BLOOD hounds are urgently needed to make sure four-legged friends can get the operations they need during the winter months.
Pet owners in Sunderland and County Durham are being urged to make them hairy heroes by going to the latest blood donor sessions.
Just as supplies of human blood can run low during the Christmas holidays, the Pet Blood Bank (PBB) says it also needs to build up supplies.
A series of collection sessions have been set up by PBB, which is the country’s only canine blood donation charity, and these will be held in Durham and Sunderland next month.
To date, PBB has supplied more than 12,000 units of canine blood to vet practices across the UK, often for life-saving surgery, and as awareness of the service has grown among vets, so has the demand.
Head of operations Katrina Wilkinson said: “The call from the National Blood Service to donate blood to help fellow humans is well entrenched in the public psyche, but less well known is the need for dogs to donate for the good of their canine companions.
“Every unit of blood Pet Blood Bank UK collects can help save the lives of up to four dogs, so we hope that dog owners in the North East come forward and help us to save even more lives.
“Blood is something we all expect to be there for us when we need it – the same can be said for our pets.
“Many dogs would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the generosity of our doggie donors.”
She added: “It’s just as important at Christmas to give blood as it is at any other time of the year, so we would encourage pet owners to help their pet save lives of their fellow canines.
“We give gifts at Christmas, so why not help your dog give a gift of blood and save the lives of up to four dogs and become a hairy hero.”
To give blood and save the lives of their fellow dog, pooches need to be fit and healthy, have a good temperament, be aged between one and eight years old, weigh more than 25kilos, be up-to-date with their vaccinations and never have travelled outside the UK.
They are also given a full physical check-up before the procedure.
As a reward for being brave, the four-legged blood donors are given a meal, a toy and a goody bag with treats to take home.
Sessions will be held on:
* Thursday, December 8, at Sunderland’s Vets 4 Pets in Fulwell.
* Tuesday, December 20, at Gilmoor Veterinary Group in Durham.
* Thursday, December 22, at Vets 4 Pets in Durham.
For details, or to register your pet for a blood donor session, call 01509 232 222, or visit www.petbloodbankuk.org