(WGGB/WSHM) -- Pet DNA tests are surging in popularity, whether it's to cure curiosity or find out if your dog is susceptible to certain diseases.
However, how accurate are they and are they actually worth the cost?
“You could get a pet DNA kit to look at the breed of your dog. You could get a pet DNA kit for disease susceptibility,” said Kari Loomis with UMass Amherst’s biology department.
Pet DNA kits range in cost from $50 to upwards of $300.
A test can be beneficial for dog breeders and owners alike — whether it’s curiosity of breed or disease prevention.
Loomis tests dog DNA with her students.
“There’s various types of tests and price points,” Loomis explained.
However, how accurate are they?
“It turns out these commercially available dog DNA tests are really good at analyzing…It turns out they take tens of thousands of dog samples and analyze it over thousands of markers over the genome,” Loomis added.
Western Mass News put the kit to the test with rescue Penny. Owners were told she’s a terrier-beagle-hound mix.
“It turns out she's a whole mix of things, including beagle, boxer, and more, but her genes say she's a sporting, herding terrier. Overall, a true mutt,” Loomis noted.
Now, before you buy, you want to look out for a few things.
“One of the things you want to look at is how many markers they're using, how many dog breeds, and how many samples do they have of each individual dog because that's the raw data that's going to allow them to give you the accurate information,” Loomis said.
The pros include curing curiosity and even disease intervention.
“You could get some really valuable information and you could bring it to your veterinarian and your veterinarian could make plans to make sure your dog lives as long as possible and lives a healthy life,” Loomis said.
However, Loomis told Western Mass News that there are some downsides to testing — such as false susceptibilities to diseases and a legal obligation to tell housing or insurance officials what breed you own.
“You would be legally obliged to answer accordingly and it could limit where you live and have other repercussions,” Loomis added.
These tests have really easy instructions and can take anywhere from two weeks to over a month for results to come in, but as always, do your research first.