What Is DNA Testing For Dogs and how does it work?

In the last several years, the popularity of dog DNA testing has skyrocketed.

Why people are testing their dogs more than ever have many explainations. These are some quick ones. If you want to know more about benefits with DNA testing for dogs you can read about it our article on the topic.

  • Give details about the breeds your mixed-breed dog is made up of.
  • Assist your veterinarian in gathering critical information on how to effectively treat your dog.
  • Inform pup parents about any potential health issues to be on the lookout for
  • Teach you more about your pup so you can bond even deeper!

Theres a lot of questions concerning canine DNA testing. These questions, and many more, will be covered in this article. Happy reading!

  • How do DNA testing for dogs work?
  • How do I provide a DNA test to my dog?
  • How reliable are dog DNA tests?
  • How much do DNA kits for dogs cost?
  • Which dog DNA test is the most accurate?

So let’s get started with our dog DNA test instructions.

What is DNA? The dogs got it too!

DNA testing is used to identify genetic predispositions in dogs. To understand the concept of DNA testing it might be helpful to first briefly cover the topic of what DNA actually is. Here’s a quick overview:

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is composed of a sequence of substances known as nucleotides. It carries the unique blueprint for every individual living organism—from the smallest bacterium to humans. Genes are segments of DNA, and these code for specific proteins that play the central role in building, maintaining, and reproducing a cell.

What is DNA testing and how does it work?

Genetic (DNA) testing is a straightforward method of learning more about our pets. The genetic code, often known as DNA, of a person contains a plethora of information about that individual. Using a sample of your pet’s DNA-containing cells, a variety of tests may be performed, either individually or as part of a profile, that will give vital information on your pet’s genetic make-up and health.

Genetic testing in pets may appear to be a novel concept, yet it has been in use for more than two decades. It is simple and straightforward to accomplish, and because to contemporary technology advancements, it has become reasonably priced. In reality, because the cost is typically comparable to that of normal blood profiles, it is becoming a more popular test for the purpose of early diagnosis and disease prevention.

Dogs have about 20,000 to 25,000 genes that are located along 78 chromosomes (compared to 46 in humans).

The genome of a dog was sequenced for the first time in 2003. One of the most genetically diverse creatures on the globe, the dog, got a new knowledge thanks to this genetic achievement, but it did not take long for that understanding to be put to use.

The recent history of the sequencing the dog genome

In 2005, an international research team led by MIT’s Broad Institute published a paper in the journal Nature, describing the sequencing the canine genome. This complete set of dog genes gave scientists, breeders, and owners a powerful tool to better understand and care for dogs.

The research was based on the genetic sequence of Tasha, a female Boxer. This breakthrough gave researchers a tool for identifying genes for specific traits, including diseases, in addition to pinpointing genes and parentage.

Mars Petcare, a leader in the current dog DNA testing business, found a method to do DNA testing using saliva instead of requiring a blood sample. As a result of this new knowledge, we will witness a major shift in the billion-dollar-a-year pet industry: from just a handful of companies offering canine DNA testing to a marketplace filled with a variety of suppliers.

According to recent studies, mixed-breed dogs account for slightly more than half of all dogs in the United States. This figure considerably outnumbers any other single breed, implying that the mixed-breed dog is America’s most popular canine companion. Guardians of mixed-breed dogs have long had to speculate about their dog’s origin, but science can now reveal a dog’s genetic profile.

Fortunately, dog owners may employ DNA testing tools that are simple to use, inexpensive, and produce accurate findings. Because of Mars Petcare findings, a pet DNA test only require two simple swabs taken from your dog’s mouth and mailed in, with a normal two- to three-week wait for results. Genetic testing provides a rigorous examination of your dog’s DNA, revealing not only the many breeds present in a dog’s lineage, but also crucial screening for more than 150 disease-causing genes. This vital information can assist you in developing a strategy for your dog’s specific health and breed requirements in collaboration with your veterinarian.

How do dog DNA tests work? Can they hurt my dog?

