Dog Tips

Best DNA Test for Dogs

DNA testing can offer valuable information about your furry friends’ lineage, health and more. Knowing in-depth details about who your dog is can be crucial to providing the best possible care for him or her. Although genetic testing is often believed to be only for humans, Spot Pet Insurance believes in treating your pets like part of the family. Gaining this insight into who your dog truly is, especially if you rescued or adopted them, can be extremely useful in times of medical emergency. It is also just a lot of fun to learn about!

Just like in human genetic testing, there are a variety of methods and options for canine DNA testing. Each test differs in cost, information provided, time taken to receive results and many other qualities. It is important to be aware of and weigh all of your options to figure out which is the best test for you and your pup.

What is DNA testing?

Genetic testing, better known as DNA testing, examines chromosome structures and DNA sequences. It is often used to determine a person’s chance of receiving or passing on a genetic disorder. DNA tests often specifically look for variations of genes, abnormal chromosome configurations and amounts of proteins that could increase risk of genetic disorders.

Genetic testing originated in the 1950’s when it was discovered that Down’s syndrome was caused by an additional chromosome. This caused scientists to dig deeper into examining human DNA to count chromosomes, which sparked a global interest in the subject. In the 1980’s, DNA testing began to be used by the police to identify criminals and suspects which was the first time genetics were used for identification and investigative purposes.

In the mid-2000’s, examining genetics outside of a doctor’s office began to take off. Companies began to offer at-home DNA tests for consumers to trace their family trees – the most notable and successful of these businesses being 23andMe which thousands of customers used to trace their ancestry. Today, there are mor than 77,000 genetic tests available with more in development.

Why DNA test your pup?

Although human DNA testing has been around for decades, dog DNA tests are a relatively new appearance in the world of genetic examination. While human tests take a deep look into chromosomes, proteins, and more, the main purpose of canine DNA tests is to determine your pup’s breed. This is especially helpful for your mixed-breed or adopted four-legged-friends whose exact lineage you have never been quite sure of.

However, dog DNA testing can still be used to check for an array of genetic disorders. Even if you have a purebred pup, you might still be interested in understanding your dog’s genetics. This can be lifesaving in some situations as it can help identify genetic conditions before they become too deadly.

Some dog breeds have elevated risks for specific genetic conditions, including Sick Sinus Syndrome in Golden Retrievers and mitral valve disease in King Charles Spaniels. If you own a dog whose breed is known for genetic mutations, it might be a good idea to invest in one of these DNA tests not for breed identification but for their health and happiness.

How to DNA test your dog

The majority of DNA tests for pups are conducted through a cotton swab that you swipe inside of your dog’s mouth to get a saliva sample. It can be helpful to catch your dog’s attention with a treat and swab their mouth before feeding it to them. Make sure your pup hasn’t eaten right before you swab, as food remnants can cloud the results.

The swab is then placed in a tube and shipped to various labs based on the test brand. Your test should have specific instructions on how and where to ship the sample in the mail. Their database will then analyze the saliva sample and send you back your results in their given timeline.

Canine DNA tests often report about 90 percent accuracy. The technology behind the tests is pretty much the exact same as the technology used in human genetic testing. Many veterinarian offices also offer various genetic tests for your pup if you are not comfortable in conducting it at-home. Your veterinarian will then also help you interpret the results.

Best test for mixed breeds: Wisdom Panel Premium

If you rescued your pooch from the shelter or their lineage was mysterious, the Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test is amazing for providing clarity on breed makeup. Testing for over 350 breeds, it is especially helpful if your dog is suspected to be a breed that is not super common in the United States. It has claimed 93 percent accuracy, and tests for genetic diseases in addition to the breed information. The Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test is available on sites such as Chewy and Amazon for $128. 

Best cost-friendly test: DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test

Sold on Amazon, Walmart, and more for less than $70, the DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test Kit is an ideal option for those testing on a budget. It provides a look into your furry friend’s ancestry for far less cost than most dog DNA tests on the market, while still giving insight on personality traits and health risks associated with their dominant breeds.

Best overall DNA test: Embark Breed + Health Kit

Embark’s DNA tests are frequently the top-rated canine genetic testing brand. They are accurate, extensively detailed, and cover almost every dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. It claims its results are 95-99 percent accurate (making it the most accurate testing kit on the market) and offers a variety of tests based on your dog’s specific needs.

The test will give you information on your furry friend’s breed makeup based on information of over 350 breeds – including wolves! Additionally, Embark checks for more than 200 genetic disease risks and looks at over 200,000 genetic markers. Its instructions are clear and the process is quick and transparent. Embark’s Dog DNA Tests are sold for between $150 and $200, and can be found at large retailers such as Amazon and Petco.

A happy and healthy pup

At Spot Pet Insurance, our priority is ensuring your pooch lives a long and healthy life! Investing in a pup-friendly DNA test can be key to preventing diseases and knowing exactly how to best care for your pet. For more information on how to provide top-notch care for your dog, visit Spot Pet Insurance’s webpage that is filled with more articles to help you prioritize your pets’ wellness.

Just like these helpful tests, Spot Pet Insurance is here to support you! We offer personalized pet insurance plans to help keep your dog protected, healthy and happy.


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