The Best Dog Poop Bags | Reviews by Wirecutter

2022-10-18 17:21:12 By : Mr. Spring Shao

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We’ve added five additional models to the top of the Competition section that we considered but skipped testing because we’re confident in our picks. Package Film

After putting in 30 hours of research and testing, picking up dog waste both real and simulated, and interviewing professional dog walkers and dog transporters, we think AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags are the best dog poop bags for most people. They’re consistently easy to use, they do a great job concealing the sight and smell of your pup’s poop, and they’re very reasonably priced.

These bags are low-cost, easy to use, and durable, and they come in large enough quantities to make reordering a rarity.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

The AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags meet all the most important criteria for a good poop bag. They’re strong, thick enough to be reassuring and not let you feel what you’re picking up too closely—but they’re also thin enough to be easy to open and separate from the roll. We appreciate the large number of bags available in a single shipment, which cuts down on refill orders and also allows you to stash rolls in several places around your home.

A reasonably priced, somewhat greener option for disposing of dog waste. They feel thicker than many other compostable bags.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $13.

The one significant drawback of the AmazonBasics bags is that they’re non-biodegradable plastic, so if that matters to you, Pets N Bags Dog Waste Bags may be a better choice for you. Their plastic is compostable (more on that below), whereas the AmazonBasics plastic is not. Their transparent nature makes them less pleasant than the AmazonBasics bags to carry when they’re full, but they are available in more flexible quantities, in case you don't want 900 at a time. If purchasing compostable bags is a high priority for you, this is the way to go.

By far the easiest bag to tie, but that convenience comes with a few trade-offs.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

Tying a knot in a standard-size poop bag can be challenging when it’s particularly full, when you’re wearing gloves, or if you’re just not all that dextrous. Pogi’s Poop Bags with Easy-Tie Handles represent an excellent solution to that specific problem. The handles tie off swiftly, allowing you to seal the bag firmly shut with a minimum of effort. You can even use the handles to hold the bag on a leash or stroller to keep your hands free. But they come folded in a box, not on a roll, and they won’t fit in a bag dispenser. They’re thinner than other options, too, and they don’t contain odor nearly as well, which is perhaps why they’re available in different scents.

These bags are low-cost, easy to use, and durable, and they come in large enough quantities to make reordering a rarity.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

A reasonably priced, somewhat greener option for disposing of dog waste. They feel thicker than many other compostable bags.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $13.

By far the easiest bag to tie, but that convenience comes with a few trade-offs.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

I’m a journalist with 15 years of experience writing and editing product reviews, which have appeared in AOL, GamesRadar, Polygon, and Wired. I’ve also picked up a lot of dog poop in my life. I’ve had dogs for the past 20 years and also worked as a professional dog walker for two years. I’ve lived in apartments and houses, walking my dog in -10 °F cold when I lived in the North and 100 °F–plus heat when I lived in the South. I’ve encountered virtually every weather and poop condition possible, but just in case I’d missed something, I consulted with some experts, too: Jennifer Roberts has been a professional pet sitter for 10 years, while Sara Nicholson volunteers with Independent Animal Rescue, and transporting dogs up and down the East Coast to new homes and shelters for for East Coast Paws.

If you have a dog, it poops, and you have to clean up that poop somehow. No matter how adorable your pooch is, tidying up after a walk will always be gross, so naturally you want to make the process as quick, easy, and hygienic as possible. And dog poop bags help you do just that.

You might think you can let dog poop hang around so long as it’s in your own yard, but remember—it doesn’t just dry up and disappear, but gets washed away by rain, contaminating runoff and eventually the water supply. That’s why the US Environmental Protection Agency classifies pet waste as a pollutant, along with insecticide and grease. It can introduce both excess nutrients and harmful microorganisms like parasites and coliform bacteria into rivers, streams, and groundwater. It’s really not good for anyone or anything.

If you have a dog, it poops, and you have to clean up that poop somehow.

But wait—isn’t poop used as fertilizer? Cow poop is, yes, but dog poop can contain hookworms, parvo, and salmonella (PDF), as well a bunch of other parasites. The parasites' eggs can hang around your lawn for years, which means anyone who is in the dirt gardening, sunbathing, or even just walking barefoot is at risk of getting sick. "You can contaminate your garden with the parasites in dog poop," explained Nannette Dickerson of Healing Paws Veterinary Hospital. “You definitely don’t want it anywhere near anything you’d be growing to eat.”

