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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to live in a certain region in order to receive a Diabetic Alert Dog?
We deliver trained dogs throughout the entire U.S.A.

How effective are these dogs at detecting my low and high blood sugar?
A dog's nose is remarkably accurate. Scientific research by Dr. Neuhaus determined the smelling potential of dogs with the olfactometer. A dog's sense of smell is said to be a thousand times more sensitive than that of humans. A dog has more than 225 million scent receptors in its nose (humans have 5 million), and one eighth of the dog's brain is comprised of the olfactory bulb. This anatomy combined with the dog's natural drive and desire to hunt prey for a food reward, enables us to train a dog to discriminate a distinct scent. When a diabetic person has a hyperglycemic event their body produces ketones. These water soluble compounds are acetone, acetoacetic acid, and beta-hydroxybutyric acid. During hyperglycemia, a body has no insulin or not enough insulin and fat is used instead as a fuel for vital body functions. When a diabetic person has a hypoglycemic event their body enters a catabolic state in which amino acids are used for energy. The body does this by removing the nitrogen atom off a molecule. The skeleton molecule left behind is then converted into glucose and used as fuel. In order to get rid of the excess nitrogen left behind the body processes the nitrogen through the kidneys, and forms urea. Urea is excreted in urine, sweat, saliva and released as pulmonary vapor. These scents are given off by the body during hypo/hyper glycemic events. While imperceptible to the human nose, the dog's olfactory sensory perceptions can easily discriminate these vapors from their environment. We train our dogs to give an active alert when the scents are present.

How long does it take to get a dog?
After acceptance into the Diabetic Alert Dog program dogs are placed into our comprehensive training curriculum and become available for partnership matching. The timetable for home placement varies and is determined by the successful completion and mastery of all required skills.

What types of dog are available?
Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Poodles and mixed sporting dog breeds. Occasionally other breeds may become available. We select dogs based on temperament, trainability, and superb scenting ability.

How old are the dogs when they are placed?
Usually between 1 and 2 years old.

Where can I take my diabetic alert dog?
According to the American Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service dogs into all areas of a facility where customers are allowed to go. Diabetes is covered under this law. Your dog may accompany you in grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, schools, health clubs and on public transportation. We provide a service vest with identifying patches and a service ID card to make public access easier for our clients. These items however are not required by law. More information is available at the U.S. Department of Justice ADA Website

Does having a diabetic alert dog mean I won't have to check my blood sugars with my glucose meter?
A Diabetic Alert Dog is NOT a replacement for testing and should not be relied upon as your primary tool for monitoring your blood sugar. In fact you may be testing more frequently because your dog will be alerting to lows and highs you may have missed.

Can I pet and cuddle my dog?
Yes. This encourages bonding.

Can other people pet my dog?
Your Diabetic Alert Dog is always working and on alert for your low and high blood glucose levels. An acquaintance or visitor may not know how to interact appropriately with your dog in a way that would not distract him from his responsibility to you.

Can I have another dog in addition to my service dog?
That depends on your other dog. Is the other dog aggressive with strange dogs? Does the other dog have bad habits such as excessive barking, guarding, house training issues, destructive chewing, digging, mounting, counter surfing, or health issues? These can all disrupt your service dog and ultimately teach him these bad behaviors. Dogs rarely learn good behaviors from other dogs, but bad behaviors seem to flow freely through the pack.

Can I have my own dog trained?
Yes, if your dog can pass our extensive temperament evaluation, has a willingness to work, and has outstanding scenting ability.

What is the cost of a Diabetic Alert Dog?
We realize one-size does not fit all when it comes to placing a Diabetic Alert Dog. Our team expertly collaborates with you to define your needs. In partnership with you we design and develop tailored solutions based on your specific objectives. The cost of each dog varies and is set by the options you choose.

Is the cost of a Diabetic Alert Dog covered under my health insurance?
No, however some health care plans do have medical spending accounts which you can draw from to offset the cost.

Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, we accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover Cards.

Is financing available?
Yes, if approved. Financing is available through Springleaf Financial

Can I purchase health insurance for my Diabetic Alert Dog?
Yes. Health insurance is available through VPI Pet Insurance

Can I purchase life insurance for my Diabetic Alert Dog?
Yes. Life insurance is available through Mourer Foster

Do you provide a guarantee?
Yes! We are confident that every dog we produce is among the finest available anywhere. Call for details.