Dog Poop Disposal – Where Do You Put Yours?

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Dog Poop Disposal Guide

It’s estimated that there were over 89 million pet dogs living in the USA in 2017. With every dog pooping two or three times a day, that is a whole lot of dog poop.

And it has to go somewhere!

When I was a kid, in the 1960s dog poop on sidewalks and pavements was a common sight.

Traffic volumes were lower.

Dogs were allowed to roam freely around towns and villages.

Dogs were everywhere

And they pooped wherever they felt like it.

Why didn’t people pick up poop?

Pretty much no-one would have dreamt of picking up a piece of dog poop in 1960.

Touching dog poop was considered disgusting

Anyone doing so would have been widely regarded as mad or depraved.

Many a family outing was punctuated by angry parents scraping dog mess from their childrens’ shoes.

Over the next two decades, the slow trend towards taking responsibility for what comes out of our dog’s behinds began.

Starting with a campaign to encourage people to step off the sidewalk and ensure that their dogs pooped in the street, not on the pavement where people tread.

That campaign was not very successful.

And nowadays the advice has moved on. We are all asked to pick up after our dogs and take their poop to a convenient waste disposal point

The problem isn’t completely solved. But with fewer dogs allowed to roam the streets, and many people now picking up after their dogs, most older folk would agree that modern sidewalks are cleaner than those of their youth

Collecting poop isn’t a great job though is it? There was huge resistance from dog owners when they were first asked to do this.

No-one enjoys it. And a great many devices have been invented to try to make the job easier.

Where to throw that poop bag!

We are often unsure of where to put that poop bag once it contains its aromatic parcel. In some locations dog poop bins are provided. But they tend to be few and far between

Sometimes we may be tempted to drop it in the nearest trash can.

Living at the entrance to a popular dog walking area, my own trash bin is often used this way by passing strangers.

I’m okay with this but I know that some of you are not. It’s quite an interesting debate so feel free to add your own views in the comments box below!

In today’s article we are going to look at dog poop disposal in some detail.

We’ll look at several issues

  • at why effective poop disposal is so important
  • at the legal requirements now placed on dog owners
  • at how we can motivate ourselves and others to help keep our highways and recreational sites free from dog poop
  • at the different methods available to us.

We also review a number of poop disposal systems – both at home and out walking

Why pick up dog poop?

Most of us can see the sense in picking up dog poop on pavements. After all, no-one likes to tread in it.

But what about large open spaces? Surely this is a natural substance and will just ‘rot down’ without causing anyone a problem.

Won’t it?

Well it seems that dog poop is a much bigger problem than many of us might think. And not just in our streets.

Diseases carried in dog poop

Dogs are known to be associated with up to sixty diseases that can be passed on to human beings

And apparently we are not making a very good job of reducing the risk of infection

A study published in 2009 suggests that dogs are the largest contributors of enterococci on the beach. Enteroccoci are bacteria that cause a range of diseases from minor urinary infections to major illnesses like meningitis

Dog poop is a major source of waterborne pathogens such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.  So allowing dogs to poop in or near streams, or rivers (often popular dog walking areas) is a really bad plan.

Dog feces also carry parasites such as intestinal worms  that can infect people.  Children are especially vulnerable because they play in the dirt and have poor hand hygiene.

Of course, it isn’t just humans that are at risk from dog poop. Other dogs are too. And the chances of your dog picking up parasites or other nasty infections from the dog park are significant.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the park – we have to find a balance that takes into account a dog’s need for social interaction and exercise.

But it is food for thought when it comes to being a bit more self disciplined about picking up poops and disposing of them safely, even in open spaces.

Laws on disposing of dog poop

Laws on disposing of dog poop have become increasingly strict over the last few decades

In the UK, the dog fouling act of 1996 was created, which made it a criminal offence to fail to pick up after your dog

But the campaign to clean up the city sidewalks, and make poop illegal began long before then. New York City is credited with being the first city to implement a poop scoop Law in 1978.

The regulations are part of health code article 161.

Long before 1978 there was already a law against leaving offensive animal matter in public places, but it wasn’t specifically aimed at dog owners, and was largely ignored.

There was substantial opposition to the new pooper scooper laws and great resistance among dog owners.

But gradually other big cities soon followed NYC’s lead and pooper scooper laws are now in force in many modern towns and cities around the world.

Current dog poop disposal laws vary from region to region, but in most areas they are quite strict and breach of the rules carries a financial penalty.

Fines in the USA vary but can be in the region of hundreds of dollars.

Failure to pay an ‘on-the-spot’ fine in the UK  can lead to court prosecution and a much heavier fine of £1000 – that’s about $1600

Enforcing dog poop disposal laws

Making laws is one thing. Enforcing them is another. And local authorities have always found it challenging to catch those invading the poop scoop regulations.

Video surveillance can help, and in some locations, authorities are even using DNA to track down the culprits!

Enforcement is expensive though, as well as challenging.

Perhaps the greatest weapon we now have in the war against poop is a change in public attitudes. Those who don’t pick up are now often shamed into doing so by other dog owners.

After all, we all stand to benefit from cleaner beaches, parks and waterways

Once we have been convinced that scooping poop is the right thing to do, we need to think about the best way to do it. And that’s what the next section is about. Let’s look at dog poop pick up first

Dog poop pick up – the best way

Before you dispose of your dog’s poop, you need to get it into that dog waste bag. And many people have looked at ways to make this a less repugnant task

In the US patent office you can find dozens of fascinating inventions for collecting and disposing of dog poop.

A few of them have been successful and are now available to dog owners. But they do tend to be quite bulky and not the sort of thing you are likely to want to carry around with you on a walk.

When you are out in public with your dog, the simplest approach really, is to grit your teeth, put your hand inside the poop bag, pick up the offending object and turn the bag inside out.

