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November 17, 2021

Best Dog DNA Test Kits - 3 Top Rated Choices Reviewed in Depth

Pets DNA Testing

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Limited - Green Living Pet DNA Tests Green Living/for PhillyVoice

Getting to know your dog is an endearing experience. From the way he whines when he wants treats and attention to the way he sniffs and circles before finding a comfortable spot on the couch, the many quirks he exhibits are what make him so lovable. The way his ears perk up or flop down and the spots or solid color on his coat are more aspects of what make him a unique part of your family. There are pieces of information you may know upfront, depending on how he came into your life. You might know his breed, his parents, and even some of his siblings. And while you feel you know all you need to know, there are pieces of information that could empower you to become an even better pet parent.

The best dog DNA tests have a fun element to them; you get to learn more about your dog’s breed mix and history and learn about the genetic imprints that make up his personality. However, dog DNA tests also have a useful, practical application. You can learn about your dog’s nutritional requirements, about appropriate weight for his breed, and of any potential health risks or susceptibility to certain diseases. When you have this information, you can take precautionary measures to potentially extend his life - all while improving his quality of life too. It’s an amazing technological gift for your most loyal buddy and a gift for you, since you get to support his health, extend his longevity, and enjoy more tail-wagging days alongside him.

Top 3 Dog DNA Testing Kits

  1. Embark 2 in 1 - Editor's Choice
  2. Wisdom Panel 2 in 1 - Runner Up
  3. Orivet - Honorable Mention

How Did We Choose These 3 Dog DNA Testing Kits?

To keep this article comprehensive and informative, we put together a simple framework that allowed us to analyze each product and provide you with options for your choosing. The best dog DNA tests have different features that we clearly outline so you have the information you need to decide on the best one for your needs.

• Ease of Use
Though DNA lab testing is a complicated process, swabbing your dog’s DNA at home should be simple. We selected options that have quick and easy swabbing instructions and that provide you with written and even video instructions so you can swab your pup’s cheeks correctly.

• Quick Results
In a modern world where you’re used to instant results on nearly everything, waiting for your dog’s DNA test can feel like an eternity, especially if there is a specific piece of information you’re really itching to know. We selected companies that deliver fast results online so you can log in as soon as you receive the notification.

• Comprehensive Dog DNA Test and Reports
There is a lot to learn about your dog’s genetic make-up. We chose products so you can learn about your dog’s breed information, his family history, and even health risks and predispositions for common ailments.

• High-Quality Customer Service
If something happens during the DNA collection process or you have a specific question about your pup, having a great customer service team makes all the difference. We chose companies with stellar reputations, so you have the support you need from purchase to report retrieval.

Best Dog DNA Tests – Reviews

1. Embark 2 in 1 - Editor's Choice
Limited - Green Living Pet DNA Embark

Pros:

• Breed identification
• Health condition identification
• Over 200,000 genetic markers
• Research-grade genotyping platform

Cons:

• Some of the data provided may be difficult to understand

Top Features
The Embark Breed Identification and Health Condition Identification DNA Test for Dogs tests for over 350 breeds and over 200 genetic health risks. The test kit comes with a swab you use to quickly swab inside your pup’s cheek. This way, you and your vet can get a complete picture of your dog’s genetic breed make-up. Embark has partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine for this test and they use a research-grade genotyping platform created by the university.

With the information provided through this test, you and your vet can provide your pup with personalized care that tends to all his genetic requirements. This dog DNA test gives you the insight you need on your dog’s breed and his overall health, so that you can take preventive action that improves his quality of life and sets him up for his future. Customers love the clarity provided by the test, finding their suspicions confirmed regarding breed type and susceptibility to illnesses. One customer noted the packaging is well-designed with fun artwork that is overall easy to understand.

Cost, Shipping, and Savings
This test is originally priced at $199.00 but when you purchase from Chewy, you get a 15% discount for a final total of $169.00. Chewy also offers free shipping on this item; after you place your order, you can expect shipping to take one to three days.

Test Type
The Embark dog DNA test is designed specifically to screen more than 350 dog breeds, which helps you understand your dog’s genetic makeup. This is especially helpful for pet parents who adopt and foster their pups, and who don’t know much about their history. You could take a guess based on what your pup looks like, but you won’t have an accurate understanding without testing his DNA. Many dog owners are surprised by the mixed breed results they get!

