Dog Blood Donors

by Melissa R. on August 30, 2017

Happy Maizey after her 1st blood donation

Happy Maizey after her 1st blood donation

Several weeks ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook that one of her dogs (she has FOUR rescues: 2 Pit Bull Mixes and 2 Rat Terrier Mixes) was going to go in to be tested to become a Dog Blood Donor. I was immediately interested and watched each week to see how the testing was going. Maizey, the potential donor, passed with flying colors! Just this week she donated her first round of blood!

Years ago, when I was in college, I remember going to the veterinary clinic on campus and walking the Greyhound blood donors now & then, but it never occurred to me that regular pets could be blood donors. Turns out dog blood donors are out there all over…  

Here is a list of what a good potential dog blood donor needs:

  • Be over 50 lbs
  • Be between 1-7 years old (varies)
  • Be calm, cool and collected!
  • Be a universal blood donor type (Pit Bulls and Greyhounds are most likely to have this blood type)
  • Not be on any medications (except Heartworm and Thyroid)
  • Be otherwise healthy

Some facilities ask for a commitment to donate every 2 months for 2 years (6 times a year). Other facilities have different schedules, and some have “emergency” on call dogs.

My friend’s dog was a perfect candidate. Maizey is a typical laid back Pit Bull and is happy to just lie around and wag her tail. She doesn’t care who pokes her or where, she just is happy to be there! Maizey went through several rounds of testing: first to see if she was a universal blood donor type (she was!), then a comprehensive physical and tick panel (perfect health!), and last a Complete Blood Cell Count, Chemistry Profile, Heartworm Test, Fecal Analysis, & Urinalysis (perfect again!). After she donates blood, she gets an extra special treat (soft dog food), and a brightly colored bandana to wear while the fur grows back in around her donation site.

If you think this is something your dog might be able to do, call your local veterinarian and they might be able to point you in the right direction. The NC State University website (which is where Maizey is donating at) has a great picture gallery of how a blood donation occurs here.

Anybody else know of dog blood donors or have one yourself?
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About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Peggy July 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I’m sure this is a much-needed procedure and if my dog needed blood I’d be grateful to those who donated. I still feel a little bad for the dogs donating, since they have to endure a potentially scary and/or uncomfortable procedure.

Melissa July 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Peggy – No worries about the dogs! Only dogs who would be happy to sit through the procedure are accepted. If dogs don’t feel comfortable doing it…. they don’t. 🙂 That’s what is so great about it as well!

Lisa July 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Peggy – Maizey is my dog, and I can assure you that personality and comfort is a big component. Even before any medical testing is done, the staff interacts with the dog using lots of positive reinforcement so this is a happy place to go. If a dog is stressed or overwhelmed, they don’t move forward. In our case, Maizey really couldn’t care less – she wagged and licked through the entire procedure, and LOVED getting treats and attention. Maizey’s mom, on the other hand, got starry eyed and woozy and had to sit down!

Jessica July 30, 2010 at 10:34 pm

How great of you to spread the word about dog blood donors. We had several blood donor dogs that lived at our vet school and they were the sweetest. After they lived at school for 3 years, they were adopted out and always got snatched up quickly. 🙂

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