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should i test my dog's dna

Should You Have Your Dog’s DNA Tested?

If you are the parent of a rescue pup, chances are that you know very little about your dog’s history. You may have your suspicions about his breed and ancestry, but you have no way to be positive. If you are dying to have more definite idea of his genetic makeup, you may want to consider having your dog’s DNA tested.

How Does it Work?

Testing your dog’s DNA doesn’t require a trip to the vet. You can purchase a home DNA test kit either online or at pet retail supply locations. Most home DNA tests are performed using a cheek swab. Once you have swabbed the inside of your dog’s cheek, you seal the swab and mail it to a lab to have it analyzed. Within a few weeks you will have your results.

Why Have Your Dog’s DNA Tested?

One big reason to have your dog’s DNA tested is to satisfy your curiosity. Maybe you suspect that your rescue pup is part Chihuahua, but are your really sure? And even though you’ll love him just as much no matter what his breed turns out to be, a DNA test could explain where he got those perky ears, those cute little stubby legs, or that quirky personality.

Another reason why you might want to consider a doggie DNA test is that knowing your dog’s genetic makeup may alert you to the fact that he is more disposed to certain health issues. Some test kits even isolate certain risk factors. For instance, Wisdom Panel tests for the MDR1 mutation, which causes dogs to have an adverse reaction to some common medications.

While information obtained from a home DNA test kit is not an official diagnosis, it can provide your veterinarian with some useful tips to head off potential problems.

How Accurate is it?

According to Nathan Sutter, PhD, assistant professor of medical genetics at Cornell University, DNA testing can “typically identify the majority breeds in a canine with great accuracy,” especially when there are only a few major breeds to isolate. It gets a little more complicated if your pup’s genetic makeup includes a very large number of breeds.

Wisdom Panel doggie DNA test

If a DNA testing company has genetic information from a large number of breeds your results will be much more accurate. For example, Wisdom Panel draws from a database of more than 250 breeds, meaning that it’s highly probable that they’ll have a match for which ever breeds contributed to your pup’s makeup.

How Much Does it Cost?

Most DNA test kits cost less than $100. You can purchase Wisdom Panel’s most recent product for $84.99 on their website. Considering the fact that preventive veterinary care is less expensive than reactive care, the health information obtained from one of these tests may even end up saving you money in the long run.

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to do a DNA test on a rescue mutt named Daisy and reveal the results on FOX & Friends. Check out this video of the big reveal!

Sometimes the results of your doggie DNA test may surprise you.

This is my Dog Nephew, Cola. His DNA test showed him to be an adorable mixture of American Staffordshire Terrier, Chow Chow, American Bulldog, and Lab!

My own dog Chilly looks like a mini-labrador, but we found out after we did a Wisdom Panel Canine DNA test that he’s really a Dalmatian, Boxer, Alaskan Malamute, Australian Shepherd mix! It actually explained a lot about his personality, appearance and behavior!

Doggie DNA testing can be a great way to satisfy your curiosity and shed some light on your furry friend’s behavior. It can even help you to keep him healthier.

Check out for more info about testing your own pooch’s family tree.

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Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience working with pets.

Through this blog and her book, Pampered Pets on a Budget, Kristen has helped millions of pet parents solve problems and provide the best care for their dogs and cats.

Working alongside hundreds of pet professionals, including veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers inspired Kristen to become a pet parenting “guide”, providing readers with reliable information about health, wellness and lifestyle for dogs and cats and the people who love them.

A dogged advocate for pet adoption and rescue, Kristen has featured over 1,000 adoptable dogs and cats from the SPCA on live television and radio appearances to get them adopted. Her blog, has been featured in over 100 media outlets – including the New York Times, USA Today, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, Women's Day, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar and more.

To stay up to date on the latest health and lifestyle trends for pets, Kristen regularly attends the top veterinary and pet product conferences, where she’s often a featured speaker.

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