This test is also designed to screen for over 200 genetic diseases like glaucoma, MDR1 drug sensitivity, degenerative myelopathy, and common adult-onset diseases. When you receive your dog’s DNA test results, you’ll also be able to trace his family tree back to great grandparents. You’ll see other dogs with similar breed mixes and can review the profiles and photos of closely related breeds on the dashboard. This allows you to gain insight on the physical similarities between your pup and other dogs.

Main Takeaways
This dog DNA test is easy to use - the swab acts like a sponge to absorb your dog’s saliva. Just swab his lower cheek pouches to fully soak the tip and drop the sample back into the bio-bag. You seal it, place it back in the box, and mail it with the pre-paid postage on the box. With analysis of over 200,000 genetic markers, you are provided with a highly detailed report that identifies his breed type, his family tree, and the results can even connect you with his pup relatives.

The health screening information provided also covers over 200 health conditions. Whether you suspect your pup has a predisposition for a certain illness or you’re completely unaware of his genetic makeup, this test provides you with valuable information that helps you better care for your furry pal. After you mail the kit back, you can expect to receive personalized results within two to four weeks.

Learn more at EmbarkVet.com


2. Wisdom Panel 2 in 1 - Runner Up
Limited - Green Living Wisdom Panel

Pros:

• Breed identification
• Health condition identification
• Includes MDR1 medication sensitivity
• Free shipping

Cons:

• No relative finder option

Top Features
The Wisdom Panel Premium Breed Identification and Health Condition Identification Dog DNA Kit offers several unique features, including MDR1 drug sensitivity. This is a genetic mutation that changes the way your dog can absorb and distribute certain drugs. Knowing this upfront can help you and your vet better treat your pup when he requires medicines for any conditions. Aside from this key information, you’ll also learn about your dog’s ancestry and any potential health risks you should look out for. The test screens for over 200 genetic conditions, which allows you to take preventive measures when your pup has a higher risk for inherited diseases.

Cost, Shipping, and Savings
The original cost of this test is $159.99 but with Chewy, you can save 19% for a total cost of $129.99. Shipping is free for this product, and you can expect it to arrive in one to three days.

Test Type
This test is two-fold, including breed information and health condition identification. You’ll find out which breeds are represented in your dog’s genes, and you’ll be able to trace his ancestry back to his great grandparents. Wisdom Panel uses a database built from over 1.7 million other DNA samples. The screening is comprehensive, including dog DNA tests for genetic health conditions and medication sensitivity. Plus, you’ll also gain insights on your dog’s ideal weight range based on his DNA which helps you keep him in shape, so he doesn’t suffer from obesity-related illnesses.

Main Takeaways
This test covers everything from breed type to predisposition to health conditions and even an extremely valuable test that discovers if your dog has the MDR1 medication sensitivity genetic mutation. You’ll gain a lot of insight from this test alone that can completely alter the way you care for your favorite pooch.

Learn more at Chewy.com


3. Orivet - Honorable Mention
Limited - Green Living Orivet

Pros:

• Veterinarian approved
• Quick and easy to use
• ECO friendly
• Fast results

Cons:

• Hard to find online instructions

Top Features
Orivet’s essential test boasts “the most complete dog DNA testing in the world”. They offer superior accuracy with three generation ancestry reports to the great grandparent level. They also include a Lifeplan with every kit, which delivers a personalized wellness plan for your pup. You’ll be able to find the breed of your pup and make use of a wellness plan that incorporates several important factors: your dog’s breed as identified by the DNA test, his age, weight, gender, geographic location, and overall lifestyle.

Orivet has partnered with no-kill shelters to assist with finding safe and happy homes for animals. When you purchase from Orivet, you contribute to helping save pets' lives. Along with your purchase contributing to a great cause, you also get to enjoy access to an interactive report online that you can update. Share the information with your vet, your groomer, and your friends and family! You’ll gain insight on nutritional recommendations, daily energy needs, and you’ll also get routine health care reminders and alerts to help you stay on top of your dog’s best health.

Cost, Shipping, and Savings
When you add this test to your cart, you’re also provided with the opportunity to include other Pet Products from Chewy, offered at discounted prices.

