Almost all dog owners will talk about the joy dogs bring to their lives. Not only the companionship and intelligent company that dogs offer, but also the pleasure of daily dog walks. As you exercise your dog (see our favourite dog ball throwers here), you are keeping yourself fit too and there is a huge pleasure in walking familiar routes as well as discovering new places together.

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Being a responsible dog owner

Keeping a dog is a big responsibility and one of the key jobs for any dog owner is to clear up their dog’s mess. Dog poo is unsightly, smells vile, can spread disease and parasites, and pollute waterways and endanger wildlife. Therefore, it’s important to carry a supply of dog poo bags on every walk to ensure that you can efficiently clean up the mess – without getting it on yourself.

So I’m testing out the best dog poo bags to try to spread the word to more dog owners to be more considerate, to think about other footpath/park and countryside users – and to clean up properly after their dogs.

Idris the lurcher is ready for his big moment – testing dog poo bags.

The best dog poo bag needs to have three basic qualities.

  1. It must be robust so that you can pick up all of your dog’s poo easily and with confidence that the bag is big enough and strong enough not to break
  2. It must be easy to carry – and access in an emergency
  3. It must be easy to be carried and disposed of.
  4. It should be biodegradable.

Why do people leave dog poo bags on trees?

This is a very modern problem in the British countryside. Some people go to the trouble of picking up their dog’s poo then hanging the offending bag on a bush or tree – or simply slinging it over the hedge. This creates a health hazard for livestock, children and wildlife – and ruin the beauty of an area. It is essential all dog poo bags are disposed of in a bin.

Plastic vs biodegradable poo bags?

Dog owners will be familiar with traditional black plastic dog poo bags. However, increasingly there are more options for compostable biodegradable dog poo bags that are usually green in colour. There is some argument over how long it takes a poo bag to rot away. For a biodegradable bag, it can be from 9 weeks to a year – but it is far better option than a single use plastic dog poo bag that can takes hundreds, if not thousands of years to degrade. In testing these products, I discovered that many of the most popular brands are extremely vocal about their environmental credentials but, despite the green colour and use of recycled plastic, they are still single use plastic bags.

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Where to dispose of dog poo bags?

Full dog poo bags must be disposed of properly and not simply left as litter. All dog poo bags should be taken to a suitable bin – even if it means carrying them for the whole walk. We recommend using a dog poo holding pouch if you are on a long walk. These tend to be treated to contain any smell.

The best dog poo bags on test

To put the best dog poo bags to the test, I teamed up with my trusty hound Idris. Part, whippet, part greyhound, part border collie, he is known as a lurcher – fleet of foot and with a keen hunting instinct. But for this test, all he needed to do was perform his regular bodily functions on each walk.

1. Ecowave Biodegradeable Dog Poop Bags

Large, strong "leak-proof" poo bags, made of corn starch.

Pros
100% compostable and biodegradable
Strong and large – you can use with confidence.
Unscented.

Cons
Thin feeling and clammy in the hand.

2. BioExpert Dog Poop Bags

Large, strong poo bags, made of corn starch blended with plastic.

Pros
Strong and large – you can use with confidence.
Unscented.
Comes in neat, easy to use rolls.

Cons
Contains microplastics so mot fully biodegrable.

3. Earth Rated Dog Poo Bags

"Guaranteed leak-proof", these are extra thick, with a lavender perfume designed to mask the smell of the dog waste. You can buy in bulk, up to 270

Pros
Robust – no danger of splitting and reassuringly thick, like a glove
Comes in a roll so easy to carry and use

Cons
Unpleasant perfume almost as bad as the smell it is trying to mask – choose the unscented variety.
Not biodegradable. Appears that only the cardboard inner tube and the packaging are made from recycled materials.

4. Beco Recycled Poop Bags

Large, unscented "poop bags" with handles – made from recycled plastic. Beco also produces home compostable poo bags made of corn starch and PBAT (a biodegradable type of polymer) that are thinner and have a rather clammy feel but are 100 % biodegradable. Beco has done an admirable amount of research into what happens to its degradable poo bags

Pros
Large and robust – and no fears of it splitting
Unscented.
Made from recycled plastic.

Cons
Buy the rolls rather than the boxes of layers of poo bags, which are much harder to extract and manipulate – especially with cold hands.
Not biodegradable.

5. Rosewood Premium Poop Bags

Inexpensive plastic poo bags with handles for easy tying – lemon scented.

Pros
Inexpensive.
Lemon scent is mild and inoffensive.

Cons
Very thin.
Smaller than most of the competition.
Does not come in a convenient roll.
Not biodegradable despite "degradable claim".

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Is your pet in need of some warm and waterproof outerwear? See our list of the best dog coats and dog boots you can buy online.

Authors

Fergus CollinsEditor, BBC Countryfile Magazine
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