If you love a delightful mutt, chances are you have wondered about their breed. How many breeds make up the cute furballs you own is something most pet owners are curious about. 

Human DNA testing has been around for some time, and now we are finding much more sophisticated pet DNA tests available on the market. If your curiosity has been piqued about your pet’s origins, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to give you the scoop about pet DNA testing.

How Pet DNA Testing Works

Pet DNA tests first hit the market in 2007, and the number of manufacturers of these products has grown. As the testing becomes more inclusive of different breeds, the tests have become much more accurate. Most tests come in a package that contains a small brush which you use to swab the inside of your pet’s mouth with to collect cells. Then you fill out information about your pet and mail back that and the brush to the manufacturer, per the instructions.

At the lab, various DNA algorithms are used to analyze your pet’s DNA against various other breed indicators. Typically, you will wait a few weeks before getting the results, which will include an explanation of the breed findings. Most DNA tests will be between $75-250, with the more sophisticated tests being more expensive. 

The Benefits of Testing

With the cost of the test, you may wonder if it is worth it to explore your fur friend’s roots. After all, who cares about whether or not there is a 2% chance your pet is a basenji? Well, there are a number of good reasons aside from sheer curiosity why a DNA test can benefit your pet.

  1. Their DNA can determine health issues – The more intricate the testing is, the more you will know from the genetic analysis of your pet. This may even include indicators of conditions or disease that is more common in specific breeds. This doesn’t mean that your pet will develop them, of course, but it does alert you to increased risks and give you the opportunity to discuss these with your veterinarian.

  2. Insight into what to expect – Testing can give you insight into how big your pet might become, as well as general temperament, type of coat, overall personal trait, and so on that are true of certain breeds.

  3. Gives credibility to your pet’s breed – For those who show their pets in competitions or breed them, testing gives credibility to claims.

  4. It’s fun – One of the best reasons to get to know your pet’s lineage is that it is a fun way to know their background. Who doesn’t want to know that your pet is related to a mighty husky or a tiny breed like a Chihuahua when you never knew this fact before?

What Do You Think?

We hope this gives you some insight into the hows and whys of pet DNA testing. Have you tried it? Were you surprised by the results?

We know we are always curious about your pet’s DNA and those of our pet patients. If you have your pet tested, let us know the next time you are here with them for an examination. If you have any additional questions about pet DNA testing, or to schedule an appointment, please call us.