If you’ve had dogs for any length of time, you’ve surely come home to find the kitchen littered with the contents of your trash can.
There may or may not be a guilty-looking dog in the vicinity (some prefer to hide in these occasions).
While this can certainly be comical in the abstract, it is insanely frustrating to deal with this kind of problem on a daily basis. But your dog getting into the trash isn’t only frustrating – it can be dangerous too.
If you think it is no fun coming home to a kitchen floor full of garbage, imagine how much worse you’d feel if you were also greeted by an injured or sick pup (along with a frantic trip to the emergency pet hospital)!
Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to help keep your dog out of the trash. One of the easiest methods of prevention is through the use of a dog-proof can.
Check out the chart below if you are just looking for a quick recommendation, or read on to learn more about dog-proof trash cans, the reasons most dogs go dumpster diving, and some additional tips for keeping your dog out of the garbage.
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- Amazon Basics Trash Can with Foot Pedal [Best Overall Dog-Proof Trash Can]: This stainless steel trash can’s foot-operated pedal and soft-close lid help prevent your pooch from digging his head inside.
- Simplehuman Semi-Round Step Trash Can [Best Budget-Friendly Dog-Proof Trash Can]: This simple yet high-quality step-activated trash can has a sliding lock to keep your dog out of the trash at a reasonable price point.
- JOYBOS Trash Can [Best Dog-Proof Trash Can for Bathrooms]: The press-to-open lid of this petite bathroom trash bin eliminates four-footed trash surfing.
- Toter 25596-R1209 Blackstone Trash Can [Best Outdoor Dog-Proof Trash Can]: A tall build and heavy, hinged lid make this polyethylene can a top pick for outdoor use around dogs.
A Dog-Proof Trash Can Help Keep You, Your Dog, and Your Family Safe
Let’s be clear: Pet-proof waste bins aren’t just helpful, they’re actually necessary. In fact, dogs who get into trash cans can cause five serious problems:
- Poor Hygiene: Your trash can is undoubtedly full of disgusting, bacteria-laden items. These bacteria will not only wind up coating your dumpster-diving dog’s coat, they’ll end up smeared all over your kitchen too.
- Choking and Obstruction Hazards: Bones, plastic food containers, and other indigestible items lurking in your trash can may cause your dog to choke. Even those things that your dog manages to swallow may cause problems further along in his digestive tract.
- Dangerous Foods: Your trash can may contain a variety of things that could poison or otherwise sicken your dog. This includes things like chocolate, sugar-free gum, onions, garlic, walnuts or grapes.
- Harmful Chemicals: Many garbage bins contain cleaning products, insecticides, detergents, and other dangerous chemicals. These things can cause your dog to become very sick.
- Cuts and Puncture Wounds: Sharp things – including tin can lids, broken glass and wooden skewers – sitting in your trash can may cut or puncture your dog’s mouth or face while he’s rooting through the garbage.
11 Best Pet-Proof Trash Cans and Accessories
Now that you know what to look for in a pet-proof trash can, it’s time to pick out the best one for your home! Check out our favorites below, and be sure to tell us which one you picked in the comments.
1. Amazon Basics Trash Can with Foot Pedal
About: Curb your canine’s garbage fascination with Amazon Basics Trash Can with Foot Pedal, a sleek waste receptacle offered in a stainless steel finish that suits the decor of most modern homes. Best of all, it’s fingerprint-proof and smudge-resistant, keeping it looking great, even with everyday use.
- Pedal-controlled lid prevents pups from grazing in passing
- Soft-close lid won’t alert your doggo to its opening
- Inner plastic liner can be removed and cleaned as needed to keep tempting scents away
- Stay-open feature can keep the lid open for tossing in canine messes or bag-changing duty
- Available in 1.3-, 3.1-, 7.9-, and 13.2-gallon sizes, along with bundles.
- Pedal-style opening seals away temptation
- Heavier than plastic bins, preventing many pooches from toppling it over
- Most owners praise the trash can’s functionality and sleek look
- Lack of a lock on the lid is a bummer
- Some dogs can learn to operate foot pedals
2. Simplehuman Butterfly Trash Can
About: The Simplehuman Butterfly Trash Can is a sturdy stainless steel trash can worthy of keeping your canine out of the garbage. The step pedal and butterfly opening makes it easy to toss out rubbish, while still proving to be too challenging for your pooch to conquer.
