Among the different types of assistance dogs, there are a three main classifications: guide, hearing, and service dogs. The service dog classification has a wide range of working dogs, and this includes a category called “medical alert dogs.” These assistance dogs monitor and help with various chronic, dangerous conditions in their human partners.
Asthma monitoring service dogs are one specific kind of medical alert dog that not a lot of people know about. In fact, they’re really only just starting to gain widespread use. This is an amazing development for people with poorly controlled asthma—particularly children—as the condition is of course very scary and potentially life threatening.
Here’s a little information about asthma monitoring service dogs for those whose lives are impacted by asthma, or for those of you with a kid who struggles with the condition.
About Asthma Monitoring Service Dog Tasks
Every assistance dog is trained to perform specific tasks to mitigate their handler’s disability, and these are tailored to the individual’s needs. So, every assistance dog has a unique set of responsibilities, though there are of course many commonalities among any given assistance dog classification and service dog category.
The list of tasks found below is therefore just a generalization; not all asthma monitoring service dogs are trained to perform all of them, and there are plenty of tasks they can perform that aren’t noted.
Also, many people with severe asthma have life-threatening food allergies. It’s possible for an asthma monitoring service dog to also work as an allergen detection service dog, performing those type of tasks as well.
Specific Tasks of Asthma Monitoring Service Dogs
These are some of the jobs this type of medical alert service dog typically performs:
- Monitoring their partner’s breathing for changes that indicate an oncoming asthma attack
- Warning their partner of the attack with a learned alert system (such as pawing, nosing, etc.)
- Wake a person up who’s experiencing respiratory difficulty in their sleep
- Detect and warn about asthma triggers such as pollen, smoke, heavy dust, etc.
- Get or signal for help when an asthma attack occurs
- Keep their handler calm during an attack
- Carry and retrieve albuterol inhalers, steroid inhalers, and other medications
Interested in an Asthma Monitoring Service Dog?
If you or a loved one struggle in daily life due to poorly controlled asthma, it’s worth learning more about asthma monitoring service dogs and the assistance dog partnering process.
Start by considering whether an assistance dog is right for you. If you believe one is, you’ll also need to give some thought to which size dog and breed you would do best with; any breed of dog can be trained as a medical alert service dog. Also, focus on choosing a reputable assistance dog provider.