How to Make Your Trash Cans Dog Proof

Making your trash cans dog proof will keep messy spills to a minimum and lower the risk of the dogs-be it your dogs or neighborhood animals-injuring themselves by ingesting something that could harm them. Doing so takes minimal effort.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Tightly-lidded, heavy trash cans
  • Electric drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Sturdy screws
  • Dog repellent spray
  • Child safety locks

Step 1 - Switch to Sturdy Trash Cans

You should replace all trash cans inside the home (or outside, if that's where the dogs are getting into the garbage) with heavy trash cans with tight-fitting lids. These are more difficult to tip over and can alone make your garbage dog proof. However, they may not be enough to deter larger, stronger and more determined dogs.

Step 2 - Secure Trash Cans where Dogs Can't Access

Another technique you can try to make your trash cans dog proof is to put them where the dogs can't access them. Put them in the garage or in a pantry or closet. You can then use child safety locks on easy-to-open doors (like the pantry) if especially determined dogs find ways to force the doors open. If the dogs are attacking your garbage outside when it's on the curb, wait until the last possible moment to take your garbage outside and keep the garbage cans in the garage or basement the rest of the time.

Step 3 - Secure Trash Cans to Wall

If you find it more convenient to keep your trash cans where they are, but heavy trash cans aren't keeping your dogs from knocking them over, you can try securing the trash cans to the wall. Some trash cans come with a kit for this express purpose. You simply use an electric drill to drill a hole into the wall at the right height and use a screwdriver to screw the flap meant for the wall into place. If your trash cans don't come with such a kit, you can still screw a can to the wall from the inside of the can by screwing holes into the trash can itself and then into the wall. This may be a drastic step or a step impossible for those who are renting the property.

Step 4 - Spray with Dog Repellent

Remembering to spray your trash cans regularly with dog repellent can help make the trash cans dog proof. Dog repellent is specially formulated to be safe for dogs to inhale but is unattractive to them. If the repellent covers up the scent of food or whatever else is attracting the dog, the dogs may be deterred. This works on outdoor garbage cans as well when you want to keep neighborhood dogs away humanely.

Step 5 - Train the Dog

If the dog is your own, you can try to train her instead of concentrating on making the trash cans dog proof. This only works in conjunction with at least some of the aforementioned suggestions, though, especially if you can't watch the dog during the day. When the dog approaches the trash cans, you should sharply insist, "No!" Don't shout, but use a forceful, commanding tone. Make sure to praise her when she turns her attention to something else.