Have you ever heard of DNA tests for dogs? I know that to the uninitiated this may sound a little silly, canine gene testing like what the Embark dog DNA test kit provides can actually be an extremely advantageous tool to help you take the best possible care of your canine companion.
Some of you may have tried doggy DNA tests before, but as you'll learn from my review, the new DNA testing kit from Embark takes it one step further: it screens your Fido for more than 160 genetic diseases so you learn more about canine's potential health issues.
In short, DNA testing can be beneficial to most of us dog owners. If you have a young or middle aged dog, a DNA test will pay for itself in no time. However, if you have a very old dog, a DNA test may not be a wise investment for obvious reasons.
Normally, it's the puppy owners that will get the most benefit from this type of genetic testing. But before you even decide to purchase one, it's important to pay attention what data will be provided.
For example, standard dog DNA tests will only tell you what breed your pet is and very few of them dig deeper into genetic diseases. Embark DNA test kit also includes details about potential health problems your dog may have in the future.
Regular DNA tests for dogs are mostly helpful for breeders, show dog owners, or pet parents who have just adopted a new puppy. If you want to be 100% sure that your pup is a purebred dog, a doggy DNA test is the surest way to get your answer.
Finding out exactly what breed of dog you own will not only tell you a lot about your Fido's appearance and personality, but it can also be very beneficial from a health standpoint. Some breeds are predisposed for certain genetic diseases than others, thus having a better understanding of your canine's heritage can provide you with greater insight into his future health, possible prevention and certain treatments.
To learn more about how DNA tests for dogs work and whether it's something you should consider, I recommend listening to our podcast interview with Ryan Boyko, CEO of Embark, where we discuss this subject in greater detail.
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Embark Dog DNA Test Kit Review
People who are already familiar with DNA tests for humans should not be surprised that we now seeing the same applied to canines. Embark Dog DNA Test Kit works in a similar fashion. To start with, after your purchase you'll receive a swab and all the materials, which you will then have to send back to Embark's laboratory for testing.
Now let me tell you a little about my experience with this dog DNA test, which I received free of charge from Embark in exchange for my honest review.
The process is simple. All you have to do is swab the inside of your dog's cheek for saliva, which may be easier for some than others. Once that's done, place the swab in the enclosed tube. The tube has a liquid inside, and the directions state that you are supposed to tip the tube upside down 10 times.
This allows the solution to completely cover the swab. Place the DNA sample in the included self-addressed, postage-paid envelope and drop it in the mailbox. Now your sample is on the way to the lab.
Once your dog's DNA kit hits the lab, that's when the real fun begins. You'll receive an email when they receive your pooch's sample.
Actually, you receive emails throughout the entire process, which I was very impressed with.
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I swabbed our boxer Chloe. I received three emails in the 5 weeks it took to process her results. Each email gave me updates about the tests that were being done on her saliva sample.
I thought that was really cool! It allowed me to be able to follow along with what was happening at the lab. The emails also explained the different types of testing done and how they are performed.
As you'll see in my video review, after about 5 weeks you'll receive your dog's results via email. The Embark Dog DNA Test Kit is the only one of the market that screens for more than 160 genetic diseases.
Some of the most common conditions they look for include:
- multi-drug sensitivity
- degenerative myelopathy
- dilated cardiomyopathy
- PRA blindness
- exercise-induced collapse
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By learning these things early, you can do some research so you know what's coming. For example, if your dog's results show that he will develop a spinal-cord disease in the future you can research the condition and the treatments.
You can also learn about the symptoms that you should be looking for. In most cases, the earlier that you catch a health problem, the better the prognosis will be.
Since many genetic diseases are treatable, knowing what is coming in advance will give you time to research and talk to your vet. There won't be any surprises when the time comes, and you'll be able to have some idea of how much the medical care will cost you.
Wouldn't it be nice to know years in advance that your dog would have a condition that will require surgery? You could squirrel money away over time instead of having to put your vet bills on a credit card or borrow money to pay them.
Knowing in advance that your dog is predisposed to certain conditions would also be a great reason to sign up for pet insurance! You could search for a plan that covers the health conditions that you're concerned about and pay a small premium each month. Then if/when your pet is diagnosed, you'll be covered by insurance.
As you can see in my video review, the results are extensive. You have access to all of the results via Embark's website, and you have access to them forever. You can purchase more tests and your whole pack's results will all be added to your profile. You'll be able to access data from all the dogs that you have tested right in the same place.
It's quick, it's easy and it's convenient. So, why doesn't everyone buy an Embark Dog DNA Test Kit? Well, unfortunately if you want results like these you'll have to pay for them.
One Embark Dog DNA Test Kit will cost you $199.99 on Amazon or through the company's website. I know it's a big expense now, but think of the money that it could save you in the future.
You won't have to pay for unnecessary testing if you already know what's wrong with your pet. Sharing the data that you receive from Embark with your veterinarian could end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Summary of the Embark Dog DNA Test Kit Review
- Easy to use/collect sample
- Embark sends updates throughout the testing process
- Provides more extensive testing than any similar product – they test for more than 160 genetic health conditions
- Gives you a breakdown of your dog's breed or breeds and his family history
- Very expensive. More expensive than any other dog DNA test, but they test for more breeds and more genetic conditions than any other test on the market.
Now it’s your turn to review the Embark Dog DNA Test Kit
Have you used one of these test kits on your dog? Have you used a similar product? I'd love to hear about your experience with canine DNA testing. Was the product easy to use? Were the results what you were expecting? Please feel free to share your personal reviews below or post your video review or photos on our Facebook page.