| Karlene Wieland
So, you know if your dog were human she would be a super hero. She’d have found the cure for cancer, created her own designer product, sold it for a cool billion and done all that after winning her pulitzer prize for humanitarianism. Oh and she would, of course, be a blood donor, right?
In this world, we are the conscience and the voice of our beloved furry families. We have to rely on our fellow humans to educate us on all things pet and trust the communication with the animals in our lives to make those decisions for them.
How can you tell if your dog is a good fit for blood donation? According to the Pet Blood Bank at the University of Pennsylvania, pets must meet certain health and temperament criteria. While each blood bank will have differences this provides a good starting point for questions.
Dogs must be at least a healthy weight of 55 pounds, not overweight or underweight for their size.
Dogs often must not be over 150 lbs. You’ll want to ask about the high end of weight at the facility you are going to as some donation tables won’t hold a dog in excess of 150 lbs. (That means that the VP of Quality Assurance on the right can donate but her BFF, a 160 lbs. Malamute, can’t.)
Dogs must be at least a year old and not older than eight. Dogs most often reach physical maturity in that first year. Generally dogs are retired from blood donation programs at 8 to avoid any potential health issues brought about by natural aging processes.
Dogs should be without chronic illness, not recently sick, and be up to date on vaccinations including heartworm and flea and tick medications.
Female dogs cannot be in heat at the time of donation.
Temperament and trust are big factors as well in deciding if blood donation is right for you and your dog. When donating, your dog is placed in a submissive position on her side. Restless dogs would not do well. You will either be holding her head in your lap or on a table with you stroking her while she endures an invasive procedure. While you know it’s for the greater canine good, she doesn't understand all of the implications. Even though she is brilliantly smart she only understands that she trusts what you do with her.
There are of course treats and gratitude to be had after donation!
If you are interested in donation, there are many web resources and, of course, your veterinarian.