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Paws for Pints aims to save the lives of humans and pets, one blood donation at a time

Posted at 1:46 PM, May 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-11 19:27:22-04

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — The Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital teamed up with Veterinary System Services, Inc. and Bonfils blood bank to host a human and dog blood donation event Saturday.

People were invited to come down and donate blood and also have their dogs tested to see whether they might be a good fit to be a donor as well.

“We’re always looking for new blood donors; there’s always a shortage for canines and felines across the nation,” said Tricia Kaoihana, the hospital’s service manager and blood bank manager.

The blood Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital collects is then shipped throughout Colorado and the country to help save pets’ lives.

Right now, the blood bank has about 110 regular doggie donors.

Recently, a Saint Bernard came in to the hospital and needed several blood transfusions. The bigger the dog, the more blood they require, which can take a toll on a blood bank with an already limited supply.

“It’s very taxing. For instance, that dog went through three double units in an evening, which a lot of times we have maybe 10 units on hand. So, if he did that continuously for a day or two, he could completely wipe out our whole stock, essentially, if we didn’t have dogs coming in every day to donate,” Kaoihana said.

Part of the reason Kaoihana believes there is a blood supply shortage has to do with the fact that many people don’t know dog blood donations are a real need until there’s an emergency.

The other factor she says is causing the shortage is that there are more pet owners these days.

“More people have animals now and they’re more active with their animals as well, so unfortunately trauma does happen and that’s when they need the blood the most,” she said.

Each blood transfusion comes with a picture of the dog that donated and some information about them in case the owner whose pet is in need of blood wants to write a "thank you" note or learn more about how donations work.

During their time donating, the pups are also pampered with treats and plenty of love to make the process as easy as possible.

However, just like humans, there are some qualifications for blood donations.

  • The dogs must be between 1 and 6 years old and be in good health
  • They must weigh at least 55 pounds
  • They must be current on their vaccines
  • They cannot have received a blood transfusion
  • They need to have a friendly disposition since needles are involved
  • All medications your pup is on must be approved by the blood bank veterinarian.

Donations typically take about an hour and the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital is looking for doggie donors to come in once every six to eight weeks.

Humans who attended Saturday’s Paws for Pints event were treated to coupons for free pints of beer.

Pups who came in were treated to hero bandanas and coupons for puppy ice creams.