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Can a Dog Act as a Medical Alert?

Graham Cook  — January 13, 2019

People with chronic medical conditions and their families face difficult challenges. Diabetics are subject to sharp variations in blood sugar levels that may cause unconsciousness or a diabetic coma. Conditions like epilepsy or traumatic brain injury may bring seizures that can be life-threatening.

Many people with these and other physical or psychological conditions can benefit from a partnership with a trained service dog who can be trained to assist them with specific needs. But can a dog act as a medical alert system? This article is going to take a look at how dogs can help those who need medical monitoring and other forms of support.

Mobility Assitance Dogs

Some people with mobility problems can walk but are not able to bend normally to pick up a dropped object or something at a low level. Motility assistance dogs are trained to retrieve hard-to-reach objects for their human partner. They can be trained to bump the buttons that open electronically-controlled doors. With proper equipment, the dogs can provide a sturdy handle for semi-ambulatory people to use for support.

These dogs can be trained to help with pulling a wheelchair up a ramp. With proper accommodations made in a household, mobility assistance dogs can learn to open and close doors, operate on and off light switches and go for help by finding another person in emergencies.

Emergency Medical Response Dogs

People who are prone to seizures can gain greater independence when partnered with an emergency medical response dog. The same is true of diabetics who are likely to experience diabetic syncope or even coma due to rapid change in blood sugar levels.

Medical alert dogs have a heightened awareness of changes in behavior, respiratory rates, and body temperature which signal an impending medical event. They can gently nudge the person to remind them to take their medicine or take other measures to get help.

Service Dogs for Psychological Disabilities

Medical alert dogs can also enhance the lives of people whose medical issues are of a psychological or neurological nature. Dogs can make invaluable companions for people with autism or post-traumatic stress syndrome disorder (PTSD).

Those who suffer from bipolar syndrome, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can achieve a greater degree of safety and emotional stability when matched with the right medical alert dog.

Medical Alert Dog Training

Training for medical alert dogs begins with puppies around 6 to 8 months old and continues into adulthood. In addition to the routine training, each dog receives specialized training in the process of being paired with a human partner, to ensure that the person’s unique needs will be met.

Added Monitoring with 24/7 Medical Alerts

Being able to have a specially trained medical alert dog is a great way for those who need extra assistance to get it. But those looking into obtaining a service dog for themselves or a loved one should remember that dogs can’t provide real-time medical alerts 24-hours a day. They have to sleep sometime, after all!

For those looking for 24/7 medical monitoring for seniors or other family members, we recommend doing some research on top-rated medical alert services. FindReviews.com has best medical alert rankings and we keep them updated to help you find the best monitoring service for your needs.