What to Do with Poo
The Art and Science of Dog Poop Disposal
Oh, joy! Time to discuss everyone's least favorite topic in excruciating detail... let's talk POO, people! If you're a longtime dog person, you might find it hard to imagine that anyone would need a tutorial about what to do with poop, but you'd be surprised. These days, there's a dazzling array of products aimed at helping people to conveniently dispose of Fido's feces, so it can be difficult to figure out what to buy and how to use it... and where the heck to put that poop once you've picked it up!
Poo Pickup and Removal in the Yard
Things can get pretty icky in your yard if you have a dog and don't have a good pick up plan. I'm a fan of either picking the poop up immediately each time the dog goes or getting on a schedule of some kind. You might want to get in the habit of picking up every evening before you go to bed or first thing in the morning. If your yard is big enough (or your dog is small enough!), you might be able to scoop less frequently and have one or two designated clean up days each week.
If you like to delegate responsibilities (especially the icky ones!) around the house, you can make this a chore for a kid (or the roommate who loses the coin toss). You'll find that things stay cleaner if there's a plan in place for who's going to do it and when it will be done.
Now what about HOW to do it? Pooper-scoopers and poo pick-up bags are both good options for use in the yard. The scoops are nice, since they just stay in the yard at all times and you don't have to worry about replenishing your supply regularly, like you do with bags. Some people find scoops a little gross, since poo remnants can remain on the scoops and they can get icky and attract flies, but this won't be a problem if you hose them down or dunk them in a bucket of disinfectant regularly. There are many different kinds of scoops, but we find that most people do best with the simpler models that come with a scoop and spade for pick up on flat surfaces like concrete or tile or with a scoop and rake for pick up on grass. A sturdy "grabber" scoop that allows for one-handed use can also be a good choice, but you might want to skip any of the fancy contraptions that are marketed for poop removal... they can be flimsy and ineffective, so shop carefully if you decide to go that route. Even the good one-handed scoops can be ineffective if Fido has diarrhea... it's hard to grab diarrhea, which is more easily scooped (or scraped) up with a spade and scoop style scooper.
There are different kinds of poop bags and bag dispensers available and most seem to work reasonably well. Our favorites are scented bags with handles that tie... they really help to keep the odor down and will allow you to enjoy a pleasant scent while you're handling an unpleasant task! If you're picking up individual poops, just turn the bag inside out, place your hand inside and grab the poo. Fold the sides of the bag up around the poo, turning it right side out, and tie the bag tightly. If you have allowed a more extensive poo collection to build up in the yard, you can pick up several piles using only two bags. Hold one bag open in one hand, and put the other bag over the opposite hand. With the bagged hand, pick up piles and drop them into the open bag. Once the bag is nearly full (don't overfill... you'll be in for a nasty surprise!), put the bag you've been using to pick up in the open bag and tie up the whole package to toss.
If Fido's poo is a little mushy, you might have some remnants stuck in the grass or on the concrete. A good spray with the hose is usually sufficient to take care of this problem. If odor is an issue, use a yard odor neutralizer made for grass and outdoor surfaces to eliminate the problem.
Speaking of stink, in between trash pick ups, your garbage can get get really stinky if you just drop Fido's poops directly into the can. If you're using a poop scoop, you may want to have a separate poo can lined with a garbage bag in the yard. When it's trash pick up time, seal up the bag and toss it into the trash shortly before trash removal time. If you're using individual poop pick up bags, it should be pretty safe to drop them right into the main can, since they're sealed up pretty well.
If you hate the thought of poop in your trash cans and just want it to magically disappear, you might want to consider installing a "doggie dooley", which is an easy-to-install septic system for dog waste. It's an odor-free, sanitary solution that works great. It works like a home septic system by using environment-friendly enzymes and bacteria to turn dog waste into a ground-absorbed liquid. All you need to do is drop in the poo and add water and digester. Problem solved!
If you're trying to avoid poop in your garbage cans and a doggie dooley isn't an option, you can use the indoor poop disposal solution... the toilet! Use a poop pick up bag, but instead of tying and tossing, leave it open, take it inside, dump the contents into the toilet and flush, then throw the bag away. Do this one poop at a time only (not a whole yard's worth of poo!) and be sure not to flush the bag! Unless you really like having your plumber come over to visit...
Poo Pickup and Removal on a Walk
The number one rule here (or maybe we should call it the #2 rule!) is... remember to bring something with you on each and every walk to pick up Fido's poo! Exercise will often get things moving, so there's a pretty good chance he'll poop on his walks, and you don't want to be that creepy dog owner who slinks away hoping nobody notices the big mess you left behind. If you feel awkward or embarrassed to be out wrestling with a fresh pile of poop in front of the neighbors, don't! They'll be happy to see a responsible dog owner and they won't suspect you and poor Fido the next time they step in a pile left behind by somebody who didn't do the right thing!
When it's time to pick up after Fido, be sure you keep a good hold on his leash so he can't take off while you're distracted with poop-wrangling. Obedience training is your friend here, since it's awfully nice to be able to tell Fido to sit or lie down while you're picking up.
As with yard clean up, you can use a poop bag or a scoop, depending on your preference. Most people prefer bags, but scoops are a good option for owners who have physical limitations that make it difficult to bend over. One handed scoops are easier to carry, but may not be as effective at picking up mushy poops or diarrhea if Fido's having a bad digestion day. Disposal is more difficult if you're taking a long walk and using a scooper, since carrying a scoop of poop through the neighborhood isn't the most pleasant way to take a stroll.
Bags are an easy solution, since you can shove them in a pocket, waistband or bra (!), tie them to Fido's leash, collar or harness or attach a bag dispenser to Fido's leash, keeping both hands free to control the beastie. Be sure you always take more than one, since some dogs like to surprise you with an extra poop or two along the way. We recommend scented pick up bags with handles that tie, since they're a little more pleasant to carry when full.
Now for the tricky part... disposing of the package. I know it can be tempting to put it in the trash can of the nearest house, but stinking up someone else's garbage can isn't very neighborly. We don't recommend doing this (especially if your neighbor is a gun owner), but, if you must, be sneaky and run away fast. Public trash cans or your own trash can are the place for Fido's poo, so get used to marching through your neighborhood carrying a hot pink bag of warm poop. It's just one of the many pleasures of being a dog owner.
"Oh, my God. I forgot to bring