Canine Blood Donations

by Nancy Boland

Did you know that dogs can give blood and that one donor dog may be able to save 4 other dogs’ lives? When dogs give blood it is stored in a canine blood bank so that vets all over the country know they can get hold of processed packed red blood cells as well as fresh plasma when they need it the most to save other dogs lives.

Does Your Dog Meet The Criteria?

Not every dog makes a suitable blood donor and there are certain criteria and guidelines set in place. These guidelines are as follows:


  • Dogs must be between the ages of 1 and 8 years old
  • Dogs must weight over 25kg
  • They must have all their vaccinations up to date
  • Dogs must be fit and healthy
  • They must not be taking any medication
  • Dogs must never have travelled abroad
  • A happy, calm temperament is also desirable.



There are many dogs all over the country registered as canine blood donors and once a dog is registered they are generally called upon to donate their blood when it is needed.

blood donor 2


Two tests will be done during the first time your dog donates blood at your vets. The first is a blood test to cross match it with the dog that needs a transfusion and the second is a blood count to make it is safe for your dog to donate their own blood without harming their own health.
If all the tests come back positive, the next step is to shave a small area of fur on your dogs’ neck, specifically the jugular. This allows the vet to give your dog a local anaesthetic. Next the vet will put a canula in your dogs’ vein so they can start to collect your dogs’ blood.

Would You Let you’re Dog Donate Blood?

If you own a dog that meets the above requirements, you may like to consider allowing them to donate blood. Your dog will need to have a somewhat calm temperament as they will need to be able to sit still during the procedure. Dog’s that are particularly anxious during vet visits or dogs that struggle with sitting still for periods of time may not be the best candidates.

Canine blood donations are great for the dogs that are in desperate need of transfusions whether they’ve been injured or have undergone any sort of life saving surgery. If your dog meets all the criteria set out above, and you feel happy about them donating blood, you should discuss this with your local vet or contact the Pet Blood Bank UK to discuss whether your dog would be a good candidate.


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