Narrator: There are good boys, and then there are very good boys like these dogs here. They’re searching for a scent that no human can detect: the scent of an epileptic seizure. We’ve long known that dogs can detect seizures in humans in some cases 45 minutes before they occur. That’s one reason why organizations like Handi’chiens in France provide service dogs for people with epilepsy. And in some cases, this can prove lifesaving.
It might give people time to take medication that could prevent or reduce the severity of a seizure or move somewhere safer where an injury is less likely to occur. Incredible? Yes. But proven? Not until French researchers teamed up with Medical Mutts, a US-based organization that trains seizure alert dogs.
That marker, they believed, was a scent that dogs can detect. So in 2018, they set up an experiment. First, they collected dozen of samples of breath and sweat from people with different forms of epilepsy. Some of them were taken during or right after a seizure, while others were collected after exercise or at rest.
Then they distributed them among seven different steel containers in this room. Finally, they let out, or, they let in the dogs. One by one, Casey, Dodger, Lana, Zoey, and Roo walked into the room. They were trained to stop and stand still if they think they detected the scent of a seizure. And if they were right, they got a treat, good dog! To the researchers’ excitement, the canines excelled.
Three of the dogs, Casey, Dodger, and Zoey, sniffed out the odor associated with seizure with 100% accuracy. The two other pups, Lana and Roo, who had less time to train, weren’t quite as accurate. But they still correctly identified two-thirds of the seizure samples on their first try.
What makes these results even more remarkable is that the scent samples were from different people and also produced by different kinds of seizures. And what exactly is that marker made of? Here’s the thing: We still don’t know. It’s likely that seizures trigger a change in the body’s electrical activity, the researchers say. And those changes can affect the composition of odor molecules that we emit through our sweat, breath, and, likely, urine.
Now, whether people emit these odors before a seizure in time to reduce its worst effects is still in question, and it’s not something that the researchers tested. But some experts claim that people emit a specific group of odor chemicals 15 to 45 minutes prior to seizing, which dogs can detect. So what exactly makes canines such smell superstars? It’s their incredible noses.
With as many as 300 million olfactory receptors, a dog’s nose is up to 100 thousand times stronger than our own. That means they can detect a few scent molecules among trillions of them. Scientists are now trying to build electronic noses that are just as powerful. The idea is that they too could be used to sniff out diseases. But for now e-noses are nowhere near as good as dogs, and in some ways, doesn’t that seem like a good thing?
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.
SpaceX launched the rocket prototype, called Starship serial No. 10, or SN10, on Wednesday. Like the last two prototypes before it, SN10 climbed to nearly 33,000 feet above the company’s facilities in the town of Boca Chica. Then it shut off its engines and plummeted to Earth in a belly-flop position, controlling its fall with four wing flaps.
Unlike its predecessors, which both slammed into the ground and exploded immediately, SN10 successfully re-fired its engines to flip itself upright and touch down softly on the ground. But then it exploded spectacularly 10 minutes later.
With the air cleared and the roads reopened, photographers and SpaceX fans flocked to the company’s facilities on Thursday morning to watch the clean-up from a distance. That’s when they spotted a fascinating four-legged robot wandering the wreckage.
Spadre.com shared videos of the agile bot on Twitter.
The life-like machine is a Boston Dynamics “Spot” robot dog, which SpaceX has apparently renamed Zeus, according to photos that show the name printed across a red doghouse where the robot lives.
Zeus has been spotted inspecting SpaceX landing sites before. It’s not clear what exactly the mechanical pooch was doing at the SN10 explosion site, but Zeus is likely outfitted with cameras and sensors to collect data, since approaching wrecked rockets can be unsafe for humans.
SpaceX did not respond to Insider’s request for further details.
The rocket Zeus was inspecting is designed as the upper stage of a two-part system; a roughly 23-story booster called Super Heavy would one day heave the Starship spaceship toward orbit. But eliminating these explosions from the vehicle’s landing process is crucial, since SpaceX is designing Starship and Super Heavy to be fully and rapidly reusable. A spaceship that blows up after it lands is, of course, tough to relaunch.
If the system works, though, Starship-Super Heavy could slash the cost of reaching space 1,000-fold, since it would eliminate the need to build new rockets and spaceships for each spaceflight. Musk wants to eventually construct a fleet of reusable Starships to power round-the-world hypersonic travel on Earth, fly astronauts to the moon, and one day carry people to Mars.
Musk has said that he is “highly confident” SpaceX will launch an uncrewed Starship to Mars in 2024, followed by a crewed mission in 2026.
A popular flea and tick collar has been linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths in the last seven years.
According to a USA Today investigation published Tuesday, these Seresto dog and cat collars have also injured tens of thousands of animals and harmed hundreds of people.
The report relied on documents acquired through a public-records request, which revealed that more than 75,000 Seresto collar-related incidents were reported to the Environmental Protection Agency between 2012 and June 2020. Many involved pets having allergic reactions in the spot the collar touched their fur. Some animals had seizures.
More than 900 incidents involved humans – one severe case involved a 12-year-old boy who was hospitalized with seizures and vomiting after sleeping with his collar-wearing dog.
The EPA regulates pesticide-containing products, but it has not issued any warnings to consumers about the potential risks associated with the collars. Karen McCormack, a retired EPA employee, told USA Today that Seresto collars have the most incidents of any pesticide pet product.
“The EPA appears to be turning a blind eye to this problem, and after seven years of an increasing number of incidents, they are telling the public that they are continuing to monitor the situation,” she said.
An EPA spokesperson told Insider that it takes “every incident reported seriously and review these data to see whether action is necessary.”
“The EPA encourages pet owners to read the entire label before using the pesticide product and follow all directions carefully, including monitoring your pet after application to see if side effects occur,” the spokesperson added. “If side effects develop, the label tells the consumer to consult the pet’s veterinarian immediately.”
‘Plastic impregnated with insecticides’
The Seresto collars were developed by pharmaceutical giant Bayer and sold by Elanco, a US pharma company.
Keri McGrath, a spokeswoman for Elanco, told Insider there is no established link between pet deaths and animals’ exposure to the active ingredients in the Seresto collars. The EPA first approved the product in March 2012, determining that the collars are safe for dogs older than seven weeks and cats older than 10 weeks.
“The article is misleading and misses several key pieces of information, leaving a skewed impression for readers,” she said of the USA Today investigation. “The numbers referenced in the original article represent the number of reports received and do not reflect causality.”
“A report is not an indication of cause,” McGrath added, noting that “if a dog were to be wearing a collar and experience any sort of adverse event, the collar would be mentioned in the report.”
According to the EPA, Seresto collars “are made of plastic impregnated with insecticides” that are released over a period of months and coat the animal’s fur. Those insecticides are flumethrin, which repels and kills ticks, and imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid that targets fleas.
A 2012 study by Bayer found the two insecticides have a “synergistic effect,” and are more toxic for fleas when paired together.
But Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, told USA Today that “synergistic effect” likely applies to animals, too. The center is the nonprofit that filed the public records request.
“For whatever reason, this combination is just really nasty,” Donley said.
The EPA does not consider either insecticide harmful for pets or people, though neonicotinoids are linked to bee die-offs around the globe, so some states have restricted their use.
McGrath said that more than 80 regulatory authorities around the world have “rigorously reviewed” the pet collar’s safety data, since Seresto is a globally marketed product.
‘He could barely walk without yelping in pain’
Seresto flea collars for dogs are among the top products of their kind on Amazon and other sites like Chewy.com. Bayer reported $300 million in revenue on Seresto products in 2019, according to USA Today.
The collars have 4.5 stars on Amazon, but some customers have left reviews describing their pets’ adverse reactions. Many involved rashes on dogs’ backs and necks.
One reviewer said her toy poodle’s behavior changed after the dog wore the collar for two weeks.
“He could barely walk without yelping in pain and was extremely lethargic. Within 24 hours of removing the Seresto collar, the symptoms started to subside,” she wrote.
Another reviewer said their Boston Terrier had a reaction after having the collar on for a day: “Red and raw spot on her neck that she won’t stop scratching, trembling, lethargic, no appetite,” the customer said.
According to McGrath, less than 1% of all collar users filed incident reports in 2020.
“The significant majority of these incidents relate to non-serious effects such as application site issues – reddening of the skin or hair loss below the collar,” she said.
But Donley told USA Today the number of reported incidents for Seresto is likely an undercount, since any pet owner who has filed a report with the EPA has first realized there could be a link between the collar and their pet’s issue, then reported it over the phone or using an online form.
“The fact that EPA has not done anything to alert the public that there might be an issue here, it strikes me as bordering on criminal,” Donley said.
This article was medically reviewed by Sorin McKnight, DVM, a veterinarian at Wellborn Road Veterinary Medical Center in College Station, Texas. The purpose of this medical review is to ensure accuracy and does not imply any product endorsements or recommendations.
Being pulled down the street can turn a relaxing dog walk into a frustrating battle. As a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, more than half of my clients ask for help training their dog to walk nicely on a leash. I typically recommend that dog owners purchase a quality front-clip no-pull harness to assist them in training their dog how to walk on leash without pulling.