Orivet sends all their orders via the United States Postal Service (USPS) or any other available courier option within seven to 10 business days. This slight delay when compared with other options is due to high demand. Standard shipping is $7.95 but you can request expedited shipping for $14.95.

Test Type
This test is focused solely on dog breed identification, which helps you discover the genes that make up your pup’s unique appearance. Included with your purchase are several other services, including the wellness plan that helps you provide more insightful care for your dog as he ages. Your results are provided online with an interactive report that allows for updates and you also get adult weight prediction for puppies under 12 months old. This can help you plan for the life of your pup. Sometimes you think a pup won’t grow more than the average size, and you end up with what looks like a small bear living in your home. That sure doesn’t stop you from loving them but if you know upfront, you can prepare for life with a furry, friendly giant!

Main Takeaways
Customers who think: Should I DNA my Dog? love that Orivet is associated with saving animals in no-kill shelters. Results can be a fun experience and can also deliver insight you didn’t even know you needed. The test itself is simple to use: it comes with two bristle brushes that you use to swab each cheek. There’s an instructional video on their website that you can watch to see the swabbing in action. Once you mail the DNA sample in, you can activate your kit online. Results include relevant common diseases that genetic testing is not available for along with risk of common infections and parasites. You can expect results in two to three weeks!

Learn more at Chewy.com


What Information Can You Get from a Dog DNA Test?

A good dog DNA test can deliver several pieces of important information that help you care for him better. Some of what you will learn when you purchase a dog DNA test includes:

Your dog’s overall health and any risks associated with his genetics
Dog DNA kits sometimes incorporate health risks, which allows you to prepare for any diseases your dog may be susceptible to. A health screening that’s included with a DNA test can inform you if your dog is a carrier for certain illnesses based on his breed mix. You could be privy to information about diseases like Von Willebrand disease, glaucoma, or any other breed specific conditions. This is also a helpful screening because it lets you know upfront if your dog has any allergies to common drugs prescribed in veterinary medicine. When you get a health screening like this, you are empowered and can be proactive to keep your dog healthy and well cared for throughout his lifetime.

Any information related to your dog’s breed and treats
This is one of the top reasons that pet parents choose to purchase a dog DNA test. DNA test results let you know exactly what your dog’s breed mix is, incorporating up to 350 dog breeds. This allows you to understand your dog further, including his appearance, his history, his temperament, and any fun facts that make sense of his personality.

Any of your dog’s relatives, which could help you reconnect with other pups
Dog DNA tests, just like human DNA tests, can help reconnect your pup with any of his long lost relatives. This feature helps to connect you with other dog owners who take care of your dog’s relatives. Sometimes, this feature is helpful with connecting families with other dog parents and can also be helpful with sharing breed information and any other genetic information.

The most optimized nutritional and weight recommendations
Weight information is important to know after you’ve just gotten a new puppy. You can know upfront exactly what your dog is expected to weigh in adulthood. It also helps you understand if your dog is in a healthy weight range as an adult. Nutritional recommendations help you provide the right nutrients and minerals to support your pup’s digestive system, skin and coat health, and joint health. All of this information, when combined, allows you to make all the best dietary and supplemental decisions that allow your pup to live longer.

When you purchase a dog DNA test, you not only get to enjoy the benefits of precise information, but you also get to be a contributor for research. When you use a service that utilizes your dog’s DNA, you also get to be a part of cutting edge veterinary genetic research. All of this research helps to bolster studies that veterinarians use to better understand a variety of different canine conditions, including diseases, aging, and behavioral issues. As you contribute, you also get to reap the benefits of more advanced research, which then comes back to you and your dog, so you can enjoy precise knowledge that aids in preventive care.

How Do You Do a DNA Test on a Dog?

Completing a DNA test requires you use the swab or bristle brush provided by the dog DNA test kit. Depending on the type of kit you choose, you’ll either be provided with a soft sponge swab or a bristle brush for DNA collection. The next steps are best completed after 30 minutes of no eating for your pup. And if you have more than one dog, separate them for at least two hours before testing to ensure there is no cross-contamination.

Your kit will come with specific instructions but basically, you’ll open the sleeve where the swab is packaged and will remove the swab by holding onto the handle. It’s important you do not touch the actual swab or bristles because that’s where your dog’s DNA goes. Once you have the swab out of the sleeve, you’ll insert it into your dog’s cheek and firmly roll the swabs bristles between the cheek and gums. You may want to pinch from the outside to ensure the swab gets completely soaked with your dog’s saliva.

