Blood donations aren’t just for humans. Your furry companion can — and should — donate blood to save lives, too.
BluePearl, a nationwide chain of emergency veterinarian hospitals, said animals often require blood transfusions when undergoing surgery or suffering from trauma, and the demand for pet blood donations is greater than ever.
Healthy cats and dogs between 1 and 8 years old are eligible to donate through a “short and painless process” at one of the BluePearl Blood Bank locations across the country. There are a handful of other requirements, separate for cats and dogs, to be eligible to donate.
Animals have different blood types from humans, related specifically to their species.
Just like with humans, pets can donate blood several times each year, with BluePearl recommending 12-week intervals between each donation.
Pets who donate blood will receive complimentary lab work and a physical exam from a licensed veterinarian, BluePearl said. You can visit BluePearl's website to learn more about how your pet can donate blood at the nearest location, or look into other options that might be near you, such as the Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank, North American Veterinary Blood Bank or HemoSolutions.
The veterinary group said it would need to receive triple the amount of pet blood donations in 2024 compared to last year to meet the growing demand.
"As the World Health Organization says, 'blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person,' and the same goes for pets" said Meghan Respess, director of blood banking at BluePearl, in a statement.
BluePearl is especially highlighting this need in January, which is National Blood Donor Month for pets and humans.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood for surgeries, cancer treatments, childbirth, anemia, serious injuries, blood disorders and more.
The American Red Cross said it is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. The organization has been trying to avoid this situation for some time, telling the public last year that the blood supply had fallen to "critically low levels" after declaring its first-ever blood crisis in 2022.
To find an American Red Cross blood drive happening near you or make an appointment to donate, click here.
The Department of Health and Human Services also has a web page dedicated to finding a blood donation center near you.
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