For this guide, I partnered with five shelter workers and volunteers at Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco to test nine of the most popular no-pull harnesses. Harnesses were tested on walks with more than two dozen medium and large untrained rescue dogs. I also interviewed professional dog walkers and trainers about their favorite harnesses. With each harness, we evaluated how well it prevents pulling, whether it causes discomfort or impedes a dog’s movement, overall fit, adjustability, durability, and washability. Read more about our testing methodology at the end of this guide.
Why you should walk your dog with a harness
Dog harnesses are more than just a training tool to discourage pulling. Even if your dog doesn’t pull, a harness is safer than walking with a leash attached to a collar. Traditional neck collars should never be used for restraining or controlling your dog, as they can cause tension and stress on the dog’s neck. In a 2020 study using canine neck models with pressure sensors, Anne Carter, PhD, a researcher and lecturer in animal biology at Nottingham Trent University, concluded that all types of dog collars have the potential to cause harm to a dog’s neck. A flat neck collar’s only purpose is for attaching your dog’s ID tags or for decoration.
It’s important to remember that front-clip, no-pull harnesses are not a magical quick fix. They are, however, an excellent management tool that makes it easier to train a dog to walk nicely on leash.
Here are the best no-pull dog harnesses you can buy
Pros: Deters pulling better than other harnesses, six points of adjustment for appropriate fit, good for dogs that dislike putting their head through a harness, machine washable, 90-day chew replacement policy
Cons: More expensive than most other harnesses, no padding, can be confusing to put on at first
When used with a leash attached to the front D-ring, this harness offers superior control for dogs that pull. Its Y-neck design does not cross the dog’s shoulders or pinch under the armpits, offering a level of comfort not found with other harnesses. Like all the harnesses in this guide, the leash can be attached to either the chest D-ring to reduce pulling or to the back of the harness for dogs that don’t pull.
If you’ve had trouble finding a harness that fits, this is an excellent option. There are six different points that can be adjusted for dogs of all shapes and sizes. The harness has a band that clips around the torso and another band that clips around the neck. While the neck band is ideal for dogs that resist putting their head through a harness, this design can make it confusing to put the harness on until you get the hang of it. The colored top strap on the back will help you keep straight what goes where.
Robyn Socarro, a professional dog trainer at Beyond the Biscuit in Bentonville, Arkansas, swears by the Balance Harness. “It is great for daily performance, and it doesn’t interfere with the dog’s shoulder movement,” she said. “I do a lot of swimming and water activities with my dogs, and this harness doesn’t need to be removed when using a doggie life jacket, and it dries quickly without irritating the skin.”
“The Blue-9 Balance Harness is my go-to recommendation for my clients,” said professional dog walker Clare Hart-Slattery, based in Oakland, California. “It has a higher level of adjustability than other no-pull harnesses, which helps eliminate loose spots that may encourage pulling or irritate the skin.”
The Balance Harness has a minimalist design that includes unpadded nylon straps and comes in eight different colors and five sizes. I toss mine into the washer and let it air-dry, with no damaging effects.
Although the soft nylon has a 3,500-pound test strength, if your dog chews this harness, Blue-9 offers a 90-day replacement for half price — just pay shipping to mail in the damaged harness. Because of its design, however, most dogs cannot reach the straps with their mouths and I’ve never had a dog chew through one.
Pros: Works well for serious pullers, straps do not loosen or sag, velvet-lined straps prevent chafing, machine washable, available in 7 sizes and 23 different colors and designs, double-connection leash included
Cons: Can be confusing to put on, straps are difficult to adjust
Users are frequently amazed at how quickly the Freedom harness reduces tension on the leash for dogs that pull, especially when paired with the included double-connection leash. By connecting the leash to the D-rings at the chest and back, the harness evenly distributes pressure, preventing a dog from feeling discomfort at a single point on their body and providing more control than most other harnesses. The martingale strap at the back tightens in response to pulling to help prevent a dog from squirming out of the harness and escaping.
Several of our testers found it tricky to put the harness on the first few times because the straps are fitted tightly in the stainless steel hardware. However, once the four points were properly adjusted, they got the hang of it. The straps stay secure and don’t loosen up like some harnesses. There is also a buckle at the neck, so it doesn’t need to be pulled over the dog’s head. The velvet lining on the strap behind the legs is a nice touch for sensitive-skinned dogs.
2 Hounds has put a lot of thought and care into their product. Available in seven different sizes, the Freedom Harness works well for dogs of all sizes and shapes and is the only one in this guide that offers two different widths: 5/8-inch wide straps for smaller dogs and 1-inch straps for larger dogs. One of my clients could not find a harness that fit her low and wide Corgi-Labrador mix until she tried the 2 Hounds Freedom No-Pull Harness. It comes in 23 different colors and patterns.
This harness can be machine-washed on delicate cycle and air-dried. I accidentally put it in the dryer, and it came out fine. 2 Hounds will also replace a chewed harness for $12.99 with free shipping.
Pros: Five points of adjustment for good fit, reflective stitching, some padding
Cons: Limited color options, heavy plastic buckles may be uncomfortable
With both a front and a back D-ring, the Petsafe 3-in-1 No-Pull Dog Harness is a solid choice. Attach the leash to the front of the harness to reduce pulling or secure it to the back ring for casual walks or running with your dog.
Beth DiMeccio walks shelter dogs most weekdays at Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco and tested this harness on several untrained shelter dogs that were difficult to walk. She was impressed with how well it worked for serious pullers. “There’s little chance a dog can wriggle out of this harness, which is a big concern with shelter dogs,” she said.
This Y-shaped nylon harness does not restrict a dog’s movement, unlike Petsafe’s other popular no-pull harness, the Easy Walk, which has a horizontal chest strap that sits too low on some dogs. The 3-in-1’s five different adjustment points allow for a comfortable and snug fit, and with a buckle at the neck, it doesn’t need to be pulled over a dog’s head. It’s also easy to put on and take off after a few tries, but the tiny tags on the straps labeled “shoulder,” “girth,” and “center chest” are only slightly helpful. The light neoprene padding and reflective stitching are a nice touch.
With 1-inch wide straps, this harness is heavier than similar styles, creating too much bulk for smaller dogs. Although the wider straps mean less chafing, there is no padding to cover any of the large plastic clasps. Your dog may have some discomfort if they wear the harness all day.
The harness comes in four different sizes. Unfortunately, the color choices are limited to black, plum, and teal. It also comes with a built-in adjustable car control strap, which attaches to a car’s seat belt. Neither the strap nor the harness are crash-tested, but when used together they will keep your dog restrained in the backseat while you are driving. Petsafe recommends only hand-washing the 3-in-1, which can make it difficult to get out the dog stink that most harnesses collect.
Petsafe offers two sweet guarantees: If your dog chews their harness, the company will ship a replacement for $14.90 (no need to send the damaged harness back). Bought the wrong-size harness? Petsafe has a Perfect Fit Guarantee: They’ll send a new harness free of charge, with a suggestion to donate the first harness to a local shelter.
Pros: Padded, wide straps that won’t chafe, can be worn all day, comes in 13 different colors and 5 sizes, easy to put on and take off, durable
Cons: Chest piece twists and gaps with serious pullers, not quick-drying
Designed for outdoor adventures, the Ruffwear Front Range Harness can take a lot of punishment while keeping your dog comfortable. The foam padding on the chest and belly prevents rubbing and chafing, and the built-in clasps are covered with fabric so they don’t touch any part of a dog’s body.
With only two clasps and two adjustment buckles, the harness is easy to put on and remove. It has two leash attachments: an aluminum V-ring on the back and a reinforced webbing attachment on the chest plate.
The Front Range doesn’t reduce pulling as well as the other harnesses we recommend. Although it is normal for a front-clip harness to move when your dog pulls, the Front Range has more twist than our other top picks, causing it to shift to the side with consistent pulling.
But, if your dog tears through bushes or plays rough with other dogs, this harness is a durable option. After seven years, the Front Range is the only intact harness my dog still wears from his younger days. The polyester shell fabric is durable and doesn’t fade over time, and the reflective stitching is a bonus for nighttime dog walking. The harness is available in 5 sizes and comes in 13 different colors to match every possible preference because, of course, your dog needs a hibiscus pink harness.
San Francisco-based professional dog trainer and dog sport enthusiast Scarlett Cermak, owner of Embark Today, loves the size range and color options as well as its comfort and versatility. “The padding is nice because it doesn’t rub on my thin-coated dog,” she said. “I also really like that there is a back-clip option because there are times, believe it or not, when I want my dogs to pull, like in sports like canicross or joring.”
Hand-washing is advised, but I’ve had to put my dog’s harness in the washer and dryer many times. It’s held up, but the edges are now slightly curled. The chest vest can take a while to dry, so it may stay damp for a while after washing or if your dog swims in it.
Ruffwear’s warranty covers manufacturing defects, but there is no chew replacement policy. In my experience, only the most acrobatic chewers can reach the straps with their teeth.
How we tested
We considered the most popular harnesses on the market and solicited opinions from professional dog walkers and dog trainers who were already using the brands under consideration.
Three shelter staff and two volunteer shelter walkers then tested the harnesses on walks with more than two dozen rescue dogs at Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco over a period of eight weeks. The dogs were all medium and large-size (over 50 pounds) and chosen because they were known to be difficult to walk due to overexcitability, lack of training, or reactivity. Dogs were walked with the tester harnesses for 30 to 60 minutes on city streets and in local parks.
