As promised in my last blog, pets can have an amazing impact on our lives as they constantly provide us with love and comfort.
But when people are seriously unwell, there are some dogs that can literally save their owners lives. These dogs come in the form of medical alert dogs.
Medical alert dogs can help with a wide range of medical conditions from seizures, heart conditions, diabetes and even allergies.
How do medical alert dogs actually help people?
With regards to heart conditions, diabetes and allergies, medical alert dogs are acutely aware of the minute odour changes in humans that can be due to blood sugar levels or hormone related changes. This will allow the dog to alert its owner of an imminent medical problem and can help fetch medical supplies.
Medical alert dogs are also available for people with severe allergies and they detect the minute air-borne allergens rather than sensing changes from the person.
What about medical alert dogs for Epilepsy?
You can also have medical alert dogs for seizures and epilepsy. As with the above mentioned conditions, you normally have a medical alert dog if your epilepsy has been difficult to manage with medication.
There has been some debate that dogs cannot detect a seizure before it happens in the regards that they cannot smell changes in a person before it happens. This is a topic which is still being debated and studied. If you have the type of seizures that develop from simple partial to generalised, or you maybe have a lot of auras, dogs will pick up on this and should be able to alert for help or get you to safety.
What we do know for sure about medical alert dogs in epilepsy is that during seizures, they can call for help and attention, fetch medical supplies if necessary, and if you have an implanted medical device (VNS) for seizures they can activate it for you, which is all pretty impressive.
Pets as Therapy in Hospitals
A few months ago, I was looking for some voluntary work to do, and came across Pets as Therapy. I think it is a brilliant concept where you take your pets into hospitals and just have a chat with people and brighten their day. I would have loved to have been a part of it, but my cat can’t handle travelling 1 mile to the vets let alone miles around in my car visiting people in hospital!
Can you imagine being in hospital, whether you were in the ward or in A+E and someone was walking around with a cute dog or cat and asked if I wanted a chat? It would have certainly brightened my day.
Over recent years I have come across countless stories where owners have been in hospital and have been missing their pets, and when the hospital has allowed their pets to visit them they have made an amazing recovery.
For example, I saw this story which went viral last month, again it proves the healing power of pets. It’s about a 95-year-old lady with Alzheimer’s and her family introduced her to a dachshund dog who now visits her fortnightly. When she spends time with the dog she becomes a different, more carefree person. (You can read the story here)
I think more and more people are realising the amazing potential that our pets and dogs have. We don’t only have rescue dogs and police dogs that keep can help keep us safe and rescue people, but we have medical dogs that save people’s lives every single day. Scientists are even looking into dogs that can detect early cancer cells purely through their astonishing sense of smell.
Even if our pets are not saving our lives medically they might be saving our lives simply by just by being in our lives. It’s proven that they have an incredible ability to heal us when we are feeling low and I am glad that hospitals are noticing the benefits and bonding qualities animals can bring. Many times I have been in hospital even to visit someone else and saw another patient with no visitors, and I am confident that schemes such as Pets as Therapy will help give people in these types of situations a better experience in hospital and make them feel less anxious and lonely.
I would love to know you thoughts on this subject.
Perhaps you have a medical alter dog or have had your life saved by your pet?
Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Information for this article was sourced from: