When you walk your dog, you need sturdy, reliable dog poop bags for your journey. Many cities have local ordinances requiring dog owners to pick up after their dog, but it’s the polite and sanitary thing to do, regardless of the laws in place.
We tested 20 of the most popular dog poop bags, evaluating them on size, sturdiness, and smell, as well as how easy they were to tear off the roll, open, scoop, and close. Our favorite, Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags, are thick and strong. They come in scented and unscented, rip easily from the roll, are leakproof, and have a large capacity. But there are several other options that might work better for you and your dog.
Here are the best dog poop bags.
Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags
Easy to open and tear apart
Fits in standard dispensers
Scented or unscented
Contrary to the name, the bags aren’t very eco-friendly
With a leak-proof guarantee, these sturdy bags are easy to open and tear apart and come in scented or unscented versions.
There are so many bag options from the popular Earth Rated brand and all work really well for safely transporting your pup’s deposits. These particular bags are thick (15 micros for the regular dark green bags and 18 microns for the compostable bags) and strong. We’ve had testers with large Labs use these on long walks and they’ve never worried about the bags bursting. But just in case, the bags come with a leak-proof guarantee.
There’s an easy-to-peel sticker on each roll so you don’t risk tearing the first bag. The standard-sized rolls fit in any normal dispenser (or your pocket) and the bags are easy to rip off the roll and open. They come in unscented or a relatively strong lavender scent that some reviewers say makes the garbage can more bearable. The box and roll cores are made of recycled materials, but the standard bags are not compostable.
Earth Rated’s plant-based bags are made of vegetable starches and PBAT (polybutylene adipate terephthalate), a biodegradable polymer. They can be disposed of in a municipal composting facility where pet waste is accepted.
Price at time of publish: $14 (270 bags)
BioBag Standard Pet Waste Bags
Compostable in municipal facilities
Soft, but strong
Black color disguises poop
Can be hard to tie
You may see bags labeled as “biodegradable,” which indicates a bag will break down over time, but the term is applied loosely enough that it should be considered a marketing claim more than an environmental one. While the Federal Trade Commission requires eco-friendly claims to be true, they also acknowledge that many biodegradable claims only hold true under very specific conditions—some “biodegradable” products may never decompose under standard landfill conditions.
If you want to choose something environmentally friendly, instead look for bags that are compostable. That doesn’t mean you can toss them in your backyard compost pile. Instead, they can be composted in city composting facilities that accept dog waste.
The soft but strong BioBags are more earth-friendly than most and can be disposed of in many facilities that compost.
BioBags are made of a resin created from vegetable oils, plant starches, and compostable polymers, so they’re designed to break down much faster than traditional polyethylene plastic bags. There are two sizes, but the small might be too tiny (and hard to knot) for all but the smallest pets and the smallest poops. We really like the black bags. They’re soft and disguise the deposits well.
Price at time of publish: $24 (200 bags)
Amazon Basics Dog Poop Bags
Four different scents (or unscented)
Sturdy, even for large loads
Some users have found bags without seams
There’s nothing sweet smelling about dog poop. That’s why some people prefer disguising the odor as best they can with a scented bag. These bags from Amazon come in four scents–Brazilian mango, cucumber, lavender, and talcum powder–as well as unscented. The smell is not overpowering and does a decent job somewhat hiding the real smell.
They’re sold in batches of 270, 540, or 810 bags, so you can shop based on how much poop you scoop. Bags tear apart easily and feel substantially sturdy, even for large loads. They come with a bag holder, but they also fit any standardized dispenser.
Price at time of publish: $14 (540 bags)
Best Budget/Large Pack
PET N PET Pick Up Bags
Good value for large quantities
More bags per roll
Made with some bio-based materials
When you walk a lot of dogs or just walk your dog a lot, you need a lot of bags. These bags come in several quantities including as many as 60 rolls, or 1,080 bags. Unlike most others that have fewer bags per roll, these have 18 in each.