Unmanageable leash pulling is typically a problem for dog owners with larger dogs, so we did not test these harnesses on dogs under 25 pounds. Many small dogs strain while on leash, but owners do not struggle with being pulled off their feet.
We also did not test head halters, as most dogs initially find them uncomfortable and will resist wearing them. The no-pull harnesses in this guide are a better choice for anyone looking for the least intrusive, minimally aversive (LIMA) approach to dog training and behavior modification. If you’d like to learn more about head halters, read about them in our guide to the best dog harnesses.
We rated each harness according to the following criteria:
Prevents pulling: We assessed how well it prevented dogs from pulling on leash while walking. Dogs were walked for a minimum of 30 minutes on 4-foot leashes.
Does not impede or restrict movement: Harnesses were tested on dogs of different sizes and shapes to check for sagging and straps that lay over the dog’s front legs and shoulders.
Does not chafe or rub: We tested harnesses on both long- and short-haired dogs to check for chafing or rubbing.
Dog cannot slip or back out of the harness: Because these harnesses were tested on shelter dogs who tend to be flight risks, this was a crucial consideration.
Easy to put on and take off/ease of adjusting: Putting on or adjusting your dog’s harness shouldn’t be frustrating. Our shelter volunteers and testers were asked to record their impressions when first putting the tester harnesses on dogs.
Durability and washability: We asked professional dog walkers for their opinions on how well these wear over time and whether they hold up after multiple washes.
Initial cost and replacement cost: We considered whether the price of the harness is justified and how easy it is to replace if chewed.
What else we considered
Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness: This is an affordable harness with a padded chest plate and both front and back leash attachments. It’s a solid choice as an everyday walking harness for larger dogs that pull moderately.
Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Harness: This is a somewhat effective no-pull harness, with a vest-shaped design similar to the Ruffwear Front Range. Unless your dog is barrel-chested, the front of the harness twists to the side whenever the dog pulls. The straps also require constant tightening as they loosen too easily.
Petsafe Easy Walk: This popular front-clip harness is inexpensive and easy to put on and adjust. The front chest strap, however, tends to sag more than any other harness we tested, causing it to hang across the dog’s front legs and impede movement. With no padding and thin straps, the Easy Walk may also rub and create abrasions. The buckle ends up under the armpit on many dogs, which can be uncomfortable.
Wonder Walker Body Harness: This is a sturdy front-clip harness that works well to prevent pulling. Unfortunately, the horizontal chest strap tends to sag significantly and ends up laying across the dog’s shoulders or front legs.
Bolux Dog Harness: One of the most inexpensive harnesses available, this harness does nothing to prevent your dog from pulling, as it only has one leash attachment on the back. Squirmy dogs can easily back out of this harness and escape.
How to get the right fit
Finding the right harness for your dog is like choosing the perfect running sneakers. The right fit is crucial. There’s nothing scarier than your dog wriggling or backing out of a loose-fitting harness. An ill-fitting harness will also be uncomfortable, and if it’s too tight, it can cause chafing. Sagging harnesses can impede a dog’s full range of shoulder or leg movement.
A well-fitting harness should be snug but not too tight, with enough room to fit two to three fingers under all the straps. Check the sizing charts and read the instructions on how to measure your dog. When buying online, measure carefully and check the return policy before ordering. If you have a puppy, prepare to purchase more than one harness as they grow.
Dogs come in different shapes and sizes, so what fits well for one dog may not work for another. You may have to try a few different harness styles if your dog has an atypical body shape.
Why do dogs pull on leash and how can you stop it?
No dog is born innately understanding how to walk on a leash. Most dogs will pull unless loose leash walking is taught and reinforced.
Dogs pull because they naturally walk faster than we do and because they want to get to the park or greet another dog or sniff something interesting. They pull because they’ve never been taught not to pull. Dogs also strain on the leash because it works for them: They pull, and they get to move forward. Tension at the end of the leash is a learned behavior.
The best way to stop your dog from pulling is to train loose leash walking using positive reinforcement. If your dog is a veteran puller, there is no humane piece of equipment that you can just put on them to instantly stop the pulling. Carlo Siracusa, DVM, director of Animal Behavior Medicine services at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, explained that neck collars do not prevent pulling and put too much pressure on the dog’s neck.
Although front-clip no-pull harnesses are not a magic bullet that will instantly stop your dog from pulling, they are a management tool. A good harness will help you manage and control your dog while teaching them leash manners.
Although we tested these no-pull harnesses on medium and large dogs, pulling on leash can be a problem for dogs of any size. While some handlers may tolerate leash pulling with a small dog, a no-pull harness is just as helpful for them.
How do front-clip no-pull harnesses work?
Front-clip harnesses are designed to discourage forward pulling by pivoting the dog toward you whenever the leash is taut. There’s no magic — that’s it. This spinning toward you provides a training opportunity while your dog focuses on you. If you keep walking whenever your dog pulls, you are not only missing out on the chance to train loose leash walking, but you are also reinforcing pulling.
Not all front-clip harnesses are created equal. Harnesses come in two basic designs: A Y-shaped chest strap or a strap that lays horizontally across the chest. Y-shaped harnesses better allow for full freedom of movement.
“Any product that forms a Y shape around the dog’s neck and under the chest is non-restrictive,” said Chris Zink, DVM, a canine sports medicine consultant and researcher at Johns Hopkins University.
The best no-pull harnesses have both back- and front-clip rings, and some brands now sell cleverly designed leashes that clip to both rings simultaneously, giving the handler better control and balancing leash tension across the body instead of at a single location.
Leashes that attach to the back of a dog’s harness are a safe and comfortable option for dogs that don’t strain on the leash. Back-clip harnesses are also useful for attaching a dragline when teaching recall (“come”).
Why we don’t recommend prong, choke, and e-collars
We only considered no-pull equipment that does not cause pain or discomfort for a dog. Prong, choke, and shock collars are all designed to punish a dog by inflicting pain around the neck whenever they pull. Prong collars and choke chains can also cause damage to a dog’s neck.
“As a general rule, I don’t like anything that puts too much pressure on the neck,” said Siracusa. “Definitely no prong or shock collars. Even a martingale-type collar, which I do like, will not prevent the dog from pulling [and] will apply pressure on the neck.”
Punishment and pain create fear, stress, and anxiety in dogs also have no place in modern dog training. Studies show that e-collars (shock collars) produce behavioral and physiological signs of stress when used on pet dogs. As of October 2020, Petco, the second largest retail pet company in the United States, discontinued the sale of all shock collars online and in stores. Shock collars are banned and illegal in many countries, including England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. To train your dog more humanely, effectively, and successfully, use science-based positive reinforcement and rewards-based training and handling methods.
No harness is chew-proof
There is no such thing as a chew-proof harness. A chewed-up harness is not a manufacturer defect or the fault of a poor design. It takes less than 30 seconds for a determined dog or teething puppy to destroy a brand-new harness, so take it off them when unsupervised. Be sure to also remove harnesses to prevent injury when dogs rough house, as teeth and limbs can get entangled.
If your dog is a veteran harness destroyer, check the manufacturer’s chew guarantees before purchasing. We were pleasantly surprised by how generous some of the replacement policies are.
Who we consulted
Anne Carter, PhD, is a researcher and lecturer in animal biology at Nottingham Trent University.
Chris Zink, DVM, is a board-certified specialist in veterinary pathology and veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation. Chris is one of the world’s top canine sports medicine and rehabilitation veterinarians and researchers. She is a professor and researcher at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Carlo Siracusa, DVM, is the director of Animal Behavior Medicine services at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
Before administering any treatment to your dog, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Karie Johnson, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.
Picture this: It’s a cold November day. The sun is reflecting off a fresh layer of snow, and the family is gathered together for Thanksgiving. Everyone is watching the dogs play outside before heading in for dinner. It’s a beautiful fall scene – until someone notices bloody paw prints in the snow. Leave it to my German Shepherd Silas to slice open the pad on the bottom of his paw on Thanksgiving Day.
So what did I do? What any self-respecting dog mom would do in this situation: freak out. After I calmed down, we corralled Silas into the bathroom to assess the damage and contain the blood. Then we called the vet and got the lowdown on what to do for an injured paw pad. Unfortunately for Silas but fortunately for you, this wasn’t the last time he cut or cracked his pads, so I’m now an expert in injured dog pads. Below, I’ll walk you through the steps to take care of your dog’s pad and get it back to playing fetch in no time.
Call the vet
Every situation and every dog is different, so the first thing you should do is call your dog’s vet. If bleeding is severe or the pad is completely cut off, you might need to take your dog to its vet or to the nearest emergency vet if it’s after-hours. Taking Silas to the vet usually causes him more anxiety and trauma than whatever is bothering him in the first place. Luckily, we were able to save a trip, and his vet talked us through what to do over the phone.
You read that correctly. It seems strange, but this is what our vet advised us to do, and it worked perfectly. For smaller cuts or cracks, you can skip this step, but for a larger cut, manually hold the cut together and apply superglue. Hold the cut together until the glue dries. This acts in the same way a surgical glue would to hold a cut together.
