DNA testing for dogs has gotten increasingly popular as more and more people adopt dogs who are of mixed breed. Aside from finding out your dog’s breed makeup, DNA tests can also help to determine what type of health issues your dog may experience throughout his or her lifetime according to the type of genes they’ve inherited. Knowing what type of genes are present in your dog’s DNA can help with training and healthcare.
There are a number of DNA testing companies out there and before you choose one, it helps to understand a bit of the science behind the test and what it can tell you about your dog. Also, although the results of a DNA test can help guide you in what type of health conditions your dog may experience in their life, it’s best to share the DNA test results with your vet to come up with a comprehensive wellness plan for your pup.
How Does A DNA Dog Test Work?
Companies create and maintain a database of breed-related genetic markers and from that, take your dog’s DNA sample and compare it to the database in order to find out what markers show up. By running your dog’s DNA sample alongside the database, these DNA testing companies can get an idea of what breeds make up your dog’s background going as far back as three generations.
However, the accuracy of the tests depends on the company conducting the test. DNA testing companies that have a larger database to pull from tend to be more accurate. The best DNA testing companies include a majority of the American Kennel Club’s 180 recognized breeds.
What Can A DNA Test Tell Me About My Dog?
A DNA test can help determine what breeds make up your dog’s genetic profile. Assuming that you didn’t get your dog from a breeder, you probably aren’t certain exactly what breed (or breeds) your dog is. Nowadays, a lot more people are adopting dogs that are made up of two, three or even more breeds and it can be nice to know what type of dog you rescued, if only for having an answer at the dog park to the question “what breed is your dog?”
But aside from being confident in answering the breed question, it’s also important to know so that you can find out how best to take care of your dog’s needs in the best breed-specific way possible. Some breeds pass down specific diseases or health issues that you might want to be able to anticipate and plan for.
Having said that, it’s worth pointing out that less purebred your dog is, the more healthy they’re likely to be from a genetic point of view.
The Most Popular At-Home DNA Test Kits
And now it comes down to choosing which kit to purchase. With prices ranging anywhere from $80 to $200, it’s important to do your homework before deciding.
Most of these kits require that you swab the inside of your dog’s cheek and pack the swabs into a container provided then mail it back to the company. The company will then send back your results either via email, postal mail, or by having you log into an online account.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the more popular ones on the market today. Read on for more information!
According to the Embark website, an Embark dog DNA test will tell you about your dog’s breed, ancestry, health, and relatives. The test looks at over 250 breeds and more than 175 genetic health conditions and traits. The results are very detailed, similar to that of a human DNA test, and includes a list of all the breeds that matched up to your dog’s DNA and the percentages of each.
The report also details any health conditions to be aware of with a detailed report explaining what the condition is and how to interpret the results. You’ll get your results back in two to four weeks. Results will be shared to you on their website as well as in printable PDF format.
Wisdom Panel offers two types of DNA testing. Both include the basics of DNA dog testing by identifying breeds from, as they advertise, the world’s largest database of more than 350 breeds, types, and varieties. They also do a trait analysis. The more expensive “Health” option includes a screening for over 150 genetic health conditions while the “4.0” option does not.
The report is comprehensive and helps to walk you through the steps of understanding your dog’s information. It takes about two to three weeks to get your results back. An email will be sent informing you that your results are ready to access in your online account. A physical report will not be mailed to you.
Orivet will compare your dog’s DNA with a database of genetic markers for more than 250 breeds. In addition to breed percentages, the report also includes routine health care advise, nutritional suggestions for your dog, and what they call a “Basic Health Schedule and LifePlan.”
For an additional cost, you can bundle the DNA kit with a health screen that also includes a personalized wellness plan according to the breeds. It screens over 180 heritable diseases and traits. They also encourage pet parents to answer a few questions about their pet to get more customized results. You’ll get your results via email within 10-14 days after receiving your dog’s sample.
This is your basic DNA test with not a lot of bells and whistles by offering basic information about breed and health. Find My Pet DNA testing includes a health screening and pulls from a database of approximately 200 breeds. They’ll include a custom photo certificate of your pup’s DNA composition. You’ll get your results are back within two weeks after they receive your dog’s sample.
Having a brand new puppy is a wonderful experience. Puppies are cute, unintentionally hilarious, and they basically radiate love 24/7. But having a puppy can also be incredibly stressful, especially if you’re a first time dog owner. Being babies and all, puppies don’t really know how to act around their owners or other dogs or even inanimate objects. They’re wild, full of energy, and as we’ll discuss more in just a moment, they do a lot of exploring – the kind that can sometimes get them into trouble.
So what’s a new dog owner supposed to do? Even in our modern world, where all sorts of information about dog ownership is just an Internet search away, it can often seem like we’re flying blind. And that’s totally fine when whatever’s going on with your puppy is low-profile, but what if your puppy is having a health issue, or (knock on wood) a genuine Grade-A emergency? Specifically, what happens when you’re brand new puppy, seemingly the picture of perfect health, starts to throw up unexpectedly?
Fear not. We’ve got answers!
Why Is My Puppy Throwing Up?
