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R Simmons, Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA



Diabetes alert dogs (DADs) alert their owner to dangerous changes in blood glucose levels and allow for intervention prior to current monitoring devices. Unfortunately, there is little standardization among DAD trainers and given the high price tag these dogs command there is a serious financial risk and health risk facing consumers. The purpose of this study was to better understand and evaluate the individuals who are in the market and then use that information to develop an educational resource to help guide consumers entering the marketplace.


A mixed method questionnaire was developed and piloted. The questionnaire examined four domains of participant information: The resources used by the individual to learn about DADs and DAD training organizations; Knowledge about DADs; Attitudes and expectations; Demographics of the participant and the individual for whom the DAD would work. The survey was administered to 14 individuals. Twelve Fisher Exact tests were performed comparing the reported likelihood of purchasing a DAD as the independent variable and with dependent variables including: knowledge, confidence, experience and concern. Qualitative questions investigated why an individual may want to purchase a DAD, why they might not want to purchase a DAD and questions they would ask a DAD training organization before purchasing a dog.


The results of the Fisher Exact tests found no statistical significance however, the qualitative analysis found that the individuals surveyed were well aware of the risks within the marketplace but also very cautious about whether or not a DAD was right for them.

Future Directions:

This study represents the first attempt to understand and evaluate DAD consumers. The information obtained by this study will be used to develop an educational resource to inform and empower consumers to find a reputable DAD trainer.

Presentation: 24 minutes