DNA testing may be performed on samples of any type of bodily cell that includes a nucleus, including skin cells (which in turn contains DNA). Collection of a tiny sample of your pet’s cells is required for genetic testing. This may be done most conveniently by rubbed down the inside of the pet’s cheek, collecting epithelial cells from the region, using a small sterile nylon brush.

After that, the sample is sent to a laboratory for DNA analysis. This procedure is straightforward and may be done by either the pet owner or a veterinarian.
The submission of a blood sample is preferred by some veterinarians because it provides them with the assurance that significant quantities of DNA will be present. While the needle prick of blood collection may cause some discomfort in your pet for a little period of time, the technique will not harm your pet in the long run.

Many firms that do genetic testing urge pet owners to buy collection kits online, collect the samples at home, and return the samples back to the lab in the mailer that is included with the kit.
Within a few weeks, the owner will get a report, which will be delivered either by mail or email and will include a thorough explanation of the findings.

What types of genetic testing are carried out?

The sample has been taken and sent to the lab, where it can be subjected to a wide range of tests that can be performed either individually or as part of a profile. The DNA profile of a pet’s mixed-breed heritage may be used to identify which purebreds are most likely to have contributed to the pet’s mix.

Purebreds, hybrids, and mixed-breed pets may all have their genetic attributes profiled in their entirety.
When it comes to providing the most important information, this method evaluates for dozens of medical problems as well as for specific characteristics. Breed-specific profiles may be created, which evaluate just the symptoms that are typical to a certain breed.

It is possible to do individual genetic testing when there is only a single medical condition to be concerned about. New technologies make it equally affordable to perform a comprehensive profile involving dozens of tests as it is to do a few of tests that are common to a certain breed.
When it comes to financial and other considerations, it is usually always more beneficial to run the entire profile rather than attempting to forecast which tests will be the most relevant.
Forewarned is forearmed: thanks to genetic testing, a pet does not have to become unwell and exhibit symptoms before a diagnosis can be established and therapy, or preventative measures, may be instituted for them.

How is DNA testing being used for dogs today?

DNA testing is used in the following 4 ways as of today:

Detecting Hereditary illnesses.

Breeders must pick the sires and dams that have the highest probability of delivering healthy puppies.
Genetic testing is important here, because it identifies predispositions toward a certain illness in a dog’s DNA.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Inc., which was formed in 1966, maintains a volunteer database of canine health which include both X-rays and genetic tests.
The OFA recommends knowing the genotypic status to be the most potent instrument for genetic disease eradication. Today, there are hundreds of these DNA testing for dog illnesses.
To search for canine genetic testing, type in the search box: “Breed” 119 are being studied and added each day. Routine genetic testing is performed at PennGen, a genetic testing laboratory run by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. More than 900 hereditary diseases have been discovered in dogs. A database of available tests is maintained. Many breed groups advocate genetic testing.

Confirming parentage
To confirm parentage “Genetic fingerprinting” is utilized by law enforcement agencies across the world to identify suspects. The same method may be utilized to give an individual, canine, or human DNA snapshot.
These profiles serve various purposes, including canine identification, pedigree tracking, and verification of paternity. AKC offers a DNA Profiles service that produces and records the genetic identity of canines.
The initiative helps breeding operations by providing breeders with a means to verify paternity.
This works how? Every gene has two copies called alleles. Offspring acquire one copy of each gene from each father. A DNA test does not look at real DNA, but at different DNA sequences known as markers. The DNA profiles are solely utilized for genetic identification and parentage verification. No breed or genetic disorders information is provided

Establishing the blend in mixed-breed dogs
DNA testing are available to identify the breeds that are popularly known as “Heinz 57s.” Canine Partners are AKC-designated canines. Wisdom Panel, a division of Mars Inc., includes AKC recognized breeds as well as some of the unusual breeds from the Foundation Stock Service database. Wisdom Panel estimates it has sold around 400,000 since 2007, which costs $85 each test. Many wisdom panels are available online. Knowing the breed enables owners to make smart decisions based on breed concerning healthcare and training. It also shows puppy owners how huge the adult dog will be. The Search Dog Foundation uses Wisdom Panel’s testing to assist determine if a dog’s genetic history is well-suited to a specific sort of job.

