If you're like many of us, you're probably curious about your dog's family tree, ethnic background, or medical predispositions. But did you know that there are now genetic test kits that can tell you more than just your dog's breed results? Here are four things a dog DNA test can tell you about your dog:
#1: Breed & Traits Information
Dog owners are usually most excited about finding out what breeds make up their newly adopted dog. DNA test results can provide a breakdown of your dog’s breed mix by percentage, based on a library of anywhere from 250-350 unique dog breeds. For each of the breeds your pup gets, you can get additional information on each breed: temperament, appearance, history, fun facts, and related breed information. This is a great way to learn more about your dog and what to expect in terms of behaviour and care.
Have you ever wondered about your dog's lineage? Certain dog DNA kits can tell you about your pup's parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents! This is especially useful for purebred dogs, as it can confirm how far back their lineage goes.
Other interesting breed information that certain kits can provide includes Wolfiness (ancient genetic traits), maternal line (finding out which regions the mother’s ancestry is traced back to), genetic age, and trait information. This may include coat colour and length, body size, shedding, eye colour, genetic diversity (inbreeding), and even altitude tolerance!
#2: Health & Genetic Risks
If you want to know about your dog's genetic health risks, look for a kit that does a health screening. These kits can screen for over 150 genetic diseases. Some of these diseases are "at risk" or "carrier" diseases. This means that your dog may have the disease or may pass it to its puppies.
Other diseases may not affect your dog, but if two carrier dogs are bred, their puppies may have the disease. Some common diseases that these kits test for are Glaucoma, Von Willebrand Disease, and breed-specific conditions such as Muscular Dystrophy found in Golden Retrievers.
You can also find out if your dog has the MDR1 gene, or multi-drug resistance gene, which may cause your dog to have severe adverse reactions to some common drugs.
If your dog tests positive for any of these diseases or mutations, you can take a more proactive approach to their care. You’ll be more aware of symptoms to look for as your dog ages and you can also loop your dog’s veterinarian in for more comprehensive care.
#3: Weight & Nutritional Recommendations
DNA tests for dogs can provide a lot of useful information about your pet, such as their adult weight. This is especially helpful if you have a puppy, as you can get an idea of how big they will be when fully grown. The test will also give you a recommended weight range, so you know how much your dog should weigh to be healthy.
Some DNA tests also provide recommendations for your dog's nutrition based on their size and breed mixes. This can make it easier for you, with the help of your vet, to pick the right diet and supplements for your pup!
#4: Research Contributions
By sending in your dog's DNA, you are also contributing to veterinary genetic studies that could potentially help researchers better understand things like canine obesity, diseases, behavioural issues, ageing, and preventive care. New features and results from these studies may become available to you over time, so it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest findings.