DNA testing is the new trend among pet enthusiasts. And, you can’t really blame dog owners for being excited about at-home DNA Kits. After all, a simple cheek swab can help owners discover their pet’s breed mix, genetic health, biological age, and so much more. What’s not to like about that?
We’re not here to sell you on the idea of a dog DNA test. If you’ve found us, chances are you’re already actively looking for a suitable place to buy the best dog DNA test you can get your hands on. That’s precisely where we come in. Our article is all about helping pet parents discover some of the best sources to purchase a canine DNA test, along with a handy buyer’s guide. Without any further ado – let’s get to it!
What Are Dog DNA Tests and How Do They Work?
Dog DNA kits work much like at-home DNA testing kits for humans. The only difference is that test kits by companies like AncestryDNA and 23andMe are more heritage and ancestry-driven. On the other hand, DNA kits for canines are available in different variations – depending on the purpose. For example, some companies offer separate DNA test kits for breed identification and health screening. While others, like Embark, have an all-in-one DNA test kit that combines the benefits of a breed identification test and health testing.
As to how Dog DNA tests work – that’s pretty simple. All you need to do is purchase the kit of your choice, collect a DNA sample from your dog’s cheek via a cheek swab, carefully package and post it back to the testing company – and that’s it! Once the company receives your pet’s DNA samples, they’ll run the relevant tests and get back to you with your doggo’s results. The entire process can take anywhere from one to four weeks – depending on the test you pick.
What Makes a Good Dog DNA Test?
Before we dish out the 411 on where to look for a DNA test for your German Shepherd or Pit Bull, let’s discuss the characteristics of a viable dog DNA test. See, the thing is, apart from the factors listed below, your intentions behind getting your fur baby tested matter too.
If you’re the owner of a mixed-breed dog who’s looking for in-depth information about your pet’s breed makeup – you may want to stick to the tests with a detailed report and analysis. Conversely, if you’re already certain about your dog’s breed and pedigree and just want a confirmation – you have the option of relying on tests that are more suited to specific breeds.
Apart from that, here is what else you need to keep in mind.
Did you know that the World Canine Organization recognizes 339 breeds of dogs worldwide? That’s quite the statistic, isn’t it? Imagine how many of those breeds are in your mixed-breed pet’s DNA? The mind boggles!
The point we’re trying to make is – the motivation behind getting your dog’s DNA tested matters because it can play a significant role in helping you pick a DNA kit. If you’re interested in learning about your pet’s genetic makeup to satisfy your curiosity, you can always fall back on the basic DNA tests available commercially.
But if your concern with breed identification has to do with understanding your pet better in terms of behavior, training, diet regimen, predisposed health conditions, etc., then you’re probably going to do better with the more comprehensive dog DNA kits.
Speed of Results
We’re sure you’re heard of the saying time and tide wait for no man – if only the reverse were true. The turnaround time for results is another factor that can help you narrow down your options when picking a DNA test.
As of now, the dog DNA tests available on the market can take anywhere from 7 days to a full month to present you with a report about your dog’s DNA. However, you should note that generally, the tests that take 3 weeks plus for delivery of results are the ones that renowned for their in-depth examination and analysis of your pet’s DNA sample.
Experts from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ney York, have stated that the accuracy of a DNA test for canines has a lot to with the size of the testing company’s breed database. And that makes perfect sense, too, because companies that don’t have a record of a particular breed in their database will never be able to pick it up in your furball’s DNA.
That’s why we recommend parents of mixed-breed doggos to always rely on test kits from companies that have extensive breed databanks – that way, the dog breed identification results they receive can be more credible and precise.
At the same time, testing for purebreds doesn’t require an all-inclusive database because their pedigree is pretty clear for all to see. Although, all pet parents should keep in mind that no DNA kit can claim 100% when it comes to results. Most testing companies state their accuracy rate is anywhere between 95 to 99% – so there’s always some margin for error.
Price is always a deciding factor for a customer. That’s how things should be – considering you’re about to spend your hard-earned money. The good news is that the price range for canine DNA testing kits is pretty flexible.
Nonetheless, try and remember that the more details and features a test kit offers, the more high-cost it’ll be. If you look at the test as an investment that may help you shape your dog’s daily exercise, diet and inform you of the dangers of genetic diseases – we’re sure you’ll think it’s worth your while.
