Humans give blood all the time at Red Cross drives around the country, but most people have never thought about their dog as a blood donor. In fact, most people don’t even know it’s an option! But if you think about it, canine blood donors are equally important to their human counterparts and the world needs more of them.
Veterinarians and animal advocates say that canine blood donors are in high demand, and much of the blood that is donated by dogs is sent to major universities and emergency animal hospitals where it’s in high demand. When a dog gives blood, it’s not unlike a human doing the same thing. They’re generally distracted by a handful of peanut butter for them to lick while their owners pet their heads and keep them company.
Like human blood banks, canine ones run the risk of not having enough blood. And because of improvements in technology that have allowed for new surgical techniques, veterinarians say the need for blood has increased greatly.
According to one vet, “Pets that wouldn’t be able survive a certain injury or certain disease process now have a chance.”
When to donate
Veterinarians say the need for blood increases during the summer months when animals are more likely to play outside and become injured by cars or incur heat-related injuries. Snake bites and parvovirus are two other conditions that could warrant a blood transfusion.
The St. Louis Animal Blood Bank in Kirkwood has about 40 donor dogs on rotation and needs all the blood it collects.
“We’re constantly on the lookout for new donors,” said Marianne Schultz, who runs the bank. “There is such a demand for blood.”
Donors aren’t paid, but the benefits for owners include knowing your animal’s blood type and receiving free screenings for blood-borne diseases. Pets can donate up to four times a year, usually for two or three years.
If you’re looking for a home away from home for your dog in St. Louis, please contact us. We’d love to offer your pooch a first-class daycare experience! Baxter’s K9 Complex is located just off the Page Extension (MO-364), just five minutes from 270 and Page Avenue!