Published on
September 30, 2020 by Joann Slover

Best At-Home Pet DNA Tests for 2020

Best At-Home Pet DNA Tests for 2020

There are lots of at-home pet DNA tests, and they can unlock so much information about your furry friend. But with so much choice, how do you decide which is right for you?

Our team has spent hundreds of hours researching, testing, and analyzing the offerings of leading genetic labs to bring you this definitive list of the best pet DNA tests.

We looked for tests that are accurate, detailed, and actionable. Whether you’re a new pet parent, a curious owner, or a loving breeder, these genetic reports can help you better understand where your animal comes from and what may lie ahead.

Short on time? Here’s a summary of the best pet DNA tests:

Our Best At-Home Pet Testing Kits Reviewed

1. Embark – Best for Determining Breed

  • At-home pet DNA test and health screening for dogs
  • Compares against over 350 breeds and 200,000 genetic markers
  • Includes wellness report with actionable recommendations
  • Results in three to five weeks

Embark’s pet DNA testing unlocks the secrets of your dog’s makeup by comparing genetic markers against over 350 known breeds. Its ancestral analysis traces your pup’s family tree back to great grandparents, while its optional Health Kit screens for 170+ conditions so you can take steps to prevent illness and improve your dog’s well-being.

Embark’s Relative Finder is the first of its kind, allowing you to connect with other canines who share your dog’s DNA. Embark is partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and provides highly accurate results, making it an easy pick for the best pet DNA test kit.

Check Your Dog's Ancestry & Health With Embark!

2. Wisdom Panel – Best for Discovering Health Risks

  • Pet DNA testing for dogs
  • Identifies breed and traces ancestry back three generations
  • Check for predisposition to over 180 health risks
  • Results in two to three weeks

Learn about where your dog comes from with Wisdom Panel’s comprehensive pet DNA testing. It screens against over 350 breeds to provide information about your dog’s genetic makeup and its family tree going back three generations. You’ll also learn about the genetic markers that determine traits like color, size, and shape to understand why your pup looks the way it does.

Also included with both Wisdom Panel’s Essential and Premium kits is an in-depth analysis of your pup’s genetic mutations. Use this data to prevent disease and avoid complications from medicine or surgery.

Check Your Dog's Health With Wisdom Panel!

3. Basepaws – Best for Unlocking a Cat’s Ancestry

  • At-home pet DNA test for cats
  • Unlocks info about breed groups and potential health issues
  • Provides lifetime access to breed group updates
  • Results in four to six weeks

With just a saliva sample, Basepaws reveals your cat’s genetic history. Learn about the breed groups from which your cat hails, as well as insights about its behavioral patterns. Basepaws even shows your feline’s Wildcat Index, a measure of how much your cat’s DNA matches that of wild cats like tigers and leopards.

If you also opt for a Health Test, Basepaws will scan your kitty’s DNA for markers that point toward genetic issues like kidney or heart disease. No matter which test you choose, you’ll receive lifetime access to breed group updates whenever they’re added to the database.

Unlock Your Cat's Ancestry & Health Risks With Basepaws

4. Etalon – Best for Predictive Horse Breeding

  • Offers a variety of DNA tests for horses
  • Learn about an animal’s appearance, health, and temperament
  • Decodes equine genes for predictive breeding results
  • Results in 5 to 8 business days

Ideal for both breeders and those who own companion animals, Etalon’s at-home pet DNA tests offer a ton of information for a relatively low price tag. When you choose its DNA Minipanel, you’ll receive the results of over 50 genetic tests.

Use this information to predict coloring and appearance when breeding or for a head’s up on a horse’s risk of certain diseases. DNA sequencing to document a horse’s ancestry is also available, as is access to any individual test you’d like. All you need for the DNA testing is about 40 hairs from your horse’s tail or mane.

Check Your Horse's Breeding Predictions With Etalon

5. Orivet – Best for Healthier Dog Breeding

  • DNA testing for cats and dogs
  • Provides genetic profiles for more successful breeding
  • Stay on top of health issues with continued monitoring
  • Results in two to three weeks

Orivet’s at-home pet DNA tests are geared towards breeders and veterinarians, but you can still use them to learn important details about your companion’s genetic information. Learn about their ancestors, predict how they’ll look and behave as they get older, and prepare for the issues that come along with particular genetic disorders.

If you plan to breed kitties or puppies, Orivet’s DNA testing can help you identify potential diseases to ensure you produce the healthiest litter possible. Have you discovered your dog is predisposed to disease? Use the PetPace smart collar along with DNA testing to continually monitor your pet’s vitals to stay ahead of complications.

