Whether you are a dog owner or a dog walker, you have experienced the dirty, but necessary, job of cleaning up after your pup. We all know how yards can turn into minefields…one unlucky shoe at a time! Luckily, there is a wide range of products on the market to help you clean up dog poop. Choosing the right product for you and your dog can often seem like a trial and error process. Unfortunately this process can easily end up costing you valuable money and time. It almost seems impossible to find a waste removing product that fits your lifestyle instead of hindering it. Well, that is until now! To help you find just the right method of cleaning up Fido’s waste, we will take you through the key factors you should consider and suggest great dog poop removal products along the way.
Table of Contents
Why Bother Cleaning Up Dog Poop?
Dog waste is a natural product of your dog’s digestive process but it can pose key hazards to the health of both humans and the environment. When it is left unattended, dog feces can enter nearby water sources, adding unwanted bacteria and nutrients. They are definitely not invited to the pool party! Pet MD advises that it is best to dispose of your pup’s waste through either flushing it down the toilet or putting it in the garbage using a biodegradable bag. However, this does not mean flush the entire waste bag down the toilet. This can cause some unfortunate and expensive plumbing problems!
Too many people’s surprise your dog’s waste is not actually safe for you to directly touch. After all, pet feces can contain ringworm, roundworm, salmonella, and other harmful diseases. If you do come into contact with these diseases they will transfer to you and make you ill. That is why choosing a method of clean-up that keeps your hands away from direct contact becomes an important factor. Do not worry, you do not need to search for a hazmat suit on Amazon! After finding your preferred method of clean-up, we always suggest keeping antibacterial wipes on hand (just in case). That way, if anything does touch your skin, you’re ready to destroy the bacteria in a flash.
2. It is the Law
In 1978, New York City was the first to pass what is known as a “pooper scooper law.” It is a piece of legislation that requires an owner to pick up after their dog. The main purpose of this law is to keep a city or province clear of waste. Not only does this ensure happy citizens (with their shoes now clean), but it also protects against the harmful worms and bacteria commonly found in the feces. If someone is caught not picking up after their dog they can actually receive a ticket. As of 2018, these tickets comes with a hefty fine of $250. Now do not think you can just hide behind Mr. Fluffy! People, like the employees at the New York Department of Health or Sanitation, are on the lookout.
Recommended Dog Waste Clean Up Methods
Waste bags are the perfect option if you are always on-the-go. The bags are small and portable allowing you to easily throw some in your bag or pocket. Although, many companies actually produce waste bag holders that can clip right onto your wrist or leash. With either of these options, the bags will be right by your side and easily available at the next pit-stop. To minimize the dirty-hand risk slip the bag over your hand and grab the waste with your covered hand. Then remove that bag by turning it inside out and toss it in the proper disposal. Now, while you walk in the park picking up after your dog will be… A WALK IN THE PARK!
Pro Recommendation: Earth Rated Waste Bags
The Earth Rated company is one that solely focuses on dog waste bags and expresses true care for the environment. To keep things green they make all of their product packaging and interior rolls from recycled materials. Not only do they protect the environment but also your hands and nose as well. With a 100% leak-proof guarantee you will not have to worry about getting any mess on your hands. Another thing it stops from leaking out is the unpleasant smell. Since they offer either unscented or lavender scented bags the bad odor will be a thing of the past. No longer will you have to try holding your nose and the leash at the same time!
Instead of just having one type of bag the Earth Rated Company actually has several specialized variations. When it comes to sizes they have an extra large and mini version. Although that is not where the changes end. They also offer one with handles and even one that is compostable. With all these different variations an owner can truly tailor their waste bag experience!
Find out more about the Earth Rated company and some of the different products they offer in our Earth Rated Waste Bags in-depth review.
Pooper scoopers have more elements than just a witty name. These gadgets are best used for yard clean-up so you are not trying to juggle the equipment while holding onto a leash. Some of these scoopers require two hands while others are designed to only need one. Their basic design allows you to pick up the waste with a claw. This allows you to get the waste from the ground to the bag with no close contact. Pooper scoopers with longer handles enable you to clean in an upright position. This is perfect for seniors, people with back problems, or those who just want to reduce the amount of effort involved in dog waste removal. A pooper scooper a day keeps those back issues at bay!
Pro Recommendation: Arm and Hammer Claw Scoop
Arm and Hammer has been around for quite some time and are best known for cleaning products like baking soda. What you might be surprised to know is that they have extended their expertise to pet care cleaning products in tag-team with other well-known pet companies (like Petmate); one of which is the Arm and Hammer Claw Scoop.