Health screening is a pretty important component of DNA testing – even for little puppers. Quite a few DNA kits offer screening genetic markers for inherited diseases or predisposed health conditions. Information like that is useful for all dog owners because it can help them plan out a routine that may help stave off possible health concerns or prepare for it accordingly. Not to mention, it’s also ideal for breeders to avoid congenital health risks for future puppies.
Where Can I Buy Dog DNA Tests?
Alrighty, it’s about that time, folks. Grab a seat and hot cuppa as we list out the sources you can approach for dog DNA tests.
If you’ve been living on planet Earth these last few years, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Amazon. This huge internet-based enterprise sells everything from books to bath towels and everything in between.
Amazon.com is an excellent place to look for all types of pet products, including dog DNA testing kits. Be it the Embark Breed Health Kit or The Premium DNA Dog Test by Wisdom Panel – you’re likely to find all the test kit types.
Embark boasts of a breed database consisting of 350 breeds, whereas the Wisdom Panel breeds databank consists of 350+ breeds. If you’re looking for budget-friendly DNA tests, you can opt for the DNA my Dog Breed Identification Test Kit. Finally, for folks who’re more interested in a health risks analysis and their dog’s health – there’s always the Orivet Dog DNA Test Kit with Health Screen and Life Plan.
Petsmart is a chain of pet stores – which means you have the option of visiting their outlets or choosing to shop online on their website. However, if you choose to go the online route, it’s possible you may not find all the dog DNA test options.
At the time of our research for this piece, we discovered their online store offers only the Orivet DNA Breed Identification Test with Life Plan. FYI Orivet’s database also includes 350 breeds, and this test includes a pretty hefty Proprietary Health Risk Analysis that takes into account your pet’s breed, age, weight, location, and lifestyle.
Although, the turnaround time can take anywhere between 3 to 5 weeks – so that’s something you may want to take under consideration before purchase.
Petco defines itself as a health and wellness company that caters to pets of all kinds. They’ve been in business since 1965 and have around 1500 outlets all across the US of A, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. They’re also Petsmart’s direct competitors.
Petco’s online site offers DNA test kits by Orivet, Embark, Wisdom Panel, and a very helpful Pet Food & Environmental Intolerance Testing Kit by 5Strands.
All at-home DNA kits at Petco require DNA swab samples from your dog’s mouth – except for the 5Strands test (which requires hair samples). Although supplies are always subject to change, you still have a good deal of choice for DNA dog testing at Petco.
We’d recommend the Embark Dog DNA Test for pet parents who’re interested in the whole deal (breed identification + health screening). Embark tests for over 200 genetic health risks, including health conditions like glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, MDR1 drug sensitivity, etc. And, the company also analyses over 200,000 genetic markers for the most accurate results as far as breed identification is concerned. Turnaround time for results equals 2 to 4 weeks.
Chewy is an online retailer of all kinds of pet products and has been in business since 2011. The company offers buyers a range of dog DNA testing kits, ranging from Orivet, Wisdom Panel, Embark, DNA My Dog, and 5Strands.
What’s more, they also hold the Orivet Geno Pet 5.0 Breed Identification + Disease Screening + LifePlan Dog DNA Test Kit – which is a robust alternative to the Embark Breed and Health Kit. The Geno Pet 5.0 Test screens for more than 200 inheritable diseases and traits to help you keep your doggo healthy and access to a personalized life plan for your pup based on related traits like breed, age, weight, and gender.
Another fan favorite is the Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test, which tests for over 350 breeds types and varieties and can sniff out breeds that make up 1% of your canine’s breed mix. The results also provide insight into your pet’s ancestry and family tree – by tracing your dog’s grandparents and great-grandparents. And if that’s not enough, Wisdom health screening tests for over 200 genetic health conditions, including MDR1 sensitivity, with a turnaround time of 3 weeks for test results.
Considering the number of dog breeds globally, it’s no wonder dog owners are turning towards DNA testing to learn more about their pets. Not to mention, at-home canine DNA kits are perfectly safe and pain-free for your pet and are decidedly less expensive than the testing options available a few years ago. That’s why we’re hoping you’re going to put the information found here to good use and do everything within your power to get your hands on your canine’s DNA results. Till next time, happy shopping!