- Fingerprint-proof, stainless steel exterior
- Removeable inner bucket for easy cleaning (Helping you keep it scent-free)
- Slim shape allows it to fit in tight spacing
- Silent close lid prevents your pooch from getting riled up when you toss food waste out
Dimensions / Capacity
- 11.9-Gallon Capacity (aka 45 liters)
- 23.3″ L x 10.4″ W x 26″ H
- Butterfly-style lid discourages most dogs from trying to invade
- Many dog owners report good results with keeping curious canines out
- Comes with a 10-year warranty
- A few owners noted that crumbs can sometimes get stuck in the lip lid area
- Doesn’t feature a lock
3. UEV Free-Standing Kitchen Trash Can Holder
About: Tuck away garbage from your pooch without sacrificing style with UEV’s Free-Standing Kitchen Trash Can Holder. Designed to mimic a modern kitchen cabinet, this wooden piece has stylish handles and a butcher block-style top that mask unsightly (and possibly smelly) trash cans — Just pull the lower handle to open the tilt-out drawer and access the trash.
- Constructed with pine, MDF, and bamboo
- Top drawer for storage
- Made in Black, Brown, Grey, and White finishes
- Wooden top is waterproof and mildew-resistant
- Measures 35.6″ H, 20.5″ L, and 13″ W (fits up to a 10-gallon trash can inside)
- Cabinet-like look stands apart from the sea of plastic and stainless steel trash receptacles
- Tilt-style opening is too tricky for most dogs to figure out
- Top and drawer can also be used for storage
- Won’t fit larger trash bins
- Assembly required
- Trash can not included
4. Simplehuman Semi-Round Step Trash Can
About: The Simplehuman Semi-Round Trash Can is a sleek and stylish trash can made with a slide lock to keep your dog out of the trash when he’s unattended. Despite the fact that it is a robust, secure garbage bin, it will not look out of place in your kitchen or blow a massive hole in your budget.
- Available in 5 different finishes (Black, Charcoal, Mocha, Stone, and Gray)
- Steel pedal is strong and built to last
- Shock absorbing technology ensures smooth, quiet closing
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
Dimensions / Capacity
- 13-gallon capacity
- 14″ W x 18.9″ L x 26″ H
- Price is great, especially for a locking trash can
- Simple styling works with almost any home decor
- Most users found this dog-proof garbage can secure and well-made
- Isn’t explicitly designed as a dog-proof kitchen trash can
- Some users had trouble assembling the trash can
5. Toter 25596-R1209 Blackstone Trash Can
About: The Toter 25596-R1209 Blackstone Trash Can might fall into the overkill category for some, but this wheeled outdoor bin is just what the doctor ordered for owners of particularly problematic pooches. As one of the toughest garbage cans on our list, owners of big, determined dogs should give it consideration.
- Made with a rugged rim and bottom wear strip for added strength
- Offered in 5 finishes: Blackstone, Greenstone, Graystone, Brownstone, and Blue
- Blackstone finish helps to mask scratches and other wear and tear, keeping its polyethylene build beautiful for years
- Comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty
Dimensions / Capacity:
Available in 32-, 48-, 64-, and 96-gallon sizes
- Size makes it hard for most dogs to topple, and the hinged lid is too heavy for many to nose open
- Still looks and feels like a “normal” trash can despite its size and strength
- Super durable build and an unbeatable warranty
- Pricier than your everyday trash can
- No locking mechanism on the lid
6. Rubbermaid Commercial Defenders Trash Can
About: The Rubbermaid Commercial Defenders Trash Can is not specifically designed to be a dog-proof receptacle, but for many dogs, it may as well be Fort Knox. The heavy lid, foot-operated opening mechanism, and strong construction materials make it worthy of consideration for use in public settings like stores.
- Steel outer shell and plastic inner liner makes it strong yet easy to clean
- Odor seal gasket helps curb tempting trash smells from escaping
- Available in Red, White, and Stainless Steel finishes
- OSHA-compliant construction
Dimensions / Capacity
- Offered in 7-, 12-, 24-, and 40-gallon capacities
- Heavy-duty, steel construction is second-to-none in durability
- Although large and strong dogs may find ways to lift the lid (or even learn to step on the pedal) in time, it’s likely to be a good choice for keeping out most pups in passing
- One of the better-looking trash cans available
- Lid doesn’t lock, but the overall heft of the unit and steel outer shell will provide some protection from your dog
- A very pricey trash can, thanks to its steel frame
7. JOYBOS Trash Can
About: Protect bathroom waste from dogged sniffers in JOYBOS Trash Can, a garbage bin that opens and closes with the press of your hand. Dual interior holes prevent the trash bag from slipping, while the secure top prevents pooches from chowing down on tossed yuckies.
