What Am I? DNA Testing for Mixed Breed Dogs
“He is SO adorable!” you say to your husband as you pick up the scruffy little terrier mix you’ve been playing with in the “meet and greet” area at your local animal shelter, “and smart, too.” you say. You’ve come to add a furry member to your family, and judging by the agreement you see in your husband’s eyes, you think you’ve found just the right one.
“What breed do you suppose he is?” your other half queries.
“I don’t know.” You say as you hand the sweet little guy over to your honey. “It doesn’t matter.”
You might be right, it might not matter, but in more and more instances these days, it very well might be important. Unexpected veterinary costs, increased homeowner’s premiums, and confusing behavior are just some of the unpleasant challenges you could avoid by learning the true breed of your newly adopted pet.
As you may have experienced, some breeds are more active than other breeds (Jack Russell terrier, anybody?), and might require more play and exercise or may funnel that energy into something disruptive. Other pets seem to have more chronic medical issues.
“Finding out a dog’s breed makeup does more than just satisfy curiosity.” Says Jon Murray, Sales Director at Mars Veterinary, a division of Mars, Inc., and the maker of the Wisdom Panel, an easy DNA test you can use to determine the breed mix of your dog. He continues, “With knowledge of your dog’s breed mix, you can work together with your veterinarian to develop a more targeted care plan (based on health problems common to the breeds detected) and develop a custom behavior training program with the insight and understanding of what makes your canine companion unique.”
It can also be helpful to know what’s in your dog’s genes when deciding your long term pet care budget, or figuring out whether to get pet insurance or not. We all plan for yearly wellness checkups, and hopefully also put aside something for the unplanned veterinary expenses. Since some pets are more likely to be affected by certain medical conditions than others, knowing the breeds mixed in to your new pet can also help you with that.
“It’s very useful for people to know what particular breeds of dog their own dog might be mixed with.” says Annette Le Pere, Medical Director of Rolling Hills Animal Hospital in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, and the adopted mom of Dixie, and mixed breed. “Certain breeds are more predisposed to particular diseases than others, and that knowledge can help people become a more informed pet owner.” She explains. “For example, a Cocker Spaniel is more likely to suffer from chronic otitis (ear infections) and cardiac disease, while a Bernese Mountain Dog may be more at risk to get bone cancer.”
“As your pet ages, you and your veterinarian can better determine appropriate wellness care and diagnostic tests, as well as other concerns to address that are more likely for your dog (based on his DNA makeup).”
“Overall,” she goes on, “knowing more about what breed(s) your dog is mixed with can help prepare your pet for a long and healthy life.” And isn’t that something we all want for our pets?
Found Animals has done several Wisdom Panel tests on adopted dogs and placed the results on our Facebook page. The results have been surprising and interesting. The posts have been some of the most liked, shared, and commented on posts we’ve put up. Please go check them out and then get a Wisdom Panel for your own dog and see what makes him Who HE is.
Have you DNA tested your dog? Did you think it was helpful or not? Leave us a comment below.