One inevitability of dog ownership is dealing with their poop. Whether you are methodically picking it up in the backyard or waiting patiently for them to finish before scooping it up on walks, you're going to need poop bags at some point or another. Owners who don't have backyards will need at least one or two poop bags a day for the rest of their dog's life. For an item that plays such an important role in dog ownership, poop bags don't often get the attention they deserve.
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A good poop bag can be the difference between walking home with a poop-smeared hand after accidentally puncturing a bag with your nail and easily scooping up your dog's poop and disposing of it with nary a whiff of bad odor. The best poop bag is the one that you don't have to think much about—both in terms of its ease of use and its environmental impact.
What to Consider When Purchasing Dog Poop Bags
Size: If you have a large dog, opt for large bags that aren't paper-thin so that you only need one bag per poop and don't wind up accidentally picking up the poop with a bare hand. And no matter the size of your dog, if you have large hands, be sure to get a bag that will accommodate them.
Ease of Use: Most poop bags come in rolls that can be placed inside poop bag holders and then torn off one by one. This is a fool-proof design except when bags are extremely thin or have faulty perforations. In both of these cases, you're likely to tear the bag itself, which is wasteful and might result in a messy hand. The other issue with poop bags is how easy they are to tie off. Bags that are too thick can be hard to tie, so the ideal bag is one that is neither too thin (to prevent tearing) nor too thick (making them hard to tie). Some bags come with handles, and these are great for people who aren't very dexterous or who frequently wear gloves or mittens while walking their dogs.
Odor: If you are sensitive to odors or need to carry your bags for a long time, investing in a bag that keeps odors contained is a good idea. Many bags are made of odor-reducing or eliminating materials. Many other bags are scented, which is a bit of a toss-up. Although some scents successfully mask poop odors, others do nothing more than produce eau de lavender-scented poop.
Environmental Impact: This is a tricky one. Many bags that claim to be eco-friendly are only somewhat so. The fact of the matter is that if the bag is made of any kind of plastic, even with additives to help it break down, the plastic will only break down into smaller pieces. Truly compostable bags are usually made of 100% plant components, and it can be difficult to find bags that are both sturdy and compostable. Finally, be aware that dog poop is not an entirely nontoxic material. It can contain bacteria and parasites that should not be used in compost that is made for growing vegetation that will be consumed. If you are going to compost your compostable poop bags, dispose of them in commercial composting sites rather than in your home compost bin.
1. Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags, 270-Count
Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags are a reliable option for dog owners who want to make sure they're not contributing to environmental waste. They are made of recyclable materials—including the core—with an Oxo-biodegradable plastic additive (EPI) that helps them break down into smaller pieces. While they are not technically biodegradable (to be labeled as such, they would need to fully break down in less than a year), these break apart the plastic in 24 months. Earth Rated bags are extremely tough and completely leak-proof. You can choose between lavender and unscented, but we prefer the unscented. Earth Rated also has a mini option for smaller dogs.
2. Gorilla Supply Dog Poop Waste Bags, 1,000-Count
Gorilla Supply Dog Poop Waste Bags are probably the most affordable waste bags you will find, and the quality does not disappoint. For less than $20, you get 1,000 bags, a dispenser, and a leash tie. The bags are thick and a good size (9 inches by 13 inches), so they are a great option for owners of large dogs. They are also BPA-free and made of a type of plastic that degrades in direct sunlight within 12 to 36 months. Given that direct sunlight is required, they are perhaps not the most environmentally friendly option, but their low price and sturdiness make them hard to beat otherwise.
3. Mutt Mitt Dog Waste Bags, 100-Count
Mutt Mitt Dog Waste Bags are fairly expensive, but they're a great option for small dog parks, large backyards with mainly outdoor dogs, and doggy daycare centers. They come in a mountable dispenser, so they're better suited to stationary use. They are two-ply, meaning they are super thick, and they're also pretty large (9 inches by 13 inches), so using them to clean up a large area—with multiple poops per bag—is a breeze. They are also puncture-resistant, which is why we recommend them for use in heavily wooded situations where sticks or thorns are prevalent. The company also recommends them for use as a portable water bowl, and their large size certainly makes that possible. However, they are not biodegradable or recyclable, so they will not break down over time.
4. Give A Sh!t Certified Compostable Dog Poop Bags, 240-Count
Give A Sh!t Compostable Dog Poop Bags are just that—fully compostable. Made of 100% botanical plant components and no plastics, they will fully biodegrade in 90 days. They are also fairly thick, which makes them durable compared to most compostable bags. They are easy to tear off and open, and that thickness means they contain odors well. Give A Sh!t is a company that walks the walk, as all their packaging is recyclable, and they donate 10% of their profits to the Soi Dog Foundation, which supports stray dogs and cats in Asia. They are not the cheapest bags, but for owners who want a reliable bag that will not contribute to environmental waste, these are a great option.
5. BioBag Pet Waste Bags, 180-Count
BioBag Pet Waste Bags are another great environmentally-friendly option. They are a bit flimsy (and on the small side), but that is the price you pay for a bag that is 100% compostable. They are made out of resins derived from plants, vegetable oils, and organic polymers. Unlike other pet waste bags whose degradation process involves breaking the plastics down into smaller pieces (meaning they never fully degrade), BioBags are entirely made of materials that microorganisms will eat, meaning you could throw them into any commercial composting facility with no problems. If you want to reduce your environmental impact by a lot, these are the way to go.
6. Amazon Basics Dog Poop Bags, 810-Count
These bags come at a great price, and the option to buy them in bulk saves you from having to frequently re-order. They also come with a dispenser and a carabiner to attach to a leash, bag, or belt. They are extremely sturdy while also being thin enough to easily tear off and open. In addition to unscented, you can pay a few bucks more for scents like Brazilian mango, cucumber, lavender, and talcum powder. All bags are made of polyethylene, which minimizes odor. These bags have an EPI additive that helps them break down, but that process takes a long time and breaks plastics down into smaller pieces rather than fully degrading them. Nonetheless, these are an affordable option that you can rely on always having in stock thanks to Amazon Prime.
7. Pogi's Poop Bags with Easy-Tie Handles, 300-Count
If you struggle to tie your bags off, Pogi's Poop Bags are the way to go. The bags come with handles that make tying them with gloves on or while trying to hold onto a rambunctious dog a breeze. That means they don't come in a roll but are meant to be taken out of the package one at a time, so they may not be suitable for long walks or frequent poopers. They come unscented or with a powder scent for the same price, and, although they are thin, they're also pretty durable. The handles make it possible to tie them to a leash if you want to free up your hands after pick-up. Pogi's Poop Bags will degrade in 18 months due to an EPI additive, but, like many poop bags, that only means the plastics become smaller plastics rather than fully breaking down. They are a good size (7 inches by 14.5 inches) but perhaps a bit narrow for large hands. Overall, these are worth it for the ease of use.