For argument’s sake, let’s assume that on average a dog poops 2 times a day. That’s 14 times a week; about 56 times a month or, 730 times a year. Multiply that 730 times by an estimated 89.7 million pet dogs in the United States. Now let’s use this survey’s results as a rough guide that says only 50% of dog owners pick up after theirs. Without any real data on who uses poop bags vs pooper scoopers or other options for picking up dog poop, arbitrarily speaking, let’s just say half use poop bags. So at those estimates, one would expect that 16.37 billion poop bags are used and thrown away every year. We sh*t you not!
Why You Should Pick Up Dog Poop?
Some owners that don’t pick up after their dogs are based on certain assumptions about dog poop that are actually misconceptions. Here are a few facts to help you realize that you need to clean up after your dog.
- It takes months for dog poop to fully breakdown.
- It is not fertilizer for your yard but rather it has the opposite effect due to the high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in dog poop.
- It adds harmful bacteria that can make their way into your local waterways or even into your drinking water.
How to Pick Up Dog Poop?
There are two main options for picking up dog or pet waste. One is a pooper scooper and the other is a pet waste bag. Pooper scoopers are ideal for at-home use, for those that have a backyard that they let their dogs use. They are not very practical for those on the go, however. For those that need a practical, grab-and-go option, poop bags are the way to go. Let’s review some options.
Dog Poop Bag Options
The pet litter, cleanup, and odor control market is estimated at $4 billion dollars so naturally, there are many options for poop bags. Here are some of those options:
If you are looking for a cheap inexpensive option, you can buy poop bags in bulk. You can get 2000 Waste Poop Bags (with leash clips and 2 dispensers included) for around 3 cents a bag. Peoples love these bags because they are durable, easy to grab a poop bag from the dispenser, and that the bags are sturdy. These poop bags should be thrown in the trash once a deposit has been made. These are certainly not expensive but they certainly are not a green option.
Yes, there are now scented options. You can get lavender-scented poop bags. People love these because of the scent but also due to their maneuverability, being leak-proof, and a good value for the money. Some of these scented options contain EPI additives (biodegradable), so in terms of them being green, they vary based on the brand or product line.
The scent itself is okay and these are fine but they are not for us. We found that a scented bag was a feature that provided no benefit to us.
Bags labeled biodegradable often contain EPI additives that help bags breakdown but they more so just breakdown into smaller pieces rather than fully biodegrade into the earth. These end up being just as bad and actually harder to remove from the environment than a standard bag that doesn’t breakdown. Look for biodegradable poop bags that don’t contain EPI additives.
In general, we loved biodegradable poop bags before we learned about the truly compostable option. The biodegradable options sound like the same thing as the compostable bags but in reality, most only biodegrade under the right circumstances. If they end up in a landfill covered by heaps of trash, they will not break down.
You can get poop bags that are made from vegetable-based corn starch that will breakdown. They are compostable, though the dog waste inside is typically not recommended to be placed in your compost bins. It’s not recommended for the same reason it doesn’t make for good fertilizer in your yard, the high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus it contains.
With that said, some people do in fact incorporate dog waste into their compost bins and so can you, but it needs to be done the right way. Essentially, you need to add the right amount of sawdust. It is suggested to use 2 parts dog waste to 1 part sawdust.
Best Poop Bags Option, Highly Recommended! You might think a vegetable-based bag will easily tear but we have not experienced that in the year we have used these. They seem to hold up just as well as other bags.
Flushable Poop Bags
A flushable poop bag sounds great but also not at the same time. Are they really safe to flush? Is it going to be a mess using them? This particular option allows you to flush the inside liner bag and then you dispose of the outer bag in the trash. Other reviewers have mixed feelings about these bags. Some love them for their convenience while others think they are cheaply made.
We have yet to try these but the reviews are hit or miss. The only thing we can say about these bags since we have to try them is that it’s not a 100% flushable option. You still have to throw away the outer part of the bag. It would be nice if at least the outer part was made out of compostable material. If you live in an apartment highrise and you have one of those artificial pet grass mats for your balcony, these might be perfect for you.
If you want to avoid plastics altogether, you can try these recycled paper bag kits. We say “kits” because you actually have to put these together like a tent using sticks and paper. Many other reviewers said that it was too much work and that they ended up just throwing out the sticks
We just could not get ourselves to buying these things. If you want to waste your money on these, go for it but they appear to be highly impractical and too much work. You might as well DIY these for free.
Reusing Plastic Bags
The vast majority of cities and townships in the United States don’t accept plastic bags in any of their recycling bins so most plastic bags just end up in landfills. however, you do have options for those plastic grocery bags. The first thing to note is that there are places you can take your plastic grocery bags to get recycled. Many grocery store chains accept them. If that is of interest to you, search for a location near you. The second option is to reuse your plastic bags, especially the ones that can’t be recycled. These items make for great poop bags. The best part being, they are free.
Are There Poop Bags for Small Dog Breeds?
Yes, there sure are. You can get compostable poop bags for small dogs. Reviewers like these because the bags are sturdy yet stretch for ease of use and that they are easy to dispense.
What to Do If You Don’t Have a Poop Bag
There is absolutely nothing worse and embarrassing than forgetting to refill your poop bag roll holder on your dog’s leash before you head out, or running out of bags mid-walk because your dog had to go not just once but twice, three times, or even more on your outing. You do have options though if you find yourself in this position, though you might need to be willing to get resourceful.
- The obvious first option is to ask another dog owner for a bag and then pay it forward the next time someone asks you to “borrow” a poop bag.
- If it’s winter and there is snow on the ground, you can grab a pile of snow around your dog’s poop and pick it up that way. Don’t be tempted to bury it. Poop doesn’t just go away because it gets covered. If anything, it preserves it for springtime and makes for a gross time of year for everyone.
- If there are leaves on the ground, you can certainly use the same technics as you could with a pile of snow. Again, don’t be tempted to cover the poop in leaves. No one likes to unknowingly step in dog poop and then having to figure out how to clean their shoes, or worse, tracking it back inside!
- If there are trash cans, recycling bins in the area, or even litter on the ground, see if you can find something that looks relatively clean like a plastic bag or newspaper. Obviously don’t go getting yourself sick or injured by rummaging through the trash.
- If you are close to home, you can go home, get a poop bag and then head back out to pick it up. It might be embarrassing if someone sees you not pick up your dog’s poop so feel free to let them know, “I’m going to get a bag, I’ll be back to pick this s**t up.”
- If all else fails, do the right thing by picking up some random dog poop the next time you are out. It for some reason feels grosser to pick up another dog’s poop but you owe to your neighbors to be “net dog poop on the ground neutral.”