10 Ways How to Dog-Proof a Trash Can

Filed in Dog Health, Dog Products by on December 31, 2021

Ways How to Dog-Proof a Trash Can

If your dog is like my dog, he’ll go anywhere where he smells food.

It can be a real problem if they’re getting into your trash can. It isn’t just a messy problem to clean up, but a major safety issue if your dog is eating unsafe or non-food items.

To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of ten tips how to dog-proof your trash can whether in your kitchen or elsewhere.

My Top 10 Ways How to Dog-Proof a Trash Can

1. Move the garbage bins into an enclosed area

Your dog can’t get into your trash if he can’t reach your trash in the first place. Move it to a spot that’s out of reach. You can hide it in the pantry, a closet, or in the cabinet underneath the sink.

Wherever you put your trash can, make sure it’s where your dog can’t even access it in the first place. If you’re putting it in a cabinet, make sure the cabinet is closed and secured with a child-proof lock.

If you can’t use a child-proof lock, make sure it’s behind a door your dog can’t open.

This is ideal for smaller trash cans, such as bathroom trash. However, you can also secure your kitchen trash with this method.

2. Empty your garbage often

trash in the kitchen

If your dog is getting into your trash, make sure to empty it often. While this method isn’t a fix by itself, it’s a good way to reduce incidents with your dog while you find a more secure method.

When you remove enticing smells on a regular basis, your dog is less likely to explore your trash’s contents.

If you have a dumpster, consider taking your trash out at the end of each day. Your dog cannot be tempted by smells that aren’t there.

3. Buy a pet-friendly garbage bins

This tip is a little bit of a cheat, but you can buy a dog-proof trash can and avoid all of these other methods. In fact, there’s a lot of choices on the market.

If you’ve tried everything else and your dog is still getting into the trash, it may be time to make the investment. Most dog-proof trash cans have lid locks and a pedal to keep your pup out of the trash.

I wrote a blog post on the best dog-proof trash cans.

4. Add a weight to the bottom

If your dog is tipping your trash can over to gain access, adding a weight to the bottom may be an effective tool to reduce incidents. This method will make it difficult for your dog to knock over the can to get to its contents.

Use a brick, large stone, weight, or other heavy object to prevent tipping. Place that object at the bottom. Make sure you’re placing the weight between the bottom and the liner.

This is a great option if your dog is small. However, it may not be effective if you have a large or strong dog.

5. Make sure garbage bags are sealed and out of reach

Dog-proofing your trash can isn’t enough if your dog is getting into your trash bags. Make sure to take trash bags outside or place them in an area of the home your dog cannot access (such as your garage).

Even if you’re only leaving them on the kitchen floor for a minute, make sure you seal them off to prevent incidents.

6. Use a safety lock to secure it

There are lots of child safety locks on the market to help you keep your child out of the trash can. These also work great to keep your dog out as well.

Most child safety locks involve latching one side of the trash can. If your dog knocks your trash can over to gain access, you may need to invest in a safety lock for each side.

Most safety locks have a fairly easy latch system that only requires a quick press to release the latch. While this makes it simpler for you to use, their simplicity also means your dog may be able to access the trash.

You can purchase safety locks in the baby section of most major retailers. They’re a good option if you need to keep it in its current location.

7. Make sure the lid is on tight

Many trash cans have fitted lids, which may be all the protection you need. If your trash can has a fitted lid, ensure it’s always snapped securely into place. This may be enough of a barrier to prevent your dog from getting inside, especially if he’s only digging in your trash out of boredom.

8. Use a bitter spray to deter your canine

apple cider vinegar spray

Make your trash can smell as unappealing as possible to keep your dog out. Some dogs dislike the smell of vinegar or bitter apple. If this is the case with your dog, spray the scent around it to keep your dog away.

Make sure you use a dog-safe spray or ingredient. Some sources recommend using a dab of hot sauce. However, some spicy ingredients may cause stomach discomfort for your dog. While it may deter your dog from getting in the trash, it isn’t worth the illness it may cause your dog.

9. Use a baby gate to block access to areas with garbage bins

If your dog can’t get to your trash in the first place, this would solve the issue. Use a baby gate to block your dog’s access to areas with trash cans.

As a bonus, putting a baby gate to block access to your kitchen may help you stop your dog’s begging for food while you cook.

Unfortunately, this method only works if you have a smaller dog that doesn’t jump. If your dog can easily jump over a baby gate, putting up the barrier will not help.

10. Make sure your canine is getting plenty of physical and mental exercise

When your dog is getting enough physical and mental stimulation, he’s a lot less likely to have behavior issues. If your dog is getting into your trash when he’s bored, it might be a sign that he needs more physical or mental stimulation.

Research your dog’s breed to figure out how much exercise he needs each day. Make sure your dog is getting enough physical exercise based on his breed, age, and other health concerns.

Some dogs get into the trash when they’re bored or left alone. If this is the case with your dog, make sure he’s getting enough mental stimulation. Food-filled toys (like the Kong) and puzzles can help keep your dog’s mind occupied when you’re away.

You may also try using a snuffle mat during feeding times to encourage healthy foraging. The stimulation may be just what your dog needs to use up his energy.


Well, I hope one of these ways works for you on how to dog-proof a trash can.

Some of these tips require simple actions you can take while others require more permanent changes within your home. Others require you to buy additional products.

If you want to save time and skip the trial and error, I am writing a blog post on the best dog-proof trash cans on the market.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.

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