAD, I would buy these 2 books . These 2 books answers ALL the DAD question about training , which dog to get, how to scent train etc etc.

1. "Training your own diabetic dog" Rita Martinez
2."Dog: A diabetic's best friend training guide." Veronica Zimmerman

To get started:

* DAD training should take at least 1 year **

A dog needs to know basic obedience
A dog needs to have good temperament
A dog needs to be able to pass Good Citizen test.

Comment by Jolynn on June 15, 2013 at 1:18pm

Yeah I have a year before I leave so I am trying to get all the information now. Would you guys suggest getting an already trained dog or training your already owned dog (I have a beagle)

Comment by kathy lincoln on June 15, 2013 at 12:24pm

Jolynn, Do not wait until right before you start college. get one a.s.a.p., no matter where you get your dog it takes time for you and the dog to learn how to work together. there is more than just alerting involved. public access training takes time and dedication on your part.


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