We’re all familiar with the need for human blood donors, many of us have given blood or do so regularly, knowing that our healthy blood could mean the difference between life and death for another person in need. But, many people don’t realize that dogs need blood donors, too.
Just like humans, when dogs (and cats!) have an injury, become ill, or need surgery, a blood transfusion could save their lives. Without the generosity of canine blood donors, many of those pets would not survive.
That’s why more and more pet parents, along with their veterinarians are getting on board with donating their healthy dog’s blood. A single canine blood donation can be used to save up to 4 dogs’ lives! There are 3 canine blood banks in the nation, and they’re are all in low supply.
Can Any Dog Give Blood?
Requirements for canine blood donors may vary, but typically are as follows:
– A healthy dog weighing 35 pounds or more;- Between the ages of 9 months and about 9 years old;
– Must be spayed or neutered, with no history of pregnancy;
– Must have no history of disease and not taking any medications;
– Must be taking a heartworm preventive;
– Must be current with veterinarian’s preventive health and vaccination schedule.
– It is recommended that candidates be well-behaved and friendly to avoid the need for sedation.
Because canine blood only has a shelf life of about a 30 to 35 days, supplies need to be constantly replenished. When a donor dog is approved to give blood, he usually donates about every month-and-a-half to two months.
What is the Process Like For My Dog?
A typical donation takes about 10 to 30 minutes. The dog is placed on a table, normally laying on his side, while a technician gives him lots of love and attention. A small patch of fur on the dog’s neck is shaved, and a tiny needle is used to collect the blood. Most dogs don’t feel a thing, and are just thrilled for the extra love and attention.
As soon as blood is drawn, the dog’s body begins to produce more to replace it. Donors are given plenty of water and yummy snacks immediately after donating. While some dogs may be sluggish or weak after donating, others have no reaction at all – every dog is different. Overall, dogs recover much more quickly from a blood donation than humans do.
Many blood donor programs offer special perks for donors, too. Those perks range from free veterinary services, to gift certificates, discounts, and more. But, the biggest perk of all is to help save dogs’ lives!
What if your dog needed blood in an emergency, but none was available? Talk to your veterinarian about becoming a canine blood donor!