Dog DNA Testing Is Important
What to look for in a test
Breed is typically an indicator of general temperament and health of a dog. For example, German Shepherds are more prone to hip issues and degenerative myelopathy than other breeds. Dog DNA tests are new to many people, but are becoming more and more common as pet parents strive to deliver the best possible lives for their dogs.
HOW IT WORKS
Just like in the movies and TV shows, you will receive a real lab kit to harvest the sample, store it, transport it and finally receive the results. It starts with swabbing the inside of your pup’s mouth with the provided swap to get a saliva sample, placing it in the test tube, sealing it, and mailing it off. Wait two to four weeks for the test to deliver you the results.
WHAT IS DNA TESTING
Deoxyribonucleic acid is the transporter of genetic information in all living things. DNA is composed of adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. These are called bases. To put it in perspective, dogs have approximately three billion of these bases. Of the 2.8 billion bases, only a few hundred to a million are unique to your dog. So, all dogs share about 99.967% to 99.9999970% of the same DNA. Your test is designed to sort out that small percentage that is different and that makes your dog unique, special, cute, silly, drooly, a barker, etc. There are three types of DNA tests: Y Chromosome tests, mitochondrial DNA tests, and autosomal DNA tests. Y chromosome tests are only for men, while mitochondrial can only determine DNA from the mother’s side. Autosomal DNA tests are the most complete and are the type we review and recommend above.
That was probably more than you wanted to know about DNA. So the big question is, what do you really learn about your dog?
We recommend the tests with the largest breed databases. The American Kennel Club recognizes over 350 breeds. Some of our tests capture the majority of those breeds, plus coyote and wolf. They don’t get more complete than that. Be advised, some of the lower cost and lower value options only test 50 to 85 breeds. If you are paying for this test once, it is probably best to cover as many as possible.
We recommend looking for tests with robust health screening. If you can find out what potential health conditions your pup is predisposed to suffer from, you can make conscious decisions now to mitigate those effects through behavioral changes, supplements, therapy, and discussions with your vet.
The most complete test analyzes your dog’s DNA for over 150 health conditions, while the most basic ones are looking for the multi-drug resistance-1 (MDR-1) genetic marker. MDR-1 is a dangerous condition and it is important to know if your has this genetic marker, but the more expensive kits are looking for a more complete makeup of potential diseases. Others analyze hormone levels, vitamin and minerals levels, and allergies.
After two to six weeks of processing, depending on the manufacturer, the test results will be finalized.
Overall, Embark leads the way when it comes to overall wellness testing and the number of breeds tested. At DogGear, we hope you learn valuable information about your dog that leads to a longer and more satisfying life together!