Dogs suffering from severe blood loss or blood diseases can receive blood transfusions from another healthy dog to help them recover.

Dogs that are negative for DEA 1 are preferred for donating blood because their blood can be safely transferred to dogs that are negative or positive for DEA 1.1 or DEA 1.2.

However, DEA 1 negative dogs aren’t truly “universal donors” because a dog may be positive for another blood type that might cause an issue.

To make sure there won’t be a serious immune reaction to any of a donor dog’s blood types, the veterinarian will do another test called “crossmatching.” This test checks the overall compatibility of donor and recipient blood.

After confirming DEA 1 blood type and running a crossmatching test, a veterinarian can typically determine which type of blood will be the most successful for the dog receiving the transfusion.

The ideal dog for donating blood is:

  • Over 50 pounds (and at a healthy weight for their size; larger dogs can donate a larger volume of blood more easily and frequently than smaller dogs)
  • Up to date on their vaccines
  • Healthy (with no heart murmur)
  • Not on any medication
  • Free of infectious disease, parasites and blood-borne diseases
  • Calm (able to sit quietly for 10-15 minutes while blood is being collected)
  • DEA 1 Negative

If the DEA 1 blood type is compatible and there’s no immune response seen with the crossmatching tests, then it’s safe to go ahead with the dog blood transfusion.