These have an easy-open corner that makes it simpler to open the bag with one hand. The sticker that seals each roll is perforated so there’s little risk of ripping the first bag on the roll. Bags are made of more bio-based materials than before and packaging and center cores are made from recycled materials. They’re unscented and easy to tear apart. Although they are sturdy, they are thin and that can make for a sometimes unpleasant experience when scooping fresh deposits.
Price at time of publish: $22 (1080 bags)
Pooch Paper Biodegradable Dog Waste Sheet
Fits in a back pocket
Can open after twisting
More expensive than bags
This certainly is a novel way to clean up after your dog. These square sheets of recycled paper are made from pulp with absolutely no plastic involved. You pick up your dog’s deposit just like you would pick up something off the floor with a paper towel. Then you twist the edges together. Depending on the tightness of your twist and the size of your load, sometimes it doesn’t stay as tight as it should.
There are two sizes, but we wouldn’t recommend the smaller size for anything other than puppies or very small dogs—there’s too much of a chance you’ll get your hands dirty. They’re easy to stash folded in a pocket. And maybe have some traditional bags on hand if your dog has soft stools. These don’t work so well with messes. But for regular loads, the paper has a coating to stop any kind of seepage.
Price at time of publish: $13 (50 sheets)
Best Large Bags
Hippo Sak Jumbo Pet Bags
Made from recycled ocean plastic
Odor- and leakproof
Rolls don’t fit in traditional holders
Big dogs make big messes, but these massive bags can help you clean up after extra-large pets, or even dispose of a puppy pad. If you’ve tried to pick up after a huge pup, you know that it can get dicey when you use a small or even regular-sized poop bag. These jumbo bags are a good six inches larger all around than standard poop bags. In fact, they’re big enough to hold a puppy pad or doggy diaper or the dirty contents of some litter boxes. Because they’re so big, however, the rolls don’t fit in standard poop bag holders.
Made of recycled ocean plastic, the bags are also eco-friendly. The bottom seal is reinforced eight times to prevent accidents and the material is odor- and leakproof.
Price at the time of publish: $24 (480 bags)
Best with Handles
Pogi's Earth Friendly Poop Bags
Scented, unscented, and compostable versions
Easy to tie and carry
No need to rip off bags from roll
Scented bags are overpowering
Cost a little more than traditional bags
Traditional poop bags can sometimes be difficult to tie. Even when you’ve managed to knot the end, there’s still the question of how to carry it until you find a trash can. Bags with handles solve both these problems. Just scoop, tie the handles together, then use them to carry the load.
These handle bags from Pogi’s are sturdy and thick. They come in scented or unscented and there’s even a compostable version. Handle bags come in a dispenser box instead of a roll, so you probably want to grab a couple and stick them in your pocket when you walk. Although convenient, these can be more expensive and some people like being able to keep an entire roll of regular bags attached to the leash.
Price at time of publish: $16 (300 bags)
What To Look For in Dog Poop Bags
To use a dog poop bag, you begin by unfolding it, then shaking or blowing it open. Then you insert your hand, all the way to the bottom of the bag. You'll then use the poop bag like a glove, by picking up your dog's poop with the plastic of the bag shielding your hand from direct contact. Once you have the poop in hand, insert your other hand into the interior of the bag, then push through to turn the bag inside out, around the poop, until you can remove your poop-picking hand. The poop is now inside the bag, so you'll want to do a quick overhand knot to tie it off, then dispose of it.
The way you use a dog bag has some obvious implications for picking the best dog bag for you. You'll want a bag that's tall enough that it's easy to tie off. Anyone a little squeamish around dog poop might want to consider one of our thicker bag recommendations, or opt for a bag that's opaque, so you don't have to look at the poop.
