Our Guide on How to DNA Test Your Dog at Home

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Our Guide on How to DNA Test Your Dog at Home

Veterinarians.org Team

By

Medically reviewed by

Ivana Crnec, DVM

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how to dna test your dog

Most dog owners have no idea what mix of breeds is present in their canine friends. If you are one such pet owner yourself, then you are probably looking for a way to find out your dog’s breed and genetic makeup. The best way for you to make breed identification and check out your dog’s family tree would be through a dog DNA test.

You might be wondering how to test the DNA of your dog in the most precise and accurate manner. Not to worry! In this post, we will go over everything you need to know about dog DNA testing and how it all works. We will also explore some of the best dog DNA tests out there for dog breed identification, for discovering underlying health conditions, breed and health, as well as mapping out your dog’s family tree!

What Are Dog DNA Tests?

how to test your dog for dna

Dog DNA tests are basic canine DNA genetic tests that are performed for your pet at home. Dog DNA testing works pretty much like human DNA testing, although with a completely different purpose.

While the purpose of performing human DNA testing is to identify your ancestry and distant relatives, the purpose of dog DNA testing is to identify your dog’s breed and health conditions that might be related to one breed so that you can ensure your pet’s health and well-being in the long run.

Genetic testing is also helpful if you have a mixed breed at home and you wish to identify the genetic makeup and the physical traits associated with each of the different species that make up your pet, for instance, the bed that may be suitable for their size, and so on.

You might be wondering what are some of the best dog DNA tests out there and which companies offer DNA tests for dogs. We will cover everything you need to know about dog DNA testing (and the best dog DNA tests) in the upcoming sections. First, let’s explore how dog DNA tests work.

How Do Dog DNA Tests Work?

how to test for dog dna

Canine DNA testing is actually pretty simple. Once you figure out which of the companies you wish to approach for your dog DNA testing, all you need to do is sign up on the platform and request a DNA test.

Some of the best dog DNA testing companies include Wisdom Panel, Embark, DNA My Dog, and Orivet (we will go over the effectiveness of the DNA tests by each of these companies later).

Once you have signed up on the platform, the DNA testing company will send you a test kit with a cheek swab inside it. You need to use this to get a sample of your dog DNA which you can then send back to your chosen company for testing. The company will then send your test results along with a health kit in a few weeks. The test results and the health kit will contain a report of the breed information of your pet along with breed-related physical traits and genetic health conditions. You can then use the data from the test report and the health kit to prevent any underlying genetic disorders that your pet may be prone to developing in later life.

How to DNA Test Your Dog at Home

how to do dna test on your dog

Follow these simple steps to perform testing for your pet at home.

Find the Collection Tube in Your Test Kit

Once you have signed up on the website, the dog DNA testing company will send you a test kit that contains a cheek swab inside it. If you are getting your test from Embark, then you will also find a collection tube test kit.

Swab Your Dog’s Cheek

The next step is, of course, to swab your dog’s cheek for a DNA sample. Ensure that your dog has not eaten anything at least for 30 minutes before performing the cheek swab and ensuring that the cotton is completely saturated with your dog’s saliva. You should perform the swab for at least 30 to 60 seconds so that you get the best sample.

Place Sample in Tube and Seal

Once the DNA sample has completely dried, you need to place it back in the packet that you received the swab in and seal it up completely. If you are using the test kits by Wisdom Panel, DNA My Dog, or Orivet, then there’s not much else that you need to do here.

If you are using the breed identification test kit by Embark, then you need to place the DNA sample in the collection tube that has the liquid-filled inside it. This liquid is necessary to keep your sample stable until Embark has processed it. Ensure that you are not spilling any of the liquid in the process.

Mix Sample

If you are using the Embark test, then once you have placed the sample inside the collection tube, you need to invert the tube and shake it for at least 10 seconds to mix it with the fluid inside. Make sure that the cap is tightly screwed on before doing so.

Activate

Your next step is to head over to the website of your DNA testing company and activate your test kit. Most companies will send you the test results in your registered account. If not, the test results and the health report will be provided to you over email.

Send in Sample

Your last step is to send in the sample to your company so that they can perform the Breed identification test and send you the DNA results.

How do I find Out My Dog’s DNA Results?

Your dog’s DNA test results will be available to you in three to twelve weeks, depending upon which company you are going with. To find out your dog’s DNA results, you need to head on over to the company website (after you have received the notification that your dog’s results are ready).

All you need to do is enter your account information and download the report. You can also add in extra details about your pet, such as age, weight, and related lifestyle factors, to increase the accuracy of your results.

