Dog Blood Donation at the Doggie Depot

A Partnership with the North American Veterinary Blood Bank

Did you know… dogs are able to donate blood?

The Doggie Depot of Virginia is a satellite donation collection center for the North American Veterinary Blood Bank (NAVBB). Dogs may register at any time to become donors. They are screened at the next donation event and become eligible for donations the following month. Every donation can save up to four lives! Learn about Little Bear, a dog in crisis, and Chief, the dog who saved him, here.

What are the benefits of my dog being a blood donor?

If your dog is currently a Doggie Depot daycare client, they can donate blood during their daycare stay. You do not need to make a separate appointment! And if they are not a daycare client, they can still come and donate by registering and making an appoint through NAVBB!

In addition:

  • Free annual blood screening of CBC and Blood chemistry (~$335 annually)
  • Free annual Infections Agent blood screening (~415 annually)
  • Free annual health checkup (~$120 annually)
  • Free monthly nurse well checks (~$600 annually)
  • Free Simparica Trio (heartworm, flea & tick preventative) (~$384 annually)
  • Potential to save up to 4 lives with every donation (Priceless)

Total Value: ~$1854 annually in free veterinary care and up to 48 dogs saved every 12 months

How do I know if my dog is eligible?

Dogs need to meet certain requirements as outlined below:

  • Between the ages of 1 and 7 years old
  • Over 50 pounds (and considered a healthy weight)
  • Not on any medications for chronic illnesses
  • Currently on flea, tick, and heartworm preventative
  • Tested negative for heartworms in the past year
  • Vaccinated for Rabies and DHLPP
  • Have never received a blood transfusion

What is the donation process?

A team from NAVBB visits the Doggie Depot once a month to complete both health screenings and blood donations. The donation collection team consists of trained veterinary technicians and assistants overseen by a residency trained critical care veterinarian. They are provided a private space in where each dog is taken individually and given the opportunity to donate blood. No dog is forced to donate. We provide calming music, lavender essential oil, and plenty of treats to ensure your dog is at ease and willing to participate. If a dog shows signs of physical discomfort or distress during any phase of the process, the team stops and ends the session. The comfort and health of the donor is always top priority.

Step 1: Registration

It’s fast and easy to register your pup. You may register your pet at any time, but must resister at least one business day before the event to participate that day’s screening or donation. Screening and donation days are announced on social media and on postings in the daycare. Registration the day of a donation event may result in a month delay in your dog’s health screening.

Ensure your pup meets the eligibility requirements above and register now through NAVBB’s website.

You will receive emails from NAVBB to set up your account. Please take the time to do this at the time of receipt, and verify both your contact information and your dog’s information for accuracy. This is the portal used to verify your availability for health screenings and blood donation days. If you are unable to attend a blood donation day, please let both Doggie Depot and NAVBB know as soon as you can.

Step 2: Health Screening

The first step in the donation process is a health screening to determine your pet’s eligibility. Your pup will receive a full physical and blood test checking for bloodborne infections diseases through a small blood draw from the front paw. You will receive a copy of their blood test results, along with their blood type, within two weeks of the screening. You may send these to your veterinarian to reduce your annual checkup costs. Once cleared of infectious diseases and the physical exam, your dog will be able to donate during the following month’s donation.

Step 3: Blood Donation

Before each donation, to confirm they can donate that day, your dog is weighed, their red blood cells are checked to ensure they are fully hydrated, and their lymph nodes are checked to ensure that they are not coming down with any illnesses.

The donation is done through an artery in the neck. The area is shaved slightly to expose the vein, then your dog receives a small numbing cream so they don’t feel any pain. The blood donation itself takes approximately two-three minutes, during which they are cuddled, and given treats and belly rubs to make sure they are comfortable and happy. After, they are given an anti-itch cream, and encouraged to eat and drink water so they are ready to return to the playroom.

The entire process takes about 20 minutes, and they may return to their regular daycare activities at the end of their donation session. We do monitor your dog and allow them to go to a small room to rest if they appear at all fatigued. By the next day, they have regenerated the blood they have donated.

Step 4: Rewarded for their heroic contribution

Each doggie donor is given a report card telling you about their heroic efforts of the day, along with their Simparica Trio, to take home. When NAVBB hears about the lives saved from your dog’s blood donation, those stories are shared with you, so that you will get to know the direct impact you have on the canine world. At the end of the first year, your dog will receive a certificate marking their donation contribution. For each additional year of contribution, you will receive additional honorable mentions from NAVBB marking your dog’s heroic life-saving efforts.

Each canine blood donor is a hero, and we are honored to be able to share in their life-saving efforts!

Have more questions or want to learn more?

NAVBB and their friendly staff are available to help answer any questions you have. They can be reached at or by calling 703-574-7417.

We also have a handy Question and Answer guide here.

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