Sniffing Out Danger - The Amazing Work of Medical Alert Dogs
A&T Trained Dogs are well known for our dog training classes in Lancaster, which help domestic dog owners to get the most out of their relationship with their four legged friend. But what is less know is our work with some very special dogs who can offer their owners more than just a walk, and could even save their life.
Medical alert dogs are used to detect changes in a number of disease states, and warn their owners if they are in danger. For example, medical alert dogs have been used to warn type one diabetes sufferers of low blood sugar levels, or Addison’s sufferers of an impending crisis. Our trained dogs can often make these warnings long before the owner is aware of their own situation, helping them to make themselves safe, or seek help, while they are still able to do so.
Dogs can do this because of their incredible sense of smell.
How are medical alert dogs trained?
Dogs can detect odours as low as one part per trillion – that’s the equivalent of half a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic sized swimming pool. Through one to one dog training, our experts refine this ability, teaching medical alert dogs to spot minute changes in odour associated with changes in the patient’s health, and alert them long before their condition becomes critical.
Medical alert dogs can be used to warn of severe allergic reactions, heart conditions such as postural tachycardia syndrome and even imminent epileptic fits. What’s more, promising research is underway into the use of dogs in early cancer diagnosis. Professional dog training has demonstrated an ability to detect urological, breast, lung and bowel cancers, and many experts think bio-detection dogs could have an important role to play in future cancer treatments.
At A&T Trained Dogs, we’re proud to work with the Grant a Wish Foundation to deliver the positive dog training required for these very special animals. It is a long and expensive process, involving many hours and lots of patience, but we are delighted be involved with this very worthy cause. By providing fully trained dogs, we know that we are vastly improving the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves, helping them to stay safe and enjoy life a little more despite their medical conditions.