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Me, Myself, Maranda

Fat Girl Life & Style Blog

RAVE: Embark Dog DNA Kit

Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid ad, nor am I being compensated in any way for posting (aside from the referral link). This is only my honest opinion about an Embark Dog DNA kit based on personal experience.

Breezy Baby

Large breed black and white dog relaxing in the dirt, panting with tongue hanging out.
This is our Breezy Girl!

A couple months ago, I introduced Bree, our spunky little girl.

Ever since Bree was born, we assumed she was half-Catahoula, because we firmly believed her mother was a Catahoula. But she was born with rear dew-claws (which is only common to mountain-type breeds like Bernese), so we were super curious about what breed(s) came from her unknown father.

Equally as important, we wanted to know what health factors or genetic conditions she may be predisposed to.

Let’s just say, the results we got from her Embark dog DNA kit were equally as surprisingly as they were insightful. Having a consumer-level opportunity to identify a dog’s genetic profile is still mind-blowing novelty to me.

Embark on Amazon

Stock image of Embark Dog DNA Test kit box.
Embark Dog DNA Test; photo credit to Amazon.

After some comparison research between the top two dog DNA panel kits (Embark versus Wisdom Panel), I felt Embark offered the more accurate results, but it also came with a higher price tag. I could hardly swallow the $199 MSRP, so we waited and watched.

Vigilance paid off early this year when Embark ran a sale on Amazon, which reduced the cost to $149. At that time, I was also offered a $200 promotional credit from my Amazon card, and that sealed the deal. Essentially, we got the kit for free (and that really pleased the cheapskate in me!).

Use my referral link to get $50 off instantly directly from Embark. (If you purchase, I get $10.) Or, currently, this Embark kit is available on Amazon for $159.00.

The Kit & Process

Here’s a helpful tip for smooth sailing on the swab: hold some lunch meat in your non-swab hand to get your dog’s attention while your swab-hand goes to work. If you can keep your dog’s mind on the meat, you can slip the swab between the lips and get into the cheek for a good long moment. The meat’s already got them salivating!

Stock photo of Embark dog DNA swab and collection device near dog's mouth.
Embark DNA swab and collection process; photo credit to Amazon.

Following the method we devised above, my husband Arnold and I were able to get past Bree’s typical Fort Knox security of “don’t touch my mouth” mode. Our swab was soaked and bubbling by the time she earned that meat treat.

Register, swab, re-package, mail it back, then wait.

Best believe I was pleasantly surprised when the results came back faithfully at only a two-week wait!

Bree’s Health Results

Let me start by showing you what impressed me the most:

Infographic of Bree's Embark Traits Detail, listing body size and predicted adult weight of 62 lbs.

Since Bree’s been full-grown, her vet visit weigh-ins have been 63 to 64 lbs. consistently. To see her genetics report stating a predicted adult weight of 62 lbs. gave me a lot of faith in the validity of the rest of her results. I was not expecting a predicted weight, for one. Finding it to be that close to her actual healthy, constant weight was unexpectedly neat!

Let me pause for a moment to note that we received the completed health results panel a couple days before receiving the breeds panel. Each set of results comes via email with links to the information on the Embark website.

Infographic of Bree's Embark Health Summary, listing one genetic variant (ALT Activity) only.

For Bree’s health panel, we were extremely happy and relieved to find that she has only one genetic variant of concern, and it’s really no big deal. Basically, ALT is a value measured on routine bloodwork that, if elevated, can indicate liver damage. Bree’s ALT values may run low as her normal baseline – this is the genetic variant. So, my interpretation is that we need to pay extra attention to ALT values in bloodwork. Even if she’s in the “normal” standard range, that could indicate actual elevation, in her case.

Infographic from Embark dog DNA test that shows Bree's baseline ALT activity may be low, but normal.

Don’t worry, Embark makes reviewing and understanding the results very easy. They provided complete scientific explanations in easy-to-comprehend language, followed by details about what it means in terms of your dog’s health, as well as how to diagnose and treat said issue. There’s even a button to send the results to your vet by email immediately.

Bree’s Breed Results

Cool feature alert: Embark compiles your dog’s information into a tidy online presentation and gives you the link to share with family and friends, like this:

Click here for Bree’s results!

Bree is a mix of (21.8%) American Pit Bull Terrier, (20.0%) Chow Chow, and (15.1%) Siberian Husky, to name the top three. At the bottom of the list is (9.8%) Supermutt. That’s our favorite breed, anyway.

Having believed for so long that Bree’s mother, Annabelle, was a Catahoula… Well, we got hoodwinked. There’s no Catahoula whatsoever. Anna’s blue eyes must come from the Husky genes.

It’s been fun reading into these breeds (and Embark provides a wealth of information!). Now we like to dissect Bree’s behaviors and call them as we see them. For example, when she’s being Miss Independent, we call her out on “being such a Chow” (because Chows are known for their aloofness).

Infographic showing Bree's breed results, with American Pit Bull Terrier as the highest result.

The Bottom Line

Bree, a large black and white dog, poses with her food-shaped dog toys.

We would absolutely recommend Embark. The biggest selling point I can offer is the peace of mind you get from knowing what traits or conditions – genetic variations – your dog may be predisposed to having.

Yes, it’s expensive. But for what it is, it’s pretty damn cutting-edge, in my opinion.

Everything Embark represented about their product was 100% fulfilled, including the short turn-around timeframe of 10 – 14 days. I love the way they compile the information in a shareable format, and I love the way they give such complete and digestible explanations of terms and details.

As soon as another good sale hits, I’ll be ordering our next kit for our littler dog, Rosie.

Want to try Embark yourself? Use this link for $50 off instantly (and I’ll get $10 for the referral, if you do!).