Get Genetic Profiles For Your Pets With Orivet

6. Find My Pet – Best for Fast Results

  • At-home pet DNA testing for dogs
  • Reveals personality traits so you can adjust care
  • Analyzes telomeres to determine your dog’s true age
  • Results in one to two weeks

Find My Pet’s DNA lab has a turnaround time of as little as one week, making it one of the fastest tests available. All you need is a quick cheek swab to see the genetic makeup that determines activity level, appearance, and personality.

Use this info to understand why your dog behaves the way it does and the steps you can take to ensure a happy, healthy life. Here’s something unique: Find My Pet’s Canine Genetic Age Test looks at your pup’s telomere length to determine its true age on a cellular level, which can help estimate your dog’s lifespan.

Uncover Your Dog's Personality Traits With Find My Pet!

7. 5Strands – Best for Determining Intolerances

  • Intolerance and nutritional testing for cats, dogs, and horses
  • Determines environmental and food intolerances that lead to discomfort
  • Provides a comprehensive report with actionable insights
  • Results in five to seven business days

5Strands uses bio-resonance technology to determine sensitivity to food and environmental factors. These imbalances often present as uncomfortable symptoms for cats, dogs, and horses, including diarrhea, hair loss, itchiness, and joint pain, so addressing them improves your pet’s quality of life.

Depending on your pet and the test your order, 5Strands tests for intolerance to over 200 foods and 100 environmental factors. When you receive your results, you’ll know if your pet’s symptoms are caused by common aggravations like gluten and pollen or less common ones like anchovies and duck feathers.

Figure Out Your Pet's Sensitivities With 5Strands

8. Mighty DNA – Best for Analyzing a Pet’s Gut Health

  • Microbiome testing for cats and dogs
  • Analyzes the digestive system to address health issues
  • Includes actionable recommendations to boost the immune system
  • Results in two to three weeks

If you’ve got a cat or dog that suffers from diarrhea, gas, itchy skin, or unexplained weight loss, Mighty DNA’s Microbiome Assessment can help. Using a stool sample, researchers look for diseases, germs, and nutritional deficiencies that lead to issues.

This test is suitable for both younger and older pets, as well as those who’ve recently undergone antibiotic treatment that’s affected gut health. Along with your analysis, you receive actionable recommendations to boost your pet’s immune system and restore digestive balance.

Examine Your Pet's Gut Health With Mighty DNA!

At Home Pet Testing Kits Comparison Table

Pet DNA Testing Company Animals Tested Breed Analysis and Identification Health and Wellness Screening Time to Results Starting Price
Embark Dogs 3 to 5 weeks $129.00
Wisdom Panel Dogs 2 to 3 weeks $99.99
Basepaws Cats 4 to 6 weeks $99.00
Etalon Horses 5 to 8 days $99.00
Orivet Cats, Dogs 2 to 3 weeks $75.00
Find My Pet Dogs 1 to 2 weeks $89.95
5Strands Cats, Dogs, Horses 5 to 7 days $58.00
Mighty DNA Cats, Dogs 2 to 3 weeks $79.95

How We Tested At-Home Pet Testing Kits

To determine the best pet DNA test kits, we considered important factors that contribute to a test’s usefulness:

  • Accuracy – We carefully reviewed which markers DNA tests analyze and how. We also ensured that there was verified research to back the analyses and their conclusions.
  • Detail – We ensured that each test provided detailed conclusions using easy-to-understand language. Those tests that better explained results and what they mean were ranked higher than those that simply provide data.
  • Advice – DNA testing provides a lot of information, and it’s easier to understand when experts help you decode that data.
  • Actionability – Knowing what the results mean is important, but so is knowing what to do next. We looked for tests that include actionable recommendations that will guide you in the right direction.

How Do You Read and Interpret the Results of Your At-Home Pet DNA Test?

Comprehensive pet DNA testing reports are made available once all analyses are complete. The best pet DNA tests provide carefully researched data along with details about how scientists reached their conclusions and what those results mean.

Rather than leave you to interpret data on your own, professionals use their experience to provide meaningful insights. When it comes to revealing ancestry, this can include percentage breakdowns of each breed found in your dog’s makeup, as well as how the combination can affect personality, growth, and health.

Along with qualified interpretation, your tests may also provide actionable advice, especially if you order health and wellness testing. This advice can include steps you can take to correct imbalances, remove intolerances, and improve your pet’s nutritional intake.

How Does At-Home Pet DNA Testing Work?

In most cases, collecting samples for at-home pet DNA tests is very simple. For example, Embark and Wisdom Panel only need some saliva collected by rubbing a cotton swab inside your cat or dog’s mouth. Other tests, like Etalon’s equine testing, may require a hair sample with roots intact. The best pet DNA tests include a self-addressed, pre-paid mailer so you can just drop your sample in the mail.

When the DNA lab receives your sample, it will get to work, carefully analyzing the sample, comparing it against results in its database, and breaking it down to unlock the secrets of your pet’s origins.

