If you are a proud parent of a mixed-breed pooch, you have probably taken time to ponder about your dog’s genetic makeup. All your questions can be answered through a simple DNA test for dogs! This is a gateway to learning about your dog’s heritage, phenotypic traits, and family tree.
Not only do these tests reveal breed information, but they can also help owners identify if their dog is at risk of genetically inherited diseases based on their breed. So even if you already know your dog’s breed, if you are unsure and feel cautious about your pet’s health, a DNA test can help you find out if your dog inherited any breed-specific illnesses or disorders. With this knowledge comes the potential to promote a dog’s well-being, or even save its life.
Continue reading to learn about how the process works, how accurate these tests are, and how much they cost.
How Does a Dog Get DNA Tested?
Most Dog DNA Test kits are readily available online to do at home or can be done at your local Veterinarian office. At-home test kits are simple and non-invasive for your pet. All it takes is a simple swab of the cheek, mail it to the lab, and results should be available electronically within 1-3 weeks. It is a very similar process of human DNA testing through companies such as Ancestry and 23andMe. After the results are retrieved, it's a wise choice to address any potential health issues regarding their dog’s breed with a vet.
If you choose to have your dog tested through your vet, you may have the option to do a cheek swab or a blood-based test. However, it is much cheaper and less of a hassle to do the cheek swab in the comfort of your own home. Your dog will most likely be more comfortable with this option as well.
How Accurate and Costly Are Dog DNA Test Kits?
Not all tests available on the market are guaranteed to be accurate. This is because not every identification kit contains every dog breed in their directories, which means information isn’t accessible for each dog.
Just by researching online, it can be found that the more accurate testing kits with the most breeds in their directories are more expensive. Some tests have 350+ breeds in their database where others only test up to 150+. The investment in purchasing a higher-cost kit may be worthwhile. There have been reports of people taking the time to test their pup and retrieving little to no information because their dog’s genetic information is not found in the company’s directory.
It is also essential to note that not every identification kit tests for genetic diseases and phenotypic traits. So depending on the information and how much of it you are looking to discover about your dog, the cost can vary anywhere between $60 to $200.
Currently, official quality standards in diagnostic laboratories for dog DNA testing are not yet available. Because of this, any dog DNA test can technically present incorrect results. This is still a developing technology and is evolving every day to produce more accurately refined results. This means you may get an update on your dog’s results every time they are able to retrieve more genetic data. Additionally, some testing companies have it available for customers to reach out if there are any questions or concerns with their dog’s results.
If you wish to learn more about your dog’s genetic background or are concerned about his/her well-being, DNA testing would be a harmless way to go. It is a simple process and it is definitely worth waiting for the test results.