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Genetic testing performed on their dogs has become more popular and advanced in recent years. DNA tests are a valuable source of information, but they can also be confusing. Here’s what dog parents need to know about how dog DNA testing works and what these tests accomplish.
Like a human DNA test, genetic DNA testing for dogs takes a sample of the animal’s genetic code and examines it. A dog’s genes determine a lot of an individual animal’s appearance, health, and behavior. Looking at those genes can help pet parents learn more about their pet’s current and future needs.
Simply knowing the breeds in a dog’s ancestry can provide pet parents with useful information about health risks and common genetic conditions. For example, it can help explain:
Health expectations: A terrier and a Corgi have different exercise requirements, despite being about the same size. Understanding the breeds in a dog’s genetic makeup can help pet parents learn what to do to keep their pet healthy.
Genetic risks: Some breeds are at greater risk of health issues like hip dysplasia or heart disease. A DNA test identifies whether a dog has genes from these breeds, giving pet parents an idea of health problems they can potentially help prevent.
Guidelines for height and weight: It can be hard to accurately predict the height and weight of a mixed-breed puppy without knowing their history. A DNA test can help owners estimate their dog’s height and weight once they finish growing and planning for proper diet and exercise.
Dog DNA tests give clear instructions on properly collecting pet DNA samples. Most tests rely on cells from a dog’s cheeks or gums. The pet parent will take a swab from the collection kit and rub it along the soft tissue inside their dog’s mouth for several seconds to collect these samples.
Some more involved tests use a blood sample. A veterinarian obtains these samples with a hypodermic needle, and the process takes only a few minutes.
Once DNA has been collected, the sample is sent to a lab. Depending on the pet owner’s preference, the lab can run a variety of tests on a single sample, including:
A basic ancestry profile: These tests report the percentages of genetic material from different dog breeds, such as 15% German Shepherd or 12.5% Chihuahua.
A complete genetic profile: This test looks for markers of potential health problems and helps pet parents determine whether their dog has possible genetic problems.
A specific breed profile or individual genetic test: Looks for conditions common to that breed.
Any one of these tests can offer valuable information and dog advice for keeping a pet healthy. Fuzzy has Dog DNA testing kits available now. Pet parents with additional dog health or DNA questions can contact the Fuzzy Veterinary Team 24/7 to learn more.