You shouldn’t ever have to touch dog waste with your bare hand.

Double bagging might make you feel a bit happier about putting the parcel in your pocket for the journey home!

If you don’t fancy putting the newly filled poop bag in your coat pocket consider taking a hands free poop bag holder with you

Urban Pets make a popular one that you can order from Amazon

Once that poop is safely in the bag, we need to think about how to dispose of dog poop.

What is the best way, and are there any rules and regulations governing dog poop disposal? Let’s have a look!

Dog poop disposal methods

You wouldn’t be the first to wonder what to do with dog poop.

The three main methods of dog poop disposal are

  • Flushing
  • Trashing
  • Composting

But many of us feel a bit uncomfortable with the either of the first two options.

In the USA government departments often recommend flushing pet waste down the toilet. Or placing it in a plastic bag and putting in the garbage. So these are reasonable options.

Especially if you don’t have room in your yard for a composter.

If you intend to flush your dog’s poop, make sure that there is no debris (leaves, sticks, stones) stuck to them!

Your sanitary system won’t be able to cope.

And never put standard poop bags down the toilet. Unless you really enjoy your plumber’s company.

It is now possible to buy flushable poop bags. They are called Flush Puppies

Flush Puppies can be flushed down the toilet or placed in a composter

Dog poop disposal in public spaces

When you are out and about with your dog you have a couple of options.

You can either dispose of your dog’s poop in a trash can, or take it home with you and flush it down your toilet when you get back.

You’ll need to get it into a bag first! (See Dog poop pick up above) We have a review of dog poop bags here: The Best Dog Poop Bags.

Dog waste bags can be quite strongly scented and some people prefer to use baby diaper sacks

dog waste disposal pointOnce it’s in the bag, you need to get rid of the bag itself

Designated dog waste trash cans can be found in some areas, but are often few and far between.  So many people resort to throwing their poop bag in someone else’s trash (more of that below)

Or resign themselves to taking it home

Dog poop disposal at home

It’s a good idea to collect up your dog’s poop from your yard or garden on a daily basis.

Even if you have a really large yard.

Regular collection helps to reduce the risk of visiting dogs or children picking up infections, and also helps to reduce the risk of your dog becoming a poop eater!

A much more common problem than most folks realise

Poop scooping devices are useful for picking up poop at home.  At the bare minimum you need a receptacle and something to push the poop with.

You can use gardening tools such as a shovel (in one hand) and a hoe or something similar with a long handle (in the other) but a commercial pooper scooper can be really helpful

Jaw clamp scoopers like this one are ideal.

It will pick up poop from most surfaces and folds for easy storage

Dog poop compost

Turning dog poop into compost has great appeal. You can build your own composter or buy a commercially made one. The principle is the same.

You need a large waterproof container with sturdy sides a lid, and plenty of holes in the bottom (or no bottom at all)

Dig a big hole, bigger than the container and place some stones in the bottom of the hole to help drainage.

Put the container into the hole, fill in the gaps, and put your dog poop in there when you have picked it up. Add some water and digester enzymes from time to time

And away you go

One of the most popular commercial dog poop composters is the Doggie Dooley Large Pyramid Dog Toilet

The name can be a bit misleading – you don’t teach your dog to poop in the Doggie Dooley, but you do collect up the poops and tip them in there

Dog Poop and Wormeries

Some people like to put dog poop in a wormery. If you do this, don’t include dog poop from dogs that have been wormed recently.

And don’t use the compost that the wormery creates for anything you are going to eat. Just put it on your flowerbeds

dog poop disposal - Caring for your dogDog poop disposal summary

Attitudes to dog poop disposal have changed dramatically in the last few decades.

This is a good thing because dogs are more than ever part of our families and our communities.

And we need to make sure that association is beneficial to all concerned.

That means minimizing any health risks that may arise from bringing dogs into our lives.

Picking up poop isn’t fun, but it is an important and necessary job. Scented poop bags and poop bag holders can help make it a more pleasant task. At home you can get some handy gadgets to make your yard depooping easier, and keep your surroundings smelling sweet.

Why not let other readers know which tools and methods you have found helpful?

Before we go – back to that debate I mentioned earlier. Should you ever throw your dog’s poop bag in someone else’s trash can? What do you think?

References and further reading

 
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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I have two small dogs so I use the poop bags and bought a diaper genie for our garage. Our garbage is picked up twice a week so I empty the diaper genie the night before garbage pick up. It keeps my garbage can from having that horrible smell.

  2. I try to pick up every poop that our dog has in a disposable bag while out on walks, obviously some get missed when the dog is in the undergrowth somewhere but at least it is away from the trail where walkers are. The poop bag will then be discarded in a bin destined for a landfill, often there are bins for this purpose at the entrance to walking parks and such spaces, at home the same applies with our own bin that goes to the landfill. What irks me while on walks is when you see poop bags discarded along the trail, and sometimes hanging from a shrub or tree?

  3. I put knotted bags in my trash can and it stinks w flies around it. Trying to find disposal that won’t stink up the trash can — maybe doggy dooley.

  4. I have two dogs and I carry poop bags for walks. I dispose in my own trash bin. The method I use to pick up at home … I call ” poop patrol” I have latex gloves that I use for efficient picking up in my own yard. I have tried the pooper scoopers, not good results, shovel…way to heavy to use one hand to push into bag and other to hold the bag. Doggy Dooley…not always available for use in snow country..it being buried and all…. So I use my gloves. I get it picked up quickly, efficiently and to my liking… since I don’t like my dogs walking in it and then coming into the house. Everything gets wrapped up in bags…gloves and all.

  5. There is no way I’d put dog poop in somebody else’s bin. My dog = my bin.
    Thanks for the tips. I like the idea of the flushable bags

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