The routine is now familiar: open the kit, swirl swabs around, place in solution, and impatiently await the result. Except this time it’s not a test for Covid – it’s a DNA test for dogs.
The kits, used primarily to learn about dog breeds, first appeared about 15 years ago and their popularity has since exploded in the United States, where nearly 40 percent of all families have at least one canine companion.
“When you have a dog and you integrate him as a member of your family, you want to know where he came from,” said Mila Bartos, a Washington attorney.
One of the most popular testing brands, Embark Vet, told AFP it saw 235 percent growth between 2019 and 2020 alone. And the pandemic has only reinforced this trend.
At around $100 to $200 a piece, the tests don’t come cheap. But in a country where dogs are king, the price hasn’t been a major deterrent for many pet owners.
In 2020 alone, Americans spent nearly $104 billion on their pet companions, according to the American Pet Products Association — a sum equivalent to Slovakia’s GDP.
The tests are simple: a saliva sample is taken from a dog’s jaw and sent through the mail, with the results typically being available two weeks to a month later.
Sometimes when a new puppy parent has adopted a purebred dog, the test is to confirm that there is no fault in the dog’s lineage.
But for shelter pet owners, the burning question is: what IS my dog?
Bartos, 51, adopted three dogs – Natty, Maisie and Mabel – and ran a DNA test on each one.
Natty, she discovered, is a Pitbull, Beagle, Chow Chow, and German Shepherd mix. The results revealed that she even had a cousin who lived nearby in Baltimore.
With a luxuriously shiny brown coat, Maisie emerged from a long line of show dogs.
Levi Novey, a 42-year-old Virginia counselor, said taking a test gave him a better understanding of his little dog, Summer’s behavior.
“For example, her athleticism, prey drive, interest in ball fetch, and selective choice of people to be cuddly and cute with are all easier to understand given her lineage,” he said of the little black pup, who only Weighs 13 pounds (six kilograms).
When New Jersey native Ashley Ternyila decided that the German shepherd she adopted from a breeder looked a little too much like a wolf, she took a DNA test.
“He had some wolf-like traits, so we tested him for fun and to eliminate rumours,” Ternyila said.
Allen McConnell, a professor of psychology who specializes in the relationship between humans and their pets, said, “The owner’s desire to understand, predict, and anticipate their dog’s actions makes it useful in the owner’s eyes to do something.” wanting to know about his race.”
Dog breeds carry stereotypes — Labs are good with children, pit bulls are aggressive guard dogs — that can often be imprecise, but also help in understanding the animal, he explained.
In addition to revealing a dog’s breed, DNA testing can reveal a predisposition to genetic diseases.
The most expensive tests allow users to check their pet’s DNA looking for genes that cause heart abnormalities, kidney disease, and premature deafness, among other things.
But be careful, warns Washington veterinarian Sarah Bowman: “Just because they have a genetic marker doesn’t necessarily mean they have the disease.”
The tests allow one to be aware of the risk and exercise greater caution, she said.
The American Veterinary Medical Association said it encourages owners to “consult with their veterinarians before making any decisions based on their pets’ test results.”
Pet parents should also consider potential consequences when discovering their dog’s breed. In many countries, certain breeds such as pit bulls or Staffordshire terriers are considered aggressive and are banned from homes.
If the adoptee is half pit bull, “there could be a problem” with a landlord, attorney Bartos warned.
“If you don’t want to know that information, you probably shouldn’t apply breed DNA to it,” Bartos said.
https://www.ibtimes.com/us-every-dog-has-its-dna-test-3475964?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution In the US, every dog has their… DNA test