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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.

Bark at me!

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    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      9 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I had no idea there was such a thing as dog donors for blood. Then again, I don't know where I thought the blood would come from. I learned so much from this page and seeing there are dog donors like this....well, that's all the more reason why I love dogs (and cats and all animals) so much!

    • Iain84 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens - mans best friend indeed!

    • smithlights profile image


      10 years ago

      I had no idea! I guess it makes sense... my dog got a transfusion one time. Great idea using rescues and stuff! Awesome lens!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      @anonymous: Just a word on cost. I came across this while wondering where the blood comes from as one of my dogs is in the hospital now for anemia and got a transfusion yesterday. The estimate was 1500-2500 to begin with. This really though is for many things as I found out. The transfusion itself was around 600. Medications, ICU stay, etc made up the bulk.

      We're still not out of the woods. The last word I heard was encouraging after a lot of bleak outlook, so praying he pulls through.

    • JohannDog profile imageAUTHOR

      Johann The Dog 

      11 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      @anonymous: What a great story...thank you for sharing it! We are proud of you too :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I have two dogs that I signed up with my local Vet to be blood donors. In our small town, it is too costly for the Vet to keep blood on site so he has always counted on the staff and their dogs to donate in an emergency. I worked for 11 years in the medical field and felt my dogs could also play a part in saving lives. My first phone call was last night. A dog was bleeding post surgery and needed an immediate transfusion. I rushed one of my dogs over and was able to help another family with a dog in need. I never thought I could love my dogs more than I did....but having heros in the family makes me proud!

    • NatureMaven profile image


      12 years ago

      Very cool, I did not know about any of this *****

    • JohannDog profile imageAUTHOR

      Johann The Dog 

      12 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      [in reply to Cheli luvs puppy] I am so sad that happend to you and your pup. I wish more veterinarians would share info on organizations that help with emergency services for those that don't have the means. Hugs to you, my friend!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      My Dog was in need of a transfusion but the deposit for it was incredibly high, my dog was attack by a rattle snake on 04/18/09. She was bit in the face she had a slim change. The Vet said we can not being the transfusion until a $3500 deposit was left. I did all I could but she died of respiratory failure. I was left wondering why was it so costly for something that is free? Its a simple supply vs. demand answer. If we could just fill the amount needed maybe dogs with dog owners with not so High income can have a chance to continue to love their pets.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      My dog recieved a blood donation and I am so thankful that there is a blood donation center. My dog would have died without it. So thank you to all who take the time to bring there dogs in to donate!!!!!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      it never occurred to me that dog blood donors were needed, even though I am a blood donor myself. You opened my eyes!

    • profile image


      12 years ago


      This is a great posting to know about The importance of dog blood donation!. You can get also more information about Car donations, car donations to charity and donate car to charity at UnitedSocietyDonations I am so impress with your posting and waiting for next.


      Sarfaraz Khan

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      13 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      Interesting, I had never considered this. Great lens!

    • JohannDog profile imageAUTHOR

      Johann The Dog 

      14 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      Thanks for the info 'Ask About Donor Policies'. It is always good practice to be informed about anything you participate in with your pup. We appreciate the advice!

    • profile image


      14 years ago

      What a great article! As the Operations Manager of a local community-based, non-profit animal blood bank, I find that my largest hurdle is getting the public to understand the shortage of the animal blood supply. One donation can save up to four pet's lives! Isn't that a great gift?

    • profile image


      14 years ago

      Not all of the "resident" blood banks have a fixed period of service for their donors, and adoption there is the exception - not the rule!

      Be sure to inquire about the donor policies as the blood banks you do business with!

    • Barkely profile image


      14 years ago

      What a great subject for a lens.


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