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DNA Testing For Dogs and Why It Is A Good Idea


With the advancement of technology available to everyday consumers in today’s society, we are now able to to purchase DNA testing kits for our pets to learn the breeds in their ancestry.  While this may seem like a frivolous way to spend money, it actually plays a valuable role in helping our canine companions to fit in better with their families, appease their instinctual drives, and help us to better understand their behaviors, possible health concerns, and an educated guess at the adult size of mixed breed puppies.

dog dna test kit

Why Does My Dog Do That?

In this Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 photo, Barbara Kansky, condo manager of Devon Wood in Braintree, Mass., uses a long cotton swab to demonstrate how to obtain a DNA cheek cell sample from her dog, Justine. Apartment and condo managers, dogged by complaints from those who?ve have experienced the squishy and smelly sensation of stepping onto a pile of dog doo, are turning to DNA testing to identity the culprits who don?t clean up after their pets. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Perhaps you have a mixed breed shelter dog who likes to nip at the heels of your children as they run by, or a pooch that, no matter what you do, continues to dig holes in your back yard. What if these behaviors are not relative to the amount of exercise and training he receives, but instead is driven by a breed trait?  Heel nipping is common among some herding breeds such as the Australian Cattle Dog or Corgi, which just may be in your dog’s DNA even if he looks more like a Husky!  Digging is an instinct developed in small terriers such as the Jack Russell as he was created to dig out, flush out, and dispatch small vermin such as rabbits and rats.  The way your dog looks can only give a tiny glimpse into his ancestry, but his DNA through testing will reveal all!

Aside from just finding out why your dog does a certain thing, you will also have a greater understanding of how to curb these behaviors and redirect them into a more productive routine.  The heel nipping of a dog with a herding breed in his history can be transferred into herding training or even Agility.  The digging dog can learn to dig in a specified dirt box or even learn to compete in dirt dog competitions in which he can fine tune his natural instincts.

57 Heinz Puppy

Everyone loves a puppy!  The puppies you come across at a shelter or rescue are most likely going to be mixed breeds, either form accidental litters or form strays that have mated.  That little puppy sitting in the kennel that you have fallen in love with just may turn into a 100 plus pound strong dog that can easily pull you around on leash.  Are you ready and able to bring home a puppy that can grow to such an enormous size? Or maybe it is a large breed you want, and the puppy may grow to no more than 20 pounds, and thus not effective as the guard dog you are hoping to acquire.  Breed testing will give you a better idea of what the maximum size of that puppy in the kennel will grow to be as an adult.

Size is only one portion of the equation.  With puppies or adult dogs, one reason why so many people choose to purchase a puppy from an ethical breeder is because they know what to expect with the health of their dog throughout his lifetime. They understand the genetic health concerns that comes with their breed of choice, from epilepsy and blindness to hip dyplasia, all of which have been worked on diligently to eliminate from the dog’s bloodlines. When you decide to adopt a mixed breed puppy or dog, you have no idea what to expect. Having a DNA breed test done can give you a general idea of the genetic health your newest family member may endure as he grows up and into his senior years.  Mixed breed dogs have the probability of contracting health conditions from any of the breeds found within their genetic make up.  If you obtain a puppy from a shelter that is part Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever and Australian Shepherd, you have three different breeds each with their own plethora of health conditions that could become an issue later on. For example, Dalmatians are prone to urinary stones, Labradors are well known for a high chance of hip dysplasia and Australian Shepherds are notoriously known for their ability to be extra sensitive to certain veterinary drugs due to the MDR1 gene, making it nearly impossible to protect against fleas, ticks, and heart worm infestations.  A genetic test will help prepare you for what may come, what already is, and the steps you need to take to keep your pet safe and healthy.

The Curiosity Factor

Of course, everyone wants to know the true genetic history of their pet! When walking your dog it is quite common to get the question “What breed is he?” from nearly everyone you pass. Imagine the fun you will have being able to tell everyone accurately exactly what makes your dog so unique! Considering most DNA breed test kits are affordable at roughly $30 to $70 depending on what brand and where you get it, you obtain so much information that that can amuse you and those you meet as well as help to protect and better understand your furry best friend!

Resources: www.ktvu.com

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