If you adopted your sweet pup and have always wondered just what breeds make up his adorable appearance, you’re not alone. Dog DNA tests have never been more popular. They offer a chance to find out exactly where Fido got those floppy ears, that extra big nose, and that cute spotted belly.
But dog DNA tests may offer more value than that. They could help let you learn more about why your pet behaves the way he does, provide insight into his health, and more. Here’s what you should know about dog DNA tests before you pick one up for your pet.
How Dog DNA Tests Work
While each test is unique and each company has its own formula for success, the process is generally the same across the board. You order an at-home kit that includes all the instructions you need to get your pet tested. A simple saliva swab will do the trick, though there’s no way to guarantee your pet will cooperate when you attempt to stick a cotton swab into his mouth!
Once you pack up your DNA sample and send it to the testing company, your pet’s info is loaded into their database and assessed. It’s genotyped and compared to countless dog breeds using key genetic markers. The complex algorithm takes that information, configures all the different possibilities, and lands on a result: your dog’s DNA analysis.
Many dog DNA test companies also optionally test for genetic disease, health markers, and other details about your pet. Some charge an additional fee for this information, while others include this in the initial cost.
If you feel more comfortable having an experienced professional take your pet’s swab sample and send it in for testing, many Vet offices offer the service. Check with your dog’s Vet to see if they’ll help facilitate the DNA test if that’s more convenient for you.
Just How Accurate Are Dog DNA Tests?
Unlike with human testing, there’s not a lot of visibility into the accuracy of dog DNA tests. They’re generally accepted as pretty accurate, but each brand has its own methods that can make for varied results depending on which company you choose your test from.
That said, some dog DNA test companies do offer insight into their process and also share accuracy. For example, Embark makes claims that their process allows for 95%-99% accuracy, thanks to their extensive database of breeds. Other brands, like Wisdom panel, make claims that their testing nets results that are 93% accurate. But, there’s no regulation surrounding these claims or requiring any pet genetics company to meet certain standards. Overall, it’s an emerging field that’s improving in credibility, but you should still be cautious when considering the accuracy of your pet’s results.
What A Dog DNA Test Can Tell You About Your Pet
A DNA test for your pet just may prove to be more valuable than you originally thought! And that’s because your pet’s breed makeup isn’t the only information it can provide you regarding Fido. Of course, that’s the main reason many pet parents opt to get their dog’s DNA tested—to tell them which breeds they can attribute to their pet looking the way he does. Here are some of the other reasons you should consider having your pet tested:
Dog DNA Tests Can Help You Better Understand Your Pup’s Behavior
A DNA test can give you insight into your dog’s mind because different breeds are genetically inclined to behave differently. While this doesn’t affect your pet in any way, it can be helpful to you as a pet parent, to have a little bit of background knowledge that can help explain your individual pet’s traits, quirks, and mannerisms.
Some breeds are high-energy. A DNA test might let you know that your pup’s acting out because he’s not getting out and about often enough. Other breeds have a high prey drive. And a DNA test can let you know if your dog is a breed that just can’t help himself when he sees a squirrel. Other breeds still, innately alert and protect. So if your pup’s constantly barking at passers-by or doesn’t love ‘strangers’ coming into your home, a dog DNA test can help you recognize that’s a trait you can attribute to your pet’s lineage.
Dog DNA Tests Give You Genetic Health Information About Your Pet
Not all kits include health screening, but many now do. If you’re interested in learning this information, make sure you select this option when ordering results. As with breed testing, any health information you receive about your pet varies in accuracy depending on the company you choose.
Health screening compares your dog’s genetic makeup with hundreds of potential genetic diseases to see if your pup carries any of those genes or is potentially at risk. The most important thing to keep in mind, when you get your results back, is that DNA health testing is not a diagnosis! It doesn’t mean your pet currently has a certain disease or that he’ll certainly develop that disease as he ages.
Instead, these health results can be beneficial for you to help ensure that genetic issue doesn’t become a health concern down the road. They can influence how you go about preventative care and can help you better support your pet, starting now.
Dog DNA Tests Can Help You Make Better Nutrition Decisions
While a healthy, balanced diet full of protein and fresh ingredients is a great way to feed any pet, certain breeds may benefit from additional nutrients in their diet. A DNA test can help you determine if that’s the case!
Certain dog breeds are more prone to skin issues than others. If your DNA test results suggest your pooch has a significant amount of Pug or Sharpei in his history, he may be more likely to develop skin issues. Adding extra Omega Fatty Acids to his diet might be a good idea to help prevent that from happening.
Other breeds, especially large and giant breeds, can be more prone to developing joint or mobility issues as they age. DNA testing can help you identify if your pup’s potentially at risk, so you can consider adding joint-supportive nutrients to his diet now, to help prevent future issues.
Whatever the case may be, dog DNA tests can be invaluable in helping you decide which nutrients and supplements to add to your pet’s diet.
Pethonesty Products To Consider After You Have Your Results
If you’ve just gotten your dog’s DNA results back and are ready to make some nutritional changes based on his breed makeup, Pethonesty’s here for you! We make supplements that are suitable for all breeds and can help with a host of health issues.
If your pet may be prone to skin issues, grab some Pethonesty Omega-3 Fish Oil. It’s chock-full of healthy Fatty Acids that nourish your dog’s skin, so it stays healthy. If you’re worried your dog breed’s going to develop joint or mobility issues as he ages, try a supportive supplement like Pethonesty Advanced Hip & Joint Chews. They’re full of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and other nutrients that can help keep your pet’s joints healthy.