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How To Prevent Illness In Your Dog

Updated on May 26, 2021
Written by
Joel
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At home, health screening kits are a great way to complement your dog's veterinary office appointments. They can help you diagnose allergies and intolerance, and reveal plenty of interesting information about your dog's physical traits, breed ancestry, and breed composition. If you're a pet parent, this article will educate you on why they're so important and help you choose the most appropriate options for your pet.

What do we test in a dog at-home health test?

Dog at-home health tests usually work with two kinds of samples - hair and urine.

Hair Tests

Hair-based tests will use genetic testing or bio-resonance as health indicators to determine whether your pet is suffering (or likely to suffer) from specific health conditions.

Genetic testing might seem unusual, but it's been used in pets for nearly two decades now.  Genetic tests like at-home DNA testing kits can detect potential health risks such as Von Willebrand disease, Glaucoma, dilated cardiomyopathy,  and breed-specific conditions like Muscular Dystrophy. They can also help you determine if your dog carries specific personality traits like aggression. 

Bio-Resonance technology is a safe, non-invasive assessment form that's newer than DNA testing. Dog at home health test providers like 5strands have integrated this technology into their DIY kits as it is highly effective at identifying health problems.

Urine tests

These tests evaluate the components of your dog's urine to determine the presence or (absence thereof) of chemical compounds that would indicate a health problem.

Why is testing so important?

Regular testing for your dog is a crucial step towards giving him or her a happy, healthy life. It may even be a legal requirement if you're planning to adopt a shelter dog.

Studying your pet's external appearance can reveal a lot about their health, but diagnostic testing will reveal so much more. Dog's bodies can conceal several abnormalities on the inside while giving the appearance of good health on the outside.

Diagnostic tests will enable you to quickly detect a wide range of diseases and formulate a specialized health plan to keep your pet as happy as possible. The sooner you identify illnesses or genetic health conditions, the easier they will be to treat.

For example, at-home urinalysis tests will give you an in-depth understanding of your pet's kidney and bladder health. This kind of test is beneficial if your dog is experiencing urinary-related problems like blood in the urine, excessive drinking, or inappropriate urination. Even if your dog isn’t showing any symptoms, regular (annual or bi-annual) testing will detect urinary tract disease before it progresses.

What types of tests are available

Pet food intolerance

This test type covers several food types that include grains, proteins, vegetables, fats, fruit, preservatives, and additives. Its results will show the items your pet is allergic to.

Once you know which food items may be causing your pet's symptoms, you can put them on an elimination diet to see if they lessen or disappear.

The 5strands pet food intolerance test is a great kit to consider if you’re thinking of testing your pet for food intolerance. It uses bio-resonance technology to find temporary body imbalances that may cause symptoms like continuous scratching, stomach upsets, paw biting, hot spots, and hair loss.

5 strands Pet Intolerance test


The Five Strands kit tests for an impressive 300 potential allergens (100 environmental items and 200 food ingredients). The company uses bio-resonance technology to scan pet samples and provides comprehensive, easy-to-understand reports. The results are color-coded; red indicates foods and other substances to avoid, while yellow indicates those you can use with caution.

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After you've discovered which food items might be causing your pet's symptoms, you can put them on an elimination diet to see if they disappear - the process may take between 6 and 8 weeks. While this may seem like a long time, it's worth noting that the process will help you find the root causes of your pet's problems. It is far more effective than investing in several quick-but-temporary solutions.

Test your pet for food intolerance today. Visit 5strands to find out more. 

Dental test

Adult dogs should visit the dentist once a year for a complete examination. Smaller breeds may require more frequent visits (at least twice a year) since they need regular cleanings to address the problems that accompany shallow roots, overcrowding, and dental deformities.

Adult dogs should visit the dentist once a year for a complete examination. Smaller breeds may require more frequent visits (at least twice a year) since they need regular cleanings to address the problems that accompany shallow roots, overcrowding, and dental deformities.

Environmental intolerance

The pet environmental intolerance test determines whether your pet is allergic to specific aspects of its environment. The test covers cleaning materials, fabrics, trees, grasses, dust mites, and other animal dander.

Although it may not be possible to eliminate environmental allergens, the knowledge will help you avoid them as much as possible.

There are several environmental intolerance tests you can purchase online. However, few are as effective as 5 strands’ environmental intolerance test

The test is simple, affordable, and highly effective. Results will arrive 7-10 days after a 5strands processing center receives your sample. Of the items tested, the findings will only display the substances your pet is intolerant to.

