What you should know before you test your dog's DNA

If you own a mixed-breed dog, you often get the question: “Your pooch is very interesting looking? What kind of dog is he?” Unless your dog was a product of a brief love affair of two dogs in your neighborhood, you may have adopted /rescued your pooch and just ‘guesstimating’ based on their appearance or what the shelter told you.

But humans are curious creatures and we often want to know as much as we can about our fur baby! So, here’s our dog DNA 101 advice for all you curious pet parents!

Why Test Your Dog’s DNA?

Once predominant breeds are established, owners can take their results to their veterinarian to discuss potential health issues associated with specific breeds. For example, according to PetsWebMD.com, Boxers are prone to getting cancer, and Dobermans sometimes have bleeding disorders similar to hemophiliacs. Knowing these possible risks beforehand, and asking your veterinarian to keep an eye out for them, can save your dog’s life or painful symptoms.

Some people get their dog’s DNA test to know how big their puppy will get, or if they just adopted a total high energy or laze around kind of dog.

Where do I get a DNA test?

The tests are available online and at many pet supply retail stores.

How do I send them my dog’s DNA?

All of the kits test DNA via a cheek swab sampling, except for the most expensive, which are blood based (usually done via a veterinarian).

How accurate are the DNA tests, really?

Dog DNA tests can typically identify the majority breeds with great accuracy. Depending on how mixed your dog is, you may have trouble getting an entirely accurate result. If you have a true mutt, then the breed test may be unable to identify most or all of the breeds contributing to the dog.

Dog DNA companies – How much does it cost and how many breeds can they test for?
Can I trick the system?

No. Here is the reason: each dog’s genetic makeup is unique, like a fingerprint. So save your time and money by sending DNA samples from the same dog multiple times-- by asking a friend to send or changing the dog’s name, home address, gender, etc. -- to see if they can get different results from the same company for the same dog? Interesting idea, but that’s a ‘no go’ and the system will tell you your dog has already been analyzed.

Why else would I get my dog’s DNA tested?

It’s relatively affordable and provides pet parents more information about their pooches, it also allows them to be prepared for potential health risks.

But most importantly, your dog is your family member and who doesn’t want to know everything about their loved ones! Also, it’s fun to tell everyone at the dog park about your dog’s DNA test!

Have a hot topic related to your paw-rific pet that you would like Furlocity to potentially BARK about in future articles? Let Furlocity know! Contact Denise Fernandez Pallozzi directly at denise@furlocity.com.