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La Jolla Mom

Should You DNA Test Your Mixed-Breed Dog?

In partnership with Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel
Learn tips for rescuing a dog

I thought about DNA testing our dog when we rescued him because all we know is that he’s a bulldog mix of some sort. There is definitely American Pitbull or Staffordshire Terrier in him and perhaps some American Bulldog. But, visual identification of a dog is only accurate about 25% of the time, according to Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel, so we can’t be sure.

I didn’t do it in the end, because the tests I was looking at didn’t seem as accurate. That was four years ago. Is it important to know the exact genetic make-up of your dog? How do you find out? Well, tests are easier and more accurate now so I’m reconsidering because he’s had some trouble with allergies and antibiotics.

Why Do I Need to Know My Dog’s Breed?

It’s thought that knowing your dog’s breed can provide more targeted care and, in some cases, lifesaving information. For example, some mixed, herding and sighthound breeds carry an MDR1 (Multi-Drug Resistance 1) gene, a genetic mutation that can limit drug absorption and distribution. This means that some of these dogs might have an adverse reaction to common drugs. I am wondering if my dog is one of them because he’s been on a number of antibiotics for infections that are side effects of his allergies—some work and some really don’t. The Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel DNA test also tests for this genetic mutation. Learn more about MDR1 here.

Dog trainers can also develop more targeted programs to coincide with a breed’s natural instincts and behavioral characteristics.

If you have a puppy, knowing the breed can help determine your dog’s future size and enable you to look out for any breed-specific health concerns.

How to DNA Test Your Dog

The easiest way to DNA test your dog is via an at-home test like the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel. It covers over 250 breeds, types and varieties and used on mixed-breed, designer or purebred dogs (owner chooses at the time of kit activation).

Rub two swabs between your dog’s gum and cheek for 15 seconds to collect the cells for DNA extraction. The swabs are sent to a lab with a pre-paid return shipping box and results are delivered in 2-3 weeks from the time the test reaches the lab. It sounds pretty easy.

Kits are available at select retailers as well as online. Keep up with Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel here:

Have you DNA tested your dog? Why? Were you surprised by the results?

*Thanks to Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel for sponsoring this post.

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