July 1, 2021

Dog-Proof Trash Cans – Keep Your Home Clean and Your Pet Safe

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    Benefits of Dog-Proof Garbage Cans -
    According To A Vet

    When talking about dog-proof garbage cans, the first thing that comes to mind is hygiene and smells. "However, dog-proof trash cans have a more vital function – they promote safety for both you and your dog.", says Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM. To help you get a better picture of what we are talking about, we will shortly review the perks of having a dog-proof trash can.

    Dog-proof trash cans promote safety for both you and your dog.

    1. It helps you keep your home clean and smelling fresh

    It is easier to keep your home clean and fresh when there is no scattered trash or unpleasant lingering smells. A trash can that will keep its content inside and your dog out can be quite helpful.

    2. Good for overall hygiene

    Normally, the items in the trash can contain hundreds of germs that can easily spread on your dog and all over your house unless contained within the garbage can. These bacteria are not dangerous only for your dog but also for you and your family (especially small children).

    dog next to trash on floor

    3. Trash causes a choking and blockage hazard

    According to Dr. Crnec, items found in the trash pose both a choking and intestinal blockage hazard. This particularly applies to seeds, pits, and food wraps. If they end up in the wrong pipe, they can impair breathing and cause choking and, if swallowed, can lead to gastrointestinal blockage.

    4. Your dog won't get access to dangerous foods in the trash 

    In dogs, food leftovers can cause tummy issues manifested with vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. However, certain human foods can also be toxic and very harmful to dogs.

    So, it is not just about greasy, spicy, rotten, or molded foods. Perfectly fresh foods can cause severe problems if they contain an ingredient that is hazardous to dogs. Examples of human foods that are toxic to dogs are chocolate, grapes, apple seeds, avocados, chewing gums (contain xylitol), onions, and garlic.

    5. Protects your dog from dangerous chemicals in the trash

    The list of potentially dangerous chemicals your dog can find in the trash is pretty long. Some chemicals are relatively benign (causing a digestive upset), while others are life-threatening (causing poisonings and toxication).

    The list of chemicals you should be careful with includes expired medications, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), cleaning products, and personal care products (creams, shampoos, lotions, deodorants).

    6. A Dog-proof trash bin prevents cuts and wounds

    Remember those cartoons depicting a dog with a trash can stuck on its head? It might seem funny when watching something like that on TV, but this can be a rather dangerous situation in reality.

    Plus, the edges of the trash can and some items inside the trash can have sharp edges, which may cause cuts and wounds. Considering that these items are covered in germs, the injury can quickly get infected, requiring veterinary attention.

    Dog-Proof Trash Cans Buyer's Guide –
    What to Look for in s Pet-Proof Trash Can?

    Choosing the right trash can that will satisfy your overall design criteria and keep your dog's paws out can be a challenging task.

    Considering the number of choices available on the market, we have concluded a list of the basic features you need to consider when making the right choice.

    1. Overall design 

    dog proof trash can

    In terms of the overall design, there are several considerations like material, shape, weight, bottom, and durability.


    Material is one of the first factors you need to review. The ideal trash must be made from a strong material that can withstand the dog's attempts to break in. Dogs have sharp claws and teeth and can easily chew through certain materials.

    For example, stainless steel is a better alternative to plastic. Keep in mind that it is not just about the sides; the hinges and lids should also be made of sturdy materials.


    The shape of the trash can is critical too. Before choosing the ideal trash can, carefully consider the location. Some bins have slim and tall designs, while others short but bulky. It all depends on where you plan to place to the trash can.


    It is advisable to opt for a larger and consequently heavier trash can. Basically, cans that weigh more are harder to knock over. They can be a bit more difficult for you to manage because of the lifting when changing trash bags, but they are safer for your dog.


    The bottom of the trash can ensures stability and prevents slipping and flipping. Namely, you need to look for a trash can with a rubber bottom that can grip the floor tightly.


    A trash can made of high-quality materials is likely to cost more but also last more. Durability is vital, especially if you do not want to go dog-proof trash can shopping every week.

    2. Lid + locking design

    trash can dog-proof lid design

    The lid and locking design is the next barrier that keeps your pooch out of the can.

    The lid needs to fit tightly, and the locking design should be reliable and sturdy. It is worth mentioning that having a tight-fitting lid is great but worthless if it comes off the second your dog knocks the trash can over.

    The ideal trash can features a foot-operating lid pedal to ensure hands-free use. Additionally, the closing mechanism should be silent to prevent your dog from riling up upon hearing the trash can noise.

    3. Regular vs. touchless designs

    trash can leg pedal

    Today, high-end technology is regularly implemented in everyday items, including trash cans. Instead of hand or leg pedals, some trash can models feature touchless technology – sensor motions for opening the lid.

    These trash cans have several advantages ranging from futuristic looks to straightforward use. However, they have two drawbacks – the batteries will need frequent replacing, and some dogs can learn how to trick the sensors.

    4. Capacity

    Different trash cans come with different capacities, and which one is best depends on your needs. Generally speaking, cans with bigger capacity are more sturdy and harder to flip, while smaller ones are easier to maintain clean and promote more frequent emptying.

