Jugular vein

Please read the general principles of blood sampling page before attempting any blood sampling procedure.


Dogs can be trained to sit calmly on a table for blood sampling. They will remember receiving a reward (e.g. food treat) after the procedure, which can make them easier to handle on subsequent occasions.

Sampling from the jugular vein is quick and simple as the vein is superficial and easily accessible. It is appropriate for small and large blood samples. View this non-surgical technique below.

Dog jugular vein copyright NC3Rs from NC3Rs on Vimeo.

The dog is restrained manually. Sampling sites are alternated between the two jugular veins, starting distally at the base of the neck and moving towards the head along the jugular groove. The vein is raised by compressing it just dorsal to the thoracic inlet, ventral to the venepuncture site. An aseptic technique should be used, including clipping the hair around the sampling site. 2 - 20 ml of blood can be taken per sample and, depending on sample volume and scientific justification, up to eight samples in a 24-hour period; more frequent sampling can cause bruising. The number of attempts to obtain blood should be minimised to a maximum of three needle sticks for each sample. Bleeding should be stopped, before the dog is returned to its pen, by applying finger pressure to the sampling site for approximately 30 seconds.


Number of samples No more than eight blood samples should be taken in any 24 hour period.
Sample volume 2 - 20 ml
Equipment 21G (preferably 1" long) needle
Staff resource Two people are required to blood sample; one for restraining and raising the vein of the dog, and one for taking the blood sample.
Adverse effects
  • Infection <1%
  • Swelling/haematoma 1-5%
  • Clipper rash can occur if the hair is not clipped carefully with well-maintained clippers
Other Stress associated with the technique can be minimised by training and acclimatising the dogs to manual restraint and the sound of the clippers beforehand. A reward (e.g. food treat) should always be provided after the procedure.

Resources and references

Jugular vein sampling in other animals

Click here for information on jugular vein blood sampling in the ferretClick here for information on jugular vein blood sampling in the rat

All blood sampling techniques in the dog

Click here for information on cephalic vein blood sampling in the dog