our @wisdompanel 3.0 canine dna test experience (and a discount for you!) #sponsored

I've speculated about our dog, N.A.S.H.A.'s, breed makeup since we adopted her in 2005. I call her a "mixed terrier" because a majority of her physical and behavioral traits seem terrier-ish to me, but I'm not certain. The only way to really be sure is to have her DNA tested. Yep, doggie DNA. I'm beyond excited that we are finally doing just that. We received a Canine DNA Test from Wisdom Panel. The process was super easy, and I can't wait to find out how accurate my assessment of N.A.S.H.A.'s ancestry is. Wisdom Panel reports that visual identification of a dog's breed(s) is only accurate about 25% of the time. So there's a good chance we'll be surprised!

a canine dna test in 3 easy steps

I am being compensated for helping to spread the word about Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0. Well Minded only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. All opinions are my own. Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0 is not responsible for the content of this article.

The Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test takes just three simple steps.

1. Collect dog's DNA. N.A.S.H.A. is fairly easy-going, but I was surprised that she didn't put up any sort of fight. All I had to do was place the collection swabs between her gum and her cheek and swab for a few seconds. There were two cheek swabs, and she didn't seem to mind at all.

It just took a gentle touch–no duct tape required ;)–to swab N.A.S.H.A.'s cheek.

It just took a gentle touch–no duct tape required ;)–to swab N.A.S.H.A.'s cheek.

2. Activate online. While I waited for the test swabs to dry completely, I went online and activated our kit by answering just a few basic questions. It only took about three minutes.

You can see the simple instructions behind our drying swabs.

You can see the simple instructions behind our drying swabs.

3. Mail test. On my way to pick the kids up at school, I dropped by the post office and mailed the kit off. Easy!

The report will come in 2-3 weeks, but in the meantime, I can track the test on the Wisdom Panel web site, just like I can track my UPS package! 

what are the benefits to testing my dog's dna with wisdom panel 3.0?

I wanted to have N.A.S.H.A.'s DNA tested simply because it's fun and I'm curious about her, but there are lots of reasons to have your dog tested:

• Create a better health plan for your pooch. Certain breeds are at higher risk for certain conditions and diseases. Knowing your dog's breed(s) can help you plan and prepare for those possibilities and can provide potentially life-saving information. 

• Determine if your dog has the MDR1 (Multi-Drug Resistance 1) genetic mutation. It is found in some hearing and sighthound breeds, as well as many mixed-breed dogs. The MDR1 gene produces a protein, P-glycoprotien, that is a drug transport pump, playing an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution. It enhances the excretion of drugs commonly used in dogs, and most often affects the brain. Dogs with the MDR1 mutation may suffer adverse reactions to common drugs. Armed with this knowledge, you can provide a better, safer veterinary experience for your dog.

• Create a behavior plan. If you haven't already botched things up in the pet parenting department (wink), knowing your dog's breed(s) can help create a behavior plan that can reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors and play to your dog's strengths and instincts. There is a reason why English Bulldogs don't make good jogging partners and why your Border Collie must be mentally challenged to stay out of trouble. 

• Create a nutrition plan. Just as humans have individual dietary needs, dogs do, as well (is your dog jumping on the gluten-free train?). Knowing your dog's genetic background can help determine the best nutrition plan for your pooch, which may improve quality of life and longevity.

• Determine the size of your puppy or appropriate weight of your adult dog. By having your puppy tested, you'll be able to determine the approximate size he'll be as an adult. In addition, knowing your dog's genetic background can help determine your pet's ideal weight.

And to think I just wanted to do it for fun!

where can I get wisdom panel 3.0?

I can't wait to see the Wisdom Panel folks this Saturday, December 5th, at the upcoming Holiday Pet Festival in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona. If you'll be attending, you can have your dog swabbed on-site for the discounted price of $39.99. Or you can purchase a kit to take home for the discounted price of $49.99. That is a sweet deal, as the MSRP is $84.99. If you're not local, you can still get $10 off your online purchase on the Wisdom Panel web site by using code Holidays2015. Perhaps you're looking for that unusual gift to give your dog or dog lover?

Stay tuned to hear about our experience at the Holiday Pet Festival and to find out what N.A.S.H.A.'s mutt make-up is. I can't wait! Maybe she's a pure-bred Saint Bernard!

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Have you had your dog's DNA tested? Were you surprised with the results?


doggie dna analysis: ava's story

doggie dna analysis: Ava's story

I've been taking care of Ava almost every weekday for the past two years. Her family adopted her from a local poodle rescue. Huh? Does this look like a poodle? Ava

Since Ava's ancestry was a complete mystery, her family decided to have a DNA analysis done. Their veterinarian offered the convenience of doing the blood draw for the test during her regular appointment and sent it to Wisdom Panel for analysis. Though there are less expensive options, Ava's mom, Maura, liked the convenience of doing it right there at the vet. She paid $125.00. Maura explained that there are at-home testing options that use saliva that some people may prefer.

Though DNA testing is not medically necessary, it sure is fun! Ava's family was simply curious of their rescue dog's origins so they decided to proceed with the analysis.

Wisdom Panel's report was nine pages of detailed information about Ava, including "Breed Detection," "Breed Appearance & Behavior," "Appearance, Behavior & History," and "Sharing Your Dog's Story."

Ava's mix was declared to be an "American Eskimo Dog Mix crossed with Yorkshire Terrier/Chihuahua cross." Huh? The only thing I see in her is possible Chihuahua. Good thing the report goes into detail.

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The next page went on to detail what "Mixed Breed" means for Ava:

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And there we see the poodle in her! It makes me think that maybe I might have a bit of poodle in me, too! It's pretty cool to be able to see in such detail what Ava's background is.

I asked Maura what she thought of the results. She said, "I was surprised that her great grandparents and grandparents could be American Eskimo Dogs. I was not surprised to see Terrier, Chihuahua, or Dachshund in her history."

I would have to agree with Maura. I was pretty shocked to see the American Eskimo Dog make an appearance.

Ava's report went on to explain the Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, and American Eskimo Dog breeds in detail and suggested possible traits of these breeds that her family might see in her.

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So how does this all work? Wisdom Panel said,

The process started when you sent a sample to our laboratory, where the DNA was extracted from the cells and examined for the 321 markers that are used in the test. The results for these markers were sent to a computer that evaluated them using a program designed to consider all of the pedigree trees that are possible in the last three generations. The trees considered include a simple pedigree with a single breed (a likely pure-bred dog), two different breeds at the parental level (a first-generation cross), all the way up to a complex tree with eight different great-grandparent breeds allowed.

Our computer used information for over 225 breeds, varieties, and types from our breed database to fill these potential pedigrees. For each of the millions of combinations of ancestry trees built and considered, the computer gave each a score representing how well that selected combination of breeds matched to your dog's data. The pedigree with the overall best score is the one that is shown on the ancestry chart. Only breeds that reached our set confidence threshold for reporting are reported in the ancestry chart.

Maura was really happy that she satisfied her curiosity in having the DNA analysis done. Some may argue "I love my dog. Who cares what she is?" Well, of course we love our dogs no matter what, but knowing what is in their background may give us the opportunity to better care for our pets. And despite even that, it sure is fun!

Report provided by Ava's family.