    5. Odor control

    One of the main features of dog-proof trash cans is to prevent odors from spreading and lingering in the environment.

    The lack of odor spread will prevent your dog from feeling the urge to go through the trash. Always look for a trash can with a reliable odor seal gasket.

    Additionally, some designs feature special odor filters or fragrance cartridges. Logically, both the filters and cartridges will need maintenance and replacing.

    6. Trash bags 

    garbage bag rolls

    Before deciding on the trash can model, check whether it uses trash bags (or proprietary liners) or not and, if it does, which type.

    Some trash cans require standard trash bags that are readily available and reasonably priced, while others might require specific trash bags that are not so easily found and not very budget-friendly.

    7. Miscellaneous features

    There are many other features you need to consider, as the number of compartments and portability. Trash cans with dual containers ensure easier recycling, while more massive trash cans should have wheels for effortless portability.

    Color and scratch-resistant finishing are other features you need to look into. Some trash bins come in one color while others in an array of colors. The scratch-resistant finishing will ensure the can looks new even if used for quite some time.

    Finally, pay attention to the ease of assembly and the manufacturer's warranty. Some trash cans can be quite complex, and others straightforward in terms of assembly. As for the warranty, usually, the length of the warranty is a good indicator of quality.


    How to Keep a Dog Out of the Trash? Tips for Keeping Your Dog Out of Your Garbage

    With so many dangers associated with your dog raiding the trash cans, it is paramount to find a way of keeping it out of the garbage.

    Preventing your dog from going through the trash can content is a complex issue that requires a multimodal approach.

    Here are several helpful tips, but keep in mind that most of them should be combined and used simultaneously for best results.

    Find a secure location

    dpg-proof trash can in kitchen cabinet

    The first thing you need to consider is the location. Ideally, you should put the can out of your dog's reach. Usually, pantries and closets work well.

    The location is important not just because of keeping the trash physically away from your dog but also because of limited smell distribution.

    If the can is closed, the smells coming out of its content will not provoke your dog, thus decreasing the chances of your dog becoming interested in the garbage.

    Pro Tip:

    Use a child-proof lock for extra security because many dogs learn how to open cabinet doors.

    Frequent garbage emptying

    The next thing is emptying the trash can as often as possible to avoid any lingering smells. What is more, you can also avoid throwing away specific extra smelly trash.

    For example, if you just had dinner and there are juicy leftovers, do not throw them in the garbage. Instead, pack them in a trash bag and throw them directly into the outside trash.

    Add weight to the can

    Some dogs like to play with the trash can and can easily knock it over. If the garbage content spills out, its content will become much more interesting for your dog.

    To avoid this scenario, you can place something that adds weight to the bottom of the can, for example, a large stone, brick, or gum weight. Simply put, it is hard to knock over something extra heavy.

    Use caution when changing trash bags

    dog proof trash can needed

    Dogs can be very opportunistic creatures. Even if you keep the bin in a safe location and empty is content frequently, your dog can still get its paws and teeth on the garbage when you are changing trash bags.

    It is advisable to ensure your dog is not in the same room as you when taking the old trash bag and replacing it with a new one. It is also recommended to use more robust trash bags that release fewer smells.

    These tips are simple and efficient, but they contain the symptoms and do not address the main issue – your dog's desire to dig through the trash. Here are some additional tips on how to limit your dog's trash-raiding inclinations.

    Always feed your dog before leaving the house

    Your dog is more likely to raid the trash can if feeling hungry. Hunger is a strong driving force for dogs. Even a mellow and well-behaved pooch can turn into a hyperactive and destructive dog when feeling hungry.

    You can easily prevent this by making sure your dog is well-fed before being left alone. We are not implying that you should over-feed your dog or offer meals outside of the regular feeding schedule – just make sure your dog is not hungry while you are away.

    Plenty of physical and mental stimulation

    muddy dog paws after a walk

    Your dog is also more likely to go through the trash if it lacks stimulation and feels bored. In fact, bored dogs can be pretty creative when finding sources for self-entertainment.

    You need to regularly exercise your dog and offer mental stimulation through interactive games and toys to avoid unwanted behavior.

    Understand your dog's infatuation with trash 

    Before frowning upon your dog's decision to go through the garbage, you need to understand that the dog's ancestor was an opportunistic scavenger – eating what it can find and wherever it can find.

    Your modern dog has everything it needs served in its food bowl, but the instinctual drive to scavenge remains written in its DNA code.

    Vet Tip:

    Since you cannot prevent your dog from following its instincts, you need to channel them through safe outlets. For example, you can provide your dog with different dog-friendly bones and chew toys.

    Crate training your dog

    In extreme cases, when you cannot control your dog's behavior and specific actions can be hazardous for its health, it is advisable to use a dog crate. For example, if your dog is notorious for its trash-raiding expeditions and you need to leave it alone, the crate is the safest option.

    Due to misconceptions and inadequate use, crates are a highly controversial topic in the modern dog parent community. However, when used responsibly and adequately, crates can be life-saving tools.

    Vet Tip:

    Keep in mind that crate training requires time and patience. It is advisable to start crate training your dog while still a young puppy.

    Matt Clayton
    Matt Clayton
    Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

    Matt is the founder of PetHairPatrol.com and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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