Many dog owners love their family pet and will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure they have the best life. This may be finding raw dog food suppliers in your area to meet your canine's requirements or other areas that impact their life.
However, as people will already know, dogs can be one of the most rewarding pets to keep and, in some cases, could even save your life. Canines can be trained to help blind people, find bombs in war zones or even calm people with learning difficulties.
It is also thought that dogs can also be trained to detect hypoglycaemia in their owners, which could potentially save the life of a diabetic patient whose blood sugar levels are dropping to unsafe amounts.
The findings, published in the Journal PLOS ONE, are the first academic study to discover whether or not dogs can be trained as a reliable early-warning system for people with the condition.
It was funded by pet specialists The Company of Animals and then conducted by experts at the University of Bristol. The study investigated whether specially trained ‘glycaemia alert dogs’ could accurately and consistently detect, and alert their owners, when their blood sugar level reached dangerous levels.
Some of the 17 dogs were donated because of their suitability, but a number were ordinary pets, which were then trained on the job to be a 'glycemia alert dog'.
The team at Bristol University collected data from the dogs' owners that allowed them to judge whether a dog had reliably responded their owners’ hypoglycaemic state, and whether owners experienced tightened glycaemic control, as well as other wider psychosocial benefits.
It revealed that, since getting a dog, all 17 clients reported positive effects including reduced paramedic call outs, fewer instances where they were left unconscious and improved independence.
Lead author Dr Nicola Rooney said: "These findings are important as they show the value of trained dogs and demonstrate that glycaemia alert dogs placed with clients living with diabetes, afford significant improvements to owner well-being including increased glycaemic control, client independence and quality-of-life and potentially could reduce the costs of long-term health care.
"Some of the owners also describe their dogs respond even before their blood sugars are low but as they start to drop, so it is possible that the dogs are even more effective than this study suggests."
Written by: Hannah