World Diabetes Day

Diabetes Symptoms Can Go Unnoticed

Diabetes can often go undiagnosed because the symptoms seem harmless. According to the Center for Disease Control, around 20 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, and roughy 7 million more are undiagnosed. World Diabetes Day on November 14th as part of Diabetes Awareness month is set aside to recognize the symptoms and talk about this disease that adversely affects so many lives.

Symptoms for Type 1 can be hard to spot, which is why so many people go undiagnosed, but the complications can be much worse, even deadly. Complications to untreated type 1 or type 2 diabetes include glaucoma, skin infections, hypertension, heart disease, nerve damage, and stroke.

Diabetic Alert Dogs, a Tool for Success

In the meantime, there are several tools a person can use to manage their diabetes, but one interesting way is through the use of a service dog. A dog’s nose contains more than 225 million scent receptors, able to pick up on the slightest variation in smells – biochemical changes in your body is one of them. Trainers all over the United States have been trying to harness this ability to help diabetics stay on top of blood sugar fluctuations. This can be totally lifesaving to children with diabetes and the elderly who may not be able to pick up on the physical changes brought on by a blood sugar crash, and brittle diabetics whose sugar can be normal one minute and suddenly crash within seconds. These amazing dogs take highly specialized training and years to become fully trained, and the price tag for a diabetic’s best friend can be upwards of $20,000. Maggie, a chocolate Lab from Service Dog Academy right here in Seattle is one such lifesaver, and may be the solution to someone without the time or energy to train their own.

Train Your Own Diabetic Alert Dog

Training your own dog is an alternative to those without such deep pockets. Service Dog Academy pioneered the concept in 2008, and students at the West Seattle dog training studio have been doing the work themselves and get quite a bargain for something so priceless. They can train for Type 1, Type 2, Hypoglycemia, or pre-diabetes which can be a bigger lifesaver at managing something before it gets worse.

Our students seek out their own dog, either from a breeder or in some rare cases, adopt from a shelter. Then, they go to classes, learn from Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, BGS and go home and practice the training every single day. It’s a lot of hard work, but the payoff can be even bigger than having a ready-made service dog. Jeff, a client since last year, trained Cooper, an adorable 11-month old yellow Lab, says he and his family do the training together, and it has brought them all closer because of it.

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Day, take a look at the symptoms below and visit the American Diabetes Association to learn about the complications from untreated diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and Irritability
  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
  • Classes for Pet Dogs, Too!

    If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we highly encourage you do visit your doctor and get tested. For more information on Service Dog Academy’s diabetic alert dog training program, or Maggie, who is an already trained diabetic alert dog soon to be available for purchase email info@servicedogacademy.com. We also use our strict positive reinforcement training methods to train pet dogs, too! If you like what you see, but don’t need service dog training, we offer an array of obedience classes to suit your needs. Who wouldn’t want a pet dog with service dog manners? Check out the class schedule today!

    2012-11-27T23:39:32+00:00
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