5 Things You Can Learn from Your Dog’s DNA Test

As a dog owner, you may be wondering what the benefits are of DNA testing.

November 19, 2021
3 min read

You can receive a plethora of data about your dog within a few weeks of ordering a DNA test. Their unique gene sequences can educate you about their inherited traits and potential health risks.

Breed

Breed identification is the most accurate result of a DNA test. Different breeds are best fit for certain diets and wellness plans. In general, some breeds are more energetic and may require more exercise. Others may be more prone to health risks such as hip dysplasia or cancer. Learning the breeds that your dog descends from can help you better understand their behaviors and be more conscious of potential health risks.

Ancestry

Many of the DNA tests available trace back to a dog’s great grandparents. Looking at a family history can also be an indication of health factors that could be passed down. Many diseases are genetic, so knowing your dog’s ancestry can help you know what symptoms to watch for.

Diseases

Some DNA tests may assess risk for over 100 health conditions in your dog. Certain genetic variants are linked to specific concerns, such as those concerning a dog’s heart, blood, metabolic, neuromuscular, and skeletal issues. DNA testing in dogs is an emerging field of study. As more studies are conducted, researchers will have more concrete evidence to firmly link gene variants with a disease.

Sensitivities

Your dog’s unique gene sequence may also give indications of their sensitivities to certain drugs and foods. Before changing your dog’s diet, consult with your veterinarian.

Traits

Physical traits are simpler to determine from DNA than behavioral, and many are identified through DNA testing. These particular traits are interesting to owners and important to breeders. For example, you already know the coat texture and color of your dog, but they may have recessive genes that are hidden and can be passed onto their offspring. Behavioral traits are harder to pinpoint from DNA because while genes affecting physical traits are usually controlled by only one gene, behavior traits are a complex combination of several genes and are not as accurately identified in a DNA test.

DNA testing should be used as a way to understand your pet’s unique genetic coding and to be more aware of potential concerns. These tests for dogs are not yet as accurate as human tests. Keep in mind that just because your dog has a particular gene, it does not mean for certain that they will develop a disease. It only means they are at higher risk. For help interpreting your dog’s DNA tests results, talk with your veterinarian about any questions you may have.

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