BACKGROUND In canine models, transfused older stored red blood cells (RBCs) hemolyze in vivo resulting in significantly increased intravascular cell-free hemoglobin (CFH) and non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI). During canine bacterial pneumonia with septic shock, but not in controls, older stored RBCs were associated with significantly increased lung injury and mortality. It is unknown if in shock without infection transfusion of older RBCs will result in similar adverse effects. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS Two-year-old purpose-bred beagles (n = 12) were transfused similar quantities of either older (42-day) or fresher (7-day) stored universal donor canine RBCs 2.5 hours after undergoing controlled hemorrhage (55 mL/kg). RESULTS With older transfused RBCs, CFH (p < 0.0001) and NTBI (p = 0.004) levels increased, but lung injury (p = 0.01) and C-reactive protein levels (p = 0.002) declined and there was a trend toward lower mortality (18% vs. 50%). All three deaths after transfused fresher RBCs resulted from hepatic fractures. Lowered exogenous norepinephrine requirements (p < 0.05) and cardiac outputs (p < 0.05) after older transfused RBCs were associated with increased CFH levels that have known vasoconstrictive nitric oxide scavenging capability. CONCLUSIONS In hemorrhagic shock, older RBCs altered resuscitation physiology but did not worsen clinical outcomes. Elevated CFH may lower norepinephrine requirements and cardiac outputs ameliorating reperfusion injuries. With hemorrhagic shock, NTBI levels persist in contrast to the increased clearance, lung injury, and mortality in the previously reported infection model. These preclinical data suggest that whereas iron derived from older RBCs promotes bacterial growth, worsening septic shock mortality during infection, release of CFH and NTBI during hemorrhagic shock is not necessarily harmful.