For a $10 donation to the ACSPCA, you will get a kit to test your dog's DNA. It contains an envelope and two long swabs. Simply run the swabs on the inside of the dog's inner cheeks, one swab per cheek, let the swabs air-dry, place them in the envelope - along with a $49.95 lab fee and $9 for postage and handling - and mail it off.
The company will process the DNA test and return the results in about two weeks. The information will break down your dog's breeds by percentage, from highest to lowest.
“DNA My Dog is an offshoot of Viaguard, the lab (that) sells and evaluates the DNA testing kits.
The new effort is focused on working with Canine Rescue organizations to help them raise much-needed funds.
Groups such as the ACSPCA can raise significant funds through kit sales, while delighted adopters and supporters can have their dogs tested and also donate at the same time,” said Mindy Tenebaum, of DNA my Dog.
Jill Borkenstein, ACSPCA director, first ran across DNA My Dog at a National Humane Society Expo and thought it would be a great fundraising tool.
The program does seem to be making a difference: The Toronto-based company announced in October it helped raise $37,000 through its North America Shelter Program, according to Wire Service Canada.
Beyond the fun of knowing your dog's ancestry, Borkenstein said, “It's a wonderful education tool. It's a good thing to know if you want to find any inherited medical conditions or a temperament problem.”
She pointed to the debilitating effects of hip dysplasia, more common in larger breeds like German Shepherds, Labradors, Rottweilers and Saint Bernards.
Behavioral problems can also be more easily understood if you know your dog's lineage.
If your canine is so well-blended you have no clue who the parents were, it can be a tool in selecting the proper training approach for the dog.
“It also makes a great Christmas gift for the dog lover in your life,” said Borkenstein with a laugh.