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All things diabetes

Discover Hypo Hounds! The Diabetic Alert Dogs Making a Difference

Published: 16 Feb 2024, Author: Charlie Cawsey

Here at Type One Style, we’re all about supporting our T1D community. So, we’re really excited to tell you about an amazing Kent charity, Hypo Hounds, whose incredible work is making life so much better for T1Ds.

Ready to donate now? Click here.

Two hypo hounds diabetic alert dogs in training

We’re huge dog fans: their waggy tails and adorable floppy, velvet ears! But it’s their amazing sharp noses and incredible sense of smell that are giving T1D children (and some adults) greater freedom and independence.

By the way, there’s an epic competition later in this article, don’t miss it!

Who are Hypo Hounds?

Hypo Hounds train Diabetic Alert Assistance Dogs to use smell to detect subtle but dangerous changes in their T1D “partner’s” blood sugars. These genius dogs then alert their T1D partner (or partner’s family) that something is wrong, helping prevent potentially life-threatening hypoglycaemic episodes.

How do Diabetic Alert Assistance Dogs help their T1D partners?

Hypo Hounds’ dogs assist T1Ds who have no hypo awareness – meaning their blood glucose levels can fall below 3mmol without any symptoms.

After training, some of the dogs’ noses are even more accurate than CGMs - and faster by 15 minutes. They can distinguish their partner’s blood sugar levels from those of people around them and can be trained to detect and prevent hyperglycaemic episodes & DKA admissions.

The pups can even fetch your diabetes supplies for you to help you recover from any episode you are having at the time.

The charity does train dogs for adults - but prioritises those with the greatest clinical need. A key criteria for this is the number of hospital admissions a person has had. Generally, Hypo Hounds caters for children with T1D.

A young girl with her hypo hound

How are Hypo Hounds improving lives of children with T1D?

By dramatically reducing the risks of experiencing a hypo, the dogs help increase the confidence and independence of children living with T1D. This has also been shown to improve the mental wellbeing of the children’s parents and carers. Severe hypos or hypers often require hospital admission, costing the NHS millions each year, so they are also saving our health service money.

Mental health and stress has an immense impact on diabetes management, and it is well known that animal companions can provide a lot of help here. This benefit should not be understated.

How are Hypo Hounds dogs trained?

Hypo Hounds’ fantastic trainers are some of the UK’s leading scent trainers, drawing on 200 years of scent detection knowledge. They understand the unique bond between human and dog and know how it feels to depend on a dog for your safety. Above all, they are skilled in picking and training the right dogs.

 Hypo Hounds dogs are trained at the charity’s national training center in Maidstone, Kent.

During training, the dogs are socialized by being fostered nearby in home environments with children – so they become used to all the noises and activities of a family home.

The incredible hypo hounds team

How to apply for the Hypo Hounds programme

To apply for a Hypo Hounds’ trained dog, your child (or you) must be 1 year from diagnosis, so they/you have adjusted to living with T1D.

 Visit their website for more information.

3 Easy Ways You Can Support Hypo Hounds

Founded in 2016, it costs Hypo Hounds just over £25,000 to train a dog for a child. Run purely on donations, the charity desperately needs financial support. You can support it in 3 easy ways:

  1. Make a donation;
  2. Sponsor a puppy; or
  3. Buy them a gift from their Amazon Wish List.

What’s more? Everyone who sponsors a puppy or makes at least a £10 donation to Hypo Hounds will be entered into a competition to win free patches for the rest of their life. Once you’ve donated, just pop a picture of the confirmation page or receipt to us at support@typeonestyle.com to enter.

A hypo hound dog out on duty

Find out more about Hypo Hounds

Visit the charity’s website for further information, to find out how to volunteer or foster a dog; or donate: https://www.hypohounds.co.uk.

You can read more about Hypo Hounds in this January 2024 article in Desang.

 

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