Other DNA Test Options

If you do not wish to perform a DNA test with the help of online test kits, then you can also perform the test by providing a blood sample to your veterinarian. Keep in mind that this might be more expensive than DNA testing done through online testing kits.

Best Dog DNA Tests

Several testing companies out there provide DNA test kits for you to discover the genetic makeup and identify the different breeds of a dog. Here, we have rounded off some of the best DNA testing companies with a huge database of around 350 breeds to produce accurate results.

Not only do these tests have a vast breed database, but they are also capable of providing you with health kits and health screening for your pet.

Embark Dog DNA Test

Embark Dog DNA Test Breed Identification Kit

Get it on Amazon

Embark tests produce one of the most accurate DNA test results for your pet at home. Embark dog DNA company has a breed database that contains over 350 dog breeds – which is perhaps the largest database available right now. Not only this, but the Embark dog test usually takes just three weeks for your dog’s results to arrive.

There are different Embark plans that you can opt for as a pet owner. If you are on a tight budget, you can opt to receive just the dog breed information, but if you have a little more money to spend, you can receive a complete Embark health report of your pet.

It’s no wonder that customer reviews are pretty favorable when it comes to Embark. The test results are accurate enough for you to be aware of any genetic disorders, eating habits and health risks that your dog might face in the future.

Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Test

Wisdom Panel Essential Dog DNA Test

Get it on Amazon

Wisdom Panel is one of the most popular dog DNA tests out there to figure out a dog’s breed, and for a good reason. Wisdom Panel offers excellent genetic testing for your pet at home with a brilliant health screening as well. This DNA test has a breed database of over 350 breeds, which is brilliant for identifying the different breeds in a mixed dog breed at home.

Customer reviews also report that this test also offers test results pretty quickly, i.e., in just a matter of three weeks. The health report available with the Wisdom Panel test is essential for optimizing your dog’s health and well-being.

The Wisdom health kit contains information regarding your dog’s traits, personality traits, breed-related diseases, as well as genetic disorders that your pet might be prone to in his life. The Wisdom Panel NA test is one of the best in the market and one that comes highly recommended for pet owners.

DNA My Dog Breed ID Test Kit

DNA My Dog Canine Breed Identification Test Kit

Get it on Amazon

DNA My Dog is a company that offers a popular mixed breed dog DNA test for your pooch at home. While this testing kit is pretty good on its own, it cannot be compared to the Wisdom Panel or the Embark Dog DNA tests. DNA My Dog also offers its test results within three weeks, but the test results are not as accurate as those on our list. Customer reviews are also not as favorable as one would like them to be.

Orivet Dog DNA Test

Orivet Dog DNA Test

Get it on Amazon

Orivet Dog DNA test is yet another option for you to consider if you are thinking of getting the DNA of your dog tested. However, this test is relatively slow when compared to the others on our list. Some customers report that they received their test results anywhere between 8 weeks and 12 weeks.

The accuracy of the test results provided by the Orivet dog test is questionable. It would therefore be ideal for you to go for either Embark or Wisdom Panel for your pet.

Our Final Thoughts

Understanding your dog’s DNA, especially if you have a mixed breed dog at home, can be one of the best ways of understanding your dog’s health. Each of the dog DNA tests we have mentioned (Embark, Wisdom Panel, DNA My Dog, and Orivet) provide you with test results identifying important genetic markers while also performing health screening – both of which are extremely important in keeping your pet safe and healthy in the long run.

So, are you ready to bust out a dog DNA test for your own canine friend at home? Which of these DNA tests has caught your fancy today? Let us know in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my vet do a DNA test on my dog?

Yes, someone who has attended a college of veterinary medicine can do a DNA test on your dog. However, it would help if you kept in mind that getting a test from a vet (whether he has attended Cornell University College or any other University College of veterinary medicine) will be much more expensive than dog DNA testing companies online.

What is the most accurate dog DNA test?

Some of the best dog DNA tests include Wisdom Panel, Embark, DNA My Dog, and Orivet. However, the best dog DNA test that provides you with the most accurate test results is the Wisdom Panel dog test. This test provides you with a breed database that contains over 350 breeds while also providing your canine friend with Wisdom health care for long and happy life.

How do I figure out my dog’s breed?

The best way for breed identification for your pet at home (whether you have a mixed breed or a Lab or German shepherd) is through a dog DNA test. A canine DNA test would be able to provide you with breed information along with info on breed-related diseases. It can also perform accurate screening for health conditions that your pet might be prone to later in life.