Our question this week was:Dr. Debra,
Is it safe to allow your dog to be a "blood donor"? There is a local organization that is asking for donors but I'm a little nervous. What do you think?
David N. Answer
Hi – thanks for your email. In answer to your question, in general, yes, I think it is safe for a dog to be a "blood donor". If a dog is healthy and has no underlying problems, it is very safe. It is really no different than being a blood donor as a person.
The different dog blood banks have different programs and offer various benefits to the donor dogs. For example, the St. Louis Animal Blood Bank will perform blood work on your dog (free of charge) to ensure he is healthy.
Other common requirements is that they dog be young – generally 1 to 6 years of age, calm even temperament, be over 50 pounds and in good health, current on vaccinations and on heartworm prevention, have never been pregnant and had never been a recipient of a blood transfusion. Blood is generally drawn about every 3 months and most dogs are in the program for 2 years.
In general, the ideal donor is a large breed dog that is healthy and friendly.
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