Type 1 Diabetes and Flyball

Welcome to Diabetes Awareness Week!

I decided to put together a blog post about my own journey being a Type 1 diabetic, and how having a dog has effected my diabetes (featuring Bracken & I’s favourite activity – Flyball!)

So some of our followers may know and some may not know that I (Hayley B) have Type 1 Diabetes which was diagnosed 20 years ago. For those who don’t know what diabetes is Type 1 Diabetes means that my body creates no insulin at all and therefore I cannot regulate my own blood sugar level. More information about Diabetes & the different types can be found here.

As someone with diabetes I have to manage my food intake, insulin injections, activity level and exercise. Over my 20 year journey I’ve had hospitalising lows, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) induced highs and everything in between. I’m not qualified in medicine however I understand how frustrating life can be when you have a medical condition that gets in the way of normal life.

I therefore thought I’d share my journey with Bracken into the world of Flyball & the impact this has had on my sugar levels!

Flyball is a team sport, often described as a relay over jumps for dogs. It is a high impact sport for your dog & also builds a great bond.

Bracken & I started Flyball in July 2019, with Brighton Flyball in their beginners class. When I began Flyball with Bracken I didn’t have a Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring system and so I was just pricking my fingers to test my blood sugar level.

In December 2019 I received my first Libre sensor. This bit of kit connects to your phone and provides you with a daily graph of your sugar level readings.

As everyone knows 2020 was a bit of a write off in terms of being able to take part in group training, events and the like, so it is only now in 2021 I am able to optimise the information provided by the sensor whilst we are training.

Many different outside factors contribute to your sugar levels, but equally stress & adrenaline can also effect your levels.

With flyball training there is aerobic exercise for Dog & Handler, whether you are warming your dog up, practicing runbacks, or cooling down at the end of the session. These bursts of activity have to be taken into account when you are a diabetic as this can cause your sugar levels to drop depending on how long you are taking part in that activity.

In flyball there is also a lot of adrenaline flowing, for both human and pooch. Adrenaline in my system (I’ve learnt over the years) as with many other diabetics, causes my blood sugar levels to rise. When taking part in flyball, I can use my Libre sensor to easily scan on my phone and monitor the affect the session is having on my levels.



Here is a graph for a Tuesday with flyball training. I’ve circled in red the effect Flyball has on my levels!

As you can see in the chart, adrenaline in my system causes my level to rise, however once the session is over and the aerobic exercise I’ve taken part in takes effect, my levels will then drop slightly and stablise.

I’m pleased that with my Libre system I have been able to understand what is going on between the finger pricks, and the impact this has on my overall health.

I’m excited for the upcoming competitive season to begin and interested to see how taking part in a competitive environment will effect my blood sugar levels.

I hope that some of you have enjoyed my story & that this has provided some information into how having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t do something you love!

Sniffs & Spools Dog Blog logo featuring pink and purple spools and silhouttes of dogs sniffing

Share this post