Dogs can donate blood up to six times a year. We manage our service very carefully by blood type. Therefore, depending on your dog’s blood type, you will be invited to attend sessions between one and six times a year. We will only ever ask your dog to donate when we need their blood type.
Additionally, it is safe for dogs to donate blood every eight weeks - this is in line with the government guidelines for animal blood donation (you can read more here). However, we treat each of our donors as individuals and their welfare is always our priority so we do monitor each donor and alter donation frequency depending on haematology values and our clinical examination.
Yes. Just like us, dogs have different blood types. We type for DEA 1 in the UK and dogs can either be positive or negative.
We are extremely lucky to have several thousand positive blood donors enrolled onto the donation programme. This means that our positive stock levels are usually very healthy.
From our research, only 30% of dogs have the negative blood type but negative type is in high demand as it can be given to any dog in an emergency. This means we need more dogs of this type to register with us. Learn more about the breeds of dog more likely to have negative blood type.
No. We use a local anaesthetic cream to prevent any discomfort. Pet Blood Bank is a charity with welfare at its heart and all dogs who come along to a session are monitored throughout the experience. If they show any signs of being unsettled, we stop the process immediately. Most of our donors come bounding through the vet’s doors with their tails wagging excited for all the fuss and attention they are going to get. Some dogs are so relaxed they fall asleep on the donation table while enjoying a lovely tummy rub.
Just like people, sick and injured animals may need blood transfusions and, in many cases, blood transfusions can help save a pet's life. There is a continual demand for our products and they really can mean the difference between life and death for seriously ill dogs.
Each one of our lifesaving donors makes a huge difference with every unit of donated blood having the potential to help save the lives of up to four other dogs.
Dogs can retire from donating for reasons including old age or health, so we always need to be recruiting more dogs to join our community to ensure our stocks are healthy.
Negative blood is also in high demand as this type can be given to both positive and negative blood type dogs. It is negative blood that vets keep in stock in case of emergencies. This is why we need dogs that are more likely to have this blood type to join our community of donors. Learn more about the breeds of dog more likely to have negative blood type.
Visit our page on what happens at a donation session to watch our video and find out what happens when you bring your dog to donate.
If you are an app user, please cancel your appointment via our mobile app. Otherwise, please call us on 01509 232 222 as soon as possible. If this is outside office hours or your appointment is at the weekend, please call or text the mobile number we provided.
Yes! Please visit our page on training your dog for donation to access our training sheets. These help you work on familiarising your dog to certain things that will happen during the donation process.
It is normal for some dogs to be restless during their first donation. Often, we find that dogs settle better at their second donation as they are more familiar with the process. Doing some training with your dog before coming back can be very helpful. When you feel your dog is ready to try again, we would love to hear from you.
This is because there are a number of blood borne diseases in dogs which are present in other countries but not yet prevalent in the UK. Therefore, we hope you can appreciate that we do not want to risk transferring any disease to a dog that needs blood. Testing every dog for blood borne diseases is cost prohibitive for the charity so our policy is to only allow dogs to donate who have always been within the UK and Ireland. This policy ensures we comply with our government license. We understand this might be disappointing but there are plenty of other ways you can support us.
It is very important that dogs are vaccinated if they are going to donate blood as the blood they give is used to treat other very unwell dogs.
Dogs must have received a full puppy vaccination course and a booster vaccination a year later. After this, dogs can be vaccinated every 3-4 years with a core vaccinate to Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Parvovirus (whether it is 3 or 4 years depends on the vaccine used, your vet can advise on this. We further recommend an annual vaccination for Leptospirosis for any dog that could come into contact with rat urine as this is the main source of Leptospirosis in the UK. Dogs deemed low risk for Leptospirosis can follow vaccination to the core diseases mentioned above, with agreement from your vet.
Yes. We understand that some owners will prefer to titre test their dogs and so we are happy to accept annual titre tests for the core diseases that are vaccinated against in the UK. This includes Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Parvovirus. We also require that you and your vet carry out a risk assessment for Leptospirosis as immunity to this disease cannot be assessed by titre testing. When dogs are titre tested, they can follow an individual vaccination programme according to their annual results. A copy of your dog’s titre test results and the risk assessment must be sent to us annually to allow our vets to review the results before you attend a donation session.
All dogs must be over 25kg to donate due to the volume of blood that is taken during a donation. This criteria is part of our government license and aligns with our commitment to welfare. If you have a smaller dog, you can still help us in other ways or by telling your friends with larger dogs.
Welfare is always our priority and so a small number of specific dog breeds are excluded from becoming donors. These include:
- English Bulldogs – despite their lovely nature, due to their body shape and brachycephalic skull it can be uncomfortable for them to lie on the table and more difficult for them to breathe during donation
- Chow Chows – this breed has pigmented gums and assessment of gum colour is a key part of the donation process
- Dogs that are registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act – whilst we believe that breed specific legislation is in no way an assessment of an individual dog, as these breeds and their crosses are required to be muzzled in public it means they are excluded as donors
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro
Unfortunately not. Unlike in human medicine, there is still a lot of research being done on identifying the many blood types in dogs and their significance. A dog that has received a transfusion may have developed antibodies in their blood that could cause a serious reaction if that blood was then donated and given to another dog. We understand that owners whose dogs have received a transfusion often want to give back and help other dogs and there are many other ways you can do this. You can help us by spreading the word, volunteering or fundraising, all of which are vital to the charity.
It is important that your dog is fit and healthy when they come to donate. This is to protect their own health and the health of any dog that receives your dog’s blood. If your dog has been unwell recently but is back to full health, they should be fine to donate. If you are unsure whether you should attend your appointment after your dog has been unwell, please give us a call on 01509 232 222.
Bitches in season can donate provided they are well in themselves. Please mention this to our team at the time of booking your appointment so we can consider the timing of your appointment.
However, if you plan to mate your bitch within four weeks of donation, they are unable to donate.
Bitches are unable to donate while pregnant or experiencing a phantom pregnancy. Following whelping (natural birth or C section), bitches must wait at least 12 weeks before donation and even then, are only permitted if your vet seems them to be a healthy body condition score on examination. Phantom pregnancies must be resolved before a birth can donate.
Depending on what the eye drops are for, your dog may still be able to donate. Please call 01509 232 222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what eye drops your dog is on and how long they have been taking them so we can check if they will be able to donate.
It is important that your dog is fit and healthy when they come to donate. If your dog has been sick or had diarrhoea on the day of donation, we ask that you cancel their appointment. Please do this via our app, call us on 01509 232 222 or, if it is outside office hours or your appointment is at the weekend, please call or text the mobile number we provided.
If your dog is not taking any medication and would be comfortable lying on their side on the table then they can continue donating. We monitor the welfare of your dog very closely and if they show any signs of discomfort during the appointment, we will discuss retirement with you. If your dog is taking medication for arthritis then they are unfortunately unable to donate.
The volume of blood takes around two months to be completely replaced. After donating, we recommend your dog takes it easy for the rest of the day and can return to their normal activities the next day.
Yes. All dogs in the UK have access to the blood bank. Blood is ordered from us by your vet.
No. Pet Blood Bank supplies blood to vets at cost price. This is the cost of running the service including the collection, processing, storage and supply of blood products. We have an agreement with the vets we supply blood to that they will also charge the owner cost price, so nobody makes any money on the blood donated.
Any surplus the charity does make is reinvested to further our work in the areas of transfusion medicine, welfare and education.
We hope to be able to include other pets, such as cats, in the blood bank scheme in the future.