Let’s chat about one of the most glamorous parts of dog ownership. Poo and how you deal with it. At this point in the article, if you are a lucky owner who owns a magical dog that never needs to poop or make any kind of mess, you can stop reading. For the rest of us, let’s get the scoop on poop and ultimately look at some of the best poop bags on the market.
It doesn’t matter how cute the front end of your pooch is, there is going to be poo coming out of the other end. We don’t talk about it much and we have all developed quick, efficient ways of scooping up the mess with a minimum of fuss. Your dog will usually pick the worst possible time to go. Why are there always people around staring? Why does that one perfectly manicured lawn seem like a magnet to your dog? At these key moments in life, you need your trusty poop bag to work. A malfunction at this time could be disastrous.
Do you leave dog poop to break down and simply ‘go away’ in your back yard? Dog poop can contain a bunch of nasty things. Hookworms, parvo, salmonella and other parasites for a start. The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies dog poop as a pollutant. As it breaks down, rain washes it into water sources. You certainly would not want to leave it around anything growing that you might eat. Cow poop is a fertilizer. Not dog poop. Think twice about leaving it on your lawn.
So, we need to clean up after our dogs. I know that you are not ‘that person’ who leaves poop piles for others to discover. I know you take this seriously. We have all seen people using grocery bags, clear produce bags, tissues, cloth and many other inventions to scoop poop, but I know that isn’t you. You take your scooping seriously. Let’s look at the best products.
What makes a good poo bag?
Let’s face it, there is one quality which we need. The bag needs to be strong enough every time, in all weather conditions to not tear. Without going into detail, I am sure we can all recall a time when the product failed. That ‘wonderful’ moment when your fingers sank into something that was not right. You are either a person who chooses to swear and curse at that moment, or the type that keeps a stiff upper lip, walks on and pretends nothing has happened. Either way, you don’t ever want it to happen again.
Ease of opening is key. As we stated earlier, the key is speed. Bend down, scoop, tie and move on. You do not need to be taking 5 minutes to open the top of a cheap bag. How about the ties? A good bag should be easy to tie. First, this keeps the odour in, secondly it means a quick exit for you. You know you are being stared at by the owner of the lawn, you need to hustle and move on.
Thickness is important. Once again, without going into too many details, the product you are scooping has texture and warmth. Both of which you don’t want to feel. How about colour or transparency of the bag? It might be a pretty colour, or be not as noticeable when you carry it around unused, but once full, do you really want to study the details for the rest of your walk (with your best dog walking wellies on)? I think not.
We are becoming more and more aware of how products we use affect the environment. If it is important to you to look for eco-friendly products, read the labels but exercise caution. The two words regularly used on dog poop bags are biodegradable and compostable.
The term biodegradable means that over time, the product will break down into components. If you think about it, almost everything is biodegradable over time. That does not mean that the components at the end of the process are harmless.
Compostable is the interesting term. Something needs to break down by microbial digestion to be truly compostable, not simply break down into components. To achieve this, you would need certain closed in conditions to let heat, water and oxygen do their thing. Your local tip or landfill does not achieve these conditions. So, if your doggy poop bag claims to be compostable, it is if disposed of under certain conditions. However, if it is simply part of the garbage that ends up in landfill, this will not happen. A slight ‘stretching’ of the truth you might say. In the U.S, regulatory bodies have warned manufacturers against using this term.
Products that do state they are compostable are probably more eco friendly than those who don’t, but it helps to be aware of what the terms mean when reading the product’s list of materials used in manufacturing.
Which to buy?
Overall top choice.
In studies (yes, there have been lots of testing and studies!!), the winner seems to be AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags. They seem to check off most of the needs that we talked about already. Sturdy, tear resistant. Opaque and easy to open. They achieve the basics. Reliable, you can’t smell the ‘business’ and you can’t see the ‘business’. They come with a dispenser if you need one and are clearly marked so you can see which end to open. They separate easily. Their sturdiness also helps when you need to scoop from pavement or concrete if your furry friend chooses that spot to go. A good price and you can order large quantities.
More eco friendly?
A solid second choice which might appeal to the more eco friendly scooper are Pets N Bags Dog Waste Bags. They state that they are compostable. They feel thicker than most other bags. Great at hiding odour, easy to see which way up due to the printed logo on each bag. They will work out around 3 x as expensive as the first choice, Amazon bags. A word of caution – the sticker on the roll somehow always seems to rip the first bag. Watch out for the famous ‘warm fingers’ moment if you choose to use that first bag!
Big dog – giant poop.
If your furry friend is a big animal, or simply poops like a large, African mammal, you will need bigger, stronger bags. Best bet seems to be Pogi’s Poop Bags (with easy tie handles). The key advantage is ease of tying if the load is large. The handles work great for this. However, they will cost twice as much as regular bags and they come folded which makes it awkward to dispense or separate them at times. You still may feel that these trade-offs are worth it when dealing with a heavy load.
Bags on Board Economy Pack Refill Bags are cheap and light making them easy to unwrap and separate. However, cheap means lighter material and you can certainly feel what you scoop.
So Phresh Pick up Bags have great designs if you are worried about looking good when you swing your baggie. However, the down side is having a product that is not that tough. The bag might look good and you might enjoy making a fashion statement, but make sure you are close to a dog bin as you will enjoy the smell and texture as you walk.
So, there it is. The scoop on poop bags. The opinions are based on general needs and we do appreciate that your dog (and its poop) can be any size. Your furry best friend probably picks the worst spots to poop just to text your patience. A runny poop on a concrete sidewalk is a different challenge to a solid deposit on a nice lawn. Good luck!