Today I’d like to talk about a topic that dog owners most likely don’t think about that often: doggie poop bags or waste bags. Not every dog owner needs to carry doggy poop bags with them, but those of us without yards and living in a city certainly do. Even if you have a yard where your dog can “roam” freely, chances are you travel to places that require you to scoop the poop.
Most apartment complexes ask you to pick up after your dog using doodie bags so that it keeps the area more tidy. Dog parks also ask you to follow the same instructions so that other owners don’t risk stepping in a surprise. It’s a courtesy thing. Understandably, nobody wants to go in unarmed. Enter the dog waste bag.
The first important distinction to make is that dog bags fulfill a different need than the traditional “pooper scooper”. While the scooper is great for those who want to periodically clean up their back yards, it is not exactly ideal for an owner to carry around for single usage. Waste bags offer a portable method for picking up after your dog.
Sure, it may seem like they all serve the same main purpose, and honestly, they do. However, there are many different types of waste bags out there. So if you have to choose, you may as well choose right. Not all doggy poop bags are good for the environment and they aren't all made of the same quality either.
I’ll be the first to admit that I used to just head towards the shelves looking for the cheapest available option. I cannot even give you a brand name for them. The truth is that not all dog waste bags provide the same barrier between your hand and the objective. No one wants dog feces on their hand! Also, as I’ve come to find out, there are bags out there that are made of different materials with different ends in mind.
Doggy Poop Bags
If you've ever seen a dog poop and then watched the owner skulk away, you can understand the rage of most pet parents when they watch a heinous action like this take place. It is these shameful dog owners that give the rest of us a bad name. Do a little research, purpose some top quality doggy poop bags, and do your part to keep our parks and public areas dog poop free.
Disposable Waste Bags
First, and most obvious, are the disposable waste bags. This category is seen as the traditional dog waste bag, meant to do the job and then be discarded in a proper waste bin. There is no glamour involved here.
There are many different brands here, ranging from generic bags to self-proclaimed “high quality” bags. These bags are made of simple plastic. The thickness of the material will, of course, depend on the price that you’re willing to pay. Trust me on this one – the thicker the better.
Some of the higher priced doggy poop bags even boast handles or fancy ties. However, for the sake of utility, any of the disposable bags that I’ve tried have all performed very similarly. Occasionally the cheaper bags will rip, but hopefully they do so as soon as you put them on and not after you've already picked up the waste.
If the disposable plastic bag route is for you, then I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over deciding which bags to buy. It largely comes down to preference.
Biodegradable Waste Bags
The next type of waste bag is a sensible alternative to the traditional disposable bag. If you’re into composting, then you may prefer to use a biodegradable doggie poop bag. There are a few different brands out there, including BioBag, PoopBags, and Earth Rated to name a few.
Biodegradable bags are typically made of resin derived from plants, which makes them all natural. Since they’re all natural, they are also compostable. The idea behind composting is that biodegradable items can be broken down by microorganisms. Once broken down, the compost material can actually be used as an effective fertilizer.
So if you have a compost pile, or are looking to start one, these biodegradable bags have been shown to be compostable. While these earth-friendly doggy poop bags are a little pricier than the traditional plastic bags, they do provide a benefit to dog owners who are environmentally conscious.
Flushable (Yes, Flushable) Waste Bags
To my surprise, there are also quite a few brands of flushable waste bags out there. The most popular ones are Pogi's Poop Bags for dogs and the Flush Puppies flushable doodie bags. Initially, I struggled to find the benefit of the flushable dog bag.
However, after a little digging, I was able to learn that pet waste houses some distinct bacteria that can be harmful if it makes its way into water runoff into storm drains and the like. These flushable brands make the case that the toilet is the most effective waste disposal system that we have, so we may as well use it for our dogs too.
I was also a bit skeptical that these things would be truly flushable. However, they seem to be made of PVA, which is a material that will, in fact, break down in water. So, if you’re the dog owner that is environmentally conscious but doesn’t have the means to make a compost pile, these may be right for you. You can find these for about the same price as your average biodegradable dog waste bags.
How Do You Choose?
As I mentioned earlier, there are all kinds of brands of doggy poop bags out there. While they all provide a way for owners to pick up after their dogs, they do actually offer some distinctive benefits. The disposable bags come in different thicknesses of plastic. Some have handles and tie-offs. Others come in various colors.
The biodegradable bags are made of plants and oils so that they can be broken down through composting. From what I’ve been able to find, there isn’t a whole lot of distinction between the different brands of biodegradable bags.
Finally, there are the flushable bags. These bags offer a way to avoid the trash can without the need for a compost pile. Made of PVA, these bags break down in water, giving you the ability to flush them down the toilet.
In terms of choosing which type of bags to buy, it all comes down to your priorities. Are you more environmentally conscious? Maybe you don’t want to throw your bags in the trash, but don’t have a compost pile. Or do you prefer the simple utility of the plastic disposable bags.
The differences between dog bags don’t really come in how effectively they do their job, but instead on what ultimately happens to the waste and what your personal preference is. Whichever type you choose, you can be assured by the peace of mind that you are being a responsible owner by picking up after your canine companion.