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Cruisin' Canines

Want to Know More About Canine Blood Donation?


As pet owners, we’ll often pull out all the stops to ensure the health and well-being of our furry friends. Yearly vet visits to keep updated on vaccinations, a balanced diet and regular walks and exercise are a given, but one thing we may not spend much time thinking of is the need for dog blood donations. As people, we all know how important donating blood is to ensure there is enough available for people who need it during medical procedures, and though it seems obvious that other species would need blood for surgery and transfusions, dog blood donation probably isn’t something that crosses most people’s minds too often. There’s still a need for it, though—here’s what you should know about canine blood banks and how you can donate with your dog.

What Are Donations Used For?

Canine blood donations are necessary for a variety of different procedures, but according to some vets, the busier times of year when blood donations are most needed are the holiday season and summertime—times when parvovirus epidemics occur. Before blood banks for dogs existed, when there was a need, vets would call up someone who had a big dog and transfuse the blood whole. Now, like the Red Cross does, dog blood can be split into blood products like plasma for more efficient use. Nowadays, it can be used for treating infectious diseases, during surgical procedures, and more.

Why There’s More Blood Needed

While donating blood as a human is pretty common–so much so that you can pop out on your lunch hour, donate blood, and get back to work without any averse effects—dog blood donations are a bit more involved. For instance, having a blood drive for dogs would have the potential to simply be a bark-filled mess.

Instead, pet owners who are interested in having their dog become a donor should talk to their vet about whether they are eligible, and if so, how the process will work. Dogs can donate blood every 5-7 weeks, and since some vet clinics don’t need blood that often, they don’t keep it on hand, which results in drawing from regional or national banks when they do need it. In other words, it’s important to maintain a backup supply of donated blood.

How You Can Get Involved

If dog blood donation sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, talk with your vet care provider to get more information about the process. It’s not for everyone (or every dog!), but the process can be very rewarding–just be sure to give your pooch a few extra treats and some extra playtime or a walk to their favorite park in exchange!


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