Medical Alert and Response Dogs
Perhaps the broadest category of service dogs, Pawsible Angels’ medical alert dogs are specifically trained to alert their handlers, through the use of touch, to subtle physiological changes which occur shortly before a potentially dangerous medical episode. Examples of conditions we can train dogs to alert to include, but are not limited to, epileptic seizures, blood sugar rises and falls resulting from diabetes, migraines, heart rate changes, and narcoleptic episodes.
Upon completion of basic service dog training, our prospective medical alert dogs receive many months of intensive scent work and episode response training to ensure the accuracy and reliability of their alerts in real-world settings. Partnering with a Pawsible Angels medical alert dog can dramatically increase feelings of security and self-confidence by having more predictable medical episodes, and knowing you’ll always have a skilled companion with you to help ensure your safety.
Over the last twenty years, seizure dogs have become increasingly popular among epilepsy patients. Our alert dogs are trained to nose-boop or paw at their handler 15-30 minutes prior to an epileptic seizure. This gives the handler time to take seizure blocking medication, get to a safe space, or call someone for assistance. They can also be trained to respond to a handler’s seizures by calling for help using an emergency phone, finding help out in public, licking their handler’s face to help bring them out, and/or laying over their handler during a seizure to prevent injury.
Pawsible Angels’ diabetic alert dogs are trained to reliably alert their handlers to blood sugar rises (hyperglycemia) and falls (hypoglycemia) before they become dangerous. This gives their handlers time to take the proper steps needed to return their blood sugar to normal levels. They can also be trained to respond to these episodes by providing balance assistance, leading a handler to a safe location, and finding help if necessary.
Originally thought to be impossible to train, the training of migraine alert dogs is a relatively new construct. However, these dogs have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Pawsible Angels trainer, Lex Bryson, developed a proven scent discrimination method for shaping an accurate and reliable migraine alert. Her methods have since been used on numerous dogs across the country, and they’ve been adopted by several other training organizations. Our migraine alert dogs alert their handlers 15-30 minutes before the start of a migraine, giving the handler time to take preventative medication.
Pawsible Angels’ cardiac alert dogs are trained to alert their handlers to subtle yet important blood flow and heart rate changes. This warning allows handlers to relocate to a safe location, lay down, call for help, elevate their legs, or just take it easy. Our dogs can be trained to assist with a variety of cardiac conditions such as dysautonomia/POTS, tachycardia, syncope, and more.
Sleep attacks resulting from narcolepsy can be extremely dangerous and come without warning-- unless you have a medical alert dog partnered with you. Our narcolepsy alert dogs are trained to provide their handlers with a 5-10 minute warning before sleep attacks occur, allowing them to pull over if driving, lay down in a safe place if in public, or take other precautions to minimize chances of injury/harm. Our dogs can also be trained to respond to cataplexy episodes by providing balance support and tactile stimulation to help bring a handler to full body control and awareness.
In order to be eligible for a medical alert/Response dog, applicants must:
Have a disability that interferes with daily functioning both in and out of the home
Complete a medical release by a licensed professional
Be able to demonstrate the ability to safely and effectively control, manage and care for a dog
Have the adequate vision to observe, intervene and manage a dog’s behavior (generally equivalent to DMV license requirements)
Be willing to participate in on-going Pawsible Angels training and graduate support program
The process to receive a Pawsible Angels assistance dog includes multiple steps. Click the link below to find out if an assistance dog is right for you and start the process to receive more information.
TO APPLY FOR A PAWSIBLE MEDICAL DOG CLICK HERE