PET PARENTS: your pup could save another as a blood donor


When it comes to our pets we would do just about anything to save them. If something were to happen to them, you’d expect the best possible care.

You’d take them to the emergency room whether it’s for an X-ray or emergency surgery. But what happens if your pet needs blood during an emergency procedure? We wanted to find that answer.

“I would call in one of my clients, who agreed for their dog to be a donor and we’d bring them in and collect the blood in a sterile way,” said Dr. Matt Zupka of Sherwood Animal Clinic in Topeka.

Dr. Zupka would have to call in a client and get fresh blood because it has an expiration date.

“In a private practice it’s impractical to bank blood, because in dogs, just like humans, red blood cells can only be kept for so long,” Dr. Zupka said.

However, before a dog could get to the life saving, a veterinarian would have to find out which one of the 13 canine blood types the animal is. Then they have to make sure the donor and the recipient have a matching type with a cross-examination. 

“It takes about half an hour to collect the blood and they really have no adverse reactions to that,” Dr. Zupka said.

For Mike Johnson and his family dog CoCo, he wishes he knew about animal blood donors earlier.

“She’s a sweetheart, we love her a lot,” Johnson said. “We’ve been there before where we’ve had to take dogs into the vet, that didn’t come back with us.”

It’s something Johnson says his family may consider volunteering for.

“The donor dog families are also very grateful for the opportunity to offer their dogs blood up to help another pet, and another pet family,” Dr. Zupka said.

He said there aren’t massive blood banks for canines in town, but you can talk to your vet about wanting to volunteer your dog as a donor if an emergency happened. You can also go to Kansas State University, where they do keep a blood bank.

Volunteering your dog to be a donor can come with several benefits. Dr. Zupka said you usually get a free checkup and free blood exams when your dog donates.

If you are interested in volunteering your dog to be able to save another, generally they need to be in good health, weigh more than 40 pounds and be currently vaccinated and not on a lot of medications. Your dog can only give blood a few times a year.

Dr. Zupka says greyhounds are known to be universal donors.

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