Learn the basics for swabbing your dog for a DNA or Age Test here.
How do I swab my dog?
It's easy! Just follow the six easy steps below. Don’t forget to activate your kit before you swab your dog. For a video showing you how to collect a good sample, please visit embarkvet.com/how-to-swab-your-dog/.
Step 1: Remove the collection tube.
Open the kit and remove the tube from its packaging. Do not remove the swab from the tube, you can use the tube as a handle.
Step 2: Swab your dog for 60 seconds.
Take the swab and gently rub the inside of your dog’s cheek pouch and under their tongue to collect saliva for 30-60 seconds.
- We recommend swabbing your dog for 60 seconds. The most common reason for a test to come back inconclusive is because of low DNA concentration so a longer swabbing time increases your chances for success!
- Show your dog a treat (don’t let them eat it) so they get nice and slobbery.
- Don’t let your dog eat for 30 minutes prior to swabbing.
- Get more swabbing tips!
Step 3: Unscrew cap, place in tube, & seal your sample.
Unscrew the cap and turn the swab upside down. Place the swab inside the collection tube. Don’t spill the liquid – it is needed to stabilize the DNA until it’s processed. Screw the cap until you cannot turn it any further.
Step 4: Mix sample.
Make sure the cap is screwed on tightly over the sample collection tube. Invert the tube and shake for 10 seconds.
Step 5: Activate.
Go here to activate your kit: embarkvet.com/activate. Please do this before mailing your kit back to us.
Step 6: Send your sample to us.
Send your sample to Embark with the prepaid envelope included in your kit. Don’t worry, your sample is stable for at least 6 months, but who wants to wait that long? For more information, please see Returning Your Dog's Sample
How long should I swab my dog?
Great question! We recommend 60 seconds—longer for smaller breeds or younger puppies.
Keep going until the sponge is completely soaked. Our sampling kit works under a wide variety of conditions. Occasionally, though, our lab will find that there is not enough DNA. In those cases, we'll send you a free replacement swab.
How do I know you got DNA from my samples?
If our laboratory does not get enough DNA from the swabs on your dog, the laboratory will contact you. Otherwise, we'll send email updates along the way.
How often do you not get the DNA that is needed?
It is rare, but sometimes we need you to do another cheek swab on your dog. If this happens, the laboratory will contact you to explain the situation and discuss options for obtaining a new sample.
Looking for more information?
Check out Additional Swabbing Tips for information on testing puppies, swabbing multiple dogs, how to avoid potential contamination (and what happens if a swab is contaminated), and more!