Q: Is that a puppy Greyhound or an Italian Greyhound?
Q: Are those Cairns? I’ve never seen them with all-black faces before!
In my line of work, I get questions like these daily. I can barely get down the street without being stopped by someone who wants to say hello (to the dog) and inquire about their breed. And now, more than ever, pet parents and aficionados want to know the genetics behind these adorable and attractive looking dogs.
With the plethora of DNA tests for dogs on the market, the answers are just a few clicks away. However, all dog DNA testing kits are not created equal. Some may even argue -what’s the point?
In this post, I’ll provide you with some insight into the tremendous value that DNA tests for dogs can offer you as a dog parent. And in addition to the benefits, I’ll share some insight into Embark DNA Testing Kits. Embark is one of, if not the best, DNA testing kit for dogs on the market today.
While dogs and humans are anatomically different, humans share many of the same diseases with dogs. Humans sharing similar health issues with dogs may come as a shock to many dog parents. And unfortunately, many dog parents learn about this commonality once their vet diagnoses their dog with diabetes, kidney stones, or arthritis, for example.
However, the bright side is that our shared health conditions with dogs are a benefit to science. It enables scientists to perform studies and analysis on human diseases but with a much smaller footprint.
In a study published in Cornell Chronicle advised:
“Studying dog genetics is a useful and underused way to understand genetic diseases from a human perspective…Human disease-mapping studies generally include genotyping tens of thousands of individuals and looking at 1 million markers across the genome. In this study, the researchers conducted simulations to show that in dogs, we expect to be able to identify genetic risk factors for most major diseases with 1000 individual dogs and 1000 controls.” – Boyko, Adam. ” Complex Disease and Phenotype Mapping in the Domestic Dog.” Nature Communications. Jan 22, 2016.
If you would like to learn more about how DNA tests for dogs help science and humanity, you can gain full access to the study here.
Additionally, with the help of DNA tests for dogs, scientists are now able to make accurate predictions about dogs. From how big your dog will grow, to how often they’ll shed, and more importantly, what genetic risk factors your dog may possess.
Having this information is priceless. It allows you to become aware of and possibly prevent these health conditions from happening with the help of your vet and the applied care on your end.
Once you get confirmation of your dog’s breed and their genetic risk factors, it’s best to share it with your vet. Sharing the report with your vet will help you better plan for your dog’s health care. You and your Veterinarian will be able to design a custom health regimen that caters to your dog’s unique needs.
Your health plan can include anything from what’s the best diet for your dog, an optimal exercise routine, to the best medications. Some breeds are not responsive to certain medicines. Again, you can learn about this detail in the previously mentioned article and via your DNA personal test.
But the key benefit is that these tests enable you to get ahead of health issues before they surface by applying the customized care that your dog needs.
Typically, the reason for conducting a DNA test on your dog is to discover their breed. For many dog parents, this is done purely for fun.
I agree this can be a fun process; the anticipation is exciting. But the benefit here is that even if you have an idea of what your dog’s breed may be, taking the test will provide you with a valid confirmation. Getting an accurate is vital because you can’t always determine a dog’s breed based on appearance alone. And as previously discussed, gaining access to the details of your dog’s breed and genetic information puts you in a better position to provide proper health care to your dog.
Dog DNA tests can also be handy for dog parents of purebreds. Because dog breeders are not created equal. Unfortunately, some are unethical and do not breed their dogs correctly.
If the breeder did not check your puppy’s four-legged parents for genetic, health, or behavioral issues, it can result in a host of medical problems for you. You can learn more about how to find a good breeder here.
“If you are a purebred parent but did not thoroughly vet your breeder, conducting a DNA test plus health history would be beneficial for you. It will inform you of any unique health issues that your purebred may have. This way, you can plan for their care appropriately as opposed to relying on general breed information.” -The Dog Care Guide
While there are many kits on the market, hands down, the winner is: Embark DNA Tests for Dogs!
I’m not just saying this because I’m an affiliate for Embark. I’m saying that I’m an affiliate for Embark because I’ve done my research. I believe what Embark is doing in the science community, and they offer the best testing and overall value to their customers.
There are tons of other kits on the market that offer lower prices than Embark, but this may come with lower accuracy than Embark as well.
I’ve seen reviews on other brands that complain of highly inaccurate results. These consumers did not trust the results and had to spend money on another test (Embark DNA) to get the correct breed information.
Embark has DNA information that allows them to provide results for over 250 breeds and 170 Genetic Health Conditions. Their massive database equates to more accurate results on breed and health information than other companies with limited resources.
Overall my research showed that Embark had the best customer reviews for being the most accurate and the most informative about their dogs.
Some of my research included well-established authorities in dog care like Canine Journal. They are very well known in the industry, especially for their extensive reviews on dog products. They even did a comparison review of Embark against other top brands like Wisdom Panel, and they still rated Embark as the #1 DNA tests for dogs. You can check out Canine Journal’s review by clicking here:
In addition to their quality testing, I like the fun stuff that Embark offers. It’s the only testing system that provides a database of your dog’s closest relatives. It’s cool because once you receive your results, your dog’s information will get matched with the profiles of their closest relatives.
They provide you with an option to literally “chat” right there online with the other dog parents. Therefore, if you take the test and learn that your dog may have a relative nearby, it would be great if you could set up a reunion for your dog to meet his or her litter-mates.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Embark DNA is one of those companies that provides you with an opportunity to further scientific research.
You can give them consent to use your dog’s DNA test results to help further their research on common health issues related to dogs and humans.
It’s a rewarding experience to be able to give back. At the same time, simultaneously receive information that can make a significant impact on you and your dog’s life.
Our Mina’s foster parent advised that she is a Flat Coat Retriever, but we think otherwise. Again, it’s not easy to determine a dog’s breed based on appearance, so Embark DNA Test here we come!
While I’m an affiliate for Embark and I receive a commission from your purchase of a kit through my site, I’m also a customer of Embark. I do not get free products.
I only make product recommendations for products that I have experienced personally. Meaning, I have purchased the product myself, or I have used the product while providing care for one of my client’s dogs via my pet care business- The Golden Leash.
While our Mina is 11-years old, and received a clean bill of health at her last vet visit, we purchased an Embark breed confirmation test. We want a valid confirmation.
Her dad and I think that it will be fun to see if she’s the mix-breed that we think she is. And Embark will give you a percentage break-down of any possible breed mixes. And we’re excited to learn about her closest relatives as well.
So stay tuned, I will follow up with a post once we receive the results and share my experience of the entire process with you. In the meantime:
If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate if you shared it with your fellow dog parents and dog lovers! And if you have any interesting tips to share, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
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