While there is considerable variation in dog poop bags, they tend toward a standard size of approximately 9 by 13 inches, when unfolded. Rolls of dog poop bags are typically about 2.5 inches high and 1.5 inches or less in diameter. This means that most poop bag dispensers will work with any relatively standard roll of poop bags. However, this is only a typical case, and there's no guarantee that your new poop bag dispenser will hold any old brand of poop bags you buy. As such, you should check the dimensions of your poop bags against any dispenser you're considering. Also, while most poop bags holders are a flexible plastic chamber with a dispensing hold or slit, there are baggier versions that are more likely to accommodate a wide range of roll types and sizes. One of our favorites is the Kurgo Duty Bag, which you can read more about in our roundup of the Best Leash Accessories.
Our favorite dog poop bag from Earth Rated are 15-18 microns thick, which is heavy duty enough for any dog (and they come with a leak-proof guarantee), but any of our recommended bags are unlikely to burst open while you use them. Even thing dog bags are capable of holding a walk's worth of doo. However, if you are concerned about a dog poop bag holding up to a large amount of waste, be sure to use a separate bag for each poop, rather than trying to load multiples into a single bag.
While thicker bags are frequently more durable, the main reason to opt for a thicker poop bag is to maintain a greater distance between you and your dog's waste. If, for example, you find the heat from dog poop to be disgusting, then a thicker bag can better insulate you from that sensation.
Most dog poop bags are plastic waste that go in your regular trash. However, some types of dog poop bags can be composted at municipal facilities, so that you can drop them off to be dealt with in a more eco-friendly way. Check out our FAQs for more information about disposing of poop bags.
Are dog poop bags biodegradable?
Most dog poop bags are made of plastic, which can take up to hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill. The term “biodegradable” has no legal meaning and is just a marketing term. A 2019 scientific study found that several bags labeled as “biodegradable” survived in the open air, buried in soil, and submerged in seawater for at least three years or longer.
Instead, compostable bags are made of plant starch. They don’t contain plastics and are typically more expensive. In the study above, the compostable bag dissolved in seawater in three months.
Compostable bags can be disposed of at city waste facilities that accept pet waste. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can compost dog poop at home, but not in the same compost that you would use for edible gardens.
How do you dispose of dog poop bags?
If you use compostable bags, you can dispose of them at municipal facilities (if they accept dog waste) or compost them in a separate bin, as mentioned above. There are also poop disposal symptoms that work as mini septic tanks. You bury them in the ground and then periodically add water and powdered enzymes to speed up the composting process.
The simplest way is to toss the bags of poop in the trash. The plastic bags will sit in landfills for a long time. Although hardly an environmentally friendly option, this can be better than letting the poop sit on the ground and contaminate water and soil.
Can you flush dog poop bags?
Check your community’s guidelines before flushing dog poop. Some facilities don’t have the means to process pet waste. If you are able to flush waste, make sure you remove it from the bag or use water-soluble poop bags that are designed to dissolve when flushed. Like flushable wipes for people, some flushable poop bags can cause problems with questionable plumbing so some experts recommend they never be used.
How do you knot dog poop bags?
Slide the dog poop bag on your hand like a glove and use it to pick up dog poop. Pull the edges of the bag off your hand and over the poop. With the remaining plastic at the top of the bag, pull it off your hand so the poop is at the bottom of the bag. For ease of tying, you might want to twist the bag close to the top of the poop and then knot the remaining end of the bag into a loop to keep the contents from spilling.
Why Trust The Spruce?
For this roundup, we considered many dog poop bags, evaluating each bag on basic features and materials, as well as its sturdiness, smell, and ease of separating the bag, opening it, and tying it closed. We talked to dog owners who have used many different brands and asked what they looked for and which were their favorites.
This article was written by Mary Jo DiLonardo, who often reviews dog products for Spruce Pets. The proud mom of a rescue dog, she has fostered more than 50 dogs and puppies, which means she’s picked up a lot of poop.. Mary Jo is always looking for the most durable and effective pet products. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place.