By Amber Kaiser
Have you ever considered learning about seizure support dogs and how they can help you or your loved one with epilepsy? Dogs have long been known to help people with disabilities and can be certified as a service animal for seizures. For many people, getting a service dog for epilepsy may seem like one of the few helpful options available still. However, have you heard of Neureka Sleep and how the service helps people with epilepsy and their caregivers as well? Read on for information about both and how to determine which may be best for you and your family.
A seizure service dog is most often referred to simply as a seizure dog and they are trained to respond to a seizure in people with epilepsy.
The benefits to having and taking care of a seizure dog naturally include love, companionship, empathy, as well as human and canine connection with the person with epilepsy and their caregivers. Like a lot of people who love having pets, a seizure dog can become another family member while providing feelings of safety and emotional support.
Seizure dogs are trained in different ways—including barking or alerting family members when a child or adult has a seizure—putting their body between the child or adult and the floor to break the fall and potential injury at the start of a seizure, and even activating a device that rings an alarm when someone is having a seizure. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, “Some trainers and researchers believe the dog is able to alert by detecting subtle changes in human behavior. . .while others assert that a dog’s heightened sense of smell enables it to detect an oncoming seizure.” It’s still a debate, but it’s also believed that the “strong bond” developed between the dog and the person with epilepsy helps the dog “detect” the seizures.
Some challenges to having a seizure dog include that seizure-response dog training may vary between different trainers. A high seizure service dog cost can also be very expensive, and while some people and families have reported success, others have been disappointed. There may also be a gap in “nocturnal alerting” while a dog naturally sleeps more at night. Caring for a dog, cleaning up after a dog and the dog’s natural limited shorter lifespan, may also be very difficult for some families in the long-term.
If you are new to the at-home epilepsy care space, we do have a few devices available today. All the technology today is still in the early phases, but each is unique and we are getting better as more opportunities become available, especially with the recent growth of AI. Neureka Sleep provides the latest, most advanced technology available to track body fluctuations (including heart rate, heart rate variability and blood oxygen level) and will alert any chosen caregivers via text or phone call when any of these go out of a “normal” range. Users can also now personalize their “normal” levels if needed or if advised by their doctor.
The benefits of Neureka Sleep include monitoring your body, communication with caregivers, medication alerts, and sleep reports that can be shared with your doctor. You can also use the system as long as you would like and it helps keep users up on the latest technology with software updates and other future capabilities in the Neureka Sleep system.
On the other hand, some challenges may include taking the time to learn and adapt to new technology, which can have bugs sometimes. The feeling of canine companionship like you naturally get with a dog isn’t fully there; however, using the system does help both patients and caregivers feel safer and connected. Neureka Sleep also gives you more peace of mind and can help provide better sleep for everyone. Plus, the cost is less expensive than a seizure assistance dog, especially in the long-term!
Choosing whether the Neureka Sleep system or a seizure response dog would work better for you and your family takes some time to think about what is important to you, while understanding the similarities and differences between the two options. Dogs that help with epilepsy used to be one of the few alternate options available, and as technology keeps advancing, more at-home seizure support services are becoming available and more affordable for everyone!