dog in trash looking guilty

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Many dogs are naturally curious. Since dogs rely on their sense of smell, the contents of your trash can make it irresistible for them. When a dog gets a whiff of the kitchen trash or bathroom trash, they might see it as an opportunity for a snack or a new toy.

But getting into the garbage isn’t just messy; it can make our pets sick. As dog owners, understanding why a dog likes to get into the trash and finding ways to keep dogs out of trash are essential for keeping both our homes clean and our pets safe.

Here are 10 tips to help you keep your pup out of your trash:

1. Can Placement: Keeping Trash Cans Out of Reach

One of the easiest ways to keep your dog out of the trash is simply by adjusting the placement of your garbage bin. In the kitchen, consider putting the trash can under the sink or storing the bathroom trash in a closet. If you choose to keep your trash in the pantry, make sure to latch the door or use a baby gate to prevent your dog from sneaking in.

By ensuring that trash cans are out of reach, dog owners can greatly reduce the chances of a mess and keep their pets from raiding the trash.

2. Getting into Trash: Childproof Solutions

For a determined dog, even a closed pantry or latched cabinet might not be enough. Here’s where childproofing solutions come in handy. Just as you’d baby-proof areas to keep toddlers safe, you can dog-proof trash cans using similar methods.

Installing latches on cabinets where you keep your trash can make it harder for your dog to gain access. Another effective method is placing a trash bin behind a baby gate.

This way, even if your dog may be tempted by the smells wafting from the kitchen trash, they can’t get to the source. By taking these precautionary steps, you ensure your dog stays out of the trash and your kitchen floor remains clean.

3. Best Dog-Proof Trash Cans: The Right Choice

Trash bins come in various designs, and some are specifically built to be dog-proof. When choosing the best dog-proof trash cans, consider getting those with tight-fitting lids or ones that have a step pedal mechanism.

Stainless steel trash cans or metal trash bins might be a bit pricier, but they are often more durable and harder for a dog to open. Trash cans with lids also prevent the inviting scent from reaching your dog’s nose, which can deter their interest.

Lastly, a weighted bottom of your trash bin can prevent more ambitious dogs from tipping it over. Remember, the right trash can is a great way to keep your dog away from the trash and save you the hassle of cleaning up.

dog sniffing trash bin

4. Keep Your Trash Less Appealing: Ammonia Solution

While trash simply seems like waste to us, for many dogs, it’s like a treasure chest full of intriguing smells. To deter this interest, you can make the trash less appealing.

One method is to spray the inside of the trash bag with a mix of ammonia and water. This solution is unpleasant for dogs and will keep them away from the bin. Ensure the solution isn’t too strong, and always wash your hands after handling ammonia.

5. Way to Keep Dogs Away: Using Disliked Scents

Dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell, and some scents can deter them from certain areas or objects. You can leverage this to keep your dog away from the trash.

For instance, many dogs find the smell of citrus or pepper off-putting. Consider creating a spray using these ingredients and then lightly spray it on the trash bag or around the garbage bin’s perimeter. This method works as a natural deterrent and is a great way to keep your dog out of the kitchen and away from potential trash hazards.

Remember to reapply the spray regularly, especially after taking out the trash or if you notice your dog showing renewed interest in the bin.

6. Dog Toy Distractions: Averting Their Interest

Sometimes, the simplest way to keep a dog out of the trash is to divert their attention elsewhere. If you see your dog eyeing the trash or showing signs of interest, it might be time to introduce a new dog toy. Puzzle toys, in particular, are excellent because they engage your dog’s brain and can keep them occupied for extended periods.

Another option is to ensure that your dog has regular playtime and physical activity. A tired dog is less likely to raid the trash. Keeping a few favorite toys or treats on hand can be the easiest way to keep your dog focused on play and not on the contents of your trash.

7. Commanding Your Pet: Keeping Your Dog in Check

Training is a fundamental part of any dog’s life. It’s not only about tricks and obedience but also about safety. Teaching your dog to stay away from certain areas or objects is crucial.

Start by training your dog to stay out of the kitchen or wherever your main trash bin is located. When you see your dog approaching the trash, use a firm command like “Off!” or “Leave it!” If your dog listens, reward them with praise or a treat.

For those moments when a verbal command might not be enough, keep a spray bottle on hand. A quick spray of water can deter a dog from unwanted behavior. Over time, with consistent training, your dog will learn that getting into trash is off-limits.

dog laying in trash

8. Keep Dogs Out of Trash: Restricting Access

Physical barriers can be one of the most effective ways to keep dogs out of trash. If your dog is particularly persistent in trying to access the trash bin, consider using baby gates or even closing doors to keep the dog out of the kitchen or other areas where trash is stored.

Another method is to place the trash inside a cupboard or pantry and use a latch to secure it. If you have outdoor garbage bins, ensure they are tightly sealed and perhaps even weighted down, so your dog can’t knock them over or pry them open.

Consistency is key; if you ensure that access to the trash is always restricted, your dog will eventually learn it’s a no-go zone.

9. Feed Your Dog Right: Rewards for Good Behavior

The saying goes, “A well-fed dog is a happy dog.” Ensuring your dog is getting enough food and nutrition can reduce their temptation to raid the trash. Feed your dog a balanced diet and ensure they have access to fresh water at all times. Sometimes, the lure of the trash is simply because a dog isn’t getting enough nutrients or is bored.

Additionally, positive reinforcement plays a significant role in training. When your dog shows good behavior and stays away from the trash, reward them. High-value treats, affection, or playtime can motivate your dog to leave the garbage alone. Over time, your dog will associate staying out of the trash with positive rewards, making the training stick.

10. Strong-Smelling Foods: A Natural Deterrent

Sometimes, using nature’s own scents can be a powerful way to keep dogs away from the trash. By placing strong-smelling food, like citrus peels or spicy chili peppers, on top of the garbage, you can naturally discourage your dog’s curiosity.

These scents are not harmful to dogs, but they’re usually unappealing to their sensitive noses. It’s a simple yet effective trick: when your dog sniffs around the trash and encounters the overpowering aroma, they’re likely to lose interest quickly and move on. Plus, as an added bonus, your trash might just smell a bit fresher to you, too!

Conclusion: Keeping Your Home Clean and Your Dog Safe

Every dog owner knows the challenges of keeping a curious pet out of the trash. From the enticing smells of the kitchen floor to the leftover dog food in the garbage bin, the temptations are everywhere. But with patience, consistency, and the right strategies, it’s entirely possible to keep dogs out of trash.

Whether you opt for dog-proof trash cans, training, deterrent sprays, or a combination of methods, the goal is the same: to keep your home clean and your beloved pet safe. After all, our dogs rely on us to look out for their well-being, and it’s our duty to ensure they stay out of harm’s way.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to spread the word on social media!

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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10 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Out of the Trash Can

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  1. I’m soooo glad I do not have this issue. Just imagining coming home just to see your trash spread across the floor is disgusting 😀
    Great tips for when you have an issue with this!
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Great ideas! Have never had to keep a dog out my trash can, but have had to keep kids out😂

  3. Great tips on keeping dogs out of the trash. The lockable trash lid was a game changer in my house with my Belgian malinois.