The Heart of the Matter – Cardiac Alert Dogs

Dphotoogs are quite possibly the most incredible creatures in the world. They possess the ability to bond with and assist us humans with everything in life from companionship to far more vital roles as medical assistants. Dogs help the blind, as well as those with other medical problems. Cardiac Alert Dogs are becoming more popular throughout the medical field, helping those with heart problems attain a sense of security knowing their pup is there to save the day.

What does a cardiac alert dog do?

Cardiac alert dogs are specifically trained to detect differences in heart rhythms and inform their owner that something may be wrong. Drops and rises in blood pressure will affect a person’s heartbeat causing palpitations or fainting if something isn’t done quickly. These problems can often be resolved or subsided by leveling the body such as laying down flat. The heart can regain control and regulate the blood flow again. This is where the faithful companion comes into play to save the day. Cardiac alert dogs are trained specifically to detect the change in blood flow and heart rhythm and will tell the patient that they need to lay down until medical help can be attained if needed.


These dogs have a vital job to do and training starts when they are a pup. They are sent to live with a foster family to teach them to be a pup with love and affection, potty training, and obedience as well. After their first year they are sent to a professional trainer who teaches the pup what they will need to do to protect their future owner. They will be taught how to detect heart anomalies and how they will need to alert their owner, including suppressing them until the problem resolves. Pup’s will lay their head and paws on their owner to prevent them from getting up.

The training is learned through “treating”  primarily, and owners must continue the process after their pup joins their life. Both the pup and the patient are unique to one another, often times the pup deciding the owner rather than the other way around.

After the pup joins the life of their owner, they are trained to be obedient to them alone, others are commonly not permitted to interact or touch the pup as it could disrupt their work. Everywhere the owner goes, the pup goes, as their work is never done.

Can you train a pup to do so?

For some dogs, detecting problems seems to be inherent. Some people have reported dogs detecting cancer, strokes, and even predicting heart attacks without training. Unfortunately, the rigorous training process begins at birth, and is quite meticulous. If you wanted to train your pup to detect heart anomalies, you would have to know exactly what to look for and be able to simulate or predict them yourselves to effectively train another pup.

These medical dogs are an amazing addition to the lives of so many. They help with not only cardiac care, but also psychiatric, diabetic, and even seizure patients. Dogs are considered the ultimate companion, and have indeed proven themselves to be such.

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