It's an established fact—everybody poops. And while parents of humans can largely wipe their hands of active duty somewhere past the potty-training stage, pet parents are in for a lifelong commitment of handling and disposing of their dog’s daily waste, after it sheepishly eliminates in a corner, and then blithely trots away.
Is it the most glamorous aspect of the person-pup relationship? Not especially. But it's one that owners nevertheless accrue impressively in-depth knowledge about including their own opinions on the all-important poop bag–like our personal favorite, the powder-scented Pogi Poop Bags with Easy Tie Handles(available at Amazon), which has the art of excrement collecting down to a science.
So when you're done dipping into your supply of salvaged, plastic shopping bags (which, no hate here, is a very frugal and eco-friendly stool-scooping method), we’re here to unload a steaming pile of dog waste baggie wisdom.
These are the best poop bags we tested ranked, in order:
Pogi's Poop Bags with Easy Tie Handles
Gorilla Supply Pet Poop Bags
Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags
Mutt Mitt Dog Waste Pick Up Bags
BioBag Standard Pet Waste Bags
AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags
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Our number one when it comes to number two, Pogi’s leak-free bags are extra roomy (clocking in at 7 x 14.5 inches), and eco-conscious—made from oxo-biodegradable plastic that breaks down in 18 months. Though you can purchase basic rolls, the handled variety makes for especially easy tying off and carrying. They don’t fit in an average dispenser, but they’re cleverly designed to dispense directly from the box (which, incidentally, is made from 100 percent recycled materials). And the clean powder scent is actually effective at masking the bag’s contents, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging around poop while wearing perfume.
Disposing of dog poop two to four times a day can get pretty pricey. But for merely $13.99 per 1,000 bags on Amazon, Gorilla can easily cover you for a year. And surprisingly for a budget option, their baggies meet our primary requirements and then some: They are sizable, easily dispensable, and flexible yet reasonably sturdy. They are also good for the environment—the rolls don’t have that wasteful paper core, and are made from BPA-free, photodegradable plastic that breaks down in sunlight in 12 to 36 months.
I’m Sarah Zorn, and I’ve reviewed dog products, developed pet-friendly recipes, and written animal rescue stories for outlets like Rachael Ray Every Day and Animal Fair magazine for almost 10 years. That means my 8-year-old hound mix, Rowdy, is truly living his best life, as official house recipe taster and product tester. Like most adoring pet parents, I strongly believe that everything about him is superior, including his impressively regular, daisy-scented bowel movements.
While most reviews involve us getting our hands dirty, the primary objective here was keeping them clean. So, to defend our readers against dreaded poop bag tears and pinholes, our subjects underwent rigorous testing processes. We took them on multiple walks with both small and large dogs, assessing numerous crucial factors: Were the bags easy to dispense? No matter if they’re wrapped in a roll, folded into sheets, or stuffed into handy pocket packs, instant access is key. Somehow, you always feel like you’re up against a clock when it comes to dookie scooping, with passersby peering at you judgmentally, and your pup straining at the leash.
The bag also needs to be ideally structured to perform a perfect pas de deux; enabling pet parents to effortlessly pull a bag free (without wrangling or ripping), open it (without clumsy fumbling, or resorting to licking their fingers), turn it inside out and hand palm the poop (roominess and flexibility is key), then flip it, tie it off and trash it, without rips, slips or leakage. A lot to ask of a little bag! Needless to say, durability is everything, and you might even consider special features like handles to streamline the proceedings or shine that turd via odor-obliterating scents. Then there’s the issue of biodegradability. We get that environmental friendliness isn’t top of everyone’s mind, but if you’re going to pepper your neighborhood with dog poop and plastic, why not look for bags that might be more eco-conscious than others.
One thing to note: In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning that biodegradable and compostable claims by dog waste bag manufacturers may be deceptive because it didn't qualify how long it would take for the bags to break down, and without qualification, consumers assume one year. Most of the eco-friendly bags we tested include longer terms for breakdowns, but the FTC also noted that most of these bags end up in landfills "where no plastic biodegrades in anywhere close to one year, if it biodegrades at all." In the same statement, the FTC warns that bags that label themselves as "compostable," may also be untrue as "dog waste is generally not safe to compost at home, and very few facilities accept this waste."
Unusually thick and durable for a brand touting its environmental friendliness, Earth Rated’s signature green baggies are made of recycled materials and contain an EPI additive that can help them break down into carbon dioxide and water within 24 months. Standard rolls (with recycled cores) come in unscented or lavender varieties, but we’d strongly suggest going fragrance free—sickly sweet florals combined with pungent poop is like putting lipstick on a pig.
Though most frequently found in public parks and dog runs, Mutt Mitts are also adaptable for at-home use—dispensed from mountable boxes that could potentially be installed in covered backyard areas and mudrooms. The two-ply, puncture-resistant pouches are super roomy, which means actual scooping is a breeze. But that uber-thickness makes them rather difficult to tie off; therefore, carry and dispense of. Unless you’re blessed with a generous plot of land, however, and a pack of Great Danes to poop on it, you’ll likely find the Mitt overkill when it comes to everyday fecal removal— especially considering the average sticker price is $28.99 for 200.
By far the most crunchy granola of dog poop purchases, eco-conscious consumers will doubtlessly be drawn to these bags, crafted from resin derived from vegetable oils, plants, and other organic polymers that can be composted with other organic waste, according to the manufacturer. The trade-off is that the material is exceedingly flimsy and predisposed to tearing, not to mention the standard size only reasonably accommodates teeny, Tootsie-Roll-size turds.
Technically, these bags do everything we asked them to do with doo-doo—they are sizable, flexible, durable, and affordable ($13.29 for 900). But the major detractor is they are just plain plastic with no special features. So if you’re feeling thrifty, you might as well stick with using old grocery bags, and do the environment a solid while you’re at it.
Sarah Zorn is a food writer, cookbook author, and product tester for Reviewed, Wirecutter and the Food Network. She regularly contributes to outlets such as Saveur, Esquire, and Civil Eats, and has very much passed her food obsessions down, as her beloved rescue hound, Rowdy, regularly deglazes his kibble bowl.
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