MEDICAL ALERT DOGS
With over 40 years of training and providing Hearing Assistance Dogs, ALHD identified a gap in accessibility to Assistance Dogs for people living with complex and chronic illnesses in Australia. The first Medical Alert Dog being developed in our program is for people living with diabetes.
Over 120,000 Australians currently suffer from type 1 diabetes, and each year 580 Australians die from the disease. Diabetic Alert Dogs have the potential to save the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes and drastically improve their quality of life.
Australian Lions Diabetic Alert Dogs alert their owner by touching them with one paw when their blood glucose levels (BGLs) are outside a specific target range, prompting them to check their BGL and treat accordingly.
Diabetic Alert Dogs are also trained to perform other helpful tasks such as retrieving a Hypokit to help treat a low or high blood glucose event, seeking assistance from another member in the household on command, and pressing a button to call emergency contacts if their owner falls unresponsive when they are home alone.
Currently, the breeds used in the Medical Alert Dog program include Labradoodles and Spaniels. The dogs must be precise and accurate in detecting changes in blood glucose levels because of the risks associated with the disease.
Both Hearing Assistance Dogs and Medical Alert Dogs have Public Access Rights and can accompany their owner into shops and on public transport, therefore the dogs must exhibit appropriate behaviour in such places.
Hearing Dogs alert their owners to sounds in the home, and when out in public, their owner mostly takes cues from the dog’s body language. However, Diabetic Alert Dogs will be expected to alert their owner to changes in BGLs in any situation or environment.
Applications are now open to eligible applicants across Australia. Eligibility includes:
- Over 18 years of age
- Type 1 diabetes diagnosis 12+ months ago
- Non-smoker (and not living with smokers)
- No other dogs living in the home
- Managing their diabetes using current technology, including CGM or insulin pump.
To receive an application pack, please complete the Expression of Interest (EOI) below, and our team will contact you.