DOG poo is nasty - that’s a given. It has a gut-churningly awful stench, it’s unsightly and it’s a health hazard. And with around 8.5 million dogs now in the UK, there’s a lot of it about. About 900 tonnes of it, apparently.

A recent report said that since the first lockdown in March 2020, dog dirt has increased “by 200per cent” in public spaces in the UK. There is, says the report, “more poo than people on the streets”.

When left on pavements and pathways, it’s a filthy mess that pedestrians have to try and dodge. It has become a rising concern, with some dog owners blamed for falling into bad habits in lockdown, when fewer people have been out and about to witness them not clearing up after four-legged companions.

This, coupled with the significant increase in dog ownership during the pandemic, has led to a perfect storm for dog fouling (ugh).

Even those who scoop up the mess into those little bags and chuck them in a bin aren’t necessarily treading lightly on the planet.

According to a press release that landed in my inbox this week, an estimated 5.5 billion poo bags are used each year - many of them not biodegradable.

So what’s the answer? Dog nappies? Eco-friendly waste collection company thinks so - it has started a bold new campaign to force dog owners to put nappies on their canines, or face steep fines. The company proposes that dog owners are required to put a nappy on their dog when walking in public spaces, much like some do when their female dog is in season. It’s a drastic move, but not the first legal requirement put in place to stop dog fouling blighting the streets.

Under a law passed in 1982, The Control of Dogs Ordinance, it’s an offence to fail to clean up dog faeces in public, but it relies on a police officer spotting the dog, and its owner, in the act. The proposal to make dogs wear nappies in public spaces would be “constantly visible and offenders could be spotted much more easily” says Mark Hall from

“It would be unacceptable to let a human defecate on the street - why do some people think it’s fine because it’s a dog?” says Mark. “We don’t want to get to a point where dogs are seen as a public nuisance - they’re man’s best friend, but not when they’re messing up pavements.”

Apart from ‘Good luck trying to get a nappy on a dog’, I’m thinking: How do you dispose of these soiled nappies? And are they biodegradable?

In a survey by pet food producer Lily’s Kitchen nearly a third of dog owners confessed to not cleaning up after their pooches, because they say poo bags are ‘wasteful’ as they can’t be recycled. Launching its ‘Poop Troop’ campaign encouraging people to clean up sustainably, the pet brand has placed pop-up dispensers for ‘planet friendly poo bags’ in dog walking hot-spots. Made from renewable plant-based resources, the bags are compostable and biodegradable.

While that sounds better than forcing dogs to wear nappies, it could result in some owners thinking that because these bags are biodegradable it’s okay to leave them at the side of paths or hanging on trees, rather than carrying them until they find a bin.

Maybe there is no solution to dog fouling, and it’s just something else for people to get cross about on social media. It didn’t seem such a big deal when I was growing up, despite the fact that packs of dogs often used to roam free around housing estates. All I remember was the occasional curl of white dog dirt which, like Spangles and space hoppers, was a staple of the Seventies childhood.