Pet Waste Station Guide

Pet Waste Station Guide

To help you make the right decision for your community, the following is a comprehensive guide to help you understand the various components of this equipment and how it all works.

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Pet Waste Station Components

To start, pet waste stations have four main parts:

  • Waste receptacle: Where the waste goes. This part of the dog waste station holds a large plastic liner, which holds the dog waste residents drop off.
  • Station post: The backbone of a pet waste station. Every part of the station is secured to this post.
  • Bag dispenser: Holds fresh dog poop bags (or “litter bags”). These bags are what the pet owner will use to pick up after their dog. Most dispensers are made to hold one of two types of bags:  “header style bags” or “Roll-style bags”
  • Station sign: A reminder sign located atop your station, encouraging owners to take a bag and pick up after their pets.

Pet Waste Station Receptacles

Of these station components, the waste receptacle and bag dispenser are where you have the most options. When selecting a pet waste station, keep the following in mind:

Construction and Material

There are three common materials used for constructing waste cans for pet waste stations: plastic, steel and aluminum. Stations may come in lightweight or heavy duty versions made from each of these three materials.

We recommend aluminum instead of steel because aluminum doesn’t rust.

While receptacles will not rust, depending on the type of plastic used plastic but may crack and and fade in color more quickly and noticeably than powder coated metal.

We have found that over time, lightweight metal containers are more likely to rust or fall apart requiring more frequent replacement than heavy-duty metal models.

We have also found that plastic and lightweight metal or steel receptacles tend to result in higher expenses over the long run compared to making an upfront investment in heavy-duty aluminum models.

Other things to look for are:

  • Hinges: Are the hinges made of aluminum or steel? Steel hinges may rust.
  • Bolts: Are the bolts that hold the receptacle to the post smooth carriage bolts or angled hex bolts? Carriage bolts are less likely to catch on and tear the bag when it is pulled out of the receptacle.

Protective Color Coating

Metal pet waste station parts are frequently either powder coated or painted. We recommend using stations that are powder coated. Powder coating is usually applied electrostatically. The powder coated metal is then heated to form a “skin.” Powder coated finishes are generally tougher than paint.

Design and Water Tightness

Pet waste stations should always have a tight cover to keep the dog waste in and the water out. We refer to the mess that is created when water mixes with the contents of a dog waste receptacle as “poop soup.” Needless to say, it is not pleasant. Emptying a station that is filled with “poop soup” is difficult to manage and just plain disgusting.

Many plastic stations have large holes in the side for depositing soiled waste bags. Others have loose fitting lids. Both of these designs will allow water to enter the plastic receptacle.

The best stations have a small, mailbox-style chute that closes tightly and is just large enough for waste bags to be deposited. This helps to keeps the water, vermin and insects out while keeping the waste and odors safely inside.

In addition, the mailbox-style chute greatly limits the types of items that can be placed in the bin, thereby making it difficult to dispose of inappropriate items – such as household trash – in the dog waste receptacle.

If you choose a station that has a round receptacle and a hinged lid you should look at the diameter of the lid compared to that of the waste receptacle. Does the diameter of lid match the can or is it larger? A larger diameter lid may help to keep water out better as it’s unlikely that after frequent use the can lid will line up perfectly with can opening. A lid of equal diameter that is not perfectly aligned will provide an opening for water to enter the can. All DoodyCalls round lids are slightly oversized compared to the receptacle.


Pet waste stations come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. The most popular stations tend to stand six to seven feet in total height (including the station sign) and are typically colored green, brown or black. The goal is to have pet waste stations blend in with their background, while still remaining visible and convenient.

Some stations have additional features designed to further increase the aesthetic appeal of the station. For example, we powder coat our hardware to match the color of the pet waste station.

When selecting stations, keep in mind that your community does not necessarily need to commit to only one style. In fact, many don’t. For the most part, stations are not located near each other, which means that uniformity does not have a considerable impact. What really matters is that your community has well-stocked, durable stations that are compatible, fulfill the needs of locations, are properly serviced and are in good working order for residents to use.

Pet Waste Station Posts

Pet waste stations are a combination of a bag dispenser and waste can with a sign at the top. These are all secured to one central post, which can either be a U-channel or a square post.

Posts may be powder coated or painted, two piece or one piece, and square and tubular or U-Channel.

We recommend using square two piece powder coated posts. One piece posts are difficult to transport and are very heavy. We prefer the look of square posts and they are also frequently powder coated to match the color of the pet waste station. DoodyCalls uses two piece square posts for all of our pet waste stations.

Pet waste station posts should always be anchored in the ground with concrete, so you want to be strategic about placing them correctly the first time.

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Pet Waste Station Signs

Most pet waste stations include a sign at the top to remind dog owners to pick up after their pet. There are many options when it comes to choosing a sign for your stations – simply pick the sign/s that are the most aesthetically pleasing to you and your community.

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If you have questions about choosing pet waste stations, our team of community pet waste management specialists can help! You can reach us seven days a week at 1.800.366.3922.

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Pet Waste Station Bags

Pet waste stations aren’t complete without Pet Waste Bags. To learn how to choose the pet waste bag that’s right for your community read our guide The Complete Guide to Choosing Pet Waste Bags!

Buy header pet waste bags and roll pet waste bags at DoodyCallsDirect.

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