Because it’s natural. As you may well know by now, puppies (and the adult dogs they grow into) can be very mobile and very curious. They’re natural-born explorers just trying to figure out this whole living with humans situation. Can you blame ‘em?
However, one of the things that differentiates dog puppies from human puppies (or babies as they’re sometimes called) is that dogs tend to do a lot of that exploring with their mouths. Simply put, they eat a lot of stuff! And sometimes that stuff isn’t really meant to be eaten. Toys, poisonous foods, toxic household products, houseplants – you name it, a dog might eat it. So when a dog eats something they shouldn’t, the “vomit center” of their brain (we didn’t make it up, folks) will force them to barf it back up. This response is a natural as your dog’s desire to shred toys or play tug of war. It’s how they’ve made it as a species as long as they have.
There are also other factors to consider: things like changes in diet, separation anxiety, heat stress, diseases, parasites, and even motion sickness. And since there are so many different possible origins for your dog’s ride through the vomit comet, the first step you should take when you spot your puppy throwing up is to…
Assess The Situation!
- Make sure there are no obstructions by visually and physically examining your puppy’s mouth. If your puppy consumed something large or irregularly-shaped, it might still be in there impeding their breathing. And if there’s something in there, you should take your puppy to the vet right away.
- Notice any missing dog toys, human toys, or food items around the home? Anything out of place? It’s often a good idea to try and isolate the source of your dog’s current predicament and to determine whether or not your dog has ingested something poisonous. Again, if you have reason to suspect that your puppy might have eaten something poisonous or toxic, it’s best to scoot over to the vet.
- To the best of your ability make sure that your puppy is hydrated, as vomiting can cause a significant amount of fluid loss. If the puppy is vomiting repeatedly and can’t hold down fluid, you may want to try giving them ice cubes in a bowl instead.
- Reassure your puppy that they haven’t done anything wrong by showing them affection. This may seem unusual given the situation, but you don’t want to accidentally “correct” a totally normal behavior/biological response.
- Keep your puppy warm.
- If your puppy has only vomited once and now seems fine, then the whole ordeal might have been a one-and-done. But if your dog is continually vomiting, exhibiting signs of illness, or acting unusual in any way, it’s best to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Vomiting VS. Regurgitation
Although we tend to use the terms interchangeably, vomiting and regurgitation are two different things. You can usually tell your puppy is about to vomit because they (involuntarily) put their whole body into it. You’ll usually be able to notice your puppy’s abdominal contractions and hear a gagging or choking sound before they actually do the deed.
Regurgitation, on the other hand, is usually a calmer experience. Regurgitation can be the result of overeating or rapid eating. It almost always involves undigested or partially digested matter and occurs immediately or soon after eating. Vomiting involves the expelling of digested material and usually involves more serious health concerns.
At The End Of The Day…
Like we said, if your little fur buddy had a one-off incident, chances are there’s nothing to worry about. It’s usually best to keep a close eye on the puppy for a few days, just to make sure they’re a-okay.
But if you can’t find the cause of your dog’s vomiting and/or if they continue to be sick in the hours or days after throwing up, your best bet is to take them to the vet.
What Sort of Measures Can I Take In The Future?
For starters, you can puppy-proof your house or apartment. As a responsible pet-owner, it’s your duty to make sure that your puppy isn’t eating or interacting with things that they shouldn’t be in contact with. That means keeping the hazardous materials we discussed earlier out of paw’s reach.
Being proactive by giving your dog safe toys, treats, or food items and rewarding them for interacting with those items is also a great way to monitor their health. It also sets up some good behaviors for your puppy to follow into adulthood.
Perhaps the most important of all precautionary measures isn’t much of a precautionary measure at all. Being present for and aware of your puppy as they move about the world is a surefire way to keep them healthy and happy!
Holiday cards are good when they have a dog. But they’re REALLY good when they have a talking, singing dog that’s wearing reindeer antlers. At least, that’s we think. We’re the crazy dog people behind BarkBox, and we think everything is better with a dog. Specifically your dog. So we created Say BARK!, an app that lets your dog be the star of the holidays… and your holiday greeting card. All you have to do is:
- 1. Take a photo of your dog
- 2. Pick from one of our fun filters (reindeer antlers, elf costumes, the works)
- 3. Add an audio message (or record your own!)
- 4. Share it with everyone you know!
Alright, well, we’re going to go back to hanging with our dogs. Happy Holidays to you and the pups in your life!
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photo taken November 2018
The Bark is thrilled to do an exclusive cover reveal of New York Times bestselling author Spencer Quinn’s latest Chet and Bernie mystery—HEART OF BARKNESS (A Buy Viagra 25 mg in Durham North Carolina Hardcover; on-sale July 2, 2019), a delightful whodunit told from the point of Chet the dog that is sure to get tails wagging! Chet and Bernie have countless devoted fans who are clamoring for the return of this beloved duo, and HEART OF BARKNESS does not disappoint! The book cover (shown above center) features a photograph by Shaina Fishman.
In this perfect entry point to the bestselling series Chet and his human companion P.I. Bernie Little encounter heartache and much worse in the world of country music. They’re both music lovers, so when Lotty Pilgrim, a country singer from long ago, turns up at a local bar, they drive out to catch her act.