- Plastic exterior is waterproof and easy to clean as needed
- Quiet lid won’t alert your pooch to opening or closing
- All white finish comes with the option of a gray or orange decorative line
- Narrow design tucks effortlessly into compact bathroom spaces
- Comes in one 3.7-gallon capacity size (Measures 12.6″ L x 6.3″ W x 12.6″ H)
- Lid hides away the sights and smells of bathroom trash
- Neutral appearance fits in with most decor
- Holds a fair amount for such a petite can
- Smart dogs may pick up on the lid’s press-to-open design
- Lack of size options and colors is a bummer
8. iTouchless 13-Gallon Sensor Trash Can
About: Simply things with the help of iTouchless Sensor Trash Can, a garbage receptacle that allows for hands-free, sensor-triggered use or pet-safe mode, where your doggo’s barred from the contents inside. Built-in sensors prevent the can from closing on your hand (or your pup’s nose!), while a physical latch keeps the trashcan closed in pet-safe mode.
- Available in a single, stainless steel finish
- AbsorbX Odor Control keeps trash stinkies at bay
- Fingerprint-proof stainless steel finish
- Powered by 4 size-D batteries or an optional AC adapter (sold separately)
- Comes in a single 13-gallon capacity size (Measures 23.8″ H, 10.8″ W, and 12.9″ L.)
- Pet-proof mode prevents your pooch from chowing down
- Built-in odor-blocking tech keeps scents from tempting your dog
- Hands-free sensors allow for easy, fuss-free cleanup of messes
- Priced higher than other trash cans
- Requires batteries or plugging in
The iTouchless Trashcan: Staff Experiences
My Rottie is completely trustworthy around trashcans, but my Pyr, not so much.
The good-but-guilty girl, for your viewing pleasure.
At any rate, I needed a dog-proof trashcan, so I picked up the iTouchless 13-gallon model.
As it turns out, it works really well.
It arrived wrapped in plastic and enclosed in a foam shell to protect the finish.
Despite being somewhat high-tech by trashcan standards, it was really simple and easy to set up.
It only consists of a few components, and I had it up and running in minutes. I opted for the battery-powered model, as we don’t have anywhere convenient to plug it in.
It’s easy to swap out bags, and the no-touch sensor works great thus far.
Simply wave your hand over it, and it opens (it closes on its own a few seconds later).
In fact, the sensor is so sensitive that it has occasionally opened when I walked by or leaned over it.
But that’s really not a big problemo.
Ultimately, as someone who cooks a lot (and therefore uses a trashcan a bunch), I really like from a normal-use point of view.
But how dog-proof is it?
Well, so far, so good.
We’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I’m happy to report that our trash has remained in the can, where it belongs.
The simple latch mechanism completely prevents the lid from opening. Unless my Pyr figures out a way to spin that latch (highly doubtful), she’s not going to be able to open it.
Now, the top isn’t secured in any way — gravity keeps it in place. So, if she knocks the whole thing over, I’m going to discover a mess on the kitchen floor and a dog with pizza sauce on her face.
I don’t think that’s likely in our case, but if you have a really determined doggo, there are likely better options available.
The verdict? It’s great from a human perspective and good enough for mild to moderate trash-can invaders.
9. Rubbermaid Dual Stream Trash Can
About: Deposit all of your kitchen debris in one place with Rubbermaid Dual Stream Trash Can, a two-part container for trash and recycling with a foot-operate lid for hiding the goods from dogs and guests. Tall and wide, it isn’t easy for most dogs to topple, either.
- Stainless steel finish for a sleek, modern look
- Included plastic, color-coded bins that designate trash and recycling
- Always-open lid lock for propping the lid wide as needed
- Slow-close, quiet lid won’t grab your trash-obsessed dog’s attention
- Standard (5.3-gallon recycling and 5.3-gallon trash capacity, Measures 25.8″ H, 13.1″ W, and 17.1″ L)
- Large Waste (6.4-gallon recycling and 9.5-gallon trash capacity, Measures 25.9″ H, 12.6″ W, and 20.7″ H)
- Holds all your kitchen waste stowed away in one place
- Step-open lid hides away trash temptation
- Stainless steel finish wipes clean
- No bone’s about it: It’s pricey
- Some dogs learn to operate step-style lids
- More color options would be ideal
10. PENGKE Slim Plastic Trash Can
About: Hide your office waste from your woofer with PENGKE’s Slim Plastic Trash Can. The press-top lip prevents trash surfing for most dogs, preventing a puptastrophe of a mess.
