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Can my dog be a superhero? Blood donation FAQ

Saving a life by giving blood isn’t just for humans… dogs can be heroes too! Here’s an insight into the fascinating process of canine blood donation…

When did dogs first start donating blood?

In 1665, a physician named Richard Lower successfully performed a blood transfusion between two dogs, some 150 years before the first successful human-to-human exchange. However that first procedure was pretty gruesome (not to mention cruel!) 350 years later, the process is much more civilised. Like humans, dogs have different blood types and are tested before they donate.

Where is blood taken from?

In Romania, blood is collected from the donor dog (most often from the jugular). If the donor is aggressive or agitated, he or she is sedated to stay calm.

How much blood can dogs donate?

The amount of blood a dog can give is weight dependent. In order to be able to donate 450ml of blood, a dog should weigh at least 25kg, but they must not be overweight. Each unit donated saves up to four lives!

Do they get treats afterward?

Of course! Our Romanian superheroes are given chicken and other treats when they recover from sedation.

Can I register my dog to give blood?

Yes, there is a Pet Blood Bank in the UK. To qualify as a donor, your dog should be:

  • Fit and healthy

  • Between one and eight years old

  • Weigh more than 25kg

  • Have a good temperament

  • Have never travelled outside of the UK and Ireland

  • Vaccinated or have an annual titre test after the first year booster

  • Not on any medication

Is it something you would consider or is your dog already a donor?  It would be lovely to hear your stories and experiences.

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