Odds & Ends

Lived-In Review: The Orivet Pet DNA Test

best dog dna tests
Photo by Polly Thomas/REX/Shutterstock (8690572d) A golden retriever runs as sunset falls on Dockey Wood on the Ashridge Estate. Seasonal weather, Dockey Wood, Berkhamstead, UK - 26 Apr 2017
Photo by Polly Thomas/REX/Shutterstock
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* DNA testing kits for your cat or dog
* Find out your four-legged friend’s exact breed and health risks
* Results emailed to you in 2-3 weeks

DNA tests have blown-up recently, and we’re huge fans. They’re a fun way to learn more about your ancestry, but they’re also very proactive healthwise because you can find out genetic predispositions for diseases. However, there’s one member of the family that’s left out of the fun: your dog or cat.

Orivet seeks to fix this problem by providing DNA testing kits for your pet that help determine your furry friend’s health risks and exact breed. It works just like a human DNA test: you get a sample of your dog or cat’s saliva, send it to Orivet’s lab, and wait 2-3 weeks for your unique results to be emailed.

Image courtesy of Oscar Hartzog

I thought the testing kit sounded like a great idea, so I decided to give it a shot with my 11 year old Golden Retriever/Husky mix, Phoenix (pictured at left). Phoenix has suffered from severe separation anxiety since he was a puppy, and we’ve tried everything (even K9 marijuana), so I thought this could possibly shed some light on the underlying issues.

I also wanted to find out if he had any other health risks I should be concerned about, because at 11, he is technically a geriatric pooch. He did not share my excitement about the test, and I can’t blame him.

After buying the kit, it’s up to you and your pup (but mostly you) to get a saliva sample on three large Q-tip swabs. Phoenix is a very mellow dog (never been aggressive or difficult) but getting his saliva sample was very hard. The directions require that you pinch the Q-tip in their cheek and rub for 15 seconds with all three swabs. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Holding all 80 pounds of my dog still, getting his mouth open, and rubbing the Q-Tips without poking him was a challenge to say the least. It took about 20 minutes to get it all done.

Pet DNA Test Orivet Image courtesy of Orivet

But, after you’ve successfully wrangled your pet for the test, it’s smooth sailing. The kit includes a prepaid envelope that lets you seal in the DNA samples and drop off to the lab in the mail. About four weeks later I got the results back – here’s what the important part looked like:

pet dna test results dog

At first glance, I was admittedly pretty confused, but after some quick research I was able to decipher the results. Phoenix could develop some eye, skin, or muscular issues, and I need to make sure he’s getting the right food for his metabolism. You also get some helpful information based off a questionnaire about your pet, such as nutrition and exercise suggestions. I found out that Phoenix needs A LOT of exercise (ideally a long walk daily), and he needs to eat more food for older dogs.

But the best part of the Orivet test is the tailor-made “Life Plan,” which is a comprehensive guide for when to get your pup checked for what. It’s essentially the same thing you can get from your mechanic that tells you when to get your car serviced, only for your pet. I can now schedule vet visit reminders far into the future, and I know exactly what to ask Phoenix’s vet about.

Overall the test was well worth it. Although getting the sample wasn’t fun for me or my dog, we’ll both be thankful in the long-run because he’ll be healthier, and I’ll have some peace of mind.