How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Garbage Can: Tips and Tricks

If you're a dog parent, you've likely experienced the unpleasant surprise of finding trash scattered throughout your home thanks to your pup's garbage diving tendencies. Dogs can develop an unfortunate habit of rummaging through the trash, eating things they shouldn't, and creating a mess for their humans to clean up. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent this from happening. Let's take a look at how to keep your furry friend out of the trash can and your home tidy.

How do I Keep my Dog Out Garbage Can

Why does my dog eat garbage?

Before explaining how to prevent my dog from opening the trash can, it is essential to understand why he has this type of behavior.

Animal instincts

The main reason is that the canine instinct calls your dog and makes him look in the bucket for anything that appeals to his sense of smell.

You have to understand that for us it is a garbage can, something with a negative connotation. However, for them it is a collection of millions of new smells that are attractive to them to a greater or lesser extent. Therefore, they follow its trail until they find the bin and open it to find out what it is.


Perhaps we are not feeding our dog the amount of food that corresponds to its needs. Or his food may not be supplying him with the necessary nutrients and may be lacking in nutrients.

If the dog has nutritional needs, he will try to get food from wherever it is needed. Yes, even if that place is the garbage.

Want to eat something different

It can also happen that although they eat correctly in terms of quantity, the dog may want to try new flavors. That's why they look for something more appealing in the garbage.

If his diet is always composed of feed and you don't give him something different and appetizing from time to time, the smell of something you have thrown away may attract his attention.


When the dog does not have enough stimuli at home to entertain himself, he may start to have somewhat strange attitudes in order to find amusement.

Separation anxiety

When a dog suffers from separation anxiety, nervousness will take hold of him and while he is alone he will do anything to get your attention when you return.

How to keep my dog out of the trash can?

How do I Keep my Dog Out of the Trash Can

Let's now look at some tricks to keep your dog out of the garbage can.

1. Don't leave garbage at home

The first step is the most logical prevention. If the garbage can is very full and, therefore, it will be very easy for your dog to reach the waste, avoid it by throwing that garbage away when you go out of the house.

2. Do not leave the trash can in sight of the dog.

It is also important, in order to prevent your dog from opening the garbage can, not to leave it in his sight.

The dog is very intelligent and can learn to open it with his head (if it has a removable lid) or by stepping on the pedal.

Therefore, we should place it inside a kitchen cabinet, put it on the terrace, in the yard or anywhere where it does not disturb and where the dog cannot access it.

3. Positive Stimuli

If the dog rummages through the garbage out of boredom or because it suffers from separation anxiety, then it is essential to provide it with the necessary stimuli so that it does not have a bad time and does not engage in this type of behavior.

It is important that the dog walks everyday and plays with its guardian. When he is alone, he should be provided with challenging toys.

For example, kongs are ideal in this regard. Inside you can insert a dog treat that the dog will have to work hard to get out.

This will keep him entertained and, when he succeeds, he will have a succulent reward.

4. Ground pepper on the lid

Placing some ground pepper on the lid of the trash can serve as a repellent for your dog, as it will cause him to sneeze every time he comes near it.

5. A good education

The tricks mentioned above serve to prevent the dog from opening the garbage can. However, there is a very relevant issue that cannot be forgotten: education.

The dog must learn from us, as guardians, that his attitude is not the right one.

For that reason, every time we detect at home that the dog tries to open the garbage or we catch him with it open, we must say a resounding "NO", close the bucket and move the dog away.

This should also be done when we take the dog for a walk and it tries to rummage in the containers and garbage cans. Expressing this "NO" firmly and giving a little tug on the leash (very careful, without being too strong) will indicate to the animal that it should not do that.

Why is it important to keep my dog out of the garbage can?

We are not talking about a subject to be treated lightly. Preventing my dog from opening the trash can is essential for many reasons:

  • First, for his health. The animal could ingest spoiled or toxic food that would seriously harm him. In addition, they could eat other types of products or objects that we have discarded and put their lives at risk.
  • The dog could injure himself by cutting himself on broken glass, metal, could get a puncture... there are many damages that our dog could suffer when rummaging through the garbage.
  • On the other hand, there is the risk of choking, another danger that can cost the life of our dog.
  • In addition, by sticking his head in the garbage, the dog will get dirty and his fur will be impregnated with bad odors.
  • And let's not forget that if the dog takes the food out of the bucket and spreads it on the floor, it will be up to us to clean it up.

If you have been in the situation of finding your dog with his head in the garbage can or we know that he has done it even if you didn't catch him at the time, think about whether he could have ingested something dangerous for him.

Whether the answer is yes, or if you have doubts or if you notice strange symptoms, you should go immediately to a veterinary center.
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