How Your Dog’s Drool Could Help Humans Discover New Frontiers In Health

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

April 4, 2016

For decades, scientists have been researching the ways to identify, prevent, and cure genetic diseases. Ryan Boyko, dog lover and public health professional, believes he knows the secret to answering medicine’s greatest questions: dog drool.

Dog Drool

Boyko is the founder of Embark, a startup that collects doggy DNA to test for over 100 different genetic diseases. Simply swab the inside of your pup’s cheek, ship out the saliva sample, and receive your results. You’ll learn about you furry friend’s genetic makeup, and have a better knowledge about his health and wellbeing.

dog licking

But this operation’s about more than just drool. At their core, Boyko and the Embark team are interested in the ways our canine friends can teach us about our own genetic history.

dog tongue

Believe it or not, dogs and humans have more in common than you might think. Many canine conditions have similar characteristics to the ailments that inflict humans.


In fact, understanding the biology of doggy diseases helped us make advancements in finding treatments for anemia and diabetes back in the early 1920s. The Embark team hopes learn about the way dog diseases develop, so that they can apply similar theories to human genes.

dog tongue2

So no, we wouldn’t recommend self-medicating with slobber just yet. But with time, your pup’s saliva might help researchers better understand the nature of genetic diseases, leading to groundbreaking cures.

Featured image via coffeeinthepines/ Flickr

H/t to The Verge

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

April 4, 2016