The Benefits Of Dog DNA Tests
Digging into family ancestry has become such a popular hobby in the 21st century, that’s it’s now a booming business, with millions subscribing to archive and history sites to try and discover who they really are. In the wake of such interest, DNA ancestry testing also becomes a popular process, allowing subjects to send off saliva samples to dedicated companies and receive back detailed information on they’re geographical and ethnic heritage.
It was only a matter of time before we started to become similarly curious about our pets!
To many though, DNA dog tests are an expensive extravagance, and it’s difficult to understand why finding out your dog’s genetic make-up is ever worth such a large price tag.
DNA dog tests, however, are far from an indulgence for dog mamas and papas and they can actually be incredibly valuable in ensuring the long-term health of your pooch, as well as an interesting tool when it comes to addressing behavioural concerns.
The highest quality tests can test your dog’s DNA against over 300 breed samples and in turn, offer screening for literally hundreds of health conditions. Some companies also provide weight guidance aids and nutrition plans based on your dog’s breed make-up, making them ideal for ensuring complete vitality in your pup’s lifestyle.
What Do Dog DNA Tests Consist Of?
Considering how much money they cost, it can often feel like a leap of faith purchasing a dog DNA test, as it’s hard to know quite what you’re going to get. Ultimately though, the price of these tests is based on paying for the process rather than a box of goodies, as cross-referencing DNA against a database is a time consuming and refined bit of science.
Therefore, most DNA test packages are fairly simple, providing you with instructions for taking samples from your pup, as well as a few swabs to do it with.
There is then plastic sleeves or a test tube to place your sample inside and then an attachable label to add your information to the sample.
Features To Consider
Dog DNA test companies use in-house genetic databases to cross-reference with your personal samples and it’s fair to say, some companies can offer more data and success than others.
Obviously, the more breed data a company boasts, the higher chance you have of gaining a truly accurate reading of your dog’s sample and is more likely to reveal rarer breeds if you suspect your dog is not just a standard two breed mix.
You’re unlikely to find any companies which boast more than 400 plus breeds in their database but the most reliable and best products tend to boast over 300. We genuinely would suggest always looking for databases of 200 or more, as otherwise, you’ll likely be disappointed with your fairly basic and inaccurate results.
While learning the breed history for your dog is definitely fun and interesting, dog DNA tests are most valuable when they can also provide information to help you better look after your dog’s unique needs.
While DNA tests can’t actually reveal whether your pup is currently suffering from an underlying issue, high-quality tests can offer health screening as part of their results, revealing if your pet is predisposed to a specific illness based on their genetic history.
Learning these results could help you alert your veterinarian of such genetic health traits and from there you could work with them to devise a nutrition and health plan to ensure your dog’s vitality.
The best DNA tests will reveal predispositions to hundreds of health issues, but there are also tests which offer screening for just one or two, such as resistance to common medication (MDR-1 sensitivity).
At the very least it’s good to get some general health results as part of your package, revealing any allergies your mutt has and analysing some of their vitals such as hormones and vitamin levels.
If you’re considering getting a kit as a gift, or you’re just someone who doesn’t like to be kept waiting, it’s often important to pay attention to how fast a company can complete the process and send results back to you.
In general, this is a time-consuming process and it commonly takes at least two weeks. Pay close attention to product descriptions and try and find one which promises a two-three week turnaround time, but be careful of the wording – ‘At least two weeks’ isn’t promising anything and could easily extend to three, four or more!
It’s also wise to look up the laboratory addresses of these companies too, as then you’ll get a better idea of how long it’s going to take your sample to get there and your results to come back.
For this reason, it’s often wise to go with companies which offer online resources, as then you’re not waiting around for a package.
Naturally, the biggest drawback of DNA tests is their price.
Many high-end products can cost you well over £100 and at a minimum, even the cheapest kits are going to set you back around £60.
We feel it’s wise to check prices against breed database ranges and extra features before shelling out over £100 though, as products like Wisdom Panel are one of the most reliable and trusted, yet cost much less than that depending on what version you buy.