Who is a dog DNA test for?
Dog breeders are the people who most commonly want to make use of do it yourself DNA testing kits for dogs. However, anyone with an interest in the genetics of their dogs can use these tests as they can provide an unrivaled insight into the health of a dog and as a result, be used to guide the way you take care of your dog’s health throughout her life.
Why would you use a dog DNA test?
To find out specific genetic details about your dog that determine:
- Breed information
- Health & Disease Risks
- Personality & Behavior
So is a dog DNA test worth it?
The main reason a DNA test is undertaken on a dog is to accurately determine the breed of the dog. Now this might sound simple enough to do by sight alone if you know your dogs.
But a dog that doesn’t come from an absolute purebred line that has been meticulously documented and maintained, can still have genes of other dog breeds in the DNA, despite not showing any noticeable physical or other qualities of those breeds.
Breeders who want to be aware of the exact DNA make up of their dogs use DNA testing to determine this due to its accuracy and absolute ability as the only method of revealing a dog’s genetic make up.
That’s not the only reason one would want to use a dog DNA test kit though. Let’s look at the range of uses these tests have, which will help shed some light on why affordable at-home DNA tests for dogs are something that more and more people are taking advantage of:
DNA holds the secrets of your dog’s future health. Without knowledge of DNA, it’s impossible to know if there are any genetic diseases that your dog is at a higher risk of.
The best DNA test kits can test for more than 150 genetic diseases that affect dogs.
This allows you and your vet to significantly better understand any health risks your dog might have, so you can best take action to avoid or reduce the effect of future illness.
Personality and Behavior
Behavior and personality traits of a dog can often be explained by understanding the history of their breed. Determining this through DNA testing gives you the insight into why your dog might behave a certain way, and allows you to tailor a training program more specifically to target the natural instincts of your dog.
This makes training more effective, easier, and more natural for your dog since you are going to have a much more intimate understanding of what makes him “tick”.
How does a DIY DNA test kit for dogs work?
DNA testing sounds complicated, but the process of getting a sample from your dog couldn’t be easier. No blood is required: you simply use the supplied swab to take a sample from your dog’s cheek. It’s fast, easy, painless and stress-free for everyone.
Once you’ve collected the samples from your dog by following the instructions, you send it off to the company and within a short period of time you are provided with a report and a certificate of the results.
Each DNA test company will have it’s own individual reporting and/or method of providing you with the results and information about your dog’s DNA test, and this is one aspect of a product that’s important to look at when you’re choosing which test kit to purchase.
At Home Dog DNA Test Accuracy – Do They Really Work?
DNA tests that everyday people like you and I can buy take their samples of DNA through a simple cheek swab that takes a sample of saliva from the mouth which contains DNA.
On the other hand, if you order your dog’s DNA test from your vet they may take a blood sample instead.
So is one type of DNA sample more accurate than the other? Can a swab really give you the same high quality DNA sample and accurate results as a blood sample?
As you might expect, a blood sample will provide the most pure possibly DNA extraction from your dog in a small amount of blood. Cheek swabs are at some risk of contamination from the person taking the sample or other environmental factors, whereas a blood sample at your vet is taken under more controlled circumstances, and obviously the blood is being removed from the dog without the sample being exposed to the outside world.
As long as the blood samples are handed and evaluated under proper medical conditions, this form of DNA sampling is superior.
But before you ditch the idea of at home DNA testing kits – don’t worry. As you’ll see on most of the best kits, they rate their accuracy at 99% and for most of us, this is more than adequate; especially when considering the cost difference between a kit you can use to take a sample at home, versus paying for DNA blood sampling at the vet.
DNA sampling from saliva provides the same high quality DNA as blood – the difference is simply in the sampling process, storage and transportation of the material that will determine how pure your cheek swab sample is going to be and thus, how accurate your results will be.
Secondly, and out of your control: how your dog’s DNA sample is handled by the lab you send it to will make a big difference in the results accuracy.
This is why selecting a brand with a track record of high accuracy and professionalism will mean the difference in receiving a DNA test result that you can rely on, or one that leaves you questioning whether you need to take another test.
So what does all this mean? For ultimate accuracy and assurance – take a blood DNA sample at your dog’s vet. And take in the expense of that process as well. For the rest of us – an at home kit is as good as your sample and as good as the lab you send it to. Select a brand with a top reputation for delivering accurate results, and you’re very likely to be satisfied with the outcome.
Which Dog DNA Test Is The Best?
If you’ve had a look at the tests available, you’ll notice that they can vary quite a bit in price. Some cost twice as much as others. Why?
What’s the difference between these kits, and what advantages do some brands have over others?
Ultimately: which DNA test is going to be the best one for you and your dog(s)?
It all comes down to what you want to find out from the DNA test. What do you need or want to know about your dog’s genetics, and for what purpose?
Some tests are focused on breed identification. These may test specifically for certain breeds. For example, the Wisdom Panel Canina DNA Test is able to detect Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle breeds. This tight focus on specific breeds is created for breeders who want to be sure of the lineage of their dogs.