Diabetic Service Dogs

My son is on the waiting list to get a diabetic alert dog. Does anyone here have a dog? What are your experiences?

I know that there are laws regarding service dogs being allowed everywhere, but do establishments discriminate against the dogs?

Just curious as to what to expect when he finally gets his dog.

Hi Shelly - I do not have a service dog, but have had friends with them for various ailments.  I think you'll find that the grand majority of establishments are more than welcoming.  The biggest problem can be other kids, unfortunately, wanting to treat the service dog as a pet.  They'll handle it, but some explanation as to the critter's actual job is can help.

For what it may be worth, too, one of our cats, Anitya, has shown an innate ability to recognize when my glucose level is getting low.  I can only assume that she put 2 + 2 together many years ago.  She's always affectionate, but she has certain things she'll do like bumping into my legs more forcefully than normal or batting at my hands or sometimes standing just out of my reach and staring at me very intently.  I've picked up on these and, lo and behold, when I'll test I'm either under 80 mg/dl or slightly below.  She's even woken me up at night when she's sensed that I'm lower than I should be.  I'm on a pump, have been for eight years now, and Anitya's helped me a number of times catch lows before they became problems, even before I noticed them.

All the best,


Hi Shelly,

I unfortunately don't have any answers for you, but am curious about the process for applying for a service dog. My daughter is nearly 11, and heard about diabetic service dogs and is now completely obsessed with the idea. I know that the service dog service in our area (Dogs for Diabetics) requires you to be 12 to apply, so she has a year to wait. I'm just wondering what your experience has been so far. I think it's a great idea, and it would certainly give me more peace of mind if I knew Sarah had someone with her 24/7 to alert her to changes in her levels.


Hi Shelly,

I don't have a service dog, but I did have a German Shepherd and I had an experience with her alerting my parents for me.  (For the record, I say "did" b/c she passed away a few years ago.)  But even though she was not trained to be a service dog, she was very smart and keen to my diabetes.  So, I can only imagine how helpful a dog who is trained to be a service dog could be.  Also, establishments should not discriminate against dogs if they are for medical reasons. 

My German Shepherd used to sleep in the hall just outside of my room and one night she sensed something was wrong with me.  My bedroom door was closed so she couldn't get to me.  So, she scratched and whined by my parents' bedroom door until they woke up.  My dad came out to see what she wanted and she looked at him, then gave him a little tug to follow her.  He followed her to my bedroom door where she cried.  So, knowing she was sensing something, he knocked and called for me.  When I didn't answer, he just barged in to find me having shortness of breath, sweating, and chest pains.  He was able to rush me to the hospital where they had to give me antibiotics and glucose through an IV.  Apparently, I had an immediate drop in glucose levels due to an ear infection.  But, my dog always could sense when I had a drastic change in levels.  She'd come to me and nudge my hand a little if I had a sudden change, so I'd check my sugars if she did that.  She could usually sense it before I could feel it.  I don't know if it's something she can smell or what.  But, she's also known me long before I was diagnosed.

i have never heard of this, but thats so interesting!! 

is it hard to get one of those dogs?


The organization in our area specializes in dogs for kids. The founder of the org, her daughter is 6, and she has a service dog. The only catch is, they're a brand new org and the applications won't be ready until August/Septemer time frame. This org is called Dogs assisting Diabetics (DaD) and their website is www.dogsassistingdiabetics.org  The one thing that I have to tell you is I've found that the process for placing a dog is a very lengthy one. It's a minimum of 6 months. If Sarah is 11, it wouldn't hurt to apply, because its very possible that she wouldn't even be found a match until she's 12.

The org that I applied through does have the 12 year old age limit. Quinton is 12 so thats not an issue. The only issue we're running into is that most orgs require the child to have been diagnosed for a minimum of 1 year. Quinton was just diagnosed in January. HOWEVER, he's doing so well that his Endo has already approved him for his pump. She told me that the majority of patients have to wait for 12-18 months after diagnosis before even considering a pump. So, after 7 months, and he's approved is simply amazing!



Sounds like you had yourself a regular Lassie! That's great that she could sense this. We have a little pug. I'm not sure she could smell bacon right in front of her face! I love her to death, but she's pretty much a lap dog who has no real sense of anything (unless it's a TREAT!)


I'm not entirely sure what all the requirements are. In reviewing what the guidelines were, it appears that any T1, who has been diagnosed for 12 months or longer and is over 12 years, is eligible. In our area, there is a brand new org called Dogs assisting Diabetics (DaD). They are in the process  of training puppies right now, therefore the applications aren't even going to be ready until August/September.

The process goes something like this: You apply online. It can take 2-3 months before they get your request. The org works with you on your lifestyle and finds a dog that is a good match for you. These dogs have been trained for seeing eye dogs for the blind. After they find the right dog for you, you are required to go to a 2-4 week training class with the dog so they can learn your scent and essentially be trained how to smell your BG levels. In addition, you will also learn how to work with the dog (commands, how to handle the dog in public, etc). After that, the dog is yours.

As I said, I'm new to this whole thing and the only thing we've done is applied for the dog. I don't know all the details, but this is what I read on the organizations website that we applied through.

You should just google "Diabetic Alert Dogs" in your area and if there are any orgs, they'll come up.

Good luck!