Dogs can act as an effective early-warning system for patients with diabetes, scientists have proved for the first time.
Research from the University of Bristol found dogs trained to respond to their owners' hypoglycaemia could alert them to impending lower blood sugars.
It was the first academic study to assess whether trained dogs could be reliably used to provide an early warning system to monitor glycaemia control.
The animals accurately alerted their owners when their levels were outside their target range – reducing unconscious episodes, paramedic call-outs and improving independence.
Lead author of the research paper, Dr Nicola Rooney, said the findings "show the value of trained dogs" and that they afford significant improvements to owner well-being.