Dog DNA: How Does A DNA Test Help Us Understand What Our Dogs Are Thinking?

Dog DNA tests can reveal a lot of information about your dogs, which comes in handy when we are trying to be the best dog parents possible.

· 4 min read

Dog DNA tests can reveal a lot of information about your dogs, which comes in handy when we are trying to be the best dog parents possible. As caretakers of our beloved dogs, sometimes we wish we knew just what our dog’s bark, look, or a cry means.

There's an increasing body of research showing that, much like us, dogs can feel complex emotions and acquire mental illnesses. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by scientists at Emory University showed that when it comes to emotions, our furry best friends' brains are remarkably similar to the human brain.

Did you know that dogs who suffer from mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety may harm themselves and damage their own health by not exercising or eating properly?

It’s up to you, the dog parent, to gain a better understanding into what your dog might be thinking or feeling, and whether or not your dog might have depression or anxiety.

What is your dog thinking or feeling? Dogs have emotions just like us, including feelings of anger, shame, anxiety, grief, joy, pride, embarrassment, jealousy, guilt, empathy, fear, and love.


Dog DNA testing and Your Dog’s Behaviors

It's important to figure out what's behind your dog's mental health struggles. Like us humans, a dog’s mental health can be negatively affected for a myriad of reasons. These possible reasons include changes to their environment, traumatic events, past mistreatment, malnourishment, physical sickness, disease, and even certain genetic predispositions.

Dog DNA testing allows pet parents to gain critical insight into their dog's internal workings, social behaviors towards humans and other dogs, attention-seeking tendencies, and their possible phobias. Dogs may have fears related to noise, new situations, strangers, temperament, and aggression levels. For example, dogs with social anxiety might have phobias around new people and new environments.

A better understanding what our dogs are predisposed to, in terms of behavioral traits and patterns, may allow us to differentiate between innocent quirks or consequential signs. This way, we can help our dogs out by figuring out their needs, likes, and what distresses them.  We can then treat and train our dogs from an informed place.

Common Mental Health Issues for Dogs That Can Change How They Think and Behave

Common mental issues that dogs can have are anxiety or fear (related to loud noises, separation, or aging), depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Each condition presents with different behaviors that can be interpreted as signs and symptoms.

Noise anxiety is relatively easy to pick up on, as is separation anxiety if you have a cam to watch how your dog behaves when you’re gone.

PTSD in dogs from past trauma or past mistreatment (whether it’s from an ex-partner of yours or a previous owner) is a little harder to understand without professional help and educating yourself on the signs. Certain factors may trigger your dog, for example if the maltreatment took place in a bathtub and your dog is terrified of the tub.

It’s important to watch for signs and symptoms that your dog may be struggling with mental health issues.

Don't be too quick to make an assumption or unprofessional diagnosis though, as many of the symptoms can be chalked up to more than one mental health disorder or even physical or relationship-related causes. Your veterinarians will rule out other causes and get your pup on track to feeling better.

You may have to help your vet rule out other possibilities for what seems like a possible mental health issue. For example, if your dog is sometimes being taken care of by another person or establishment, you have to look into how your dog is being treated when you’re not around. Many different factors can cause a dog to exhibit signs of depression or anxiety, but it’s certainly possible that your dog has enough symptoms to look into a medical diagnosis.


Better Health for Your Dog: Unleashing Your Dog’s Full Potential

Other than allowing us to learn more about our dog's behavioral dispositions, dog DNA testing lets us know the mix of breeds our dog is made up of, which may also get us thinking about and looking at our dogs differently - with an improved understanding of their innate traits.

Even though animal behavioral scientists have not yet drawn conclusive findings about how behaviors combine in mixed breed dogs, we do know a fair amount about how certain breeds of dogs are correlated to certain personality traits and behaviors. In one instance, after a doggie caretaker found out that his beloved pup is part Border Collie, he started teaching him to herd, helping the dog to release some repressed energy.

Learning about your dog will change how you react to and provide for them. Needless to say, doing what our dogs love will keep them happy and improve their (and our) quality of life!

Getting a dog DNA test not only helps you be aware of your dog’s potential genetic mental health risks, but also other health risks as well, such as cancer and disease risks. A dog DNA test from CirclePaw can also inform you which breed(s) your dog is made up of, genetic personality traits, behavioral traits, and more.

This DNA test for your dog will reveal information that helps you understand your dog better, thus helping you improve your relationship with your dog and care for your dog better.

Get to know your dog better with the CirclePaw DNA Test for Dogs, available now globally.