Apply a balm
A pet balm or dog paw cream like Vermont’s Original Bag Balm can help the cut heal and soften its dry pads. Make sure the superglue is dry before this step.
Bandage the paw
In a pinch when this first happened to Silas, we used a paper towel and a clean sock, but once we were able to get the proper materials (gauze and self-adhering tape), we found they worked much better. Securely wrap the gauze around the cut and the dog’s entire foot. Then wrap the tape around the foot and partially up the leg. Self-adhering tape works well because it won’t pull your dog’s fur. Make the wrap tight enough that it won’t slip off, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. If you notice that your dog’s leg or paw looks swollen, the bandage is too tight and should be loosened or removed.
Optional: If your dog is biting at the dressing, you can cover it with a sock or buy your dog a dreaded cone of shame.
Change the dressing
At least once a day, change the dressing and clean the injury again until the wound is healed. If you stop wrapping it too soon, it could reopen or get infected.
Try to keep your dog off the injured paw pad
For an active dog like Silas, this is the hardest step. One of the most effective ways to do this is to work on mentally stimulating activities to tire your dog out.
How to prevent this from happening in the future
Keep your yard free of sticks and other sharp objects.
Use dog boots if walking in hot weather or on salted surfaces in the winter.
Rinse your dog’s feet regularly in the winter. Cleaning Silas’ paws is so easy with our MudBuster.
Brushing your dog may feel like a chore, but regular brushing prevents tangles and mats – the snarled knots of hair trapped in the coat. Mats are not only uncomfortable for your dog, but they can be painful and irritating to the skin, even causing infections. Frequent brushing also distributes healthy oils and removes loose hair from the coat before it sheds all over your clothes and home.
To help you narrow down the best brush for your dog, I tested 23 different grooming tools over a three-month period with two dogs, a Labrador retriever with short, straight hair and a miniature poodle with long, curly hair. I received editorial review samples from manufacturers with the exception of Millers Forge, Chris Christensen, and ConairPro brushes, which Insider Reviews purchased.
I’m no novice when it comes to brushing dogs. I’ve been brushing, bathing, and clipping my poodle for his entire life (more than a decade now). I also brushed and bathed thousands of pets during my eight-year stint as a veterinary assistant. For additional expertise on dog brushing, I consulted with pet groomer Cassie Edmond, who is an animal caregiver at the San Diego Humane Society.
Dog brushes come in different styles for different coats. To know which type of brush is best for your dog, first identify their coat type.
Smooth: This type of coat consists of short, close-lying hair that grows in only one layer (no undercoat). Some breeds with smooth coats include bulldogs, Dalmatians, Boston terriers, Doberman pinschers, greyhounds, and Weimaraners.
Double coat: Dogs with double coats have two types of hair. The outercoat (outermost layer of hair) is longer and the undercoat (which lies close to the skin) is shorter and usually wooly or soft. Some breeds with double coats include Australian shepherds, border collies, golden retrievers, and Labrador retrievers.
Long hair: Long-haired dogs may have silky or coarse hair. Some long-haired dogs have an undercoat while others do not. Breeds with long hair include Afghan hounds, Maltese, shih tzus, and Yorkshire terriers.
Curly or wavy hair: Curly-haired dogs must be brushed regularly to prevent mats. Generally, they do not have an undercoat, although some mixed-breed dogs, including doodles, might have an undercoat. Breeds with curly coats include Bedlington terriers, bichons frises, poodles, and Portuguese water dogs.
To avoid skin irritation, choose the right brush for your dog’s coat type and avoid overbrushing. “There can be such a thing as too much brushing,” Edmond said. “Overbrushing causes something called brush burn, which is an irritation of the skin. Slicker brushes used on short-haired dogs can cause brush burn faster.”
Edmond recommends brushing your dog daily. Beyond grooming and hygiene, there are additional benefits. “Brushing regularly gives pet parents the opportunity to touch their pets all over, which can help identify possible health concerns early,” she said. “As a groomer, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered lumps, bumps, cuts, or skin issues.”
Equipped with two brush styles and a nonslip handle, the versatile Hartz Combo Brush is ideal for dogs of many different coat types.
Pros: Stainless steel pins with safety tips, good for dogs of most sizes, antislip grip for comfort and control, affordable price, two brushes in one
Cons: Might be too large for toy dogs
A combo brush is two brushes in one: a pin brush on one side and a soft-bristle brush on the other. Use the pin side to brush out tangles and remove loose hair. The bristle brush works well for short-haired dogs such as dachshunds, pit bulls, and Chihuahuas. “It can be helpful in removing dead hairs during shedding season and redistributing the dog’s natural oils on its body,” said Edmond.
Our top pick for the best combo brush for dogs is the Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Brush. This brush is great for dogs of many coat types and also convenient if you have two dogs with different types of hair. I tested this brush on a miniature poodle and a Labrador retriever. Only the pin brush side was useful for the poodle coat, but the Labrador coat benefited from both sides.
Overall, this is just a really nice brush. It’s lightweight at just under 5 ounces, yet sturdy and comfortable to hold. The stainless steel pins have safety tips for safe and gentle brushing, and the nylon bristles are soft but stiff enough to do some good hair removal while brushing. Measuring 12.2 inches long and 3.2 inches wide, this brush is well-sized for small to large dogs. It’s not suited to the job of grooming toy breeds (for that, consider the Burt’s Bees Double Sided brush under “What else we considered” at the end of this guide).
Hartz also offers a satisfaction guarantee on all its grooming tools if they have not been misused or abused. Simply return the brush with a copy of your receipt within one year of purchase for a replacement or refund.
Pros: Reduces loose hair from shedding, doesn’t damage topcoat, skin guard protects from digging into skin, works for dogs of all sizes and most coat types, money-back guarantee
Cons: Not for use on nonshedding breeds, dropping tool can damage the teeth, overbrushing or applying too much pressure can irritate skin
Deshedding tools have one purpose: to remove as much loose hair from your dog’s coat as possible — before it ends up in your house and on your clothes. Although designs vary, deshedding tools often look like metal rakes or fine-tooth combs.
“Deshedding tools are a groomer’s best friend,” said Edmond, who has a Furminator in her personal grooming tool kit. “It is so satisfying to use this on a husky or German shepherd during heavy shedding seasons.”
The Furminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool landed in the top spot for this guide. I tested it on a Labrador retriever that sheds very heavily. The amount of hair I was able to remove from her coat was astonishing. It was far more than I could remove with any of the three other deshedding tools I tested.
The magic is in the stainless steel deshedding edge that reaches through the topcoat to safely and easily remove loose hair and undercoat without damaging the topcoat. The curved edge of the blade and skin-guard design help the tool glide over a dog’s body to prevent digging into the skin.
The Furminator’s ergonomic handle offered a comfortable grip, and the release button made it easy to collect hair from the tool and continue deshedding. For storage, a special edge guard protects the metal teeth. The manufacturer is so sure you’ll love the Furminator that it offers a money-back guarantee as long as the product is used and stored as directed.
Pros: Made for pets with sensitive skin, angled stainless steel bristles minimize irritation, rubberized grips and curved handle provide comfort and control
Cons: Not as effective for smooth-coated dogs with no undercoat (may cause skin irritation), might be too large for toy breeds
A slicker brush is made from very thin, closely set wire bristles that are good for general brushing and removing loose fur from long-haired dogs. A high-quality slicker brush should be stiff enough to untangle the coat but still gentle on the skin.
“I would not advise any pet parent to use a slicker brush for short-haired dogs as they can cause brush burn,” Edmonds said. “I would use this for long-haired pets and double-coated shedding dogs like Siberian huskies, German shepherds, and golden retrievers.”
We like JW Pet’s Gripsoft Soft Slicker Brush because it effectively detangles the coat and removes loose hair. With its flexible stainless steel bristles turned 90 degrees away from the skin, it also minimizes “raking,” which makes brushing more comfortable for your dog. The 5.5-inch-wide bristle area makes it a good fit for small to large-size dogs.
I tested this brush on a miniature poodle with a long, curly coat and a Labrador retriever with medium-length hair. Even though these two dogs have very different coats, the Gripsoft Slicker worked well on both types of hair. Before testing, I also ran each of the slicker brushes along the inside of my forearm to make sure they felt comfortable and found this one is very gentle on the skin. Owners of toy breeds will likely find this brush too big. For the smallest of dogs, I recommend checking out the Millers Forge Slicker Brush under “What else we considered” at the end of this guide.
The JW Pet Gripsoft is also durable yet lightweight and comfortable to hold with nonslip rubber grips on the front and back of the curved handle. When I was done brushing, I used my fingers to easily lift the hair out of the rounded brush head.
Pros: Stainless steel pins with rounded, polished tips for comfort; durable design; firm cushion with air vent for flexibility; comfortable wooden body and handle
Cons: More expensive than similar models, not ideal for smooth-coated dogs
For dogs with medium to long hair, a pin brush is a good option for removing loose hair and detangling. This type of brush consists of metal pins that are more widely spaced than the bristles of a slicker brush, which helps prevent hair breakage. The pins are also set into a rubber cushion, and a high-quality brush will have pins with rounded ends to prevent scratches on the skin.
We chose the Chris Christensen Oval Pin Brush as our top pick. I’ve used several Chris Christensen brushes and combs over the years because they came highly recommended by my poodle breeder. This brush lived up to the standard I’ve come to expect from the brand’s grooming tools.
