Trash cans are full of dangerous substances for dogs. Here are four of the best dog proof trash cans, along with tips for choosing the right option for your pup.
- Why Are Dog-Proof Trash Cans Important?
- What Makes a Bathroom or Kitchen Garbage Can “Dog Proof”?
- 4 Best Dog Proof Trash Can Reviews
- Other Ways to Discourage Trash Can Digging and Rummaging
All canines are natural scavenges, so the enticing smell of food, toiletries and other chewable objects makes the average kitchen bin an attractive prospect.
In fact, recent theories suggest that dogs evolved from wolves who thrived on human trash – so it’s no surprise that many modern dogs are “dumpster divers!”
Coming home to garbage spread across the floor isn’t just annoying though. Trash contains a host of dangerous objects, such as poisonous foods, batteries, sharp implements and hazardous chemicals. These can cause serious health problems if ingested by your pet.
There are many ways to prevent your pet eating garbage, but a dog proof trash can is one of the most effective. Keep reading to learn why dog-proof cans are important, how to choose one, and four of the best options.
Our #1 Pick: Simplehuman Step Trash Can With Lock
Strong and lockable kitchen trash can
My top pick for a dog proof can is the excellent Simplehuman Kitchen Step With Lock. It features a strong exterior, lockable top, and a simple foot pedal design – plus it looks great.
Why Are Dog-Proof Trash Cans Important?
As I mentioned, the main reason to get a dog proof bin is to protect your pet from dangerous substances.
This is particularly important in the kitchen. Many human foods are poisonous to dogs, including onions, grapes, chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocado, raisins, and any foods containing xylitol (such as chewing gum, certain types of jelly bean or some brands of peanut butter.) Cooked bones are also dangerous, as they can splinter inside the gut.
Even foods that are safe for dogs can become dangerous if left to become moldy in a trash can.
Rotting food is filled with potentially harmful bacteria, parasites and fungi, which if eaten can lead to a condition called “garbage gut” – the canine version of food poisoning.
These bacteria can cause more than just a bout of diarrhea. The worst cases of poisoning can lead to high temperatures, seizures and even death if untreated.
Aside from food, trash cans may contain a variety of other dangerous items. These include:
- Batteries – if swallowed, many batteries can cause severe intestinal burning.
- Choking Hazards – even inert objects can be potential choking hazards. Wine corks, string, wrapping paper and plastic bags are common examples.
- Sharp Items – broken glass, opened tin cans, and discarded cutlery can all cut your pet’s face if he noses through the trash.
- Hazardous Chemicals – cleaning products are amongst the most dangerous things that your dog might find in a trash can.
It’s not just kitchen trash cans that you should worry about – bathroom cans are sometimes even more dangerous. Bathroom trash is likely to contain a mixture of medication, personal care products, and even sharp items such as disposable razors. Dental floss and cleaning gels can also be potentially dangerous.
The key point here is that trash bags are filled with potential dangers for your dog. Many dogs will also eat anything without pausing for breath, so don’t rely on your pet only eating safe items. Labradors are notorious for this, but they aren’t the only ones! If your dog can access the contents of a trash can, it may only be a matter of time before he eats something dangerous.
A pet proof trash can isn’t just for your pet’s benefit though. Aside from keeping your house tidy, it’s unhygienic and potentially dangerous for a dog to drag bacteria-ridden garbage across your floor – especially if you have kids.
What Makes a Bathroom or Kitchen Garbage Can “Dog Proof”?
There aren’t many garbage bins that are marketed as 100% pup proof. This is because claiming any trash can will withstand all dogs would almost certainly be a lie. If you have a big, strong and determined pet, the only guaranteed way to keep him out of the trash is to ensure he can’t access the bin in the first place.
With that said, there are some excellent trash cans that are hard for most dogs to defeat. Here are some factors to look for:
- Lockable or Heavy Lid. A basic flip bin isn’t going to stop a determined pooch – especially if he’s tall enough to stick his head inside. Ideally, the can should have a lockable lid, as this stays in place even if pushed over. A heavy lid without an easy-to-bite lip can also do the job, as it’s hard for a dog to lever open.
