DNA test

Dog Microbiome vs. DNA Testing: Which one is better for my dog's long term health?

As pet parents, we want nothing but the best for our furry companions - that much is clear.

That's why many of us turn to dog DNA testing, such as the Embark DNA test and Wisdom Panel DNA test, to learn more about our dog's breed, potential health risks, and nutritional needs. While DNA testing can provide valuable information, it doesn't tell the whole story when it comes to your dog's health. That's where microbiome testing comes in.

The microbiome refers to the ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in and on our dog's bodies. It plays a crucial role in their overall health, including their immune system, digestion, and metabolism. Your dog’s gut microbiome is always changing, and the changes are often a direct result of the environment that they are exposed to. A healthy microbiome can help prevent and manage diseases, promote a healthy weight, and support a strong immune system.

So, how does microbiome testing compare to DNA testing?

DNA testing looks at your dog's genetic makeup and can provide information on their breed and potential health risks. However, it doesn't take into account the impact of environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle, on your dog's health. Think about it, a Labrador that lives on a farm versus a Labrador that lives in the city could have completely different diets, exercise regimens, and of course exposure to completely different surroundings on their walks - yet, on a DNA test, they would both show the same potential health risks based solely on their breed. This is not an up-to-date nor personalized way of managing a dog’s long term health.

Microbiome testing, on the other hand, looks at the specific strains of bacteria in your dog's gut and can provide information on their unique nutritional needs and potential health risks. For example, inflammation in the gut has been linked to long-term chronic conditions (in dogs and humans!), but the good news is that this can be effectively mitigated through a tailored diet.

One of the biggest advantages of microbiome testing is that it can provide a more comprehensive and personalized approach to your dog's health. By identifying specific strains of bacteria in your dog's gut, microbiome testing can help identify potential health issues and inform dietary changes and supplement recommendations to promote a healthy microbiome. This can lead to long-term benefits for your dog's overall health and well-being.

Based on the specific bacteria present in a dog’s gut, through microbiome testing we can look at the digestion of different nutrients such as proteins and fats and use this to help you feed in alignment with their gut health; improving their health short-term and preventing any long-term damage.

In conclusion, DNA testing is useful if you’re curious to find out what breed your dog is, and whilst this does also highlight potential health risks based on your dog’s breed, it doesn't take into account the impact of environmental factors on your dog's health and should not be used independently for managing your dog’s health. For health specific insights, microbiome testing is the way to go. By investing in microbiome testing for your dog, you can promote their long-term health and well-being.
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