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Tips to Help You Care for Your New Pet

DNA testing to find out about your dog's breed makeup

Many people have researched their ancestry, and that's now extended to pet owners learning more about their dog's history. If you’ve brought home a new dog or puppy and aren’t sure of his breed, dog DNA tests can yield a great deal of interesting and useful information. Especially if he came from an animal shelter, you may have questions about his breed, how big he’ll get, and what his temperament is. 

A dog DNA test will reveal these answers and more, including the following:

  • What breed is my dog?

    When you adopt a dog, guessing at the breeds that make up your new friend is often far from accurate. A DNA test will tell you what your dog’s breed mix is by percentage and also give you information about the breeds’ temperament, appearance, history, and more. You’ll also find out what breeds your dog’s ancestors were.
  • Possible health risks

    Many dog breeds are predisposed to developing particular health issues. Once a dog DNA test tells you your pooch’s breed, you can watch out for certain issues and also talk to your vet about possible ways to be proactive about your pet’s health. For example, Labrador Retrievers are susceptible to obesity, so if you have this breed of dog, you’ll need to make sure to walk him frequently to ensure he’s getting enough exercise. You can also talk to your vet about the right types and amounts of food you should give your lab. If your dog is part Boxer, he’s at higher risk for certain types of cancer. They’re often felt as an unusual lump or bump on his body, so if you have this breed of dog, you should regularly check for them.
  • Future size and weight of your puppy

    Puppy owners often rely on the size of their pup’s paws to give them an idea of how big he’ll get. This isn’t always accurate, however, since some large breeds like Collies have small paws for their size, and some smaller breeds, like Bulldogs, have large paws for their size. With a DNA test, you can find out your puppy’s breeds and get a more accurate idea of his future size and weight.

How accurate are dog DNA tests?

The technology used to run dog DNA tests is very accurate with some companies claiming an accuracy rate of over 95%. Errors can occur along the way, however, just as they can with any type of test, although it’s unlikely.

How to test your dog’s DNA

Getting your dog’s DNA tested is an easy process by ordering a dog DNA test kit. Order the kit online through a company such as Embark, which offers a highly accurate test that has data on more breeds than any other test, click here for a special offer discount. You’ll receive a kit that includes a cheek swab. You’ll use this to swipe the inside of your dog’s cheek for a saliva sample that contains thousands of DNA markers. If you’re having difficulty with this, distract your pup with a treat. Just don’t let him eat it until after you’ve swabbed him. After you’ve obtained your dog’s DNA sample, follow the company’s directions on how to package it and send it back. Results will be sent to you by email within a few weeks.

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