What Will Pet DNA Test Results Tell me?

The labs processing our picks for best pet DNA tests typically take two to five weeks to analyze your samples. Find My Pet and 5Strands are standouts for taking as little as a week to provide results.

When the lab is done with its research, it’ll send your test results via email or notify you of their online availability.

Depending on the tests you order, your results may show your pet’s genetic makeup, information about traits it carries that it may pass to offspring, markers that indicate a potential for health conditions, or identification of an existing disease or nutritional deficiencies.

How Accurate are Pet DNA Tests?

Overall, most pet DNA tests are highly accurate. But it’s important that you understand that there are several factors that contribute to accuracy.

For starters, the quality of the DNA sample must be high. If you don’t swab long enough, there may not be enough genetic material for analysis. If you swab after your cat or dog has eaten or been in contact with another animal, the sample may be contaminated.

Research also plays a role in accuracy. While the best pet DNA tests noted above draw conclusions based on scientific studies, some genetic markers may be better understood, while others may simply reveal more meaningful information. When interpreting DNA results, it’s better to look at several markers and their correlation rather than rely on individual results.

Last, remember that genetics may be rooted in fact, but they may not always reflect reality. Particularly when it comes to wellness analyses, your dog’s experiences and lifestyle may play a greater role in its personality and health than the results of tests. Use the information from Orivet and Basepaws wellness tests to become aware of potential issues rather than confirmation that they’re inevitable.

How Much Does a Pet DNA Test Cost?

Pet DNA test costs will vary by provider, but most are in the range of $100 to $150. When choosing a DNA test, don’t pick by price alone; also compare what you’ll receive to ensure you get the best value.

Some tests only determine breed makeup, which may be fine if you’re just curious about your pet’s lineage. Others will also look at markers that determine personality and size. This info can be helpful if you’re a new kitty or puppy parent and would like to know what to expect as your furry friend grows.

More comprehensive tests can reveal important details about health risks or nutritional needs. Some companies may provide this testing as part of a standard kit, while others may offer premium kits or standalone tests.

The Bottom Line

Which pet DNA test you choose depends on what you want to find out about your pet and what type of pet you have. If you want to know more about your dog’s breed, choose Embark. If it’s your cat’s breed profile or genetic health and wellness you want to know more about, go with Basepaws. For horse health and ancestry, Etalon is the best option. If, however, you have a dog, cat, or horse with potential sensitivity symptoms, 5Strands is the best pet DNA test.

FAQs

What is a pet DNA test?

Pet DNA testing reviews your animal’s genetic material to learn more about its makeup. These tests can reveal or confirm your pet’s breed, as well as the breeds of its parents, grandparents, and beyond.

While pet DNA test kits can satisfy an owner’s curiosity about their furry friend’s origins, the tests can also uncover genetic predispositions to appearance, health, and personality. You can use this information to prevent disease, improve diet, or make other changes that will benefit your pet’s well-being.

How to determine breed using pet DNA test?

DNA labs determine breed by using an algorithm to compare an animal’s genetic makeup to a database of known breeds. The larger the database, the more specific the test results. The best pet DNA testing labs have databases containing the information of more than 300 dog breeds, with more added as research allows. This means your test results can go beyond a single dominant breed to detail several breeds and even the dog’s lineage going back to great grandparents.

What sample is needed for the initial testing of pet DNA?

Most at-home pet DNA tests use a saliva sample, which you’ll get by swabbing your cat or dog’s mouth with a cotton swab.

In some cases, such as when analyzing horses or other animals, DNA testing can be performed on a blood or hair sample.

What can’t pet DNA tests tell us about our pets?

While pet DNA testing can accurately detail a dog’s breed and lineage as long as the laboratory’s database is extensive enough, there are other results that aren’t so absolute.

Pet DNA tests can reveal that your pet has genes that are associated with serious health risks. However, it’s well known in scientific settings that “correlation does not imply causation”. This means that just because a particular gene shows up alongside a certain disease, that doesn’t mean the gene causes it. A lot more research is necessary to solidify these links, but in the meantime, you can use the data you receive to prepare for the possibility of illness.

What sorts of information can we learn about our pets from their DNA?

By determining the breeds from which your dog originated, canine DNA tests can explain why your pup looks or even behaves the way it does. If your dog is young, genetic testing can give you an idea of what your dog will grow into, which can be important when making decisions about where to live, whether to have children or what type of food to buy.

As cats don’t tend to be purebred, feline DNA tests instead group them by breed families. These results can tell you how much your cat is like other cats in a particular family and even which wildcat ancestors are part of their family tree.

About Author
Joann Slover
Joann Slover

Joann's a freelance health and wellness writer who loves learning something new — especially the insights provided by DNA tests.

Joann's a freelance health and wellness writer who loves learning something new — especially the insights provided by DNA tests.