Keeping Animals Out of Your Garbage

Whether it's neighborhood dogs, raccoons or some other animal, if they are getting into your garbage it's bound to be a mess. Keep unwanted animals out of your garbage with these handy tips. This is a guide about keeping animals out of your garbage.
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October 1, 2010 Flag

Recently someone asked about keeping pets/animals from tearing open garbage bags. I don't have that problem now, but I learned this trick from my mother years ago. Before tying off your garbage bag, pour a dab of ammonia in the bag. When an animal tries to tear it open and gets a whiff of the ammonia, it will be long gone.

By knitter926 from Bloomington, IL

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October 1, 20100 found this helpful
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I know a black bear isn't a pet, but the ammonia in the garbage does not work to keep him/her out. The garbage is next to my carport so I wanted the bears to stop pushing the thing over and spreading the contents down to the creek. It was my husband's job to pick garbage up after the bears.

After realizing that the bear was still getting into my garbage, I had the sickest feeling in the pit of my stomach that I may have harmed the bear with the ammonia. I just about cried. No, I did cry.

The best idea I came up with is leaving the radio on during the night with a light shining at the garbage container. I have not had to pick up bear poop since. (Giggle) They may think that the radio is a bunch of campers. And that the light is the campfire.

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June 28, 2010 Flag

Puppies are naturally curious and scent-driven, which makes your kitchen trash can irresistible to them. Keep them out by pouring a scant cap full of ammonia into the can. I only had to do this a few times for my pup.

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October 6, 2008 Flag
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We have been having a problem in my neighborhood for the last 2-3 months with some animal (we assume it is a dog) coming in the middle of the night, knocking over trash cans, dragging the trash bag out of it, and then dragging the trash bag into someone else's yard (mostly mine) and digging through the bag.

I have contacted animal control and was informed that the small city that I live in only contracts for 1 hour of county animal control services a month. So they may or may not be able to catch the dog. I have bought dog repellent granules from Home Depot, they worked about 1 week. I have tried black pepper, red pepper and chili powder.

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I have sprayed my can repeatedly with bleach which keeps them out of my garbage. I have even sprinkled bleach around the perimeter of my yard. This is getting expensive. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Has anyone tried the ultrasonic dog repellents in the yard, do they work?

Zevia

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

I have used both ammonia and bleach successfully to keep the animals out of MY trash. However, what do I do about the dogs dragging other peoples trash into my yard. Example today, I cleaned up trash from house #629 on my street and I live at #616. So the animal is not only dragging trash across, but also down the street and goes to the same place in my back yard every time. I have tried mothballs (bought 2 boxes) and they haven't keep the animals out of my yard. And yes they do stink really bad. I have thought about putting a note in all of my neighbors mailboxes about the problem and asking them to spray bleach or ammonia on their trash. I have already done this with my closest neighbors who have also had to clean up garbage. Is this going to far?

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October 6, 20081 found this helpful

I used spray-on oven cleaner. Seems just a tiny bit works well. We had skunks in the neighborhood. After using that, they avoided us.

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

Ammonia

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October 8, 20080 found this helpful

I don't know what kind of trash can you have.

We have the big heavy duty plastic one with the flip cover.

Well, we had the same problem with animals getting into it so this is what my husband did.

He drilled two small holes, spaced apart, on the front of the cover and two small holes midway down in the trash can and hooked small bungee cords in a crisscross to the holes and we never had an animal touch the trash again.

Plus, they are easy to remove the day the trash company comes to pick up the trash.

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November 20, 20081 found this helpful

Install motion sensor lights or noise machines (discount spooky halloween sound machines are good), or motion sensored sprinkler systems, keep garbage inside garage until trash day, use bungy cords on lids, recycling and composting produces less trash for critters to go through...

Don't use bleach - Toxins produced as a result of bleach use build up in the environment, cause dangers to the water supply, kill fish, harm animals, and get back to people through the food chain.

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June 10, 2013 Flag
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I live in a wooded area and am aware there is wildlife around. There has been an animal chewing at my trash can lid and took a large portion off of it. I'm wondering what animal would do this. And how I could prevent this from happening again?

By Amy

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June 10, 20130 found this helpful

Dampen the lid and sprinkle with hot pepper powder or sauce. The only animals I know that can't taste heat are birds. It won't kill anything but they will think of your trash is evil. Worked for me when I lived along a lake as the raccons worked at night.

If you live near a zoo, ask if you can have the aggressive animal waist (they are glad to get rid of it) and use it as fertilizer. It worked for me when I lived in the woods (except for the bears) in Wyoming a year.

You can get aggresive animal spray from most home stores.

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June 12, 20130 found this helpful

Also, if it's feral cats, they hate the smell of lemons. Spray or douse with that and see if it helps. Best of luck. Sandi

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June 12, 20130 found this helpful

I would suspect raccoons, however, I do not know how to keep them out. Buy a very heavy duty trash can, maybe?

