There has been some mind-blowing research published recently about the medical conditions that dogs can detect. And we’re not just talking about trained service pups, but also the snuggly, goofy, wonderful doggo you have at home! That’s right – wherever your furry friend goes, whether it’s the vet or their dedicated Pet Sitter, they might be picking up valuable information about medical maladies.
We recently published an article on Four Mind Blowing Facts Your Dog’s Senses. Now, it’s time to reveal their amazing medical wisdom. Because it’s about time we start giving our furry companions credit for their unbelievable skills of perception.
Snuggle up with your pup and get ready to be amazed!
What are the medical conditions that dogs can detect?
To be sure, there’s a lot that we don’t know about what goes on in our canine companions heads. For all we know, they might be able to detect more than the medical conditions that are listed here. But in terms of what we’ve been able to study in research settings, here are the medical conditions that dogs can detect:
A study published in the Journal of Urology in 2015 found that German Shepherds could be trained to sniff out prostate cancer. While these dogs were highly accurate, experts will need to conduct more testing before they can rely on the results.
Another study from 2006, published in the Integrative Cancer Therapies journal, found something interesting. According to the results, the average household dog can learn to detect lung and breast cancer. Beyond that, pooches can detect these ailments in both their early and late stages.
#2: Epileptic Seizures
Dogs can also use their sense of smell to predict an oncoming seizure. Researchers were able to test this by presenting seizure-sensing doggos with swabs of sweat from participants at various times of day. Some of these swabs touched subjects moments before they suffered a seizure.
The dogs were amazingly accurate at picking out the swabs associated with a seizure victim.
#3: Low-blood sugar in people with Diabetes
Similar to the work of seizure-sniffing dogs, dogs can learn to predict when their Owners are experiencing medical emergencies linked to Diabetes. Though body language and chemical cues, these dogs can predict low-blood sugar and encourage their Owner to take immediate action.
They can also learn to get help in the case of a seizure.
A study from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that dogs can learn to sniff out malaria. They tested the theory by having dogs sniff a variety of socks (sounds gross, but dogs don’t mind), some of which had belonged to people suffering from malaria. The doggos were incredibly accurate in detecting the disease.
#5: Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is another one of the medical conditions that dogs can detect through smell. In fact, studies are underway to find out how dogs might help with the detection of Parkinson’s Disease. Based on previous findings, though, we have no doubt the pups will succeed.
Let’s show some love to the trained dogs out there
Indeed, there are many medical conditions that dogs can detect without training. However, to be truly helpful, service dogs require extensive preparation. Most service dogs require at least two years of intensive training to do everything from detection to quick response in emergency situations.
Interestingly, service dogs are not breed specific. With the right temperament and trainability, any dog can become a service dog. And so far, there’s not enough research to know whether some breeds are more successful at detecting medical conditions. You probably noticed that many of these detection abilities have to do with your dog’s sense of smell. If you’re interested in exploring this area more, you can learn how to train your dog’s sense of smell with some simple exercises.
If there’s one thing to take from this article, it should be to always take heed of your dog’s behaviour. Dogs are incredibly attuned to warning signals, and may act strangely when they feel that something is wrong. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a human around them definitely has a medical condition. Having said that, it doesn’t hurt to look around and make sure the coast is clear. Then, give your pup a good head pat. They earned it.