Why we do, don't, and should pick up our dog's poop, and the easiest way to do it.
Why we do, don't, and should pick up our dog's poop, and the easiest way to do it.
Picking up after your dog is just part and parcel of owning a dog. It’s an unpleasant job, but we accept it’s just a task that comes with the territory. Nevertheless we’ve likely all experienced the same train of thought… your dog squats for a poop and as you reach for a poop bag you’re already calculating how far away the next bin is, or how long you’re going to have to carry this stinking little poop parcel for. “Why couldn’t you just do this at home Fido!” You think as another smell drifts up your nostrils 10 minutes later… still no garbage bin in sight.
It’s a crap job (literally) so why do we do it?
There are 5 main factors that go into picking up after our dogs.
The Conscientious dog owner. They want to “do the right thing” regardless of if anyone else is watching. Their conscientiousness can be made up of one or all of the following factors.
Social pressure. Some owners pick up after their dogs because it’s the socially accepted thing to do. Research suggests that social pressure is the main reason people pick up after their dog: the fear of shame, judgment or confrontation if they don’t. Which is OK, but relies on other people to hold them accountable for their dogs mess. Without social pressure, these owners may pretend they haven’t noticed Fido doing a poop, or even worse, they may collect it but then throw the full bag into nature once no one is watching.
Care for others. These owners want others to be able to enjoy the same places they enjoy without seeing/ stepping in dog waste.
Care for the environment. They don’t want to negatively affect the environment or litter it.
Education over assumption. These owners have a deeper understanding of WHY it’s bad to litter dog poop, either in the bags, or in raw unbagged form. There are some misconceptions about dog waste, such as it being “natural” and that it should be left in nature to decompose. There isn’t any scientific information out there which will advise you to throw dog poop (bagged or not) into nature for it to decompose, yet people will do this because they’ve assumed it makes sense to do so. (More on this later).
So why DON’T people pick up after their dogs?
While there is a large percentage of dog owners who do pick up after their dogs (Aprox 59%). That leaves a whopping 41% of dog owners who DON’T pick up after their dogs. We all know how unpleasant and annoying the task can be. I’m yet to meet someone who just LOVES that they have to handle their dog’s feces. It smells, you have to carry it around, your hands are now occupied so handing the leash or giving treats etc becomes that bit more difficult, WHERE THE HECK ARE THE BINS WHEN YOU NEED ONE?? If owners are lacking 1 or all of the factors from above, it becomes clear to see why littering happens: the inconvenience and discomfort of picking up dog poop wins.
How can PupPouch help?
The whole point of PupPouch is to remove the inconvenience and smell of picking up after your dog. Bagging your dog’s waste can result in you having to carry it for the duration of your walk or until you find a bin. PupPouch takes the time you have to handle your dogs poop down to under 30 seconds. You bag the poop as usual, throw it in your PupPouch, seal it, and it’s as if you’re not carrying the waste. There’s even a pocket on the PupPouch Original that’s perfect for a travel sized hand sanitizer if germs are a worry.
For the 41% who don’t pick up after their dogs, having a PupPouch is as carefree as leaving it behind, so why not?? For the 59% who already do pick up: you’re doing an amazing considerate thing, so lets make it as easy as possible for you.
What to do after the walk?
Our tag line is “Bag it, Pouch it, Forget about it” (during your walk). PupPouches are smell proof so you really will forget you’re carrying a dog poop. Try to remember to empty it when you get home/ come across a bin. There’s no need to handle the poop twice. Just open the bag and pour the poops straight into the garbage or compost. Clip the PupPouch open and leave to air out to keep it fresh, or rinse out if needed. Remember dog poop is never going to make contact with the PupPouch because you’ll bag it first, so airing it out is enough for day to day use. Simple as that!
Education Over Assumption
Going back to point 5, there are many reasons why it is detrimental to the environment to leave dog poop behind, but there are a lot of misconceptions/ assumptions about dog waste that come into play.
The idea that dog poop is “natural” is the biggest one. The only natural thing about dog poop is the act of pooping itself. We all poop and it's the one thing that every human and animal has in common. Dog poop however is made up of dog food, and that dog food, no matter what diet they’re on, does not come directly from whichever ecosystem you walk your dog in. Bear, rabbit, or deer poop for example could be classified as “natural” because their food comes from the ecosystems they live in, and the same nutrients are returned to those ecosystems in a closed loop cycle when they poop.
