Taking Good Swab Samples

Taking a cheek swab from your dog is an easy and effective way of collecting a DNA sample. The process is painless and should only take a few minutes to complete. This helpful guide will show you how to ensure you collect a good sample; a poor sample may be challenging to test and result in delayed results.

We recommend the following:

  1. Only take swab samples from your dog if it has not eaten anything for at least 2 hours, to minimise contamination – this includes actual dog food and anything else your dog  likes to eat.
  2. If you are planning to test more than one dog, complete the whole process for each dog, one at a time. Keep other dogs away until you have sealed the swabs inside the envelope to prevent possible contamination.

Step 1

The sample collection (swab) kit you receive contains:

  • 3 sterile swabs in plastic packaging for each dog to be tested (A).
  • A swab envelope for each dog to be tested (B); the customer name and order number are on the front and a unique activation code is on the back.
  • A sealable plastic bag (C) – international (non-UK) customers only.
  • Sample import authorisation (D) – international (non-UK) customers  only.
  • A single return envelope (C), addressed but without postage.
  • A declaration form (F) – international (non-UK) customers  only.
  • Separate barcode and activation labels – for orders with ‘Parentage with Existing Profile’ only.

Step 2

Remove a single swab from its packaging by peeling the paper backing off the plastic, trying to avoid any or excessive contact with the brush end. Discard the plastic packaging, it will not be used again.

Wearing latex or vinyl gloves will help to prevent contamination, but is not necessary. Washing your hands between swabbing different dogs is a good idea though.

Step 3

Hold the dog’s head firmly and roll the swab on the inside of the dog’s cheek, between its cheeck and gums. Do this for at least 10 seconds on each side of the mouth, ensuring the brush is moved across the entire cheek surface and avoiding the teeth when possible. It helps to apply some pressure on the brush using your fingers. Cheek cells are not visible to the naked eye, but by brushing the surface thoroughly ensures a sufficient sample is obtained.

Step 4

Place the swab in a mug, brush end up, and allow to air dry while repeating step 3 with all remaining swabs. Be careful to avoid touching the brush.

Activation code Canine Genetic TestingStep 5

While the swabs are drying, provide the details of the dog just swabbed by “activating” your swab kit at www.cagt.co.uk/activate/.

Enter the 8-digit number found on the back of the swab envelope into the boxes provided (4 digits per box) and select ‘Lookup’.

Note: You must be logged in to the same account that was used to purchase the test in the first place.

Activation code found Canine Genetic TestingStep 6

If the activation code can be found and is associated with your account, your (Client) name and the barcode number on the swab kit will be displayed.

Select ‘Activate’.

Add dog details Canine Genetic TestingStep 7

Fill in the required information for the dog from which you have taken the swab samples above.

For dogs that have been tested with us before, select it from the ‘Select an Existing Animal’ dropdown.

For dogs that have not been tested with us before, add as much information as you would like to appear on a results certificate. An identifier of some description is required as a minimum – this can be a pet name of you don’t want to or can’t provide a Kennel Club registered name.

Note: For results to be reported directly to the Kennel Club, the KC Registered Name, Registration Number and microchip number must be provided.

Apply test to dog Canine Genetic TestingStep 8

Select from the list of tests placed in the original order the test(s) that should be performed on the dog from which you have just taken a sample and provided details above.

Parentage testing only:

  • If you are using an activation code stuck to a swab kit, and you have used that kit to take samples from a dog that requires a profile, select ‘Profile and Analyse Parentage’
  • If you are using an activation code provided separately, select ‘Analyse Parentage Using Existing Profile’. If you have a paper copy of this animal’s profile to provide, stick the barcode to this sheet without obscuring any profile information.
  • You will be asked to assign a Relationship i.e. is the dog in question to be tested as offspring, sire or dam during the parentage analysis

Once you have provided all of the information that you wish to for the current dog, select ‘Confirm’ to activate the swab kit.

Note: DO NOT press back after selecting ‘Confirm’. If you wish to add or change anything please contact us instead.

Step 9

Once all swabs have air dried for at least 2 minutes, place the swabs directly into the swab envelope, brush end first.

If the dog becomes impatient the swabs can be used at different time intervals, but be sure to place the used swabs in the swab envelope.

Step 10

UK customers only: Seal the swab envelope and place it in the addressed return envelope provided.

International (non-UK) customers: There are a few more steps that need to be followed, and detailed instructions can be found here.

If you have more than one dog to test, repeat this process with the remaining dogs.

You can now post the samples back to us and wait for your results. Please allow 10 working days from the date that we receive your swabs (you will receive an email notifying you of receipt). You will receive your results by email. Profiling and Parentage certificates will also be sent by email, and all other certificates can be downloaded from you CAGT account in the Certificates section.