I tested this brush on a miniature poodle and found it glided through his coat easily and gently detangled without scratching his skin or breaking off any hairs. The high-quality stainless steel pins have rounded and polished tips, and the pins are set into a durable, firm cushion that has an air vent hole for extra flexibility.
The wooden body and easy-grip handle are constructed from lightweight solid beech, making it comfortable to hold. The brush is available in three different pin lengths: 20mm for short coats, 27mm for medium to long coats, and 35mm for long, thick full coats.
The best curry brush
The easy-to-grip Bodhi Dog Bath Brush is like a loofah for your dog, and it’s effective for bathing or dry brushing.
Pros: Dry or wet use; effective yet gentle; handy strap for a comfortable hold; increases shampoo lather; massaging soft rubber bristles; natural, unrefined rubber limits chemical footprint; money-back guarantee
Cons: Not ideal for all coat types; strap might be too tight for larger hands; brush can be slippery when wet
This type of brush, which is also called a curry comb, is made of rubber or soft plastic. It has flexible nubs that remove dirt and loose hair from the coat. Curry brushes are also great in the bath when used to work shampoo deep into the coat, all while giving your dog a nice massage.
These brushes are best for dogs with smooth or short coats. “I use a curry brush on short-haired dogs during or right after a bath,” Edmond said. “I like to use it on dogs that are heavily shedding.”
Our pick for the best curry brush is the Bodhi Dog Bath Brush. I tested this brush on a Labrador retriever with a medium-length coat. I like how the strap makes it easier to hold the brush even when wet, although like all the curry brushes I tested, it can still get slippery when wet. The 5-by-3.5-inch brush’s strap fit my hand well, but people with large hands might find the strap a bit tight.
When used on a dry coat, the soft, split-ended rubber tips gently loosen and remove shedding hair and dirt. The Bodhi brush serves the same function in the bath and also increases the effectiveness of shampoo lathering for a deeper clean while turning grooming time into massage time.
Pros: Soft rubber nubs gently remove hair, flexible design for brushing all parts of body, massaging action ideal for dogs that dislike brushing, Velco wrist straps provide secure fit, available in three sizes
Cons: Not ideal for nonshedding dogs, sizing may not accommodate all hand sizes, somewhat difficult to clean hair off the gloves
Grooming gloves are great for shedding dogs that run away when you bring out the brush. They allow you to brush your dog by petting them, and most dogs love the soothing massage this provides. The rubber grips on the palm and fingers are good for removing loose hair.
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Grooming Gloves are the best of the four styles we tested. I used these gloves on a Labrador retriever that isn’t a big fan of being brushed. Not only did the gloves remove a lot of loose hair, but she lay down on her side and was happy for me to continue brushing all over her body.
The five-finger design allowed me to gently brush all over, including her head, face, body, legs, and tail, while the soft rubber nodules gently collected fur. The Velcro wrist straps kept the gloves secure on my hands. For best results, brush in the direction of hair growth.
To clean these gloves, peel the hair off. Pro tip: It’s easiest to remove the hair when the gloves are full. The gloves come in three sizes to fit most hands: medium, large, and extra-large. I ordered the medium according to the size chart, and they fit well — snug but not too tight.
Four Paws Magic Coat Dual Mat Remover: Although the slicker side of this brush was nice, the dematting tool on the flip side just didn’t compare to the Furminator. However, this would be a good choice if you only wanted to purchase one tool that is both an everyday brush and a dematting tool.
Andis Deshedding Tool: While this is another effective tool, the Furminator and Oster were both gentler and easier to use.
Conair Pro Dog Undercoat Rake: I really liked the comfortable memory grip handle on this brush, but it just didn’t remove hair as well as the other deshedding tools that I tested.
Furbliss Pet Brush: I really liked the Furbliss, which is made from a soft and flexible rubber that gives a gentle massage. However, I slightly preferred the more rigid Bodhi Dog Bath Brush and the fact that it has a strap to help keep it on your hand in the bath.
If you have time, brush your dog every day to remove shedding hair, untangle knots, and redistribute coat oils. If you can’t brush daily, once a week is sufficient for most breeds. Dogs with long coats that tend to mat should be brushed two to three times a week.
How can I make grooming pleasant for my dog?
First, make sure the brush you choose is gentle on your dog’s skin. Test it against your forearm if you’re not sure. Give plenty of treats during brushing sessions, and stop if your dog is showing signs of stress. It’s better to break brushing up into mini-sessions rather than stress your dog out.
How do I know what kind of brush to buy for my dog?
Slicker brushes and pin brushes are good for most hair types other than very thin, smooth coats. Soft-bristle brushes and curry brushes are best for short, smooth coats. Deshedding tools are only for coats that shed. Grooming gloves can work for most coat types other than non-shedding breeds like poodles and Yorkshire Terriers. If you’re not sure what kind of brush to use, ask your veterinarian or groomer for advice.
How do I care for my dog’s brush?
Keep your dog’s brush dry and clean the hair out after each grooming session. To easily remove hair from a brush, slip a comb into the bristles near the base of the brush and lift all the hair out in one solid piece.
The best dog dewormers should treat four of the most common intestinal parasites in dogs and should be easy to administer.
Guaranteed to treat multiple species of hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and whipworm, Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer is our top pick for the best dog dewormer overall.
This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.
Intestinal parasites are extremely common in dogs of all ages, and most can’t be seen with the naked eye, which means you might not know if your dog is infected. Some worms can be transmitted to humans (children are especially vulnerable), so it’s important to keep your dog parasite-free.
When choosing the best dewormer for your dog, you need to know what type of worms your dog has. If you suspect that your dog might have worms, bring them to the veterinarian for a physical exam and fecal test. Treatment is generally easy with over-the-counter dewormers for dogs.
You can purchase a dewormer for specific types of worms, or you can choose a broad-spectrum product that kills many different types of worms. Dewormers come in several forms including tablets, granules, powders, and liquids, so talk to your veterinarian about the option that is best for your dog. Once you know what kind of dewormer you need, take a look at our top picks for the best non-prescription dewormer for dogs.
Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer (fenbendazole) is a broad-spectrum dewormer that kills four types of intestinal parasites commonly seen in dogs.
Pros: Kills four common types of worm, easy-to-mix granule formulation, safe and effective, kills two species of roundworm and hookworm
Cons: Large dogs may require more than one package, only kills one species of tapeworm and whipworm, three once-a-day doses required, not for puppies younger than 6 weeks of age
If you’re looking for a quick and effective solution to intestinal parasites, a broad-spectrum dewormer may be the way to go. These dewormers contain active ingredients that kill four types of common worms, including multiple species, and generally come in an easy-to-administer form. For efficacy, convenience, and affordability, Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer is our top pick for the best dewormer for dogs overall.
Made with the active ingredient fenbendazole, Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer kills two species each of roundworm and hookworm as well as the most common species of tapeworm and whipworm.
Generally recognized as a safe and effective dewormer for dogs, it comes in an easy-to-administer granule formulation that can be sprinkled on or mixed into your dog’s food and is safe for dogs and puppies 6 weeks or older. This dewormer is given once a day for three days. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends annual fecal tests to check for internal parasites at least once a year or as recommended by your veterinarian.
The best liquid dewormer for dogs
With pyrantel pamoate as the powerful active ingredient, Nemex-2 Liquid Dewormer is a safe and effective treatment for roundworms and hookworms in dogs and puppies as young as 2 weeks of age.
Pros: Highly palatable, liquid formulation is easy to administer, safe for puppies as young as 2 weeks, safe for pregnant females, good for dogs that don’t like tablets
Cons: Only treats roundworms and hookworms, large dogs may require a higher dosage
Many dogs dislike taking tablets and even powdered dewormers may be difficult to disguise in your dog’s food. If you’re looking for an alternative, a liquid dewormer might be a good option. Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs is our top pick because it is approved to treat roundworms and hookworms in dogs and comes in an easy-to-administer liquid.
Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs only treats roundworms and hookworms, so if your dog has tapeworms or whipworms, this medication will not be effective. The active ingredient pyrantel pamoate is highly effective and widely recognized as safe. Simply add the liquid to your dog’s food or feed it directly by mouth. One treatment should kill all worms. Follow up with a fecal test from your veterinarian to make sure the worms have been eliminated.
The best dewormer for puppies
Made with three powerful active ingredients, Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets is a broad-spectrum dewormer safe for puppies and small dogs weighing at least 2 pounds and less than 25 pounds.
Pros: Three powerful active ingredients, broad-spectrum dewormer, kills four types of intestinal parasites, safe for puppies 2 pounds and over, palatable beef-flavored chewable tablet
Cons: Heavy infestations may require multiple treatments, some dogs dislike taking tablets
You may be surprised to learn that most puppies are born with worms. Fortunately, worms are generally easy to treat. Puppies should be treated with a dewormer at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age, followed by additional treatments as needed. Our top pick for the best dewormer for puppies is Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets.
Specifically designed for puppies and small dogs weighing between 2 and 25 pounds, Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets features three active ingredients — praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, and febantel — to kill four types of worms commonly seen in dogs: roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. A single dose is enough to kill common worms and it comes in a highly palatable beef-flavored tablet. Follow up with a fecal test from your veterinarian to make sure the worms have been eliminated.