“Dog poop should be left to decompose”. Sure; it eventually decomposes, but dog poop is actually a pollutant. Dog poop is high in nitrogen and phosphorus which can create a nutrient imbalance in nature which can kill native plant species and increase the growth of invasive species like algae and weeds. Dog poop also contains a number of bacteria, parasites and other diseases such as E-coli. If dog poop is left to decompose, it breaks down when it rains and gets washed into waterways; eventually ending up in our streams, rivers and oceans. This can lead to contamination of water supplies, spread of disease, and algae blooms. This can result in water being unsuitable for drinking or swimming in, can affect wildlife and can cause serious illness if consumed.
One of the things I was totally dumbfounded by before I created PupPouch was why on earth people throw full poop bags into the bushes. Why bother picking it up at all if you’re just going to do that? I’ve found two explanations… It can come from point 2 from above: social pressure, then the lack of any of the other points. Dog waste is picked up, but discarded when no one is looking. They’re not thinking about others or the environment, just themselves.
Then there’s the “assumers” who act on their self made logic about dog poop being natural and suitable for decomposing in nature. This is a well intentioned group who care enough to remove the dog poop from places where others may step in it, but then believe the best thing to do is “return the poop to nature to do its thing naturally”. In the words of one person who commented on one of my Instagram posts “Leave the freaking natural poop in freaking nature”.
Combine this thinking with a misunderstanding of what a bio degradable poop bag is and you have the recipe for poop flingers who create very poorly decorated trees.
Biodegradable bags are still made from plastic.
This is the saddest thing about biodegradable poop bags. The name sounds misleadingly eco friendly, as do some of the poop bag companies in general, which has actually led to an increase of plastic pollution in nature because people are assuming it’s ok to throw them into nature to “biodegrade”.
Biodegradable poop bags are actually just plastic bags that have microorganisms added which break down the bags faster than regular plastic. “Biodegradable” refers to the process of materials breaking down naturally by organisms and microbes so they can be reabsorbed into the ecosystem. Ideally without causing any pollution. It’s fantastic that there is a way to break down plastic faster, however even after biodegradable poop bags have decomposed they leave behind micro plastics. They also don’t break down on their own, and need to be put in a specific waste facility to decompose. Tossing them into nature is just like tossing a plastic bag in there.
Compostable bags on the other hand are made of natural plant starch, and do not produce any toxic material. They should still never be thrown into nature to decompose because of the environmental factors listed above, but if you want to avoid buying single use plastics, compostable poop bags are the way to go. They’re typically more costly than their plastic counterparts because they’re more expensive to produce, but if you can afford to go with compostable over single use plastic it’s a win for mother earth.
PupPouch and Compostable bags
If you’ve ever had a poop bag split on you, you’ve probably vowed to never let it happen again, and that may mean you lean toward the thicker 100% plastic poop bags as opposed to the compostable bags. Compostable bags are naturally a bit more flimsy, but if you have a PupPouch it really doesn’t matter how thick the poop bag is. Throw it in your PupPouch and it’s safe from snagging on twigs, your dog's claws, getting tangled in the leash, and even your own forgetfulness. (I’m looking at those of you who have sat on your full poop bags).
Where can I buy a PupPouch?
If you think a PupPouch could make your dog walking life easier, they are available at www.puppouchpets.com. PupPouch is a 1 person company; (Hello I’m Emma!) If you are from the Sea to Sky in British Columbia, Canada you’ll find them for sale in O’briens pet store in Squamish, Happy Pets in Whistler, and Animal Barn in Pemberton. You’ll also find them in Puntledge Vets on Vancouver Island, and hopefully more locations in the future! Gwens Choice in the UK is also a stockist, and you can visit her for animal first aid courses too!
Shipping Costs / UK Orders.
I’m from the UK, but now live in BC. I created PupPouch when I was living in Whistler and now live on Vancouver Island. It’s just me running PupPouch but my awesome Mum ships out orders from my home in Yorkshire for UK/ Europe, which means I can offer £5 UK shipping at checkout and you don’t need to worry about waiting for it to arrive from Canada. Shipping from Canada costs an arm and a leg, so there is a flat $15 shipping rate for Canadian/ USA Customers. (Apologies, I know it seems high, it’s the best I can do).
Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve learned some useful things and debunked some misconceptions about your dog’s poop!
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