- Made with a hardy plastic material
- Inner bucket removable for cleaning and keeping office odors at a minimum
- Offered in a solid Black or White finish
- Sleek oval shape fits in most spaces with ease
- 2.11-gallon capacity measures 11.8″ L x 5.7″ W x 10.6″ H
- 2.7-gallon capacity measures 12.8″ L x 5.9″ W x 12.6″ H
- Press-down lid expertly conceals office trash temptations (many of which can be dangerous to doggos)
- Design prevents dogs from nosing the lid open
- Company offers a satisfaction guarantee
- Some dogs may learn to operate the lid’s press-to-open design
- Might be a tad small for some office waste
11. Lid Loc Dog Proof Trash Can Lid
About: The Lid Loc is not a garbage can; rather, it is an animal-proof lid strap, designed to be used with most standard curbside trash cans. Just attach the cleat and drill a hole into the lid, and the Lid Loc will keep critters out by keeping the lid securely held down.
- Cheap, affordable solution
- Simple to install through the use of a drill and screwdriver
- Made in the USA
- A quick, easy, and affordable option for upgrading your existing trash can
- Most owners report top-notch, animal-repelling results
- In addition to preventing your dog from accessing the trash, the Lid Loc will also help to keep out squirrels, raccoons, and rainwater
- Some assembly is required
- Owners have to remember to remove the device for trash collection in applicable locations
What to Look for in a Pet-Proof Trash Can
There are a number of different dog-proof trash cans and lids on the market, but that doesn’t mean they all perform the desired function. In fact, dogs frequently make quick work of substandard products.
You can avoid this type of frustration by looking for the following features in your pet-proof trash can:
Make sure you purchase a trash can made of adequately strong material. Dogs have strong jaws, capable paws, and sharp minds; trash cans made from flimsy plastic are unlikely to last very long. While your dog probably isn’t going to just chew through the side, the hinges and lip are often the weak spots they target.
Be sure that the lid will stay on, once the can has been tipped over. Many dog-proof garbage cans have lids designed to keep dogs out, but they immediately become worthless once tipped over. As your dog will no doubt attempt to knock down the can during the process, these kinds of trash cans rarely help.
Try to select the largest can that will work inside or outside your home. In general, larger can are heavier and more robust than smaller cans, which will provide some additional resiliency in the face of a hungry and determined dog.
The Three Reasons Dogs Are Compelled to Dig Through the Trash
Every dog is different, but most get into the trash for one of three common reasons. It is important to understand why your dog is getting into the garbage so that you can have the best chance of putting a stop to the behavior.
Most dogs get into the garbage bin for one of three reasons:
1. Your pooch is hungry
You may feed your dog a perfectly nutritious diet, but if you don’t feed him enough calories, his stomach may not feel adequately full. Remember, for example, that your pup’s food needs will increase as he grows – if you don’t adjust his food intake, he may always be hungry.
Additionally, if this occurs regularly, such as right before you get home in the evening, you may be forcing him to wait too long between meals. In this case, an automated feeding system on a timer may be a solid solution.
2. Your dog smells something irresistible
This is commonly the reason a normally well-behaved pup gets into the trash as a one-off.
Perhaps the family had ribs last night, and he just can’t resist the delicious trash odors coming from the garbage can, or maybe that bacon grease you discarded yesterday is just driving him crazy.
In such cases, it is best to double- or triple-bag potentially tempting items, or simply empty the trash and take trash bags out to the curb more frequently – especially after drool-worthy meals. This is also true with bathroom waste, as some dogs eat baby diapers.
3. Your pet is bored, frustrated, or anxious
This often occurs among those dogs suffering from separation anxiety.
Bored, lonely, and even a bit afraid, they go through the house looking for things to make them feel better (let’s face it, humans are also pretty guilty of emotional eating).
Popping open the garbage bin and chewing on the tasty things inside is a great way to cheer up (from your dog’s point of view). In such cases, you’ll likely have to address the underlying problem to halt his dumpster-diving behaviors.
- Try giving your dog some brain-stimulating toys to play with while you’re away
- Ensure your dog is getting enough exercise
- Combat boredom by giving your dog plenty to do when you can’t stay and play
But regardless of why your pup is getting into the trash, a dog-proof can or is imperative for his health and safety.
Alternative Strategies and Dog Trash Can Deterrents: Stop Your Pup from Dumpster Diving
While the above garbage cans and lids will probably help keep your trash locked up safe and sound, you can also do a few different things to help reduce the chances that your dog will get into the garbage (and keep him out of the cat’s litter box as well).
- Provide more appropriate alternatives for your pup’s frustration. Consider giving your dog a puzzle toy or even a treat dispensing toy to occupy his focus and keep him busy. A KONG packed with a delicious paste (even regular old peanut butter would work) tucked inside may give your dog something to do for hours.