Like many pooper scoopers, this one is designed for easy one-handed use. All you have to do is squeeze the handle to open the extended claws at the base. Now, the company states that it can be used on all surfaces. This is true, it will work to pick up piles of poo on gravel, dirt, and even grass. However, there is a condition. Pooper scoopers designed with an opening jaw tend not to work on longer grass. Instead it will just get the grass caught up.
But, we love this pooper scooper for its ease of use. Not only will it keep your clean hands a safe distance away from the feces, but its handle can extend up to 27” long. This means that you will not have to be stuck with one height and won’t have to painfully bend over every time you clean up. It also folds up for easy storage. In terms of durability, there will always be a chance with one-handed pooper scoopers that a spring may come loose. However, this one is clearly built strong with thick plastic and is a great bet to last quite awhile.
If this one doesn’t fit the bill for you, you can find more fantastic pooper scooper ideas at the Top 10 Pooper Scoopers.
Waste Terminating Powder
Waste terminating powder is likely the lesser-known product of the three. However, since this method requires no “pickup” at all it is definitely one to consider. The powder is made with waste-digesting organisms that speed up nature’s process. Like a time machine for waste! Probably not what Marty McFly had in mind! These organisms break up the waste into a liquid form which will eventually sink into the ground. While this seems like a miracle method we must warn you that it does require some patience. Of the three this method takes the longest with around 24 hours to liquefy the solids.
Pro Recommendation: Doggie Dooley 3116 Waste Terminator
With this powder from Doggie Dooley, you can not only eliminate the odors but the actual waste as well. This unique powder contains waste-digesting microorganisms that break down waste into liquid form. Then this liquid will easily soak into the ground disappearing before you know it. Just like paychecks (go figure)! With such powerful microorganisms at work, you may worry about the safety of your pets and plants. Though, there is no need to worry because they use non-toxic enzymes and bacteria to get the job done.
The powder works best in warmer weather but that does not mean it will not work in colder temperatures. When it is a bit chilly just add hot water on top to aid in the breakdown process. Some consumers have actually commented that this can help speed up the process. If you do find this powder to be your preferred method of waste disposal please be careful to keep it away from drinking sources.
How to Choose the Best Method: Key Factors
1. Size Matters
Lets face it, the size of your furbaby will definitely affect the size and amount of their waste. While your tiny teacup may produce cute little droppings, your neighbor’s bull mastiff is over there killing the grass! Since the size of waste can range so drastically, the best clean up method required will range as well. This is why we suggest sizing up your pup before choosing a method. It is important to make sure a waste bag or scooper is large and sturdy enough to hold the waste. If it is not it the bag could break or you could be making multiple trips with the scooper. In a general sense, the methods that best pair with your size of dog are:
- Small dog: Waste Bags
- Medium dog: Pooper Scooper
- Large dog: Waste Powder
However, choosing the most convenient method will also depend on other factors like location. Obviously, if you’re at the park, using a waste terminating powder is going to get you some side-eye. Keep reading in order to account for more factors.
2. Time Management
Another factor that can help determine your best method of waste clean-up includes time. This is not how quickly or often they go, but how long you would like to spend cleaning it up. Some owners may be able to take their time while others have only a few minutes before work or they’re on-the-go during a run with their pooch. Additionally, owners looking to clean their backyard have a different time frame than a dog-walker who is out and about with 5 dogs.For a general idea of the best waste removal method depending on time:
- Takes less time: waste bags
- Takes more time: waste powder, pooper scooper
The amount of dog poop you are looking to remove is also going to affect your time spent doing so. If it’s just one land-mine during a walk, it will only take a minute to clean-up. However, cleaning through an entire back-yard is a different story. Waste terminating powder is best for clearing a larger area because it helps tackle multiple messes at once.
Finally, consider how much you would like to spend on your waste removal product. The simple dog waste bags are the cheapest route at first. However, overtime you will have to inevitably purchase more dog waste bags as they run out. After all, more purchases equal more pay! Next up is the pooper scoopers because they cost more than waste bags, but you will only purchase one (give or take). Then, in last with the highest cost: waste terminating powder. As with the bags, owning more dogs means purchasing more powder. Although, with no need for pickup, the luxury of waste terminating powder might be worth looking into.
The budget may depend on the time you have and the size of the waste but here is the general cost breakdown:
- Dog Waste Bag: $ (but can reach $$ if bags are constantly bought)
- Pooper Scooper: $$
- Waste Terminating Powder: $$$
There are so many different factors that lead you to one method over the other. Although, with so many benefits provided by each option there is really no way to lose. You may find it a bit odd putting so much thought into waste pickup. However, with the right method not only will you have a clean yard but you will also save time and money. There is no need to waste things on well… waste. So, take advantage of what all these methods have to offer because it can really change how often you have to change your shoes!