Find Out Your Pup’s Real Age With The Embark Dog Age Test

We put the test to the test 📝

Embark age test
Katy Brink/Matt Pickar

When a pup’s adopted, his real age is usually a complete mystery to his pet parents. But what if it didn’t have to be?

While you might be curious to know just for fun, it’s also helpful to know your dog’s age for health reasons — this way, you can give him the best care possible depending on which stage of life he’s in.

Enter the Embark Age Test. This product claims it can give you the calendar age of your dog, his estimated birthday and the stage of life he’s in.

So, with the help of two rescue pet parents at The Dodo, we decided to put the Embark Age Test for dogs to the test. Meet Sasha, a pit bull-Jindo mix, and Olive, a Maltese — aren’t they adorable?

Embark age test
Katy Brink
Embark age test
Matt Pickar

While testing, Sasha and Olive’s pet parents considered a few factors: the ease of administering the test as well as how comprehensive the results were.

Ready to celebrate your dog’s birthday? Keep reading to find out why the Embark Age Test has earned our official Paw of Approval!

Embark Dog Age Test

Why We Love It:

In addition to estimating your dog's age and birth date, Embark will send you nutrition, supplement and activity ideas to keep your pup healthy depending on what stage of life he's in. 

What is the Embark Age Test for dogs?

By analyzing the patterns on your dog’s DNA, Embark can estimate most dogs’ ages within five months in either direction (the science behind figuring out your dog’s age is pretty cool). The data will also reveal his estimated birth date, too — we weren’t kidding about the birthday party planning!

Embark will also offer nutrition and supplement recommendations based on his results, as well as activity ideas to keep your dog fit and active and tips for preventative health care.

How does the Embark Age Test for dogs work?

It’s actually pretty simple. First, you’ll want to activate your account with some information about yourself and your pup.

Then, swab the inside of your dog’s cheek and under his tongue for 30 to 60 seconds as you collect saliva (the swab and test tube are included). If you’re doing the test around mealtime, you’ll want to wait at least 30 minutes after your dog has eaten or been given a treat. Per the Embark website, “get that swab nice and slobbery!”

“Administering the swab to get her saliva/DNA was very easy,” Olive’s pet parent told The Dodo. “She didn't enjoy it, but she doesn't enjoy getting her teeth brushed either, and this was essentially a similar activity for her. But she tolerated it, and so there were no issues with the swab.”

Afterwards, you’ll shake the swab in the included tube 10 times, and then you’re done! Shipping is free within the United States, so just slip the tube in your Embark kit and drop it in any USPS mailbox for processing.

“I've used Embark breed tests before, and the Age Test was very similar,” Sasha’s mom told The Dodo. “The kit is well designed and easy to use, with a prepaid envelope for mailing. You're prompted to set up an account online that notifies you of the test's progress each step of the way, which is fun and builds suspense.”

You’ll receive your Embark test results within eight weeks.

How much does it cost?

You can find the Embark Age Test for dogs on the company’s website for $159, which is on par with other comparable dog DNA test kits (typically in the $100 to $150 range).

Pros and cons of the Embark Age Test

As mentioned above, we wanted to review the ease of taking the test and sending it in once completed, as well as how comprehensive the results were.

Here are the top pros and cons from our pet parent reviewers:


  • Easy to use — Instructions were easy to follow, and the collection process only took minutes.
  • Great communication — Embark was communicative throughout the entire process, sending updates indicating that they had received the sample, what stage the dogs’ tests were at and a realistic timeline for when to expect results.
  • The results — Extensive testing of dogs from a wide range of breeds and ages by Embark’s science team means the results are probably pretty accurate. The results were super comprehensive and came in a well-thought-out package, which includes his estimated age and birthdate, as well as nutrition and supplement recommendations. Both pet parents were impressed with their dogs’ results and the way they were presented.

“There's a sense of relief, clarity and reassurance in getting an official answer regarding my dog's age,” Olive’s pet parent said.


  • While our pet parent reviewers didn’t have much trouble with swabbing their dogs, it’s possible that this will be harder to complete if your dog doesn’t like when you poke around his mouth.

In truth, our pet parent reviewers were very happy with the process of using the Embark age test and their results, which is why the “cons” list is so brief.

“The Embark Age Test is top quality,” Sasha’s pet parent said. “I've used various breed tests, and Embark is by far the most comprehensive.”

Based on the assumptions they already had about their dogs’ ages, the results seemed accurate to our pet parents.

embark age test
Katy Brink
Embark age test
Matt Pickar

Is it worth buying?

As mentioned above, our pet parent reviewers are very pleased with their dogs’ results and the entire process — which makes awarding a Paw of Approval to the Embark Age Test for dogs an easy decision.

“I absolutely would recommend this product to friends who have rescued a dog,” Olive’s pet parent said. “There is now a sense of relief knowing her age — Embark even estimated a birth date, which we've decided is now her official birthday moving forward!”

Learning your dog’s age will help you make the best possible plans for his health moving forward — and, hey, maybe it’s an excuse to throw him a birthday party, too?

Embark Dog Age Test

Why We Love It:

In addition to estimating your dog's age and birth date, Embark will send you nutrition, supplement and activity ideas to keep your pup healthy depending on what stage of life he's in.
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