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The importance of dog blood donation!

Updated on June 25, 2014

Dog blood donors save lives!

Each day throughout the country dogs need blood for serious procedures from accidents and illness.  Without dog blood donors, veterinary surgeons could not perform these important and lifesaving operations.

When I was attacked by several dogs in 2005, I needed blood for my operation. I am grateful that the pups that donated the blood were there for me. I am creating this lens in their honor.

You and your pup can help, too. As more and more advances in veterinary care become a reality, there becomes more and more of a need for blood throughout the country. 

Here we will explore how you can help save a dog's life!

Photo courtesy of Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.

How does dog blood donation work?

As dogs become more and more a part of the family, there is an increasingly and growing demand for transfusion therapy to treat many diseases and injuries. And with this, comes the demand for blood products.

Before the current rise in blood banks, veterinarians utilized their own pups and client family pups to help with the need. Now there are several blood banks that help fill the need.

Some of these banks house their own dogs for blood collection in on site kennels. These pups are primarily rescues whose time was running out at the local shelter. Some are retired racing Greyhounds.

These banks use the dogs as blood donors for a specified amount of time, then look for permanent, forever homes for their retired donors. Other blood banks rely on everyday family pups (who we call heroes) who register as canine blood donors. They visit regularly for scheduled appointments to donate.

Some of these blood banks conduct blood drives, to create awareness and encourage others to contribute.

We heart dogs! - Dog gifts to show our love!

How can your pup give blood?

There are some veterinarians and animal hospitals that house their own blood donation programs. You may want to check with your local facilities to see if they hold volunteer blood drives.

There are requirements that have to be met for a dog to donate blood. Here are some examples:

  • 1-7 years of age
  • Weigh more than 45-50lbs
  • Friendly disposition-able to behave without owner present
  • Overall good health
  • Not on any meds except Thyroid or heartworm/tick preventative
In addition, since health screenings are very important to the health of your pups blood, many donation centers and drives request that your pup be a regular donor.

The ideal volunteer canine blood donor is an easy-going, large breed dog who has the "universal donor" blood type. There are over a dozen blood types in dogs, but about 40% to 45% have a universal type. For Greyhounds, that's over 60%. A small sample of blood will be tested to check the type. Only dogs that have a universal blood type are used as donors.

Photo courtesy of Faraday's family. Faraday is a blood donor!

Dog Donor Blood Drive!

Regional blood banks with resident donors.

Regional blood banks that rely on volunteer blood donors!

Cool Stuff for Cool Dogs! - where you can shop for cool stuff for cool dogs. has put together, in one place, all the cool stuff you need for your dog.

Find dog beds, all natural foods and treats, collars, leashes, charms, training and agility gear, vitamins and supplements, books, clothing, toys, crates, dog seat belts, t-shirts and other cool stuff for two and four-leggers!

And the best part is they donate 10% of their profits to dog shelters and rescues!

A blood mobile for the pooches!

In 1991 the Penn Animal Blood Bank in Philadelphia began an unprecedented undertaking; a specially equipped dogs-only bloodmobile. Staff and volunteers take the mobile to blood drives organized by breeders, dog clubs, veterinarians and others throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

The vehicle and blood bank help to make sure that enough blood is available to treat ill and injured animals at the School's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

The blood is brought back to VHUP where it is processed and separated into its components such as red blood cells, plasma and clotting factors. One unit of blood helps more than one patient. The blood and blood products are typed and matched to ensure compatibility between donor and patient.

If you are in the Pennsylvania area, and would like for your pup to donate blood, here is some information. A dog must be good-tempered, at least one year of age, weigh at least 50 lbs., be in excellent health and have current vaccination status. Those interested in having their dog donate blood should contact the Penn Animal Blood Bank at 215-573-7222.


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