Urology

A urology test kit can detect the most prevalent health problems in domestic dogs, like kidney disease, glucose abnormalities, and urinary tract infections. The benefit of these tests is that they are biodegradable and non-toxic. They also provide immediate results. 

Checkup provides reliable at-home urine testing kits for about $15. The test detects glucose levels, protein levels, pH, and blood in the urine. It includes a urine collection kit that comes with a disposable cup, test strips, a sample collection vial, and a telescopic pole (to hold the cup). The pole extends to a meter, so dog owners can maintain a comfortable distance while collecting a urine sample.

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DNA Test

Dog DNA tests equip you with all the information you need to give your dog the best possible care. Besides revealing your dog's breed (and by extension, his or her exercise needs, temperament, and physical traits), they allow your vet to provide personalized health care. 

DNA tests can find genetic health concerns like cancer-causing gene mutations, musculoskeletal disorders, and many others. This will enable your vet to formulate a specialized treatment plan to manage these problems. 

Embark DNA and Wisdom panel are two of the best Dog DNA tests your pet can have. Besides the fact that they have the best customer review data, they are remarkably effective. Both tests scan for over 350 dog breeds and provide accurate results. They can also help you determine your dog's risk for specific hereditary conditions. 

Embark


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Key Features:

  • Breed identification of up to 350 different dog breeds, types, and varieties
  • Wolf and Coyote tests
  • Incredibly detailed health assessment, checking for 175+ genetic diseases — comparable to the results from human tests
  • There’s an option to connect with your dog’s ‘relatives’ if both guardians opt-in to the feature. There are even ways to arrange a play-date if you’re local. This feature can be incredibly helpful in contacting original breeders in the case of undocumented purebreds.

Wisdom Panel


How To Prevent Illness In Your Dog 20

Key Features:

  • 350+ breeds, types, and varieties
  • Wolf and Coyote tests
  • Optional health screening for 150+ conditions
  • Learn more about your dog’s appearance, wellness needs, and behavior
  • Their massive database is the best chance of finding details on rare, new, or international breeds. This may be the only way to identify the true mix of a furry friend from overseas.

How much is health testing for a dog

A Dog At-home test kit can cost anywhere between 15 and 150 dollars, depending on the specific aspects of your pet's health it's meant to evaluate. While urology tests are relatively inexpensive (you can get one from amazon at about $15), DNA and bio-resonance tests are priced much higher. For example, the Embark Breed Identification Kit goes for about $130.

How often should I test my dog?

The answer to this question depends on your dog's age. 

0-12 months 

If it’s a puppy you'll need monthly visits to the vet's office until they are at least 16 weeks old.

You will get vaccinations for distemper, rabies, and other serious canine diseases during these visits. The puppy may also get injections to protect them from minor issues like Lyme disease and kennel cough. Besides giving them shots, the vet will examine your puppy to verify that they are growing well and if they show outward signs of any illness.

You may complement hospital visits with monthly at-home testing at this stage since puppies are more susceptible to urinary tract infection and digestive problems than adult dogs.

1-7 years

Most veterinarians recommend yearly visits for pets at this stage. Your pet will get a thorough physical workup during your appointment, along with blood work to check for health conditions like kidney stones and heartworm infection. The vet may also administer booster shots against rabies and distemper for the first three annual visits. However, the frequency will depend on state legislation.

Note: An annual visit is an ideal opportunity to give your veterinarian a fecal sample. It will allow them to check for intestinal parasites.

7 years and older

It’s advised to take your pet to the vet's twice a year. He or she will get a thorough physical examination, along with tests to identify aging-related problems like arthritis, kidney conditions, bladder infections, and liver disease.

How do I test my dog at home?

There are several health tests your dog can have at home. Most will require that you collect and submit samples to a qualified laboratory for analysis. The general procedure for performing tests is as follows

  • Choose an appropriate test type (this could be DNA, dental, urine, or Allergy)
  • Purchase a kit online from an accredited provider.
  • Collect a sample (instructions on how to collect the sample will come with your preferred kit).
  • Submit the sample for analysis
  • Wait for your results (delivered to your email address or via normal mail)

What do abnormal test results mean?

Abnormal test results arise whenever your dog's sample is found to have the markers for a specific condition or illness.  The urgency with which they should be addressed depends on the test type. For example, DNA tests like the Wisdom Panel can take weeks to arrive and may require nothing more than consultative vet visits in the short term. On the other hand, a urology test (whether it’s taken at home or at the hospital) may require immediate action if it returns abnormal findings.

Joel
Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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