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Pet Blood Bank

Veterinary medicine has come a long way in the last few decades, and as it advances and we are able to treat more complicated cases, the need for blood rises. Just as humans need blood transfusions for a wide variety of conditions or traumas, so do pets!

We are lucky to have a pet blood bank just south of the city. Blue Pearl in Renton is the only pet blood bank for miles and is frequently called upon when hospitals near and far have an urgent need for blood.

There are some basic requirements to consider when you are thinking about signing your pup up to be a hero. They must:

  • be fairly young to middle aged and in good health

  • weigh at least 50 pounds

  • be current on standard vaccines

  • never have received a blood transfusion before

  • and they must pass baseline blood screening.

Blood donating is a wonderful commitment with very few negative effects. As with humans, dogs can be a little fatigued for up to 24 hours after donating blood and can sometimes have bruising on the site of the blood draw.

Since the blood bank has to invest in blood screening on each animal that intends to donate, they ask for a commitment to donate at least twelve times to cover that cost (but they hope you’ll continue coming as long as possible!) Donations can only take place every two to three months, so that your pet has time to replenish its own blood supply properly, and the procedure is under an hour.

If you have a high-energy pet, don’t fret. Vets can use varying levels of sedation to help slightly calm your pet for the day of donation or to just have them sleep during the twenty to thirty minutes needed for the procedure.

One major bonus for your pup being a blood donor (other than being the best samaritan) is that if they ever need blood, you will already know their type! Dogs have many more blood types than humans (they are usually referred to as groups), and that means the more donors there are, the more likely there will be blood that matches the varying groups out there when needed.

You can reach out to Blue Pearl on their main line to schedule a blood donation appointment: 425-496-1000. They accept dogs and cats! There are also some veterinary hospitals that like to have a donor dog or two on call in case an emergency walks in that has a need for blood, though some vets do not have the ability to do blood typing and transfusions. So reach out to your local vet and see if they could use your help as a donor on call (again–your pet cannot be used more than once every two to three months). Giving back to the community of dogs is so generous, and what better way to do it than with life-saving blood.

Article by Wendi Black

February 2022



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