Pros: Broad-spectrum dewormer, made for dogs 6 to 25 pounds, easy-to-administer tablet form, two powerful active ingredients, cost-effective
Cons: Doesn’t kill whipworms, not ideal for dogs over 25 pounds, not for use in puppies younger than 12 weeks, should not be used in pregnant or nursing females
Products designed for dogs of all sizes and dosed by weight can be tricky to divide for small-breed dogs, especially if they come in tablet form. For a safe and effective dewormer designed specifically for small dogs, we recommend Sentry HC WormX Plus 7-Way Dewormer for Small Dogs.
This Sentry Dewormer is formulated specifically for small dogs 12 weeks and older that weigh between 6 and 25 pounds. The two active ingredients, pyrantel pamoate and praziquantel, quickly and effectively kill two types of tapeworms, two types of roundworms, and three types of hookworms. It comes in an easy-to-administer tablet form that can be fed whole or crushed and mixed with your dog’s food. Only one dose is needed to eliminate worms. Follow up with a fecal test from your veterinarian to make sure the worms have been eliminated.
Pros: Broad-spectrum dewormer, two powerful active ingredients, made for dogs 25 to 200 pounds, palatable chewable tablet form, easy dosing instructions, works quickly
Cons: Doesn’t kill whipworms, not for dogs that weigh less than 25 pounds, not for puppies under 12 weeks of age
Large-breed dogs require different amounts of medicines, and that is definitely true for dewormers. If you purchase a regular dewormer, you may find yourself purchasing several boxes to get the right dosage for a large-breed dog. Depending what brand you choose, the costs to treat your dog could add up quickly — especially if the product requires multiple treatments.
For a fast and cost-effective solution designed specifically for medium and large breeds, we recommend Durvet Triple Wormer.
Durvet Triple Wormer features a broad-spectrum formula made with two powerful active ingredients: pyrantel pamoate and praziquantel. This product is proven to kill two species of tapeworms, two species of roundworms, and three species of hookworms.
It comes in a highly palatable chewable tablet. Simply feed it directly or mix it into your dog’s food. For the maximum efficacy, repeat the dosage after two weeks. As with the other dewormers on this list, follow up with a fecal test from your veterinarian to make sure the worms have been eliminated.
What you should know about intestinal parasites in dogs
Four different types of worms commonly infect dogs and puppies: roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Puppies are also commonly infected with a single-cell intestinal parasite known as coccidia. Adult dogs can become infected with coccidia as well, but many dogs develop an immunity to these parasites.
Dogs can become infected with intestinal parasites in different ways. Puppies often become infected with roundworms prior to birth or when nursing from their mother. Tapeworms can be transmitted if a dog swallows an infected flea (treating flea infestations goes hand in hand with treating tapeworm infections). Dogs can pick up hookworms and whipworms from their environment, often from the feces of infected dogs, or contaminated soil or water.
Some of the most common symptoms of worms in dogs included digestive upset (vomiting or diarrhea), gas, bloated belly (pot-bellied appearance), increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, weakness, and bloody stool or diarrhea. In puppies especially, intestinal parasite infections can cause anemia and poor growth.
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Embark is a dog DNA test that determines your dog’s breed and checks for over 170 genetic health conditions and 20 traits among other fun facts.
Staff veterinarians and customer service representatives are also available to answer questions from pet owners.
We used the test to learn more about our rescue dog, Nellie. You can read more about our experience below.
Even if you picked up your puppy from the pound with no information – and you’ve been guessing or making up breeds to satisfy strangers’ curiosity ever since – there is a way to actually know the precise origins of your furry best friend.
Enter the Embark Breed and Health dog DNA test. The test uses 200,000 genetic markers and 100 times more genetic information than its competitors. It checks for over 350 different breed types and 170-plus genetic health conditions – and it has partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (the leading veterinary school in the country) and a pioneer in consumer genetics – Spencer Wells – to combine cutting-edge science and pet care. They’re the people who are ecstatic to tell you they recently discovered why some dogs have blue eyes.
Knowing your dog’s genetic history is great for the shallow interest of curiosity and dog park small talk, but it can also help you navigate potential health risks, avoid medications they could be sensitive too, and even help you decide how big of a home you’re going to need in the future.
I tried the Embark dog DNA test on our rescue dog, Nellie, to see how it worked in real life. If you keep scrolling down to the bottom of this article, you can see the exact steps we went through in greater detail. But what I liked best was how digestible the information was for non-scientists, and how many resources were provided if you’d like to do further research. I also loved how obviously passionate about dogs the Embark team seemed to be.
On the site, you can engage as little or as much as you want. It was as succinct as “she’s mostly a German Shepherd” and “she’s clear of all the health risks we check for” and as granular as links to learn how the process is done and breakdowns of what each genetic condition is as well as which breeds it’s commonly found in. There are even linked citations in some sections where research was referred to.
The Embark dog DNA test is not cheap, but it’s information that could improve or extend the life of your dog – and for most owners, that’s not a bad price to pay.
All in all, it’s a great tool – and something most dog owners will probably be excited to learn about. Pets are the slobbery, warm-bodied, loving beings that occasionally care more for you than they do for themselves. Figuring out a bit more about how to responsibly return that love and care is an exciting new opportunity.
If you have multiple dogs and get tests for them, you can “add a dog” to your “my dogs” section in your account to keep your family all in one place.
Keep reading to see our experience and our dog’s results below.
Embark’s main point of interest is probably the breed breakdown. You’ll see breeds and percentages, as well as other fun tools at the top.
Embark breaks down dog breeds by percentages. If you keep scrolling, Embark highlights the main characteristics of each breed present.
Embark tests your pup for over 170 genetic health conditions and 20 traits.
We took the Embark DNA test probably just as much for the health results as to satisfy our curiosity, if not more so. Embark screens for over 170 genetic conditions looking for the mutations that can cause them, and Nellie showed up negative for everything. Being able to rule out these mutations also makes it easier for your chosen vet to determine what’s wrong quickly and accurately if your dog becomes sick in the future, and to avoid prescribing medications your dog may be sensitive to. To easily share with your vet, click “Vet Report” to input your vet’s name and email address. They’ll get a copy.
Embark makes the results easy for non-scientists to understand. It showed that she was cleared for the 135 genetic conditions common for Nellie’s breed (which the test already provided for us and the lab) and then broke down what those conditions are exactly. You can also view the full disease test in more detail if you wish.
Embark also breaks your dog’s DNA down to make a family tree that goes back to great-grandparents.
Embark’s algorithm generates the most likely family tree for your pup, though it’s not the only possible one for your dog’s mix.
You can also check out other dogs who have Embark accounts that have similar breed mixes for comparison via the Mix Matches tool.
The DNA test also tests your dog’s traits, making it possible to predict coat color, coat traits (shedding, curly, straight) and body size among other things.
You’ll be able to see the genes that make your dog’s coat the color, texture, and shedding-heavy mess that it is, as well as your dog’s projected body size, along with links to deeper wells of information if you’re interested in learning more.
You can also see your dog’s genetic diversity (was there inbreeding?) as well as performance. For instance, we discovered that Nellie has an adaptation that makes her more tolerant of high altitudes.
Staff veterinarians and customer service reps are also available to answer questions from owners.
The service also encourages users to email firstname.lastname@example.org if they have a particular health issue or area they’re interested in.
You can also take “Health and Wellness” quizzes to get personalized feedback and contribute to research, making the Embark test even more accurate and extensive for you and others in the future.
These quizzes and feedback mean the service can get smarter and better over time — benefiting both old users and new with more features and ever-more accurate results, just like human DNA tests. If you choose to participate, you could help scientists make new discoveries.
The paper sheets are easy to fold up and put in your pocket before heading out on a walk with your dog.
I’ve found one sheet is enough to pick up the waste from both of my dogs on a single walk.
It takes a few days to get used to the paper, but they’re worth it if you’re looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
My two hounds enjoy their walks, and we go on about three a day. I always clean up their waste and then dispose of it in the garbage bin in our garage. After a week, the trash gets hauled away and I feel good that the waste wasn’t left on my neighbor’s lawn or my own.
Yet I use plastic bags to pick up their waste. According to a waste calculator from Doody Calls, my two dogs produce 8 pounds of waste each week. What’s more alarming than that is that’s 416 pounds of waste each year. I don’t want to think about the number of plastic bags that I use in a week.
Each Pooch Paper sheet is made of recycled non-chlorine-bleached paper and measures 12 inches by 12 inches. The sheets are manufactured using renewable energy and are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.
“Our paper is made with recycled, unbleached, uncoated softwood pulp using a machine-finished, sustainable manufacturing process,” said Tracy Rosensteel, the founder of Pooch Paper. She explained that the unbleached fiber produces a higher pulping yield, which in turn lessens the overall environmental footprint.
Sustainability is the company’s top priority. Its goal is to reduce our plastic footprint and its destructive impact on our environment. Plastics are toxic to most species and can result in the creation of dangerous greenhouse gasses when disposed of in a landfill.
A sheet of Pooch Paper is easy to use. A single sheet holds the waste produced by both of my dogs on a single walk. The texture of the paper took a few days to get used to, but the grease-resistant coating made from corn helps get the waste up into the sheet in just one try.
