* Genetic testing is now affordable enough for man’s best friend
* Know more about your pooch’s history to keep them healthier and happier longer
* Not sure what breed your dog is? Check out our dog DNA kits
Up until a few years ago, if you’d ever rescued a dog or been unsure of a dog’s breed, you really didn’t have many options to uncover the truth. Sure, the vet might have been able to make an educated guess based on the pup’s characteristics, but a guess is still a guess.
In recent years, however, genetic testing for humans had gotten so cheap that you could swab the inside of your mouth and send it away to be analyzed for as little as $99. And now you can do the same for your pooch.
Our picks vary in a handful of ways, like turnaround time for results, but it should be noted that all three are by no means 100% accurate as they are at-home kits (as opposed to say, seeing a vet or specialist).
With that being said, some are better than others when it comes to giving you a slightly more clear picture of your pet and his or her genetic background. But even the slightest bit of insight into the breed or breeds of your pet can be hugely helpful in caring for them.
1. DNA My Dog
If you’re only mildly curious about your dog’s breed and history, then DNA My Dog is the kit to get. With roughly 84 breeds in DMD’s database your results will be limited to a percentage range of what breeds make up your pup and not a specific percentage based on his or her great-grandparents. So, for example, your pooch could be anywhere from 23% to 74% of a given breed, which may not help you or your vet determine a course of action because the results will only tell you about, let’s say, health concerns of a given breed and not specifically your pet. But you’ll get results in about two weeks.
2. Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0
The next step up would be the Wisdom Panel 3.0 kit from Mars Veterinary. This one touts itself as having the “largest breed database” of any available DNA test for dogs with more than 250 breeds/types/varieties and that includes 99% of AKC-recognized breeds. Wisdom Panel also screens for MDR1 disease and exercise-induced collapse. Not only that but you’ll know your dog’s ancestry back to its great-grandparents, which can help determine what your “mixed breed” pooch’s genetic background looks like. It could also help you obtain breed certification for purebreds, as well as certification that your designer dog is truly a 50/50 hybrid of two purebred dogs. Results will generally get back to you in 2 to 3 weeks.
3. Embark Dog DNA Test
There’s very little downside to Embark’s Dog DNA Test besides the higher price tag. Compared to our other two picks, Embark tests your dog’s DNA to more genetic markers – 100 times more in this case – but also screens for breed, physical traits for things like size, ancestry back to its great-grandparents and over 160 known canine genetic health problems, like MDR1, excercise-induced collapse, degenerative myelopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy and PRA blindness. And it’s all backed by a partnership between Embark and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which you can help contribute to with your pet’s results. A detailed report for you and your vet is included, but it won’t arrive for six to eight weeks.
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