What is the most responsible thing to do with your dog's poop?

We are often told that a responsible dog owner will pick up his or her dog's poop, put it in a plastic bag, and put it in a bin.

But is this what a dog owner who was both wise and responsible would do? No.

This page was written 2019/04/06, last edited 2020/08/12
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

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Dog faeces in a plastic bag placed in a rubbish bin will go to landfill where the shit will ferment anaerobically (in the absence of air) and produce the strong greenhouse gas methane, some of which will then get into the atmosphere and make climate change worse – and the organic matter will be lost to the biosphere.

Dog, or any other faecal matter, that is left on the surface or buried (without being sealed in a plastic bag) will be decomposed aerobically by bacteria with the release of the less harmful carbon dioxide – and the organic matter will be returned to the biosphere.

I'm not advocating leaving your dog's shit for someone to step on, but I am advocating disposing of it with more thought.

In many parks or similar public places it will be easy to bury the poop beneath leaf litter or mulch off any walking path. There invertebrates and/or bacteria will break down the poop and convert the organic matter into humus – that is, plant food.

I suggest picking up the droppings with a piece of paper (such as newspaper), digging a shallow hole in soil, mulch, leaf litter, or similar, and depositing the droppings there.

Alternatively, you could carry a garden trowel, perhaps in a plastic bag, and use that to move the dog's droppings.

If you can kick the poop into the hole, or push it with a stick, rather than wrapping it in newspaper so much the better, because paper will take a lot longer to decompose than will faeces.

Gleeson Wetlands
I have done regular volunteer work at Gleeson Wetlands (photo above) from June 2014 to the present (August 2020). Many people walk their dogs on the wetlands paths. I encourage people to simply bury any dog poo in the mulch to the side of the paths.

Gleeson Wetlands is a must-see in Clare, Mid-North South Australia.

Bowman Park in Crystal Brook is also well worth a visit, and I hope that Crystal Brook's Central Park will be in the future too. I am heavily involved as a volunteer with both.

Of course kangaroos, ducks and other waterbirds poop around the Wetlands, and the resident peacock, many other birds and kangaroos poop at Bowman Park. "Shit happens", there is nothing more natural than poop.