Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and have been demonstrated to be able to detect medical conditions, such as hypoglycemia or cancer. They can often do so at an earlier stage or more accurately than existing medical technologies and have the potential to do so quite cost-effectively. Most importantly, however, they provide a non-invasive detection of many conditions that currently can only be detected with invasive medical technology, and they can do so on a continuous or near continuous basis.

With her phenomenal sense of smell, a medical alert dog can detect changes in medical condition, like a drop in blood sugar, well before medical technology can detect those changes. This “early warning” allows our clients to take corrective action and maintain better control of their medical conditions, avoiding short-term medical crises and leading to dramatically fewer long-term complications.

Diabetic Alert Dogs

Most of our medical alert dog placements are diabetic assistance dogs. These dogs use their noses to assist individuals with diabetes by detecting fluctuating blood sugar levels and alerting their handlers to these changes, preventing hypoglycemic comas and helping diabetic individuals to better regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetic assistance dogs can rouse a sleeping handler or, if needed, alert another person to the medical emergency.

Diabetic assistance dogs are life-savers. They help their human partners maintain better control over their blood sugar levels, leading to improved short- and long-term health outcomes. Handlers feel safer with a constant companion who also provides continuous glucose monitoring, leading to more independent lives and comfort with tighter blood sugar control.


“Big B has really made a difference in my health and our future. My A1C, which measures average blood sugar over the last three months, has dropped over two points and has gone from 'poor' to the low end of 'GOOD'... that happened in two months.”

EENP Diabetic Alert Dog client
Client Team Training, June 2012

“I had a seizure type episode, leaving me stranded in bed, unable to get to my diabetic kit or juice, but Duncan was able to go to the fridge, open it, grab a juice box, and bring it to me in bed. I truly believe he saved me that night.”

Diabetic Alert Dog client

How do diabetic assistance dogs do all this?

Our dogs are trained using scent detection techniques to identify changes that occur in human body odor when blood sugar levels move above or below normal ranges. The dogs alert their diabetic partners or their partners’ caregivers so they can take measures to regain normal blood sugar levels. Dogs are trained to persistently alert until blood sugar is back to normal levels, to ensure the safety of minimally responsive partners in diabetic crisis. Dogs will also seek assistance from other people if their diabetic partner is non-responsive.

Diabetic assistance dogs are most effective when they are able to be with their diabetic partners at all times. They are trained to be unobtrusive helpmates in public settings, and are permitted to accompany their partners in public places via the Americans with Disabilities Act and related state legislation.

Diabetic assistance dogs provide another option to help persons with diabetes maintain blood sugar levels within safe ranges, promoting both short and long term health. With the help of a continuously on-duty partner, a person with diabetes can feel more in control of their diabetes and more independent. Diabetic assistance dogs help their partners access more life.

Interested in an Assistance Dog?

Learn more about the process of getting an assistance dog and how to get started.

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