Enforcing litter laws
The same type of techonology is employed to catch poop-law scofflaws. One firm, PooPrints, has provided a DNA profiling service to managed communities since 2008. Renters are obligated to register their pets. Cell samples are taken from dog excrement to test against genetic profiles of the individual in a database to locate potential waste.

Bringing to light hidden characteristics
DNA tests are also available for the detection of genes that influence the color and type of a person’s coat.
A dog may appear to be a specific hue, but he may really be carrying the genes for a different color, pattern, or texture that will manifest itself in the progeny.

Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeding/dog-dna-tests-descriptions-and-uses/

Why should you DNA test your dog?

Knowing more about the genetics of your dog can help you decrease the chance of having puppies with illnesses that are passed down via heredity. To know what to look for in a DNA-tested match, it is important to understand if your dog contains the gene that causes the illness.

If you have a mixed breed dog, there’s little doubt that you’ve spent time debating which breeds contributed to your ideal pup’s genetic make-up. While it’s definitely entertaining to speculate, have you considered the benefits of really knowing what your dog’s DNA consists of? Dog DNA testing can show more than just your dog’s breed heritage; they can also assess a dog’s susceptibility to genetic illnesses. However, even knowing which breeds are present in your dog’s DNA may provide you with a wealth of information.

Certain dog breeds are genetically susceptible to specific hereditary disorders, illnesses, or afflictions. English Bulldogs, for example, are known to be prone to obesity, which can lead to further health issues. Knowing that your puppy contains a percentage of English Bulldog DNA may cause you to be more cautious about your pup’s nutrition and avoid excessive weight gain before it occurs. Similarly, Weimaraners are more prone to stomach torsion than other breeds. You can be prepared to recognize this potentially deadly disease if you know your dog has Weimaraner DNA. Similarly, canine DNA testing might provide insight into your pup’s personality and behavior.

Dog DNA testing will show the breeds that make up your dog, as well as the breed groupings from which your dog is most likely descended. Dog breed groupings are made up of dogs that were developed for similar reasons and hence share numerous features, ranging from personality type to physical appearance. So, if you knew your dog’s DNA had a high amount of herding group breeds, many of his demeanors may make more sense. For example, it’s no surprise if he’s determined to herd your youngsters and may become concerned if the family separates off on a trip! These kinds of insights can help you make sense of your dog’s personality features and may even make training him simpler. After all, various breeds (or breed groupings) are motivated in different ways.

Are dog DNA tests accurate?

Each dog DNA testing business works with a separate database of genetic information.
They’ll next compare your pet’s DNA to the rest of the DNA in their database to figure out his genetic make-up and probable illness indicators.

While these tests can help you trace your dog’s lineage and possibly show potential genetic indicators for hereditary illness, don’t place too much faith in the results.
In other words, just because a test shows your dog has a possible risk of genetic sickness does not indicate he has the disease.

The results of a canine DNA test should not be used to substitute the advise of your experienced veterinarian.
If your dog exhibits symptoms of a probable disease, seek guidance from your veterinarian on what to do.

Representatives from the three major dog DNA tests – Wisdom, Embark Dog DNA Test, and DNA My Dog – all indicated that their results are 95-99 percent accurate, with some room for human error due to the size of each company’s breed database.

Embark has a database of over 250 dog breeds, Wisdom has testing for over 350 breeds, and DNA My Dog looks at about 100 breeds. Embark’s breed database includes information on the majority of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club, as well as several street dogs and the gray wolf. According to the business, their breed findings are 95 to 99 percent correct. And, according to some experts, Embark examines twice as many genetic markers than the competitors, resulting in more accurate results.

If your dog’s DNA contains a rare dog breed that isn’t in a company’s database, your results will not reflect that breed. It’s unusual for a dog’s breed to be absent from any of the major organizations’ databases, but it may happen, especially with pets adopted from outside the US.

Can DNA tests for dogs aid in obedience training?

