allergies in dogs

Can DNA Kits Help Determine Dog Allergies?

Understanding More About Your Furry Friend

Many dog parents know how bewildering it is when their dogs suddenly start sneezing uncontrollably or develop hot spots and rashes around their bodies. Their constant wheezing and scratching confound you, yet you have no idea what’s going on. Newsflash, it might be allergies in dogs.

It is more common than you think. Studies show that up to 20% of dogs develop allergies at some point in time or another.

We would like our four-legged friends to have the best life, but allergies are difficult to diagnose and treat. Enter DNA testing kits!

In this blog post, we’ll look at allergies in dogs and how DNA kits can help.

How DNA Testing Kits Work

If you are unfamiliar with DNA test kits, you might be surprised by how easy it is to use. DNA testing kits have simple procedures, and although several different brands are available, the result is relatively similar.

First, contact a provider, and they will send you a test kit. You will then collect the samples by swabbing or using a saliva-collecting device.

The best thing about these DNA tests is that they’re entirely non-invasive and painless. When you’re done collecting the samples, you will send them back to the provider. After a few weeks, they will contact you or send you the results.

How it Can Help You Understand Dog Allergies

DNA testing can help you identify up to 125 common dietary or environmental allergens. Dietary allergens are food products that can cause allergic reactions when ingested. Common culprits of a food allergy include proteins from eggs, dairy, chicken and beef.

Environmental allergens are substances in the environment that can cause allergic reactions, such as pollen or dust.

The kit can help us understand dog allergies by testing the protein in the dog’s immune system from the swab or saliva samples. The protein is tested against the 125 most common allergens, and you will see whether or not they have sensitivities toward the allergens.

After the sensitivity tests are done, the provider will send you a report outlining potential allergies that your dog might have. By knowing things your dog is sensitive to, you can take appropriate measures, such as not giving them that specific food or removing them from areas that may cause environmental allergic reactions.

Another way you can use the report is by consulting your vet so you can find out the best way to move forward. The vet may put your dog on a hypoallergenic diet or an elimination diet to help identify what is causing all the nasty reactions.

It could also help you determine the best treatment for your dog in the future by providing you with information on possible allergens.

Other Things DNA Testing Kit Can Help You Understand

Aside from giving you information on your dog’s allergies, DNA testing can also help you understand other things about your dog.

Dog Breed

If you’ve got a mixed breed from a rescue (adopt, don’t shop!), your dog’s breed and natural tendencies might be unknown, and DNA testing can help you narrow the possibilities down.

A DNA test can accurately tell your dog’s breed identification and composition. With ancestry testing, you’ll figure out your dog's genetic makeup, and you can finally answer those people who ask you what kind of breed your dog is.

Another way this can be helpful is to know more about their behavioral patterns and the exercise routine they need based on their breed.

Dog Genetic Age

DNA testing can also help you determine your dog’s exact genetic age; this is different from chronological age, which is how much time has passed since they were born. Their genetic age depends on how well their body copes with everyday life's wear and tear. Knowing their age can help you determine the best way to support their daily activity, depending on their aging process.

Potential Genetic Conditions and Disease

You can also find out whether or not your dog is at more risk of any inherited disease from their parents. By discovering more about diseases your dog is more prone to, you can take more care of their health by consulting your vet or changing their lifestyle.

Other Dog Allergy Tests

DNA test kits or self-testing kits are a good way to start identifying your paw friends’ allergies, but sometimes you need further tests for confirmation. If you consult your vet, they will probably recommend you to have proper lab tests such as:

Intradermal allergy testing - This is done by administering a suspected allergen onto your dog’s skin. If your dog is allergic to any substances, there will be swelling in the injected area. It is a more invasive procedure but is considered the most accurate testing method.

Blood testing - Your healthcare professional will take a sample of your dog’s blood and send it to a lab for further testing. Similar to DNA testing, the lab will send you a result of your dog’s possible allergens. The difference with DNA test kits is that you will need a healthcare professional to draw the blood.

Foods to Avoid for Dogs

Here's a list of common foods that are bad for dogs and should be avoided:

  • Chocolate: Contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs.
  • Grapes and raisins: Can cause kidney failure.
  • Onions and garlic: Can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia.
  • Avocado: Contains persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Alcohol: Can lead to respiratory failure and other dangerous symptoms.
  • Caffeine: Can cause restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors.
  • Macadamia nuts: Can cause lethargy, vomiting, hyperthermia and tremors.
  • Fatty foods: Can cause pancreatitis.
  • Bones: Can cause choking, intestinal blockages or perforations.
  • Xylitol: Found in sugar-free gum and other products, can cause insulin release and lead to liver failure.

It's important to note that this is not a comprehensive list and that some dogs may have different sensitivities to certain foods. If you suspect your dog has eaten something they shouldn't have or is exhibiting unusual symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to allergy tests, there is no best or worse way. However, DNA kits coupled with other methods are an excellent way to find out what is causing your poor pooches' sniffles and constant scratching.

Allergies in dogs are no fun, but with some help, you can help your dog cope with them and lead normal, happy lives. Good luck!