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The Science Behind Checkpup


Vet-Developed & Recommended

Checkpup was co-founded by leading vet, Dr. Ava Frick, who wanted to help more dogs than she could directly see in her office. Checkpup was created to completely revolutionize how pet care works, starting with your dog. By taking a proactive, functional approach to pet health (which is a different approach than what is found in most veterinary practices), we look to identify precursors or etiologies to clinical symptoms or illnesses


What do we test?

Our lab tests a small amount of your dog’s hair and the result is a simple mineral assay and heavy metals reading.1

Checkpup's powerful, proprietary algorithm is built on thousands of clinical visits over more than 17 years of veterinary practice. Our algorithm reads your pup's intake survey and lab results through this lens. 


How is this different from a blood test or urine test?

While urine and blood tests show the recent and current body status, hair represents a longer time frame.2  We are looking for a pattern; not for a snapshot.

This testing system is a different way of viewing body function. Your pup’s hair sample gives us a map of where your pup has been metabolically, and what the future could be like if nothing changed.

Because the testing methodology and output is different, blood testing methods of interpretation are inapplicable and not analogous to the information you will receive from Checkpup.

We can detect minerals and toxic metals at levels up to 10,000 times smaller than what a blood test can find. Therefore, Checkpup can report what a blood test may not even see.


How is this different from other hair analysis products?

Because your pup's body relies on a complex balance of nutrients and functions in order to perform optimally, singling out individual mineral levels doesn't tell the whole story of what is going on in your pup's body. In fact, reading lab results in that manner may be inaccurate. For this reason, your pup's Checkpup report won't include individual mineral levels.  


Does this replace a vet?

The good news is that training in how to correctly read these labs among traditional veterinarians is rising. Unless your veterinarian is well-versed in this science and technology, they might not be in a position to give you informed guidance on Checkpup reporting. Unfortunately, some vets may also resist the data since these labs aren't an area they are familiar with, or have any formal training with. We welcome all vets to reach out to us at for a demo of our reporting and to learn how they can better serve the dogs in their care with the addition of the reporting and data that Checkpup provides. We designed Checkpup's reporting so that is easy enough for anyone to understand.

While revolutionary, convenient, and affordable, Checkpup does not replace the importance of a veterinarian in your pup's life. It is a vet-created magnifying glass in your toolbox to get a more robust picture of what is happening in your pup’s body. At Checkpup, we believe that better data equals a better dog by creating a data-backed, overall picture of your dog's health. So, for example, if your pup's results suggest high levels of adrenal stress or inflammation, your vet might use these findings to treat clinical signs that they are seeing in your dog. Sharing your report with your vet is made easy by selecting “Share Report” on your Health Summary dashboard.


About Our Lab

Our lab is among the top labs in the hair tissue mineral analysis field, setting the professional standards that have been emulated for decades by national and international hair testing and interpretation laboratories.

Laboratory quality control procedures including known controls are tested at the beginning, middle and end of every batch of hair samples to ensure the accuracy of the results. Any reading that is out of a normally expected range is automatically retested, provided sufficient hair is available for a second sample.

Methodology is important too. Our laboratory is one of only two that do not wash the hair when received. Washing hair samples at the laboratory has been shown to erratically wash out the water-soluble elements. This creates much less accurate results. In a 2001 study in the Journal of the AMA (Seidel, S. et al., Assessment of Commercial Laboratories Performing Hair Mineral Analysis, JAMA, 285(1) Jan 3:67-72.), laboratories that did not wash the hair showed superb reliability.


Do you have any studies that I can check out?


The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) publishes the only peer-reviewed scientific journal focusing exclusively on integrative veterinary medicine, The Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, four times yearly. The AHVMA is a group of member veterinarians and allies who are elevating the veterinary profession through innovation, education, and advocacy of integrative medicine.

In Volume 48 (Fall 2017) of the AHVMA journal, Dr. Frick published a peer-reviewed scientific report which correlated the clinical signs of 94% of 564 dogs studied with their mineral ratios.3  Dr. Frick is one of the leading experts in this field. The understanding and use of hair analysis has come a long way since 1974. If interpreted correctly, hair analysis can provide instructive and empowering data.

1Shamberger RJ. Validity of hair mineral testing. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2002 Summer;87(1-3):1-28. doi: 10.1385/BTER:87:1-3:001. PMID: 12117220.
2Bass DA, Hickock D, Quig D, Urek K. Trace element analysis in hair: factors determining accuracy, precision, and reliability. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6:472–481.
3AHVMA Journal • Volume 48 Fall 2017 p 43-55