San Francisco Shelter Using DNA to Get Dogs a New Home

By February 02 | See Comments

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San Francisco Shelter Using DNA to Get Dogs a New Home

Nowadays, when many Americans are on the hunt for a new furry friend, they aren't looking for a purebred. The hot new trend is to adopt a designer mix like Labradoodles or Puggles. Near San Francisco, the Peninsula Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PHS/SPCA) is looking to capitalize on this trend with the help of science.

Discovering new mixed breeds 

The 

PHS/SPCA is using DNA testing to figure out which breeds the dogs in the shelter have ties to

, according to CBS San Francisco. The program is called "Who's Your Daddy" and will allow the organization to add new layers to the otherwise less desirable breeds that so often languish in shelters, like Pit Bulls or Chihuahuas.

By conducting the mouth swab DNA test that costs $60 per dog, the shelter is able to see what other breeds this pooch had as ancestors. For example, if the PHS/SPCA has a dog that looks like a Chihuahua and is unlikely to be adopted, the DNA test may reveal the dog also has some Parson Russell Terrier. This lets the shelter call the dog a Cherrier, thereby radically improving his/her chances of being adopted.Designer mixed breed dogs can be sold for thousands of dollars, but the shelter is only asking for $135 for puppies and $75 for dogs older than 7. Not only does this help cover the cost of the DNA testing, but dogs rescued from the shelter have all their vaccinations, a microchip, veterinary checkup, and have been spayed or neutered."We have great dogs as unique as the so-called designer dogs," PHS/SPCA spokesperson Scott Delucchi said in a statement quoted by CBS. "Odds are, they were bred accidentally, but we aim to turn that into something positive for dogs found stray or surrendered to us by owners unable or unwilling to keep them."

DNA testing your pooch 

While the PHS/SPCA plan is a novel way to find great dogs loving new homes, DNA testing may be able to help your pooch as well. Just like

Heartgard Plus

, some pet parents use DNA testing as a form of preventive health care.According to the Canine Journal, DNA testing can help you discover your mixed breed dog's genetic makeup. This information can be extremely useful in determining a genetic predisposition for a diseases or health concern. If the DNA test shows that your pooch is related to specific breeds, you can look into which chronic diseases are characteristic of that breed.For example, if your dog has more golden retriever in them than you expected, they may be more likely to develop cancerous tumors. Knowing that, you can increase the number of screenings your dog has per year to catch an illness early, while there's still something to be done.Or if it turns out that your dog is part Border Collie, you might discover that they inherited their mother's ivermectin sensitivity, meaning drugs like Heartgard Plus can be extremely dangerous. This is a good thing to know in advance, because heartworm preventatives like

Heartgard Plus

are extremely important, but not if your dog can't tolerate them.Additionally, the Canine Journal explained that knowing your dog's breed makeup can also help you know the exercise level they need. Your dog may have ancestors who were particularly active and that means that they should be too.Often, people who adopt or rescue dogs turn to DNA testing because much of their dogs background remains a mystery. A DNA test can work to help you understand how your pooch will look when they're finally grown up, or how their behavior may develop.Most DNA tests cost between $60 and $70. All you need to do after you buy one is swab their cheek and mail the sample to be tested.

PetPlus

has all of the medicine, food, and supplements that an adopted dog from the shelter needs, whether they're a Chihuahua, a Cherrier, or anything else.

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