- Tight Fitting Lid. The lid should also have a tight fit. This prevents appetising smells from escaping and makes it harder for a dog to get inside.
- Dog Resistant Opening Mechanism. It’s much harder for a dog to open a trash can with a pedal. Some clever pups figure out how to use a pedal, but this is unusual. Avoid electric trash cans with motion detectors though. While a hands-free and automated bin can be convenient, a clever pup may learn how to activate the motion sensor.
- Bigger is Better. The bigger a pet proof trash can, the more difficult it is for your dog to push over. Larger bins also tend to be sturdier and more durable.
- Strong Exterior Material. The best lock is useless if your dog can just chew through the sides or break its hinges. Metal bins are the strongest, although heavy-duty plastic can also be durable. Thick exterior materials also make a bin heavier and more difficult to tip over.
Of course, the best chew proof bin depends on your dog. If you have a strong Siberian Husky or German Shepherd, a large and heavy-duty metal bin is likely to be the best option. If you have an inquisitive chihuahua or other small dog, your bin probably won’t need to be as large – although it still needs to be chew proof and difficult to access.
Tip: Want to learn more about dog proofing your home? Read our in-depth dog-proofing guide.
4 Best Dog Proof Trash Can Reviews
Listed below are four of the best dog proof garbage cans. I’ve included options for kitchens, bathrooms, and an accessory for existing trash cans.
Please be aware that none of these bins are guaranteed to stop all dogs. They are tough enough to prevent most dogs from accessing the garbage, but a determined pup with enough time could potentially find a way.
For this reason, I always recommend placing bins in an under-sink cabinet with a child lock. If that’s not possible, keep your bin in a room or garage that your dog can’t access when unsupervised.
1. Simplehuman Semi-Round Kitchen Step Trash Can With Lock (Best for Kitchens)VIEW PRICE
My top pick for a dog proof kitchen trash can is the Simplehuman Semi-Round With Lock.
As the name suggests, it has a sliding lid lock that, combined with the strong steel pedal, makes it virtually impossible for your pet to open. The lock should also prevent the lid opening if the can is knocked over.
Another advantage of the locking design is that it seals in food odors, making the trash less appealing to your dog.
Other features include a semi-round shape to save space, big capacity, and a “silent” lid that doesn’t bang. Make sure your dog doesn’t poke his head in while it’s closing though!
A drawback is that this trash can is made from plastic rather than stainless steel. It’s possible that a strong dog could chew through the side, although this is unlikely. Of course, you also need to remember to lock it.
The Simplehuman Kitchen Trash Can is a strong model with a secure slide lock, foot pedal, and tough exterior. It’s also large and seals odors inside.
2. Simplehuman 2.6 Gallon Butterfly Bathroom Step Trash Can (Best for Bathrooms)VIEW PRICE
Bathroom trash cans are usually smaller, which can make them less secure. While the best way to protect your dog is to keep him out of the bathroom, a strong trash can will provide an extra layer of protection.
The Simplehuman Butterfly Lid might not be completely dog-proof, but it comes close. It has a stainless exterior and pedal design, so it’s difficult for a dog to open. The butterfly lids also don’t provide an easy target for your pooch.
Another advantage of the Simplehuman is the internal hinge, as exposed hinges are a common chew target for dogs. The stainless steel exterior also looks great in most bathrooms.
Don’t expect a bathroom trash can to withstand a determined and strong dog though – especially if he’s unattended. The small size and lack of a latch means it’s not as secure as a full-size trash can, although it can keep out most dogs.
The Simplehuman Bathroom Step Trash Can has a stainless steel exterior and butterfly lid. This makes it difficult for most pets to open, although it’s not as secure as a full-size can.