- Deny him access to the can entirely. If you are still having trouble keeping your garbage can secure, consider moving the can to a place your dog can’t access it. Perhaps you can install an undercounter trash can, or you could start keeping the trash can in a pantry that remains shut most of the time. You may even be able to rearrange tables or other items to deny him access to the can. If your dog is getting into the bathroom trash, make a habit of keeping the bathroom door closed at all times.
- Spray a dog trash can deterrent around the lip and sides of the can. Substances like Bitter Apple and other foul-smelling sprays are sometimes very helpful in adjusting your dog’s behaviors. You can also make these kinds of sprays yourself, but it is usually just easier to purchase a ready-made version.
- Get your dog more exercise and interaction with his person. If your dog is getting into the trash because he is bored or frustrated, a little more time with his puppy parent may help alleviate these destructive behaviors. As they say, a tired dog is a good (and happy) dog.
- Enlist the help of a certified trainer. It is unlikely that any trainer can convince your dog that chicken wing leftovers aren’t delicious, but a good dog trainer can help you teach your dog that the garbage bin is off-limits. This will take plenty of work and effort (as well as more exercise and interaction as explained above), but it can be effective if you stick to it.
- Empty the trash more frequently. Dogs are less likely to get into a can that is mostly empty, so empty the trash can more often if that is possible. It bears mentioning that removing recyclable and compostable materials from your trash will also help reduce the amount of trash you produce. This is especially important to do before leaving your dog unattended for a long period of time.
Dog-Proof Trash Cans: FAQ
As many dog owners know, it can be surprisingly tricky to protect your trash from your pooch! In fact, it is a subject that causes owners to have a number of pretty common questions. We’ll try to answer a few of them below.
How do you dog-proof a trash can?
To dog-proof a trash can, you can simply incorporate a bungee cord (although this may require drilling holes into your existing trash can). Another option is to seek out a trash can with more dog-proofing features, like step-to-open lids or locks.
How do I keep my dog out of the trash can?
Prevention is the easiest route. Place the trash can out of your dog’s reach. Tucking it into a closet or cabinet works best, but you can also opt for a lidded or locking trash can if putting the trash can elsewhere isn’t an option. With the trash can still in view, it may not curb garbage-browsing behavior, but it’s a start in making it less tempting.
Next, you want to offer your dog tempting distractions like chews or interactive toys. These keep him focused on things other than what might be hiding in the trash.
To keep the trash can from becoming a future target for your canine, always discard super-smelly items or leftovers in outdoor trash bins.
Is the Simplehuman Trash Can dog-proof?
There probably isn’t a consumer-grade trash can on the market that’ll work for every dog in every situation. But the locking mechanism of the Simplehuman Trash Can makes it one of the most dog-proof waste bins available.
But this only holds true if you utilize it. The secret is to train yourself to use the lock, just like you’re training your dog not to get into the bin.
How do I train my dog not to knock over the trash?
Training your dog to stay out of the trash starts with making sure he’s well-fed and occupied. Is he eat enough at meal time? Are his meals properly spaced? Does he have adequate toys and daily enrichment?
Tooth-friendly chews and interactive toys are great for keeping canines engaged in solo play and away from the trash can, but adding a mid-day walk can do wonders too. Consider hiring a dog walker if he practices trash-digging and other boredom behaviors frequently while you’re away.
You should also move your trash can, if possible, or upgrade to a locking, dog-proof bin to prevent him from getting into trouble. Not only does this eliminate messes, but it keeps him safe from ingesting things he shouldn’t.
If your dog shows interest in the trash can, issue a “no” or chosen correction sound and redirect him to his toys or chews. The secret here is to make the desired object 1000 times more interesting than the trash can. Try adding peanut butter to a Kong or playing fetch with his chew, turning his focus entirely on the item.
Why do dogs get into the trash?
Dogs go trash-diving for a number of reasons, with the most common being boredom. If your dog lacks enrichment, he’ll make his own, and quite possibly make a smelly mess with your garbage in the process.
Dogs also explore the trash in pursuit of something that smells divine, whether it’s last night’s leftovers or a food wrapper. Your pup could be hungry, possibly meaning you need to feed him more food or feed him more often. Unexplained increases in hunger should be addressed by a vet.
Keeping your dog out of the garbage can definitely be a frustrating endeavor. Just be sure to keep the above tips in mind and try to select the best option for your dog.
Remember, it isn’t always necessary to have a Fort Knox-like trash can for every dog – some are dissuaded more easily than others!
Have you had any success keeping your dog out of the trash? Does he seem to prefer kitchen trash cans or bathroom trash cans? How did you go about combatting the problem? Let us — and any other pet owners in similar situations — know all about it in the comments below.