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DNA testing can reveal your dog's heritage

Just knowing your dog's breed, though, can help you cater to the dog's diet, or tell you what its potential health concerns could be.

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — It’s never been easier to trace your heritage.

Ordering DNA kits to do at home is all the rage. With a simple swab of saliva, you can answer a lot of questions about your background.

Now, you can find out the background of your furry four-legged friends, as well! It’s sort of like Ancestry.com or 23 or Me, for your dogs.

Michelle Monti jumped at the chance to have her little pooch tested.

“They say when you get a rescue dog, it’s very rare to find a pure, pure breed,” Monti, a Humble resident, told KHOU.

For $110, she ordered an at-home DNA kit from Amazon called, “Embark.” It’s one of several kits you can order from the Internet to find out your dog’s heritage.

“I think it’s just fun. It’s fun to know these things,” says veterinarian, Dr. Mark Moore.

Michelle took her kit straight to Dr. Moore, of The Village Vet in The Woodlands. He took a cheek swab from Calvin and a few weeks later, they learned that Calvin was “100 percent Chihuahua.”

“Embark” looks at more than 250 breeds. Dr. Moore says it’s considered reputable and accurate. He recommends doing research on companies, because not all tests offer reliable results.

“If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” he warns.

Vets can also do blood tests in the office. For Calvin, Dr. Moore used the company, “Royal Canin” as a companion to the “Embark” saliva test.

“These are 2 different companies, 2 different modes of testing, they’re very, very similar,” explains Dr. Moore.

“Royal Canin” pinpointed something very special about the calm and cute Calvin -- that he comes from a line of show dogs!

“It came back he had one parent that was English show dog, and another parent that was a U.S. show dog,” says Michelle Monti.

The blood tests can have health benefits as well, revealing if a dog is allergic to certain foods or medicines.

They can delve into genetic health conditions.

Just knowing your dog’s breed, though, can also help you cater to the dog’s diet, or tell you, for example, “This particular dog, has a high likelihood of developing this particular, say retinal problem later on in life, so let’s do some vitamins that will be good for retinal health,” Dr. Moore points out.

Monti was worried because her dog Calvin is 13 years old. She was relieved when she received the results.

“He is clear for all the diseases that we tested for," Monti says.

The blood tests run about $125 or more. Monti says it’s a worthwhile investment.

“Do whatever you can do, to keep your dog healthy," she says.

Dr. Moore says beware of any companies that ask for photos of your dog before they send back results. He says those companies are known for guessing the background of the dog based on what the dog looks like, instead of doing the actual DNA test.