Peanut Dogs - Friday, February 29, 2008
Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

I have talked about my dad before, but just in case you haven't read it, he is legally blind and has had a Leader Dog for the Blind for quite a few years. Dusty Dog is quite invaluable to my dad and has allowed him a lot more freedom in getting around. This picture is of my dad and Dusty going out for a walk.

The reason I bring this up is because I just heard about dogs being used for people with allergies, specifically peanut allergies. They are called Peanut Dogs! The dogs are trained for obedience but more importantly they are trained to detect the scent of peanuts and alert their owner of danger if they sniff it. The most common types of dogs used are Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.

Dogs have 45 times the number of olfactory receptors than humans do, allowing them to smell one thousand times better than humans. Seems like sniffing out peanuts is a good job for a dog. Dogs love to be useful and I can't think of a better job!

Peanut allergies are on the rise, affecting about 1.5 million people in the United States. For those allergic, a peanut free diet is vital. Peanut allergies account for the largest number of deaths from an allergic reaction. If you or someone you love is allergic to peanuts, you know how serious the threat is. The scary part about a nut allergy is that there are many foods that contain nuts (and not just the obvious ones), causing a reaction in people who are highly allergic. These Peanut Dogs undoubtedly will save many lives!