3. Trash Buddy Dog Proof Trash Can Lid (Best for Existing Outdoor Garbage Cans)VIEW PRICE
The garbage cans on this list are great if you’re happy to buy a new model for your home. But what if you want to stop your dog accessing an existing can?
If you need to secure a standard 96 gallon outdoor trash can, the Trash Buddy could be a good option.
The Trash Buddy attaches to existing trash cans, making them harder for animals to open. It’s a relatively cheap solution – especially compared to buying a commercial outdoor trash can – and can prevent a large dog from levering open the lid.
A useful feature of the Trash Buddy is that the elastic bungee still allows trash to be emptied. You can also adjust the tension depending on which bracket you use.
It’s not perfect though. While the Trash Buddy can prevent tall breeds from levering open the lid, it may still allow trash to fall out if pushed over. It’s also not suitable for indoor garbage cans.
The Trash Buddy attaches to a standard 96 gallon trash can to make it harder to open. It’s not as secure as a lockable can, but makes it more difficult for a dog to access your outdoor garbage.
4. Rubbermaid Commercial Defenders Step-On Trash CanVIEW PRICE
The Rubbermaid Commercial Step-On Trash Can is one of the strongest on the market.
With an ultra-durable steel liner, there’s no chance of a dog chewing through the sides. It also has a foot pedal and heavy lid, making it unlikely that your pet can access the garbage.
Other features include an attractive red design and large capacity.
A downside is that there’s no latch. The heavy design makes it difficult to push over, but if your pet manages it, he may be able to rummage through the trash. It’s also expensive!
If you need a heavy duty trash can that’s strong enough to withstand chewing, however, the Rubbermaid could be a great choice.
The Rubbermaid is a commercial-strength trash bin with stainless steel exterior, heavy lid, and foot pedal design. It also has a large capacity and attractive red exterior.
Other Ways to Discourage Trash Can Digging and Rummaging
The first step to keeping your dog out of the trash is to understand why he’s doing it.
In many cases, garbage just has an appealing smell that a dog wants to investigate. This applies to all breeds, but especially those with a strong food-drive. A sealed lid and emptying the trash regularly can help reduce this behavior.
Garbage rummaging can be a sign of something else though. Hungry dogs are more likely to scavenge, especially if they aren’t fed on a consistent schedule. Some medical conditions may also cause excessive hunger.
Sometimes dumpster diving is also a response to being bored or stressed. If a dog isn’t getting enough exercise, attention or mental stimulation, he may resort to destructive behavior as a form of entertainment.
Here are some tips for keeping your pup out of the trash can:
- Keep the Trash Can Locked Away. Aside from a doggy proof can, this is the best way to protect your dog. An under-sink cupboard with a child lock is perfect. If that’s not possible, shut your dog out of the kitchen and bathroom when you can’t supervise, or keep the trash in the garage.
- Empty the Food Bin Regularly. The odor of food is one of the primary motivations for rummaging through a trash can. Minimise this by emptying any food into an outdoor trash can as often as possible.
- Provide Plenty of Mental and Physical Stimulation. All dogs need daily exercise, mental stimulation, and attention from their human friends. A puzzle feeder can also be a great way to get your dog thinking, rather than just gulping down his meal.
- Weigh Down the Bottom of the Trash Can. If your dog has a habit of knocking over the trash can, a brick or other weight at the bottom can provide more stability.
If your dog has eaten from the trash, try to remember exactly what was inside, then contact a vet immediately to discuss whether further action is required. Always contact your vet if you notice any signs of illness – even if you don’t think the trash can contained anything dangerous.
Dumpster diving isn’t just an annoyance – it can be dangerous for your dog. Trash cans contain a variety of hazardous substances, including poisonous foods, chemicals and choke hazards.
A dog proof trash can is one way to minimise the risk to your pet. My top pick is the Simplehuman Semi-Round Kitchen Step Trash Can, as it has a lockable lid, pedal design and strong plastic walls. I also think it provides good value for money.
Do you have any questions about choosing a dog proof garbage can? Please let me know in the comments section below.