The instructions say to twist the corners around the waste to contain it before you toss it into the garbage bin. Twisting the corners take a little practice and how much waste is in the center of the sheet will determine how much paper is left to twist.
Ideally, after you’ve picked up waste, there will be a space at the top to twist together either the edges or the four corners. The sheet will stay closed, but you do have to carry the used paper with one hand unless you have a carrying pouch attached to your waistband. I highly recommend having a pouch for used sheets. If you do have to carry it with your hands, it’s not inconvenient when on a short walk.
The used waste sheets can go directly into the garbage bin. The FTC’s Green Guide explains that all earth-friendly products must completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time. I now toss the paper sheets into the garbage can without any guilt.
I attach the 5-inch-by-5-inch zippered Pooch Pouch to my leash, and it fits about 10 sheets and my house key. You can also attach the pouch to your wrist or belt loop. It is not only practical but also really cute.
If the waste I’m picking up isn’t solid and firm, it’s a little messy to get it into the Pooch Paper and twist the corners without a lot of fuss.
The paper could also be a bit challenging if you have a large breed dog. When I’m dealing with a large amount of waste, it can be difficult to pick up all of it. My recommendation is to use two sheets, and you’ll definitely want to have a pouch to put your sheets into after they’re full.
The bottom line
Pooch Paper is the best eco-friendly option I’ve found for cleaning up after my dogs on walks. After I pick up the waste, it easily fits in a waist pouch, and one sheet is typically enough for both of my dogs. While they aren’t as easy to use as plastic bags, their reduced carbon footprint make them a worthy alternative.
Pros: Manufactured using renewable energy, biodegradable alternative to plastic poop bags, easy to pick up firm waste, one-step process to twist shut
Cons: Can be difficult to clean up loose or large amount of waste, requires a separate pouch to carry used sheets on longer walks
The best dog harnesses are ones that make walks and other adventures with your dog easy while keeping them comfortable, secure, and pain-free.
As a professional dog trainer who has tested harnesses on hundreds of dogs, I’ve found different harnesses work best for dogs of different sizes, needs, and abilities.
For leash pulling, for example, a no-pull harness with a front clip is likely your best bet, whereas small dogs often benefit from a vest-style harness.
Our pick for the best dog harness overall is the Petsafe 3-in-1 Harness. It’s a versatile, affordable harness that fits well without restricting movement.
Of all the commitments you made to your dog when you agreed to be their guardian, daily walks are among the most important. Walks aren’t just essential to your dog’s physical and mental health; for most, it’s the only opportunity they have to explore their world.
For us humans, though, walks can be among the more complicated tasks our dogs require of us. Just figuring out what equipment to use is a challenge. Harnesses, as opposed to collars, are the best option for walking a dog safely and comfortably. Walking a dog on even the softest collar can cause choking and poses even greater risks.
“As a general rule, I don’t like anything that puts too much pressure on the neck,” Dr. Carlo Siracusa, DVM, associate professor of clinical animal behavior and welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, told Insider Picks. “Pressure to the neck can cause problems to the trachea and to the bone structure of the neck, itself.” Studies even suggest that too much pressure on the neck can cause eye problems, including glaucoma.
Selecting which harness to use isn’t simple, though. A style that works well on a 4-pound apple-headed Chihuahua may be a terrible fit for a long-legged, barrel-chested Great Dane. Nor does finding the right harness depend solely on fit. The best harness for your dog is the one that makes walks and other adventures easy while keeping them comfortable, secure, and pain-free. Dogs that pull on leash, for example, need something different than older or injured dogs with limited mobility. Dog harnesses generally fall into three major categories: front clip, back clip, and front and back clip. Read more about types of harnesses and what’s best for your dog at the end of this guide.
As a certified professional dog trainer, I have 10 years of experience testing harnesses on hundreds of dogs of all types – from tiny floofs to big bruisers, from the most reserved to the overly friendly. After consulting with other dog professionals, including Erika Slovikoski, a certified professional dog trainer with more than a decade of experience, and Michelle Sanchez, a pet care provider, rescue maven, and member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, I’ve narrowed down a crowded field of more than two dozen options to find the six best harnesses for dogs of different sizes, needs, and abilities.
Prices and links are current as of 12/18/2020. We added a slide that explains how to select the best harness for your dog.
The best dog harness overall
The affordable Petsafe 3-in-1 Harness fits dogs of all sizes well, and with two places to clip the leash, it functions as both a traditional and no-pull dog harness.
Pros: Affordable, easy to fit, works for dogs of all sizes, good for dogs that pull, good for dogs that walk well on leash, allows freedom of movement, accommodates double-ended leash, reflective stitching for use after dark
Cons: Only four sizes and three colors, can be confusing to put on correctly
For the cost, the Petsafe 3-in-1 is the most versatile harness out there, working well for both dogs that pull on leash and those that are confident loose-leash walkers. The additional strap on the back is made for car rides — most seatbelts will fit snugly through the loop, keeping your dog safely restrained.
In my decade as a professional dog trainer, I haven’t found a dog or human yet that the Petsafe 3-in-1 doesn’t have some positive function for. Dogs that pull on leash benefit from the V-strap design that doesn’t restrict the movement of the front legs when the leash is clipped to the D-ring at the chest. When the leash is attached to the D-ring on the back, the harness is great for walking or jogging with dogs that do not pull on leash. It’s also the ideal place to connect a long-line for safely teaching a dog recall. This harness serves those who prefer double-ended leashes as well.
Even if the only thing you ever use this harness for is car rides, it doesn’t require any additional equipment to ensure your dog’s safety as you drive (although it’s worth noting that these harnesses have not been crash-tested and traveling with your dog in a secured crate is always the safest option). With your dog in the backseat, just slip a seat belt through the strap on the back of the harness and buckle it.
Although the PetSafe only comes in four sizes (extra-small to large), it has five points of adjustment around the neck and chest. The martingale at the front D-ring also tightens slightly to keep the harness snug when walking a puller. Three buckles on the harness — one on the neck strap and two on the chest strap — mean you never have to slip a loop over your dog’s head or lift their feet to put it on, a welcome feature for those with shy or handling-sensitive pups. All those buckles, though, can also make the harness somewhat confusing. I’ve caught myself putting it on upside-down more than once.
While it may not be as comfortable as a vest-style harness, the straps of the harness are lined with a light neoprene padding for extra comfort, and the whole thing is stitched together with reflective thread for better visibility at night.
The Petsafe 3-in-1 Harness is only available in three colors — black, teal, and plum — but for the price, this versatile harness is a steal.
Pros: Soft, breathable, flexible, affordable, easy to adjust for size, easy to clean, comes in nine colors
Cons: Only four sizes, dogs may be able to wiggle out of the harness
For small dogs that don’t pull on leash, I like to use a soft vest-style harness. Puppia harnesses have been a comfortable, affordable option for years, and now the company has improved on its original design with the RiteFit, a more adjustable model that makes it easier to get an appropriate fit.
Puppia’s Rite Fit is made from cushiony polyester covered in tiny pinholes for breathability. It’s a handsome harness that comes in nine different colors, and while it’s only offered in four sizes, it has three points of adjustment, two around the neck and one around the chest. The leash clips two metal D-rings together at the back for added peace of mind. The whole thing washes easily in the laundry if your dog, like many I know, thinks rolling in stinky stuff is the best thing in the world.
Although I’ve never seen it happen, students in my dog training classes have occasionally reported their dog slipping out of a Puppia RiteFit Harness. Whether these outliers can be chalked up to human error or design failure is hard to say. Either way, it suggests that the harness isn’t 100% secure. If you have a dog that tends to dart on leash or is a known escape artist, you would do better with the more secure Gooby Escape Free Sport Harness, included in the list of other harnesses we considered.
For most small dogs, though, the Puppia Rite Fit Harness is a secure, comfortable, budget-friendly solution for walks.
Pros: High-quality materials, four points of adjustability, two places to connect the leash, comes with a seatbelt for car travel, padded, five sizes, fits dogs up to 110 pounds
Cons: Only four colors, no reflective accents, vest may ride up when leashing to front D-ring
My biggest concern when it comes to choosing a harness for a large breed dog is whether I can trust its strength and durability. Lightweight harnesses that work well for 10-pound dogs could prove dangerous when an 80-pounder gets to pulling. The last thing I want to worry about on a walk is whether my harness will withstand the journey.
Kurgo approaches this problem right, constructing their Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness with ripstop fabric, heavy-duty stitching, and strong D-rings at the chest and back for connecting the leash. It even comes with a lifetime warranty.
This vest-style harness has a padded chest plate that can be fit snugly using four points of adjustment, two at the neck and two at the chest. Kurgo also added a loop at the spine for connecting a seatbelt. The harness even comes with its own 10-inch strap with a carabiner at one end and a loop to slip over a backseat belt on the other.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit is easy to put on and requires only slipping the front loop over the head then clipping either side of the chest loop to the strap along the spine. No leg-lifting needed (though pulling material over the head may be frightening for shy or handling-sensitive dogs). It’s offered in five sizes and four basic colors. Unfortunately, neither reflective patterns nor stitching is included.