Once you have been swabbing for about 10 seconds on each cheek, leave the swabs out to dry face up in a cup, so the bristles or swabs don’t touch any other surface. Once dry, you will re-insert the dry swabs into the protective sleeve that they came in. You are not required to seal the sleeve completely; you can just use a sticker to close the tip. Use the same carton that your kit came in and send it off to the lab.

You’ll be able to activate your kit online and you can expect results in approximately two to four weeks.

How Long Does the Dog DNA Test Take?

The actual swabbing part of the DNA test only takes about 10 seconds per cheek. After a few minutes waiting for the swab to completely dry, you can pop it back into the sleeve and mail it out to the lab on the same day.

Lab results will take anywhere from two to four weeks. Make sure that you activate the product online and provide all the requested information so that you can be alerted as soon as the DNA test results are ready for viewing.

How Accurate Are the Best Dog DNA Tests?

Dog DNA tests are accurate; however, they are not infallible. In fact, it’s important to understand that dog DNA tests provide you with information that shows you what to look out for in your dog. The breed and relatives are helpful pieces of information, particularly if you’re not sure about your dog’s history. Weight recommendations and optimized nutrition information are also ideal for keeping your pup in his best health. However, the health risks identified should not be considered as a confirmation that your dog will become ill. Rather, it’s an opportunity for you to employ preventive measures that protect your pet against the development of any kind of illness. If your dog does have a health risk, you can connect with your vet to create a plan that allows for regular monitoring and testing of your pup in the future.

It’s also important that you consider your pet’s comfort. Results of a dog DNA test may reveal some susceptibility toward a particular illness or disease, but since most dogs don’t enjoy vet visits, it becomes a question of whether or not you want to follow through with excessive testing that stresses out your dog or just keep an eye on him annually and let him enjoy the life he has, without constant testing and vet visits. Dog DNA tests serve a wonderful purpose, and they help to clarify information that you otherwise would not know. But ultimately, you know your dog. You know your dog’s personality, what he likes and doesn’t like, and that information can’t be detected by a dog DNA test. Simply, a dog DNA test gives you more insight into your lovable pal and helps you protect him and care for him just a little bit better.

FAQ

Can Puppy DNA Be Tested?
Puppy DNA can be tested, but it’s recommended you wait at least four weeks before a test is conducted. This allows for the collection of sufficient cheek cells. Before four weeks, the cells lining your puppy’s cheek don’t release easily. Nevertheless, if you desire to submit a DNA sample for a dog DNA test before your puppy reaches four weeks of age, just be sure to separate him from his mother and littermates. That way, there’s no cross-contamination between mom’s milk and his siblings.

Does It Hurt? Testing My Dog's DNA?
DNA testing is not painful for your pet at all. Whether you use the sponge swab or the bristle brushes, your dog won’t feel any discomfort. He may look at you questioningly, wondering why you’re swabbing his cheek, but there is no pain involved.

What If Something Goes Wrong During the Swabbing Process?
It’s possible your dog will try to bite the swab, which may cause damage to the swab itself. If this occurs, don’t worry about your pup - nothing on the swab is toxic. However, you may require a replacement swab if he bit down too hard and broke it. Simply reach out to the manufacturer and request a replacement swab.

Sometimes, as you’re swabbing, you may accidentally touch the swab with your fingers or drop the swab on the floor. While it’s possible that cross-contamination occurs even during brief moments of contact with your fingers or the floor, you won’t know unless you send the swab in for testing. If the lab determines there is insufficient DNA on the swab, you will receive a swab replacement free of charge so the test can be conducted a second time.

Accidents happen. Keep an open line of communication with the test manufacturer should anything occur. It won’t be the first time they’ve dealt with customers who experienced similar events!

Conclusion

“DNA; my dog doesn’t need that!” If you were wondering what the purpose of DNA testing for dogs is, we hope you have a much clearer picture of why these tests can completely alter the way you take care of your best friend. The insights revealed through genetic information can save you on vet bills in the long run, can help direct your vet to provide only the best medications, and can help you keep your dog in good health throughout his lifetime. It’s a small price to pay for a wealth of information.

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