Today (14th June) marks World Blood Donor Day, a joint initiative of the World Health Organisation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving donations.
However there are a number of life-saving volunteers that are often overlooked or forgotten about and that is the thousands of UK dogs that regularly donate blood to the Pet Blood Bank.
This is because many people, even dog owners themselves, are unaware that Britain’s four legged friends can donate blood or that the charity behind this incredible work even exists.
Which is why in an effort to raise awareness of how easy it is for dogs to donate blood, sustainable pet food brand Percuro have released a map highlighting some of the different donation locations for each region of the UK.
The brand hopes that by sharing the image they can draw attention to some of the unsung heroes this World Blood Donor Day – as well as showcase how easy and convenient it is for owners to potentially sign their pooch up to donate blood, which in turn could save a life.
Each of the locations detailed on the map are taken from the Pet Blood Bank website, which is a UK based charity, was set up in 2007 to help save the lives of pets in need up and down the country, with its initial small team of three recognising the need for this service for dogs, cats and even alpacas!
Pet Blood Bank runs donation sessions across the country at these locations, where owners can bring their dog in to give blood, helping to save the lives of their furry friends.
The service is managed so that dogs will only ever be asked to donate when there is need for it, meaning that no blood is ever going to go to waste and is always valued and appreciated, no matter how many times they donate.
TV vet and animal welfare activist, and brand ambassador for Percuro, Dr Scott Miller, details how supportive he is of the organisation, “Pet Blood Bank is a truly special charity that helps to save the lives of our furry friends and reinstates the importance of recognising issues that we are familiar with, but don’t think of when it comes to our pets. It is run by animal lovers who truly care about the welfare of pets and are passionate about sharing the cause and getting not only more dogs to donate, but dogs who are happy to donate, something which really sets them apart.”
For any owners who are considering registering their pet for a donation event, the charity lays out a number of criteria a dog must meet in order to be able to donate.
All doggy donors must be:
- Fit and healthy
- Between one and eight years old
- Weigh more than 25kg
- Have a good temperament
- Have never travelled outside the UK and Ireland
- Be fully vaccinated or have an annual titre test after the first-year booster
- Not on any medication
In addition, Percuro highlights that keeping your pet healthy pre and post donation is important. Denise Saber, Founder at Percuro stresses “A good diet is key to helping your pet meet the criteria of being able to donate, and it is important that owners recognise what they are feeding their beloved pups to ensure they are healthy and happy. If we feed our dogs better food, we can help ensure that their blood is healthier and therefore it can be of use to dogs that need blood donations. There is even benefit for the dogs making the donation in that it can help it facilitate reduction around iron toxicity or dysfunction in the body leading to improved metabolic function.”
Additionally, like humans, our beloved dogs have different blood types, and when a transfusion is needed, the same blood type should be given.
Dogs can either be DEA 1 positive or DEA 2 negative, with most dogs being DEA 1 positive. According to the Pet Blood Bank only 30% eligible dogs are able to donate that have a DEA 1 negative blood type, and there is a huge demand for this type as it can be given to any dog in an emergency, including DEA 1 positive pups. Dog breeds that are more likely to have a negative blood type are:
- Airedale Terrier
- American Bulldog
- Basset Hound
- Bearded Collie
- Border Collie
- Curly Coated Retriever
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- English Bull Terrier
- Flat Coated Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Old English Sheepdog
Denise adds: “For pet owners all over the UK, organisations like Pet Blood Bank offer a sense of relief knowing that if their pet was ever in need of blood, they would be able to access it. Awareness of charities like PBB is so important, with more dogs donating blood means that more dogs’ lives can be saved, resulting in more happy pups and owners!”