Do you ever wonder what makes your dog so unique? Their personality, their appearance, even their quirks - all of these things are influenced by their DNA. But with so many different breeds and mixes out there, it can be hard to know exactly what's in your dog's genome.
Pet parents are increasingly interested in learning about their dog's breed background and susceptibility to inherited diseases. When choosing a dog DNA test, cost and accuracy are the two big concerns.
As you can imagine, there is a wide range is dog DNA test costs, and it’s important to compare the cost with what information you’ll get. For example, some dog DNA tests only cover your dog’s breed makeup, while others will include heritable diseases. If your dog’s potential health concerns are of importance, you may want to pay a little more. Let’s look at dog DNA test costs in more detail.
Dog DNA Test Cost Range
As you can imagine, there’s a wide range in how much a dog DNA test costs. The cost is going to vary based on quality and what information you want to get out of it. Expect to pay anywhere from $70 to $200 or more for more detailed results related to health conditions. Generally, the higher the price, the more information you will get. Basic dog DNA tests, which only reveal breed ancestry and family relations, are generally less expensive than tests that also screen for genetic mutations and heritable diseases.
Types of Dog DNA Tests and Cost Breakdown
There are different types of dog DNA tests that offer different benefits. Here are the main ones:
Dog Breed DNA Test
The simplest dog DNA test will identify the breeds that make up your dog's genetic makeup. They will also often provide information such as typical dog temperament, appearance, and growth characteristics of these breeds. Most of this information will be just for fun, but some of it can be useful in looking at potential health concerns that could affect your dog’s life expectancy. These most basic dog DNA tests cost on the lower end, usually around $70-$100.
Dog Lineage and Parentage Verification
Some dog DNA tests will offer a map of your dog’s lineage and parentage. They can help you find relatives in your dog’s family tree as well. This may be important if you have questions about your dog’s purebred claims, or if you’re interested in a particular trait common to certain breed lineages. Many tests will include this with their general breed test price of $70-$100.
Inherited Trait Testing
Testing for inherited traits will usually go along with breed identification on most dog DNA tests. These are traits that are commonly inherited among breeds and can include anything from coat and eye color to health conditions. One important trait to test for in herding breeds is MRD 1 gene that could affect how a dog responds to certain medications. This type of dog DNA test will cost somewhere in the $70-$120 range.
Inherited Disease Screening
This dog DNA test can help you identify your dog's risk for breed-specific diseases, empowering you to take proactive steps to keep them healthy and happy. It may look at things like the propensity for hip dysplasia in Labradors and pancreatitis in Miniature Schnauzers. This type of testing is going to cost a little more and usually falls on the more expensive end of $120-$150+.
Comparing Different Dog DNA Test Brands
Let’s look at a brief breakdown of a few of the top dog DNA test brands on the market to see how they compare cost wise and what you get for that price.
Embark offers two different types of dog DNA tests. The first one determines your dog’s breed makeup, including associated traits and a family tree. This dog DNA test costs around $130 apiece. The other type does all of the breed determination and family tree, as well as a genetic health screening for over 250 health risks and over 35 genetic traits. These tests cost about $200.
The Wisdom Panel dog DNA test has three tiers. The lowest tier is Breed Discovery, which will, you guessed it, tell you your dog’s breed(s) and relatives. It will also give you some information on those breeds’ traits and test for some of the most common genetic medication sensitivities. Cost is $85.
The middle and most popular tier is the Essential package. This includes all of the above plus breed related health concerns and genetic traits. Look to pay just over $100.
The uppermost tier is the Premium. In addition to determining your dog's breed makeup and associated traits, this test also screens for over 260 health conditions and inherited traits, and provides a vet consultation for those issues. The Premium test kit comes at a price of $160.
DDC Pets & Vets
This doggie DNA testing is a little different. DDC offers traditional breed identification and lineage tests as well as inherited traits and inherited diseases tests. However, they also offer individual disease tests which may make them a good option if you’re looking at a specific disease that is common to your dog’s breed or to their lineage. They also offer DNA profiling, which can be used to definitively identify your dog should they become lost or stolen. Costs run from about $60-$90+.
Collecting information about your dog may seem fun or interesting, but you may be wondering if it's actually beneficial. After all, you love your dog regardless of their breed or health history. So, should you bother investing in a dog DNA test? Well, here are a few things to consider.
Accuracy of the DNA Information
In order to get the most accurate results, you’ll want to choose a test that has a large database. The more information in each company’s database, the better they will be to compare your dog’s DNA. Look for a company that touts a large database or one that’s been doing this for a while.
Impact of Dog DNA Testing for Future Health and Expenses
The truth is, understanding a little bit about your dog’s genetic makeup can help you plan for their future. Knowing your dog's propensity for developing chronic conditions can help you map out your financial future as it pertains to your pup. This may include budgeting for additional veterinary care, special foods, or medications.
Getting Pet Insurance to Cover Future Health Expenses
Many pet health insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions, and who could blame them? Dog DNA testing can help you identify your dog's genetic predisposition to certain diseases, so you can start shopping for pet insurance while your dog is still healthy. This will allow you to get in on the ground floor with a pet insurance policy well before any signs or diagnoses show up. It will also allow you to make some pet insurance comparisons to determine which policy is right for your dog.
Pet insurance policies offer a variety of different coverage levels, from basic to comprehensive. By understanding your dog's genetic predisposition to certain diseases, you can choose a policy with the coverage level that's right for you. For example, if your dog is at risk for a serious genetic disease, you may want to choose a policy with comprehensive coverage that includes hereditary conditions.
Conclusion: Is Dog DNA Testing Worth the Cost?
Deciding to get your dog tested is only the first step. Next, you'll need to choose the best test, considering the dog DNA test cost, accuracy, and information you hope to receive. Weigh how this information will benefit you and your pup health-wise and financially in the future. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Your dog is your best friend, your furry soulmate. You love them unconditionally, and you want to do everything you can to keep them healthy and happy. Learning about your dog's genetic history can help you do just that.
By understanding your dog's genetic predisposition to certain diseases, you can take proactive steps to prevent them and ensure that your dog lives a long and healthy life. Pet insurance can help you cover the costs of these genetic conditions as well as other unexpected vet bills, so you can focus on what's most important: spending time with your furry friend.
Knowing your dog's genetic history is like having a peek into their soul. It can help you understand their unique needs, behaviors, and personality traits on a deeper level. This knowledge can help you create a stronger bond with your pup that will last a lifetime.