What Is A Dog DNA Test? 6 Things You Can Learn From It

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At-home DNA tests can tell you, a human, everything from your genetic roots, to your vulnerability to certain medical conditions, and they’re more popular than ever. But lest you think that your beloved canine will get left out of the genetic testing trend, fear not, pet parents: You can test your dog’s DNA at home. Similar to tests for humans, DNA tests for dogs involve a simple saliva kit. The test is shipped to your house, you swipe the inside of your fur baby’s mouth, ship it back, and voila — a genetic report about your pup is on the way. Knowing your furry kiddo’s genetic background can help you and your vet discuss any potential medical problems that could come up, so, there are some things you can learn from dog DNA tests that can be useful.

Doggie genetic tests can be a key diagnostic tool for veterinarians, PetMD says, and they’re especially helpful if you’ve adopted a shelter dog and want to know more about your new pup’s genetic lineage. Whether you have a Chiweenie, Dachshund, or Labrador mix, dog DNA tests can provide insight that can help keep your dog healthy — while satisfying any curiosity you might have about their breed traits. In case you were wondering if springing for a DNA test for your dog is worth it, here are six things you can find out from dog DNA tests.

1. Ancestry & Parents

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The same technology (called 'genetic fingerprinting') that allows law enforcement officials to identify crime suspects, can also "provide a DNA snapshot" of your dog, the American Kennel Club (AKC) says. This information about your dog's DNA can help provide a positive identification of your dog if she ever gets lost (microchipping is also important), and can confirm who your pup's parents were.

2. Your Dogs Breed, Or Breed Mix

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If you're curious about your newly adopted fur baby's breed, dog DNA tests can tell you what your dog's breed, or breed mixture, is, says the AKC. Wisdom Panel is available for $84.99 for breed detection and $149.99 for a version that screens for health conditions, too. Other similar, breed-identifying tests, are available online for similar prices.

3. Vulnerability To Medical Conditions

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Some dog breeds have genetic mutations that can predispose them to various health risks. “It may not be a bad idea to test for known mutations that cause diseases that require additional care for owners,” Anna Kukekova, an assistant professor of genetics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Animal Sciences told PetMD. Some genetic tests for pups can also show if your dog might have a "multidrug sensitivity," CNBC reports.

4. Potential Food Allergies & Sensitivities

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The Nutriscan test can screen your dog for food allergies and intolerances, according to Rover, potentially saving you money on a vet bill in the long run. If you notice chronic health issues in your dog like ear infections, vomiting, tummy upsets, and skin problems, it can be helpful to test for allergies and food intolerances — they're more common than you might think.

5. If Your Dog Has A Pedigree

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Genetic testing can tell you if your dog is a purebred pup or not, the AKC says. And while all breeds and mixtures of dogs are wonderful and adorable, if you're curious, doggie DNA testing can confirm whether or not your dog has a purebred pedigree.

6. Hidden Traits

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The AKC says that while your dog might have a certain coat type and color, they may actually carry the genes for "another color, pattern, or texture," that could show up in their puppies. Some dog DNA tests can identify your dog's hidden or recessive traits.

Whether you're screening for health risks, determining the unique breed mix of your rescue baby, or figuring out food intolerances, dog DNA tests can provide pet parents with a wealth of information that can help boost doggie wellness for years to come. Considering how helpful these tests can be for keeping your fur kiddo healthy, the upfront costs might save you money in the long run.