Dogs inherit physical and personality traits from the breeds and genetics in their ancestry, no different to us humans. They can also pass along breed-specific genetic disorders inherited from each parent from generation to generation, so the more you know about your dog by doing a DNA test, the better.
Why is it so important to know the genetic make up of our dog?
When you consider that the genetics and breed of a dog account for around 80-90% of their behaviour traits, knowing as much as possible about your dog’s family tree is so important.
Particularly, if you want to better understand their behaviour and how they are likely to, or why they are, reacting to other animals, people, kids and certain lifestyle situations.
For example, a dog bred for hunting is generally going to react quite differently when a small prey animal darts past them compared to a lap dog bred for companionship. So, it definitely helps to understand their total genetic make up so that you can be prepared for, or can understand, certain behaviours they might display.
If you are having behavioural issues with your dog, they could stem from a lack of fulfilment of a specific instinctual need that may be inherent to a certain breed ie: cattle/working dogs and their innate desire/need to chase, herd etc.
Therefore, doing a DNA test to identify the breeds that make up your dog could provide some useful genetic information that can assist you (or a trainer) in finding alternative ways to divert ‘problem’ behaviour.
This is because a trainer can use the knowledge about a dog’s breed and family tree to figure out how to best tap into the remaining 10-20% opportunity that exists to change the dog’s ‘problem’ behaviour, which is achieved by providing the dog with an alternative activity or action that will help fulfill their basic instinctual needs, but in a less problematic way.
It can also help identify what breed specific diseases and illnesses they might be genetically predisposed to.
How can an Orivet DNA Test & Health Screen help identify future health issues?
The Dog DNA Breed Identification or Mixed Breed Identification & Life Plan test kits will help identify the breed make up of a dog, which can help you gain some insight into your dog’s personality and behaviour.
However, the Life Plan test included in some of the DNA test kits can also help discover genetic health secrets and the adult weight prediction for your dog so that you and your vet can develop a personalised health and wellness plan.
The added Heath Screen with Life Plan kit option will also screen for up to 160 hereditary diseases relevant to the breeds that make up your dog, so that your dog’s health plan can be taken a step further and improve communication with your vet and other pet care providers.
By understanding more about your pet’s predisposition to diseases you can help manage any potential health issues by becoming proactive and having your vet screen for these conditions, better assess any symptoms, or develop a personalised health plan specific for you pet.
The Dog and Cat DNA test kits retail for $19.95 on Gummipets.com with an additional lab fee between $89.95 – $139.95, depending on the level of testing you require.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.