Many dog owners believe that they know the exact breed of their furry friend, even if their pet is adopted. But did you know that more often than not the breed you think you have is not correct? Up until a few years ago, DNA testing for dogs was nonexistent, but only recently did these tests start to appear in dog stores and pet shops across the country. So what really are the best reasons to get your dog’s DNA tested? Is it all about doing what’s trendy, or are there actual benefits to the tests?
- Identifying Health Risks. The number one benefit to DNA tests for dogs is that they can help you identify your breed’s health risks. For example, PRA which is a progressive retinal disease, can cause blindness and is documented as a regular risk in 100 breeds. Wouldn’t it be nice to be aware of this so that you can plan accordingly?
- Knowing What To Feed Them. Some dog breeds will benefit more from commercial dry food, while others need a more specific diet. Knowing the breed of your pet will make it easier for you to understand their specific digestive issues and if they need special foods. That way you can identify any health risks of your dog’s breed so you can make a better plan as to what to include in your dog’s diet.
- Knowing How They Will Behave. While you can’t be one hundred percent sure that a golden retriever will be easily trainable or that a border collie will be able to learn new tricks, certain breeds are still known for certain types of personalities. If you’re getting a puppy, wouldn’t it be great to know what types of personalities they are going to have? A DNA test can help you figure out what the breed of your dog is and in turn help you figure out your dog’s strengths and weaknesses so you can plan in advance. This way, you can be more aware of their behavior so that you can find a “matching” breed for your lifestyle. If you are someone who is super active and loves adventure, the last thing that would mesh well with your highly active lifestyle would be a dog that sleeps all day or has a propensity for being lazy. Or if you’re more laid back and relaxed, you probably wouldn’t want a dog that was hyperactive or always needed to be on the go!
- Drug Interaction Issues. It’s not uncommon for some dog breeds to have issues with drug interactions. For example, border collies can have a genetic mutation and drug resistance to anti-parasitic drugs. Sometimes the drugs will have no effect on the dog, but other times it can lead to riskier problems. This is why it’s valuable to take a DNA test for the dog, in order to make sure what mutation genes your dog might have so you can stay away from certain products.
Dog DNA tests are very easy to use. They usually come in a kit, and all you need to do is take a swab of saliva from the inside of the dog’s mouth, or blood drawn by your vet. When the testing is done, you will receive a package in the mail that will tell you about the different breeds your dog has in what they call a Breed Tree. This works a lot like DNA tests for humans and includes the percentages for each breed as well as what their behavioral and health stats are. You will most likely receive some sort of a certificate as well. This is beneficial if you plan to be a breeder. So why not learn more about your beloved furry friend?