How to Pick Up Dog Poop

How to Pick Up Dog Poop

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Unsightly, smelly, a breeding medium for germs and disease, and a huge hassle on the sole of a shoe, dog poop is not a desirable feature in any neighborhood. Dog feces plays a significant role in water pollution,[1] especially in cities, and the bacteria that makes its way into streams, lakes and the water table can make people sick. Indeed, a single gram of dog feces can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria that can cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal disorders and kidney problems.[2] In 1991, the EPA even designated dog poop as a "nonpoint source of pollution" putting it right up there with oil and toxic chemicals.[3] Yet about 40 percent of Americans don't clean up after their dogs![4] And in Buenos Aires, a latecomer to cleaning up dog poop from the streets, an estimated 650 people end up hospitalized every year from slipping on dog poop.[5] Removing dog poop and disposing of it properly is therefore a public health and safety activity, and one in which every dog owner should proudly participate. Yet, handling dog poop is not the most pleasant of tasks. Here are some ways to minimize the unpleasantness of the task. And if you see someone leaving their dog's mess behind, feel free to educate them on these methods, especially if it's poop scooping week![6][7] Have courage and do your bit to ensure that our canine friends can live with us in harmony, and not put the dog poop complainants on high alert!


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  1. Be prepared. Whichever method you choose, be prepared by having the right items with you whenever you and your dog are out and about. Have enough cleaning up items for the duration of the outing and your own dog's particular needs.
  2. Protect yourself. If you want extra protection than just the plastic bag or pooper scooper, bring along a disposable latex glove to wear as well, and dispose of it in the trash at the same time as discarding the poop in a bag. You could also bring along cleaning wipes or anti-bacterial handwashing gel as an additional cleaning precaution. If you're not well, pregnant, or immuno-suppressed, taking these extra precautions is probably very sensible.
Plastic bag method
  1. Bring several bags with you when you take your dog for a walk.
    • Plastic grocery bags work well for picking up dog poop. These bags do sometimes have a tear or two, so it helps to use two bags - one inside the other. This way the odds are extremely small that there will be two holes in the same location and you are almost guaranteed not to get poop on your hands.
    • Using two bags of whatever kind also has an insulating effect so that you don't feel the heat from the poop as much. And it also helps to reduce the smell.
    • There are also pre-made poop bags available for sale that are self-sealing and strong.[8] These are especially good if you're queasy or the quality of the grocery bags in your area is somewhat flimsy. (You might also be doing your bit to stop accepting plastic bags!)
    • Some pet supply stores have doggy bags that are scented. You may want to try some.
  2. Turn the bag inside out and place it on your hand as if it were a glove.
  3. Grab the bottom of the bag with your fingers. Grasp the poop on the ground and pick it up into the bag.
    • On concrete, gingerly lift it directly up from the surface to leave as little behind as possible.
    • On grass, make a claw-like circle with your fingers; get as far under the pile as possible, then lift with care.
  4. Be careful removing your hand. Use your other hand to pull the top of the bag over your fist and turn the bag back outside in, retaining the poop inside the bag.
  5. Tie the bag shut tightly. Dispose of it in the nearest trash receptacle. Holding your breath until you've picked up the poop and tied a knot in the bag(s) helps a lot.
    • Be aware that not everyone agrees that disposal in the trash can is the best option. The City of Toronto found that 23 to 27 percent of waste in parks was from dogs in 2006![9] The eco-friendly response to this is to take it home and flush it down your toilet (minus the bag) so that it is treated along with the human sewage.[10] Naturally, if you do this, maintain very high hygiene standards.
Pooper scooper method
  1. If you can't bring yourself to handle the poop even through a plastic bag, or you cannot bend over for any reason, purchase a commercially made "pooper scooper". These usually consist of a handle on one end of a long arm, with a double-sided shovel on the other end. When looking for a suitable scooper, check that the size is appropriate for your breed of dog.
  2. Clean the whole yard using a large pooper scooper. Large pooper scoopers are available for yard cleaning, and these allow you to insert a plastic bag into the scoop end, then proceed around the yard collecting dog poop with a rake or similar tool to push the poop straight into the scoop. At the end, simply tie up the bag and dispose of the whole bag in the trash can, without ever having to touch the dog poop.
Delegation method Poop scooping services are popping up all over the place.[11] While this is a costlier option, it is worth the cost for some people, especially if the dog waste accumulates in a fixed place like your yard. And if there is no service in your area and you're an enterprising sort, why not start such a service?[12] It could be very rewarding!
  1. Ask dog owners you know if they know of any good "waste handling" services.
  2. Ask a local landscaper or pet-sitter if they'd consider providing this service.
  3. Look up a service in the Find-a-Scooper International Directory at
Dealing with dog poop rebels
  1. If you come across someone who won't pick up their dog's poop right in front of you, assert yourself. Explain to them how unhygienic their action is and how it is disrespectful to the neighborhood. As well, explain that it lets down all dog owners who get smeared with the thoughtlessness of the few who don't pick up the poop and ends up with more bans on where dogs can go. There's no need to make a song and dance but do insist, and if it's a violation in your area, contact your community association or other suitable contact and report the incident.
    • You might say something like: "Sir/Madam, I realize that it's not the most pleasant task but as dog owners we have to show everyone else we are responsible and care about both our dogs and our neighborhood. Dog poop harbors disease and people don't want to tread in it. So, I'd really appreciate it if you'd pick up after your dog, just as I do."
  2. Offer the person one of your bags. The gesture is difficult to turn down because it's polite and it's showing the other person that you expect them to behave responsibly.
  3. Set an example to others by being proud to pick up your dog's poop.[13] This shows other dog owners an example of good dog ownership and lets people know that any mess around isn't from your dog.



  • Wash your hands thoroughly when you get home.
  • If you've gone walking and you've forgotten the bag, many places offer them free near trash cans.
  • You can make your pet's poops more tolerable to yourself by altering your dog's diet.
  • It is possible to encourage your dog to relieve himself at home before and after a walk; doing so saves having to deal with the mess anywhere else.[14] However, this will depend on the breed, as some dogs will defecate as a result of exercise and this is simply about knowing your dog well enough.
  • It’s estimated that the 75 million dogs in the U.S. create 3.6 billion pounds of waste per year.
  • A healthy diet for your dog produces less offensive poops! There will be less waste to pick up when your dog eats quality food with less fillers.


  • Leaving the poop on the street, or in the park is against the law in most states of the United States and in many other places around the world. It can carry a heavy fine. So enjoy your dog, but at the same time keep the streets clean. Pick up after them!
  • Be sure to deposit the dog poop in a legally designated trash container, not just wherever.
  • Do not touch the feces with your hands, especially if you have an open cut. Always wash your hand(s) after a dog walk when you have picked up poop.
  • Wildlife and kids are very susceptible to the germs found in dog poop.[15]

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  6. National Scoop Poop Week in the UK,
  7. International Pooper Scooper Week,
  8. Margaret H Bonham, Dogs Make Great Pets, p. 57, (2005), ISBN 978-0-7645-8831-0

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