Do you know your dog’s type? No, I’m not starting a new dog dating service. I’m talking about your dog’s blood type. There are five different types of canine blood with one being a “universal” type much like the human ‘O’ negative. Does it make a difference what type of blood flows through your pet’s veins? If they ever need a blood transfusion, it might.
Each day hundreds of dogs need blood transfusions due to injuries received from car accidents, loss of blood during surgeries, and many life-saving emergency treatments. Many clinics don’t use blood often so they don’t stock it. When those veterinarians need blood, they depend on regional or national blood banks. The problem is there are not very many national animal blood banks.
Can My Dog Be A Donor?
What kind of dog can become a donor? Some qualifications must be met before a dog is accepted. The laws do vary from state-to-state so check with your veterinarian. The following are general rules for most states:
· Healthy and free of any infectious disease
· Between the ages of 1 – 7 years
· Weigh more than 50 pounds
· Current on vaccines
· No medications other than a heartworm preventative and flea & tick preventative
· Parasite free
The process of your dog donating blood is not that different from the human experience. In most cases, it takes about thirty to forty-five minutes and requires no anesthesia. The dog will have a small patch of hair shaved before the procedure begins. The blood is drawn from the jugular vein in the neck or the front foreleg. Humans are given cookies and juice, while dogs are coddled and fed treats as they donate. Sometimes they may receive fluids afterward to avoid becoming weak or having a drop in blood pressure. This is not usually a problem. In fact, most dogs have no trouble donating blood every five to seven weeks. If you’d like your dog to become a regular donor, plan on scheduling donations for every three months.
Some veterinary clinics will house or foster adoptable dogs for a limited time to use as donors. In California, the law states that all commercial blood banks must keep their donors in-house. They nurture and care for them while they serve as donors for a limited time. After they have donated their limited time, they are adopted out to forever homes.
If your dog ever needs a blood transfusion, they are not cheap. Costs can vary from $150 to $300 per unit with whole blood costing up to $500. Most veterinarians don’t compensate for dog’s donations but will sometimes offer incentives. You might receive a discount on a future bill, free blood work, or gift certificates for dog supplies. That is a conversation for you to have with your pet’s doctor.
Why should you check to see if your dog is a good donor candidate? That is a great question and here is my answer; donating blood saves lives. If your dog ever needed a transfusion, you’ll be forever grateful to the dog that donated. What a great feeling it would be to know you and your best friend saved another dog’s life! Sources:
The Humane Society
The Humane Society