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Dog Poop Bags: A Beginner's Guide

Updated on November 7, 2012

Owning a dog can be a life-changing experience. Dogs bring companionship and joy to your life, but dog ownership isn't just about having fun - it also involves new responsibilities. Most new dog owners realize they will need to feed their dog, provide regular exercise and ensure they are healthy with annual trips to the vet. But one thing many dog owners overlook is the importance of using dog poop bags.

What are Poop Bags?

Poop bags are small plastic bags designed expressly for the purpose of picking up and disposing of dog waste. They are available in a wide variety of colors, scents and sizes. Some come on a roll, others have handles. Many can be carried in a specially-designed poop bag holder or dispenser that attaches to your dog's leash or your belt so they're easy to grab when you're out on a walk.

Some people think poop bags are unnecessary. Instead, they re-purpose plastic bags from groceries or newspapers, believing this is a great method of "recycling". But in reality, these plastic bags are not the ideal choice for disposing of dog poop because they can take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill.

Why Use Poop Bags?

There are several reasons to use poop bags, the most important of which is that dog poop is unsanitary. Many people believe that because it's natural, dog poop doesn't pose a health risk. Unfortunately this isn't true. Not only can dog poop carry worms and bacteria that is harmful to humans and other dogs, it washes into storm drains and eventually makes its way to local waterways such as rivers or the ocean. Dog poop isn't a natural form of fertilizer because it hasn't been cleaned or sterilized, and children can become sick from touching it.

Beyond the health risk that dog poop poses, it's also an eyesore in any neighborhood. Homeowners and apartment landlords invest money and time keeping their lawns clean and neat to maintain their property values. Every time a dog poops on their property and the owner elects not to pick it up, a homeowner or landlord gets upset. Dog poop can cause tension and even hostilities amongst neighbors, so it's best to be a responsible dog owner and clean up after your pooch!

Don't forget to take your poop bag with you!

Are Poop Bags Eco-Friendly?

Nearly all poop bags are eco-friendly, but the speed at which they break down in a landfill depends on the specific type of bag you buy. Some bags labeled "biodegradable" do decompose faster than a regular plastic bag, but they may not meet all standards for what can be labeled a biodegradable product. For example, California's SB1749 requires any poop bags labeled as "biodegradable" to be manufactured from corn starch instead of traditional plastic. These corn starch bags are often labeled as "compostable" and break down within a few weeks in a landfill situation. Whichever type of dog poop bags you choose, you can be assured that they will decompose faster than any bag your groceries came in.

Where Can I Buy Poop Bags?

Poop bags are available in most pet stores and readily available online. You can even find them at big box stores and websites like Some websites, like, offer automatic monthly shipments of dog poop bags so you never run out. Depending on the type and quantity you buy, prices range from about $7 to $15. Purchasing poop bags has become so easy and affordable over the past few years, dog owners shouldn't have any problems incorporating them into their daily dog walking routine.

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    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Every dog owner should curb their dog's poop. Good hub, very informative for all dog owners.