So, yeah, you should be cleaning up after your pooch. It’s gross, it stinks, it ruins lawns, and it can make people sick. Do you really want to be that jerk who leaves dog poop lying around? No. No, you do not.

The number-one thing a good poop bag needs to do is contain your pup’s business with no leaks or tears. It needs to be easy to separate from other bags, whether that’s on a roll or in a box. Opening the bag shouldn’t be frustrating or time-intensive, because nobody needs that stress when they’re about to put poop in their hand. A good bag is also simple to tie shut, not only to avoid unfortunate leakage but also to prevent getting side-eye from your neighbors as they wonder what’s taking you so long to get that mess off their grass. As professional pet sitter Jennifer Roberts explained to us, thickness matters, as well: "I get grossed out if they’re too thin, then I feel the heat. If the smells come through, too, it’s too much." Beyond that, the attributes of poop bags are largely a matter of personal preference: Do you want a scent to cover up the eau de merde (we skipped scented bags, because in our testing they all made things worse, not better), or would you prefer a thicker bag that simply locks in the odors? Some bags claim to be environmentally friendly (more on that below), while others are utilitarian. Your preferences will likely be tempered by the size and number of your dogs, as well as what aspects of convenience matter most to you.

Opening the bag shouldn’t be frustrating or time-intensive, because nobody needs that stress when they’re about to put poop in their hand.

We did two rounds of testing, first with poo stand-ins and then with the real thing. For the first round, we compared 11 different bags on how easy they were to separate (if they were on a roll), how easy it was to discern the open end of the bag, how well they opened, how they smelled, and how sturdy they were. We combined Play-Doh with coffee grounds to test the bags for durability and odor control, and we picked up the faux-poo from two surfaces: grass and sidewalk. We also poured out chili mac onto both surfaces and scooped it up to simulate a less pleasant cleanup experience. Once the artificial poops helped us narrow the field to seven outstanding candidates, we used them in real life to clean up after Alice, a 47-pound yellow lab/whippet mix, and Bridget, a 14-pound doxie-pin.

All the bags we tested ripped when we vigorously scraped them against the sidewalk, but held up against gentler use. If your dog regularly does its thing on concrete or pavement, either be delicate as you clean up or double-bag your hand.

Leaving your dog’s waste lying around isn’t good for the environment, but adding dozens of plastic bags to your local landfill every week isn’t great for the conscience, either. Before you reach for the "eco-friendly" poop bags on the shelf, however, be advised that they may not be quite as green as you might think.

The material in compostable dog poop bags will degrade when composted, but only under specific conditions.

First, let’s break down some language. Two terms you may see in descriptions of poop bags are biodegradable and compostable. Both terms refer to material breaking down over time, but they have slightly different meanings. Biodegradable simply refers to decaying into components, such as water or methane, over time. Pretty much everything is biodegradable to a certain extent; the more relevant term here is compostable, which refers to breaking something down via microbial digestion. For something to be labeled as compostable, it has to adhere to the ASTM D6400 standard, which specifies the time and conditions under which something must fully decompose without leaving anything harmful behind. You’ll see plenty of bags proudly declaring they meet this standard, and while that’s not a lie, it doesn’t mean what you might think it means, and the FTC has already warned dog poop bag makers against using the term.

True composting requires specific levels of heat, water, and oxygen, something the "air-locked" (anaerobic) conditions at your local landfill cannot provide. Yes, a compostable bag is probably better than a plain plastic bag, but not nearly as much as the term implies. The material in compostable dog poop bags will degrade when composted, but only under specific conditions—notably temperatures of 122 °F (50 °C) or warmer—that are usually found only in industrial or municipal composting, not in landfills. And because dog waste contains bacteria and possibly parasites, it’s not allowed to be publicly composted anyway, and you shouldn't compost it at home. So forget any visions you may have about your eco-friendly dog bags quietly rejoining Mother Earth, because that won’t happen so long as you’re using them for their intended purpose.

These bags are low-cost, easy to use, and durable, and they come in large enough quantities to make reordering a rarity.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags suit virtually any occasion and are always useful. They’re sturdy, opaque, smell resistant, easy to separate, marked so you know which way is up, shipped with a dispenser if you need one, and available in huge quantities for not a lot of money.

More than anything else, you want a bag that will hide the smell and sight of your dog’s business. The AmazonBasics bags were among the best we tested in containing odor, and most important from our perspective, they’re completely opaque. Catching a whiff of your pup’s efforts is unpleasant enough—you shouldn’t have to look at it, too. Some of the competition (such as the Bags on Board bags we tried) make it pretty clear what you’re holding in your hand as you frantically search around for a public garbage can. There’s also just something distinctly revolting about seeing your hand picking up a handful of dog mess, so we much prefer a fully opaque bag.

