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Medical Alert Devices and Medical Alert Dogs: Which is Best for You

Medical Alert Service Dog

When it comes to receiving emergency care, seniors have several options. Some believe that calling 911 is the easiest response to a medical emergency, while others prefer to call family or friends when they need help. For others still, a medical alert dog can provide a similar service. These dogs are trained to alert nearby people to an emergency. The choice you make will depend on your lifestyle and general health, but all can be viable options.

No matter the type of emergency response you prefer, remember that a medical alert system is the best, most effective tool. While you can always combine emergency alert services, having a medical alert system in place nearly guarantees medical service when you need it most.

Types of Medical Alert Dogs

Most organizations group service dogs into one broad category, but there are actually dozens of different medical purposes a dog can serve. Each service requires a different type of training, but these animals are taught to respond to a range of emergencies. This includes the following, which can be especially helpful for seniors.

  • Diabetic Alert Dogs – These service dogs alert their owners to changes in blood sugar. While the scent associated with changes in blood sugar are imperceptible to humans, these dogs can notice changes and alert their owners to test their blood sugar.
  • Seizure Alert/Response Dogs – Seizure alert dogs are trained to recognize a specific behavior just before their owner has a seizure. This provides an opportunity to get help before the seizure happens. Similarly, seizure response dogs are trained to recognize seizures and alert nearby persons when their owner experiences one.
  • Allergy Detection Dogs – Allergy detection dogs can be an important resource for elderly folks. These dogs can be trained to alert their owners to the presence of allergens in either foods or environments.
There are dozens of other types of service dogs that provide help for conditions like autism, reduced mobility, blindness, deafness, and psychiatric disorders. However, those listed above are all types of medical alert dogs, or MADs, as they can seek help in the case of an emergency – just like a medical alert device. 

How to Choose a Medical Alert System

Alert1 On The Go Medical Alert Button In Hand

For some, a medical alert dog poses a unique challenge. While these animals are very independent and intelligent, they also require care. And, depending on your emergency, medical alert dogs will not always have the capacity to get the help you need.

By contrast, a medical alert system requires almost no upkeep, is below average Life Alert® costs, and you can receive a range of emergency support options with the push of a button. Regardless of your medical emergency, you’ll have assistance when you need it most.

Still, combining medical alert systems – like investing in an Alert1 system and keeping a service dog – can be a good idea for some people. A medical alert dog can assist in day-to-day activities and call for help when necessary, but a medical alert system can provide backup emergency service. Importantly, medical support dogs can also be trained to activate a medical alert system if the owner is incapacitated.