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Diabetes Alert Dogs Sniff Out Trouble

Content provided by: Better Medicine from Healthgrades

When you get a dog, you invite a new best friend into your life. But did you know a furry friend could also be a champion for people with diabetes?

Trained to React

Diabetic alert dogs are specially trained to sniff out when your blood sugar is too low. They detect a scent that researchers haven’t yet been able to identify. In some cases, diabetic alert dogs can pick up on the smell before medical devices, such as glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors, register the abnormal blood sugar levels. This can allow you to treat hypoglycemia before you experience symptoms such as shakiness, weakness, dizziness, and confusion. 

Diabetic alert dogs react to the scent in different ways depending on how they’re trained. They may ring a bell, or nudge, lick, or jump on you when your blood sugar is too low to let you know something’s wrong.


Related Video: Beating Type 2 Diabetes

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There's no one-size-fits-all solution to living well with diabetes, but our Type 2 patient experts have these tips to share with you.

Medical Reviewer: Medical Reviewer: Gerald W. Smetana, MD Last Annual Review Date: Last Annual Review Date: August 13, 2013 © 2013 Healthgrades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

Indications and Usage for Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection)

Prescription Lantus® is a long-acting insulin used to treat adults with type 2 diabetes and adults and children (6 years and older) with type 1 diabetes for the control of high blood sugar. It should be taken once a day at the same time each day to lower blood glucose.

Do not use Lantus® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.

Important Safety Information for Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection)

Do not take Lantus® if you are allergic to insulin or any of the inactive ingredients in Lantus®.

You must test your blood sugar levels while using insulin, such as Lantus®. Do not make any changes to your dose or type of insulin without talking to your healthcare provider. Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision.

Do NOT dilute or mix Lantus® with any other insulin or solution. It will not work as intended and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be serious. Lantus® must only be used if the solution is clear and colorless with no particles visible. Do not share needles, insulin pens or syringes with others.

The most common side effect of insulin, including Lantus®, is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may be serious. Some people may experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision. Severe hypoglycemia may be serious and life threatening. It may cause harm to your heart or brain. Other possible side effects may include injection site reactions, including changes in fat tissue at the injection site, and allergic reactions, including itching and rash. In rare cases, some allergic reactions may be life threatening.

Tell your doctor about other medicines and supplements you are taking because they can change the way insulin works. Before starting Lantus®, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including if you have liver or kidney problems, are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed.

Lantus® SoloSTAR® is a disposable prefilled insulin pen. Please talk to your healthcare provider about proper injection technique and follow instructions in the Instruction Leaflet that accompanies the pen.

Please click here or the link below for the full prescribing information for Lantus®

US.GLA.13.04.229 © 2014 sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC, A SANOFI COMPANY


Is a Diabetic Alert Dog Right for Me?

Diabetic alert dogs can help anyone with diabetes who experiences hypoglycemia, no matter how young or old. They may be most helpful if you use insulin injections or a pump, because you may experience more blood sugar lows than someone who takes oral medication.

If you have a child with diabetes, a diabetic alert dog can help give you peace of mind. You’ll still have to test your child’s blood sugar multiple times during the night, but the dog provides an extra layer of protection. Diabetic alert dogs may also make it more manageable to live alone when you have diabetes. 

Diabetic alert dogs are often expensive to train and, therefore, expensive to purchase. They’re not a replacement for the steps you already take to manage your diabetes.

Interestingly, research shows that untrained dogs may also respond to hypoglycemia. In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 65 percent of dog owners with type 1 diabetes said their dogs had reacted to at least one hypoglycemic episode.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diabetic alert dogs detect a scent you produce when your blood sugar is too low. This can allow you to treat hypoglycemia before it worsens. 

  • The dogs react to the scent in different ways, such as ringing a bell or nudging you. 

  • Diabetic alert dogs may be most helpful if you use insulin injections or a pump. They’re also an extra layer of protection if you live alone.

Medical Reviewer: Williams, Robert, MD Last Annual Review Date: 2013-02-08 Copyright: 2013 Healthgrades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

Reference: Diabetes section on Better Medicine


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