A happy dog looking into the camera

If you have a mixed breed pet, lovingly referred to as a mutt, you may have wondered or even been asked what kind of pet you have. It’s a common thing to speculate about. If your curiosity has gotten the better of you, we’ve got good news: pet DNA testing is easy, inexpensive, and widely available.

Pet DNA testing, or genetic testing, is gaining in popularity. But it’s not just a fun way to learn about your pet’s family tree. It can also give us clues to your pet’s temperament, behaviors, and possible breed specific diseases that could pose future trouble.

Keep reading as The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center explore this amazing topic. 

How Does Pet DNA Testing Work?

Also known as genetic testing, pet DNA testing has been around for over 20 years. It’s a simple way to learn more about our pets.

Pet DNA test kits contain all you’ll need to collect DNA samples from your pet. In most cases, you’ll swab the inside your pet’s cheek with several brushes designed to gather saliva cells that contain DNA. You’ll send in the samples in provided packages to the laboratory for analysis.

At the lab, your pet’s DNA will be extracted and then compared to the laboratory’s breed database. All pet DNA tests on the market use reference panels of breed dogs, but the number of breeds included often varies. Also variable is the number of genetic markers the test itself contains.  

In most cases, results are available in two to eight weeks. 

What Can Pet DNA Testing Tell Us?

More than just breed ID, pet DNA testing is becoming popular for a number of reasons. 

Breed – Many pet owners find it fun to guess their mixed breed’s heritage and then find out what breeds make up their beloved pet’s mix.

Genetic predispositions – Different breeds are known to be prone to certain genetic conditions, so knowing your pet’s breed mix is helpful in determining risks for these conditions.

Better understanding of physical and personality traits – Every purebred has certain established personality and physical traits that can provide owners with an idea of the kind of pet they have. Knowing the breeds that are in your mixed breed can help you make better guesses about size, temperament, energy levels, and exercise requirements that your unique pet may have.

Diet and wellness plans – Knowing a pet’s breed mix can help owners and veterinarians make a more accurate diet and preventive care plans for pets.

More Than Breed ID

Many tests are now available, either as individual tests or as part of a profile. Tests can be run on the creek swabs you collect at home or with a blood sample collected at your pet’s veterinary appointment. 

  • The DNA mixed breed ancestry profile can help determine which breeds contributed to your pet’s mix.
  • Full genetic attribute profiles can be run on purebreds, mixed breeds, and hybrids to determine medical conditions and genetic traits. 
  • Specific breed profiles can be run to evaluate only for conditions common to a specific breed
  • Individual tests can be performed when there is only concern about a single medical issue.

If you’ve had pet DNA testing done for your pet already, we would love to hear about it at your next visit. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give us a call.