Just testing out what your dog likes might help you learn more about him. They have distinct physical traits, but their behavior is just as important. Just as their hair and body form contributes to their personality, many of a dog’s characteristics are due to genetics. Discovering that your dog is descended from terriers, for example, may help you understand about their energetic, active nature and propensity to hunt, and how to use that energy while training.

Although breeds may be different in their response to various training methods, test findings may help you better understand why your dog is behaving the way he does. So, for example, it’s possible that your dog doesn’t look like a Border Collie, but perhaps herding instinct has been imparted on her at a rate of 15 percent.

Which DNA test should I pick for testing my dogs?

You may compare numerous canine DNA testing solutions before making your purchase, since technology has made shopping and comparing much easier. A few simple procedures are followed once you’ve received the test kit before your pet’s thrilling new details are discovered. You can read more about the different solutions available here at this findmypetdna.com

Standard delivery takes between 5 and 10 business days, but if you choose expedited shipping or have an Amazon Prime membership, your kit will arrive even faster. This first box contains brochures, swabs, and mailing materials. Using a swab, follow the manufacturer’s directions to swab your dog’s face.

Mailing the samples your dog returned to the canine genetics lab, use the mailing materials and postage label to mail them back to the lab. After geneticists examine the DNA on the cotton swab you’ve sent in, they use an array of resources, techniques, and knowledge to process, research, and evaluate the information. Findings appear within 2-4 weeks (the standard waiting period that leading providers advertise).

Which DNA test option are available?

Despite the growing popularity of canine DNA testing, there are only a few firms that provide this service. The most well-known are Embark and Wisdom Panel, which claim to disclose not just your dog’s breed mix but also their family tree all the way back to their great grandparents. DNA My Dog and Orivet are two more well-known businesses.

What are the distinctions between these businesses? The number of breeds in their database and the precision of their results are the two most important factors in a dog DNA test. Here’s a look at the four finest alternatives and what they’re most known for.

1. Embark DNA Test

Embark conducts testing for 350 different breeds, including dingoes, village dogs, and wolves. Who doesn’t want to know whether their dog has wolf ancestry?

After performing canine DNA studies all around the world, researcher Ryan Boyko established Embark Dog. The test is developed in collaboration with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and has received excellent marks online, notably from The New York Times, which recently evaluated major canine DNA test brands.

Quality comes at a cost: the two Embark kits (one is the health version, which we’ll go into later) cost $129 and $199, respectively.

2. DNAmyDog

This method is less expensive than Embark and Wisdom Panel, but it has a limited breed database. That implies DnaMyDog isn’t the ideal option if your dog is of a rare breed or an unregistered breed.

However, its database includes the majority of the most prevalent dog breeds in the United States. You have your German shepherds, bulldogs, Yorkies, and even Affenpinschers. If money is an issue, consider DNAmyDog.

3. Wisdom Panel

Mars Petcare’s Wisdom Panel also tests for over 350 breeds. Angela Hughes of Mars Petcare, which produces the Wisdom Panel testing, told NPR that they can’t share their exact techniques for proprietary reasons. However, she said that internal testing has revealed that its breed findings in mixed breeds are 93 percent correct.

Wisdom Panel, like Embark, provides two products, one of which is a “premium” version that incorporates health testing. Their two kits cost $99.99 or $159.99, making them somewhat less expensive than Embark.

4. Orivet

Orivet primarily markets to breeders and veterinarians. Orivet provides a wide range of specialized testing for hereditary disorders for the science-minded or pet parents searching for very detailed health exams. On Chewy, they do sell a commercially accessible “mixed breed kit” for $84.00.

Sources:
https://emborapets.com/a-complete-guide-to-dna-testing-your-pet-how-to-identify-the-breed-of-your-dog-through-dna-testing/
https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/getting-started-with-health-testing-and-screening/dna-testing/
https://www.pumpkin.care/blog/dog-dna-test/
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/genetic-dna-testing
https://www.bluevalleyanimalhospital.net/blog/testing-out-pet-dna-testing-pros-and-cons-%EF%BB%BF/

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