The AmazonBasics bags not only separate from the roll easily but are also clearly marked as to which end of the bag opens, so you don’t spend forever fumbling with every possible wrong side before finding the right one. The plastic is also thick enough for you to feel like you have adequate protection between your skin and the unholy, but it’s still thin and flexible enough to make knotting the bag shut relatively easy—all the better to get you on your way after you nod hello to your glaring neighbor.

Each box of bags comes with a dispenser in case you lose or break yours, or if you simply have more than one leash. A dispenser isn’t strictly necessary, but it helps ensure that you always have enough bags with you. The bags separate from the roll easily with a slight tug, and the perforations marking the end of one bag and the beginning of the next are plainly visible. The AmazonBasics bags are sturdy, holding up nicely against sidewalk use as well as being untied and reused for those surprise deposits made late in a walk. They come in boxes of 900 (which works out to around 1.5¢ a bag), one of the highest counts available for poop bags, cutting down on reorders and greatly decreasing the chances you’ll run out at exactly the wrong time.

The plastic on the AmazonBasics bags can make them a little tricky to open, especially in cold or wet weather. (Here’s a tip: Lick your finger, grab the top of the bag, and rub your fingers together. It’ll open like magic.) Every so often you’ll encounter a roll with bags that completely split down the seam when you put your hand into them. The good news is, on those rare occasions that they do rip, the failure is so complete that it’s nearly impossible to not realize it and find yourself starring in Hand of Fear: The Poopening. They’re not even slightly eco-friendly, though, so if that matters to you, see below.

A reasonably priced, somewhat greener option for disposing of dog waste. They feel thicker than many other compostable bags.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $13.

If your conscience can’t quite stand using poop bags that don’t even pretend to be remotely kind to the environment, Pets N Bags Dog Waste Bags are a fine way to go. Their material will degrade faster in an oxygenated environment—which landfills are not. Even so, these bags are still just that bit better than ordinary plastic. Note that they’re more expensive than the Amazon bags: Currently a supply of 960 Pets N Bags (64 rolls) will cost you nearly $48, while 900 Amazon bags (60 rolls) will run you only $14—either of which is a sufficient quantity for a single dog for a year. Pets N Bags does sell a 400-count roll for $12, but it’s far too enormous to carry along on your walk; if you want the convenience of a compact carrier, you’ll have to go for the 240-count, 16-roll pack.

The Pets N Bags poop bags are easy to tear off the roll, and a logo printed down the entire length of the bag makes it immediately obvious which end is up—ideal for late-night or early morning potty breaks when you’re only half awake and need all the help you can get. They’re not fully opaque, but the string of large logos down the bag covers the nastiness nicely. Despite being compostable, the plastic of the bags feels sufficiently thick in the hand, unlike lower-quality bags, which tend to feel only slightly more robust than a tissue. They also contain odor quite well.

One annoyance is the sticker that holds the rolls shut in the packaging. All rolled bags have some sort of sticker that keeps the rolls from flapping around during shipping, and most remove easily. Without fail, removing the Pets N Bags sticker rips the bag. At best, you end up tossing the first bag from every roll; at worst, you don’t notice the rip until a supremely unfortunate moment. Also, the most cost-effective Pets N Bags option, the 400-count single roll, doesn't fit in a standard-size dispenser. If that's important to you, the 240-count option, which includes 16 standard-size rolls and a dispenser, sells for the same price.

By far the easiest bag to tie, but that convenience comes with a few trade-offs.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

If you find yourself regularly frustrated trying to knot standard poop bags—which can be challenging in bad weather or when the bag is particularly full—consider an option with handles. We like Pogi’s Poop Bags with Easy-Tie Handles. The handles make tying the bag shut a breeze, and once the bag is closed, the handles let you hang it on a hook on the leash to leave your hand free.

You make some noteworthy trade-offs for the utility of the handles, though. The bags come folded in a box, so they lack the convenience of a dispenser; you’ll have to grab a handful and hope they’re enough for your walk. They’re not opaque, and their shape can make them a little more awkward to open than a standard-shape bag. They’re about double the price of comparable bags, too. If you do go the handle-tie route, just make sure to stick with the unscented variety—whoever thought making poop smell like laundry was a good idea should be kicked in the shins. The fragrances aren’t enough to cover up the smell of what’s in the bag and merely create a sickly combination of perfume and poop. "Sweet-smelling poo is like a rotting corpse," joked Sara Nicholson, who in volunteering to transport and photograph dogs for Independent Animal Rescue sees her fair share of waste.