Although the Kurgo Tru-Fit Harness has the front leash clip, this isn’t my first choice as an anti-pull harness, as the vest is prone to shifting and riding up on some dogs. If you’re looking for an anti-pull harness for a large breed, stick with the Blue-9 Balance Harness or the Petsafe 3-in-1 recommended in our best no-pull harness and best overall harness categories. But if your dog already walks on a loose leash and you’ll be using the back D-ring, the Kurgo Tru-Fit is a comfortable, reliable harness for everyday walks with big dogs.
Pros: Curbs pulling in most dogs, available in five sizes and eight colors, accommodates double-ended leash, sturdy hardware, easy to fit to a wide variety of body shapes, allows freedom of movement
Cons: Not padded, may ride up on very small dogs
The new generation of no-pull harnesses has evolved beyond the standard three-strap style to include more comfortable, secure versions that don’t restrict a dog’s movement. There are several good options (including our pick for best overall harness, the Petsafe 3-in-1), but the Blue-9 Pet Products Balance Harness is my favorite, and I’m not alone: Whole Dog Journal voted the Balance Harness the best front-clip harness on the market.
Front-clip, anti-pull harnesses like the Balance Harness work because they put your leash ahead of your dog instead of at the strongest part of their body. When your dog tries to pull ahead, the tension on the leash causes them to turn. In order to continue straight, your dog has to slow down.
The magic of the Balance Harness, specifically, comes down to fit. Straps around the neck and chest are connected by straight straps that run along the spine and chest. With five sizes and six places to adjust the length of the straps, I’ve had no trouble getting the fit right on everything from a Boston Terrier to a Boxer — although the webbing might ride up on the smallest of dogs. Thanks to a buckle on the strap that encircles the neck, the harness doesn’t need to be pulled over the head, a feature that shy or handling-sensitive dogs will appreciate.
One of the reasons the Balance Harness is my favorite is its contrasting colors. I frequently field complaints about how webbed harnesses like this one can be confusing to put on. But with the Balance, the spine strap is always a different color than the others, making it easy to figure out which side is up with just a quick glance.
The Balance Harness is well-made and durable with sturdy rings at both the chest and the spine to accommodate a double-ended leash. Because it has no padding, however, it’s always best to remove this harness when your walk is over.
Pros: Ultra-durable, padded, five sizes, eight colors and eco-friendly versions available, strong hardware, easy to clean, good for intensive activity, reflective material
If you’re doing a lot of strenuous outdoor activities with your pup, you need a harness that won’t fall apart with repeated rock scrambling and ocean swims. But a strong harness made of resilient material is only half the battle. An active dog also requires a harness that fits comfortably on all-day adventures without restricting their movement at high speeds or on uneven terrain.
Enter the Hurtta Weekend Warrior, an extremely durable harness that is also built for comfort. Unlike most harnesses which are sized with the subjective terms “small,” “medium,” and “large,” the Finnish team behind the Hurtta measured the chest circumference of more than 200 dogs to inform this product’s five sizes — from a tiny 16 to 18 inches to a hefty 39 to 47 inches.
The soft, padded straps have four points of adjustment, two on the neck strap and two on the chest strap, to help you get a snug fit on a wide range of body types. Two buckles on the chest strap mean that you don’t have to lift your dog’s legs to get them into the harness. It is necessary, though, to slip the Hurtta over your dog’s head, which can be a challenge for shy or handling-sensitive dogs.
The brand is a favorite of certified professional dog trainer Erika Slovikoski, owner of Stardog in San Francisco, California. “I like Hurtta harnesses because they are extremely well made [with] durable material and buckles that look like new for years,” she said. The design “allows for full range of motion of forelimbs, too, which is so important to me.”
Made for dogs that can’t get enough of the outdoors, the Hurtta Weekend Warrior is fashioned out of soft, lightweight polyester and covered with a weatherproof material sturdy enough to keep the harness from soaking through in low to moderate rain. Each of the harness’s eight colors, including two “ECO” versions made from 100% recycled polyester, is accented with reflective prints and piping for safety in low light. At the back, a sturdy stainless steel ring connects to the leash and a handle allows people to lend their dog a hand on steep trails without compromising their own balance.
The Hurtta Weekend Warrior is pricier than your average harness, but your money is well spent on both quality and design. Plus, the harness will last for years without looking shabby. “Even if dogs roll in mud and swim in saltwater, these materials just rinse and dry and look like new again,” Slovikoski said.
Pros: Padded handle for easy lifting, comfortable, fits well and comes in five sizes, durable material and hardware, reflective trim
Cons: Only comes in three colors, pricey
It’s never more obvious that not all dog harnesses are created equal than when you have an injured or aging pet. Regular activities like going up the stairs or climbing into the car may require an enormous effort. If your dog needs a little extra support to live their best life, Ruffwear’s Web Master Harness can make all the difference.
The Ruffwear Web Master is made for comfortable everyday wear for dogs of all abilities with foam padding sewn into the panel that rests on your dog’s spine, as well as on two of the three adjustable straps. Reflective material lines the edges of the harness, and the leash clips to a sturdy aluminum ring on top.
Flexible and lightweight, the harness can be easily adjusted in five places to accommodate all ranges of mobility. But it’s the reinforced, padded handle at the top that really makes a difference for pups with special needs. “It’s an excellent harness for rehab from injuries,” according to Slovikoski. “It fits so well and has that great support handle on the back.”
Comfort and fit also make this harness an ideal one for dogs that, due to pain or handling sensitivity, can’t tolerate being touched frequently to put on and remove a harness. With five sizes (xx-small to large/x-large), the harness fits a wide range of bodies and can be worn throughout the day without chafing or shifting around. “I love these harnesses for shy dogs, especially my sighthounds,” said Michelle Sanchez, who is a key volunteer in rescuing the endangered sighthound known as the Spanish Galgo.
While this is the most expensive harness on our list and the color options are limited to red, blue, and grey, the Ruffwear Web Master can help you maintain your dog’s quality of life, no matter what stage they are in.
What else we considered
2 Hounds Design Freedom Harness: This anti-pull harness connects to a single-ended leash at the chest or a double-ended leash at the chest and back. It also comes in a whopping 19 colors, more than any of the harnesses that made our list. The absence of a full neck strap and a connection along the spine, however, makes this product a little less sturdy than the Balance Harness. The Freedom also has fewer places to adjust fit and does not have a buckle on the neck strap.
Ruffwear Front Range: This is another good harness for active dogs at a slightly lower price point. The Ruffwear Front Range is padded, reflective, and easy to adjust on most dogs. On small, thin-bodied dogs, though, I’ve had trouble getting a snug fit from the Front Range. It’s also missing the handle for helping a dog over obstacles. The Ruffwear Front Range is durable and comfy, but not quite as secure as the superior Hurtta.
Gooby Escape Free Sport Harness: This is a good option for little dogs that have the tendency to slip out of their harness. Made specifically for small pups, it is a padded neoprene harness with four points of adjustability and a martingale at the back where the leash connects, which tightens up if your dog tries to back out of the vest. The Gooby Escape Free comes in three small-dog sizes and five vivid colors plus black.
What style of harness is best for your dog?
Not all dog harnesses are created equal. While a traditional harness that clips to a leash at the spine is a great option for dogs who stick close when they walk, it’ll make your job harder if you’ve got a dog who pulls. And if you’ve got a dog that already walks nicely on leash, a harness that clips at the chest may not be the ideal fit for your outdoor adventures. Choosing the right harness can make life a whole lot easier for both you and your dog.
Dog harnesses generally fall into three major categories:
Harnesses that clip to a leash at the front of the chest are best for dogs that pull. Unlike a traditional harness that attaches to a leash at a dog’s powerful back, a front-clip harness puts the walker ahead of the dog. When the dog tries to pull, they feel the pressure from the leash leading them in a different direction. In order to continue forward, they must slow down. While some dogs are still able to pull through a front-clip harness, it should, at the very least, decrease their force, making walks more enjoyable for you both. And while this harness can vastly improve your everyday walks with almost no effort, it’s not actually teaching your dog what you want. For that, you’ll need to use tried-and-tested positive reinforcement training methods rooted in science.
These harnesses traditionally clip at the back, either close to the shoulders or farther down the spine, and this is what you’ll find with the majority of harnesses on the market. Walking a dog in a back-clip harness doesn’t just remove pressure from around the neck, it distributes it more evenly around the dog’s body for a more comfortable walk. If you have a dog that pulls, though, you want to avoid using a back-clip harness. It’s likely to cause discomfort for both you and your dog because the pressure on the leash activates their opposition reflex, causing them to pull harder instead of slow down.
Harnesses in the back-clip category come in a wider variety of design options than front-clip harnesses. What works best for your dog will depend on their individual body type and the adventures they prefer. A dog that participates in a lot of hiking and backpacking, for example, will appreciate a comfortable, padded harness that doesn’t chafe whereas a slow-moving senior may do better in a lightweight vest that’s easy to slip on and off.
In recent years, manufacturers have begun offering more versatile harnesses that can clip to a leash at both the chest and the back. These dual-option harnesses are ideal for guardians who may need more control in some environments or who are actively training their dog to walk without pulling on leash. A high-quality front-and-back clip harness should be able to keep up with your dog from adolescence through old age without skipping a beat.