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Everything You Need to Know About Pet DNA Testing

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

If you got your pet from a shelter or adopted the neighborhood stray who just wouldn’t leave your front porch, you may be wondering, “What breed are you?” Not only is finding out your pet’s breed exciting, but you can learn valuable information that allows you to better care for them.

Pet DNA testing is more popular than ever. In fact, the pet DNA testing industry was worth around 321 million dollars in 2021. And it’s only expected to grow with every passing year.

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we suggest DNA testing for your pet so that you can learn about their genetic makeup, family history, and any potential health risks associated with their breed. Let’s break it down!

An adorable puppy with black, brown, and white fur

How Pet DNA Testing Works

DNA testing can be done for a dog or cat, and it involves taking a sample of either their saliva or blood. This sample gets sent to a lab for DNA analysis. Most DNA tests take about a month to eight weeks to provide results.

You can buy pet DNA tests over the counter at pet stores or online. However, working closely with your veterinarian to determine your pet’s DNA is the better route. Not only can they refer you to a trusted pet DNA collection company or even test the DNA themselves, but they can review the details of the results with you and go over any health risks your pet may have due to their breed or family history.

Benefits of Pet DNA Testing

There are many benefits to genetic testing for your dog or cat, including:

1. Anticipating Size and Lifespan

DNA tests can determine how big your pet may become and how long their expected lifespan is. This information can help you manage expectations and ensure you have the proper resources to accommodate them.

2. Gaining Insight on Personality

Knowing your pet’s breed makeup offers insight into their behavior. Behavioral knowledge can be extremely helpful for training purposes.

3. Prepare For and Prevent Future Health Problems

When you know the common risks for certain breeds, you can approach their care differently. Your veterinarian can provide breed-specific care and offer accurate advice on any lifestyle or food changes that may benefit your fur baby.

4. Prove Pedigree

If you plan on breeding your pup, a DNA test can give potential adoptive dog parents peace of mind that they’re getting what you’re promising. 

5. Map Out a Family Tree

Depending on the DNA test you choose, you may be able to find other members of your pet’s family and map out a family tree.

6. Find Hidden Traits

DNA tests can give information about genes your pet has that they may not necessarily display. Having insight into these genetics is particularly useful for breeders.

A vet professional drawing blood from a dog

How Accurate Is Pet DNA Testing?

Depending on the DNA test, costs can range from $60 to $200. If you’re potentially spending hundreds of dollars on a DNA test, you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Fortunately, many of these tests are fairly accurate.

For example, two of the biggest dog DNA companies, Embark and Wisdom Health, claim accuracy from 93-99%. But can you trust these claims? The pet DNA testing industry isn’t regulated, and experts can’t independently verify the accuracy of these results.

However, both Embark and Wisdom Health are pushing for increased transparency in the industry. Experts believe that accuracy will only improve over time as technology advances.

A brown and white dog running with a rope toy in its mouth

Get Exceptional Breed-Based Care With Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

Your pet is more than just a furry pal; they’re a part of your family. Learning about their DNA makeup can make you an informed pet owner and help you make better decisions regarding their care.

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we go the extra mile to provide pets of all backgrounds the best care possible. We’d be happy to help you swab your dog for DNA and even send out the sample for you. Certain DNA testing companies have earned our trust, and we’re glad to give you more information about them. To learn more about our pet DNA testing services or our veterinary services in general, contact Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic today. We proudly offer top-of-the-line vet care to Colorado Springs residents. Check out some of our veterinary resources here.

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Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and caring veterinarian to work relief, part-time or full-time in our general practice. PVC is a full-service, 3+ doctor, small-animal veterinary hospital. We have established an excellent reputation for developing lasting relationships with our clients and for providing compassionate and quality care to our patients.