Scented dog poop bags just make cleaning up smelly pet excrement worse, so we skipped the scented versions of the AmazonBasics Enhanced Dog Waste Bags.

The IKEA Lurvig pet waste bags are smaller than the current pick (the AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags), aren’t available for bulk purchase, and don’t include a dispenser.

We prefer our also-great pick, the Pogi’s Poop Bags with Easy-Tie Handles over the Pogi’s Poop Bags because they’re easier to tie closed. They’re also sold in a 300- or 900-count box, so they’re cheaper per bag—the handleless versions are sold in just boxes of 150 or 450.

The Mutt Mitt Dog Waste Pick Up Bag has great third-party reviews, but it’s expensive, at 12¢ to 18¢ per bag. We’ll stick with the AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags, which are just as big (13 by 9 inches) at a fraction of the price (1.5¢ a bag).

We noticed BarkBox Dog Waste Poop Bags soliciting dog owners for reviews of its poop bags in exchange for free samples or Amazon gift cards—though it’s hardly the only company to do this. That aside, BarkBox’s poop bags cost twice as much as our picks (3.6¢ a bag) and don’t come with a free dispenser.

The thin plastic of Bags on Board Economy Pack Refill Bags makes them extremely easy to open and tear off the roll. The downside of that thinner plastic is that you feel what you’re picking up in great detail, and you can smell it, too. Add the bags’ transparency to the mix, and you’re more up close and personal with your dog’s butt biscuits than you likely want to be.

So Phresh Pick It Up bags are, without question, super cute. They come in an array of colors and patterns that are sure to liven up your poop scooping. Unfortunately, while they’re a champ in aesthetics, they’re a chump in everything else. They don’t indicate which end of the bag is the top, leaving you to make your best guess. Their approach to containing odor is apparently to hope that you just get used to it, because boy, are you going to smell everything. They’re even difficult to open. You might expect such lackluster performance to come with a bargain price tag, but So Phresh had the highest per-bag cost of those we tested.

Of the poop bags we tested, the Earth Rated bags were some of the hardest to open, even in ideal weather conditions. They also did a mediocre job of corralling smell, despite being scented. We tested the lavender scent and found it overwhelming and nauseating, so we definitely don’t recommend it. Even among compostable dog poop bags, you can find better choices.

Gorilla Supply Pet Waste Pickup Bags were curiously difficult for us to tear off the roll, requiring far more effort than any other we tested, though perhaps we simply encountered a wonky lot that wasn’t properly perforated. Opening them was fairly easy once we figured out which end was which, something the plain bag design did nothing to help us discern. In all other respects, the Gorilla bags fared well, controlling odor nicely and also putting a pleasant thickness between us and our quarry.

Official poop bags aren’t all that different from the bags you get your produce in at the grocery store, so you might be wondering why you shouldn’t just use those instead. Produce bags aren’t engineered to be particularly durable, nor to hold in liquids or odors. If you’re willing to risk a tear at an inopportune moment (and don’t mind the fact that they’re see-through), there’s no reason not to use them to clean up after Muttsy. Reusing a plastic bag you'd otherwise throw away after a single use is good for your eco-karma (and the planet), but you're unlikely to buy so much produce that you’ll never need to supplement your poop-bag stash. Bags meant to carry heavier groceries are more sturdy, but some states require you to pay for them, in which case you’re better off bringing your tote to the store and ponying up for poop bags separately. Bags from the pharmacy, the grocery store, or your newspaper aren’t ideally suited to the task since they usually have see-through plastic, might not contain smells as well, and can be an inconvenient size or shape (especially newspaper bags), but a plastic bag is a plastic bag is a plastic bag.

Nonpoint Source: Urban Areas, United States Environmental Protection Agency

FTC Staff Warns Marketers and Sellers of Dog Waste Bags That Their Biodegradable and Compostable Claims May Be Deceptive, Federal Trade Commission, February 3, 2015

Parasites - Zoonotic Hookworm, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Emily Beeler, DVM, MPH; Meredith May, The Link Between Animal Feces and Zoonotic Disease (PDF), LA County Department of Public Health

Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM, Intestinal Parasites in Dogs, Pet Health Network, April 15, 2014

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