Dogs have always been known as (hu)man’s best friend, but have you heard of them being a Type 1’s best friend? Just as dogs have been used for many years as helpmates for people who suffer from blindness and other disabilities, dogs can also be used to assist people with diabetes.
For people who struggle with low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, on a regular basis, a diabetic alert dog can be an absolute lifesaver—literally! Overnight is often the worst time for a person with diabetes, because they’re not awake to recognize the symptoms of a low or to be doing regular blood glucose checks. That’s where dogs come in.
Scientists have recently discovered how it is that dogs know when their human is experiencing a hypoglycemic episode. And, interestingly, it isn’t by smelling the person’s blood.
And they’re ridiculously accurate about it too! Can you imagine trying to smell a teaspoon of your favorite (or least favorite) scent in two Olympic sized swimming pools’ worth of water? That would definitely be an accomplishment worth bragging about!
In the video below, you can find out exactly what it is that dogs are “sniffing out” when they detect low blood sugar.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?