It’s understandable for pet owners to be puzzled by this behavior. If their dogs are well-fed and given all the treats they want, surely there’s no reason for these pampered pooches to be nosing about the waste bins in the kitchen. Aside from creating a lot of mess, your pet may accidentally ingest things that can seriously harm their health.
Unfortunately, some dogs dig through trash because they can’t resist the alluring smell of its contents. Even if it often doesn’t smell good to humans, garbage holds a lot of appeal to dogs because the different smells provide mental stimulation. However, many pets get sick when they eat something they’re not supposed to. They might consume leftovers that contain ingredients toxic to canines, including chocolate, caffeine, onions, and garlic. The trash can also have other objects harmful to pets, such as glass, medications, and cleaning supplies.
Since your furry friend isn’t aware of the harmful effects of digging and eating your trash, it’s up to you as a pet parent to discourage them from exploring your garbage bin. Here are different ways to stop your dog from rummaging through your trash and making a mess.
Keep a Well-Fed Dog
On many occasions, your dog is lured into your trash can due to the food smells coming from it. But as long as your pet is well-fed, they'll be less likely to go through your garbage. So, make sure your dog doesn’t go hungry by following a regular feeding schedule. The canine stomach is structured to crave food eight to 10 hours after their last meal, so it’s a good idea to feed them between these times. Typically, you can schedule mealtimes during breakfast and dinner.
When you feed your dog at the same time every day, their body will adapt to the routine, so they will naturally only get hungry right before their mealtime. If you are consistent with this feeding schedule, your dog will be less likely to forage and search for food in your trash since they’re assured that food will come on schedule. This means that even if you’re on an outing with your beloved pup, you should provide them with their food when it’s time to feed them. Bring along a customizable collapsible dog bowl when a walk or a trip will coincide with your dog’s meal time so your pet has a clean container to eat from.
Keep Your Pup Entertained While You’re Away
Sometimes, the reason your dog wants to dig through your trash isn’t linked to their hunger. They could be bored and looking for something to entertain themselves with. So they might dig through the trash and chew on random items. Unless you want trash spread all over your house, make sure to give your pup something to keep them occupied while you’re away. You can leave them some plush toys they can play and snuggle with or a treat-dispensing toy to keep their mind busy.
When you’re home, give your pup plenty of exercise to expel their excess energy. For example, you can take daily walks or play games with your dog. Introducing new toys like a durable frisbee rope toss toy can stimulate your pet’s mind and keep them engaged in productive activities. So when you leave them at home, your pup will be too tired from the activity that they won’t have the physical and mental energy to rummage through your trash.
Use Child-Safe Locks to Keep the Trash Can Closed
You can deter your dog from accessing the contents of your trash can by making it impossible for them to do so. It can be as simple as attaching a child safety lock on each side of the bin. This way, even if they tip the trash can over, the lid won’t come off and your pup won’t get into it.
Child safety locks are widely available in most baby supply shops. They have adhesive backings that easily stick to different surfaces and use a latch you must press to release, which makes the system easy for you to unlock but difficult for your playful pup to access.
Get a Trash Can Your Pup Can’t Get Into
Another practical way to stop your dog from digging in the trash is to get a garbage bin they can’t open. If your dog is obsessed with your trash can and its contents, it’s a good idea to replace it with something too heavy to knock over and too high for them to reach into. Also, consider purchasing a trash container with a lid that stays locked and only opens when a foot pedal is firmly pressed.
Place the Trash Can Where Your Dog Won’t Access It
If you have a crafty pet that eventually learns how to open even the most smartly-designed trash can, it’s a good idea to put the bin where your dog won’t be able to reach it. For example, you can move the garbage can in the garage, on the counter, or under the kitchen sink. Another option is to store the trash can in a pull-out cabinet that your dog can’t open. If they still manage to do so, use child safety locks to keep your pet from pulling out the cabinet.
Coming home to find a dirty dog and trash strewn all over the kitchen is annoying, exhausting, and also worrisome because of the potential harm that eating garbage can do to your pup. Fortunately, this kind of behavior isn’t one that you shouldn’t have to put up with. Consider following these recommendations to keep your pup from rummaging through your garbage can. They won’t just help you discourage your pet from playing with your household’s trash, but also prevent your furry friend from accidentally ingesting objects that are harmful to their health.
Photo by James Barker on Unsplash