Should Your Dog Collect Its Own Poop?

To deal with the problem of dog poop left on city sidewalks, some communities are using DNA databases to track down errant owners. One startup thinks it might have a simpler answer: let your dog collect its own poop.

Piqapoo, a silicone clip, is designed to fit around a dog’s tail and hold a disposable bag. When your dog poops, everything goes directly in the bag, and you unclip it and drop it in the trash without touching anything.

The designers spent two years perfecting the device, testing with more than 150 dogs. “They had to work with vets to make sure that it’s safe for the dog,” says CEO Gideon Hazan, who joined the company in April 2016 when the designers had a working prototype.

The clip is surrounded with small silicone cushions so it’s comfortable to wear. “There’s no pressure,” Hazan says. “We didn’t want to hurt the dog, obviously. If you put it on your hand, you feel almost nothing there.”

It’s simple enough to use that the company is hoping it reforms lazy owners. In most cities, it’s illegal to leave dog poop on the ground or sidewalk, but an estimated 40% of owners do it anyway. Even owners who do scoop up waste often leave traces of it behind, and that can cause problems.

A gram of poo can contain 23 million bacteria; pathogens like E. coil and salmonella can wash off sidewalks into waterways. One study linked 20% of bacteria in water samples to dog poop. Another found that as much as 50% of the bacteria in city air came from dog poop.

Piqapoo is crowdfunding on Kickstarter.