Alert dogs may offer 1st line of defense for diabetic children

Diabetic alert dogs are becoming the first line of defense against erratic high and low blood sugar levels for children with Type 1 diabetes. King, a 10-month-old Aussiedoodle, can tell when someone's blood sugar levels are dangerous.

“He’s going to have to bond with me by following me around,” Type 1 diabetic Calvin Day, a 7-year-old from New Hampshire told “He knows that I have diabetes and knows if I’m low or high. High means I’m wicked out of control. Low means I’m tired.”

Though Calvin wears a continuous blood glucose monitor that sends the results to his parents, the goal is for King to recognize when Calvin’s experiencing hypo– or hyperglycemia before the monitor does. King can then alert Day's parents before his condition becomes dangerous.

Diabetic alert dogs are trained to react to the chemical change produced by the changes in blood sugar through their sense of smell. The odor from the chemical changes cannot be detected by humans.

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