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‘Doing good by proxy’: the human-animal bond and the donation of canine blood

V. Ashall, P. Hobson-West

THE provision of blood to animals has become a part of contemporary veterinary practice, particularly for companion animals such as dogs and cats. The majority of canine blood donors are pet dogs or retired greyhounds awaiting rehoming whose owners offer them as ‘donors’. This study aimed to identify the motivation of pet owners who donate their pet's blood to better understand the factors that affect third-party donation decisions.

Interviews with 21 dog owners were carried out at two canine blood collection clinics. Interviews were recorded and transcribed before manual coding and thematic analysis. Themes were drawn from the coded data by exploring previously identified areas of interest, such as ‘altruism’, alongside emergent themes, such as ‘pets as family members’.

The primary stated aim among pet owners was to save canine lives. In addition to helping other dogs directly, owners also identified donation as indirectly helping other animal owners by protecting the strong human-animal bond. Owners who did not or could not donate blood themselves described pet blood donation as an opportunity to …

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