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Anonymous Flag
April 8, 20160 found this helpful

That did not work for me

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March 15, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Does anyone out there know what I can use to keep the squirrels from eating out of my garbage can... and yes, I do have a lid but that doesn't work.

Adele from Belford, New Jersey

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January 1, 20090 found this helpful

Nice idea to bungee the lids shut - but the squirrels around here CHEW RIGHT THRU THE LIDS! We have gone thru 6 cans in 3 years. They go thru them in a couple days. Any ideas to make them not so TASTY?

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May 6, 20090 found this helpful

Glad to hear we are not the only ones with this problem. We just had to buy two new garbage cans because the squirrels destroyed the lids and handles and cans on three others we had. We also bought one of those heavy-duty, outdoor plastic enclosers for our garbage cans. I read that Cayenne Pepper is supposed to keep them away but we haven't tried that yet. This problem didn't start until we started putting out corn for them. When we didn't keep the corn stocked fast enough for them, they came after our garbage and now we can't get rid of them. I personally advise against providing them any kind of food. --Peoria, IL

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May 12, 20090 found this helpful

Although the clang and bang of metal trash cans on pickup day may awaken you, a metal can with metal lid will insure the little buggers don't ransack your trash cans. We tend to forget they are rodents, and can gnaw their way through just about any material.

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Anonymous Flag
June 25, 20160 found this helpful

I had a old blanket laying around the house I was going to throw out. I drench it with ammonia and cover it over my garbage cans. Then every week I use a spay bottle with ammonia and spray the blanket to keep the smell strong. No problems!

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June 25, 20161 found this helpful

I had a old blanket laying around the house I was going to throw out. I drench it with ammonia and cover it over my garbage cans. Then every week I use a spay bottle with ammonia and spray the blanket to keep the smell strong. No problems!

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September 27, 2015 Flag
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I have tried to bungee the can to a pole, I have sprayed the can and the trash with lots of ammonia and still I find it all over my yard. They eat through the lids. I do not have a garage or anywhere to keep this trash instead of outside. I am far away from the street so I can't get a metal one as they do not have wheels on them. I am desperate!

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September 27, 20150 found this helpful

You need to get an animal proof trash can online, since they don't carry them in your area. I live in Colorado and everybody pretty much has to have one.

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August 23, 2005 Flag
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I recently moved to a new apartment. They are supposed to be putting dumpsters in. Until that time, what should I do to keep animals out of my trash? I am getting tired of cleaning up garbage on my back porch every morning and don't want to invest in a trash barrel that I won't have any use for later.

Kathie

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August 23, 20050 found this helpful

1st you will probably then have rodents at the dumpster so you will always have something in your area.

you can pour lysol over the bags. they dont like the odor. but i would recomend a trash can really.

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August 24, 20050 found this helpful

Buy a trash can, you can always use it for : out of season clothes, christmas items, storage of extra linens, many more ideas. I'm going to wallmart today they have one for about $5.00 and one for $10.00 a little sturdier.

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August 25, 20050 found this helpful

I agree with the others about getting a trash can, however if the animal is determined it will find a way to get into the can. We would always put the lid on our trash can and ferral cats would always find a way to get into them. Then one day I sprayed the bag with amonina (sp?) before I put it in the can and I've never had a problem since. But you do have to spray your bags before you put them in the can each time.

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August 29, 20050 found this helpful

We have bear in our area and my friend uses ammonia in a spray bottle and sprays her trash can. When she puts a bag in, she sprays the bag and then sprays the outside of the can. She hasn't had any problems with any critters in her trash. Maybe you can spray inside the bag and then spray a rag and keep it on top of the trash bag. I don't know how strong the odor will be for you since it is on your porch. Good luck.

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October 15, 20050 found this helpful

Like the man said, hang it up off the ground. A nail and a coat hanger, whatever works. Good luck

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November 3, 2004 Flag
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Does anyone have suggestions for storage of outside garbage? We have a lot of squirrels and my teens don't always put the garbage in efficiently. I was thinking of some kind of little shed but am trying to keep the cost down as 4x8 pressure treated wood is about $25 a sheet-any thoughts?

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November 3, 20040 found this helpful

We have problems with raccoons, skunks and squirrels getting into the garbage on our acreage. Of course, our dog would also like to get into the garbage sometimes too. My husband built a box, 3' deep at the front and 3 1/2' deep at the back and then 2' wide by 4' long. The depth is deeper at the back so that rain will run off it. He put the wooden box next to the garage on 4 concrete blocks so nothing can "live" under it and the wood won't be on the ground. It has been wonderful. The lid is heavy enough for the animals not to be able to open and yet just the right height for us to put garbage bags in and take out later. My husband did use pressure treated lumber and it IS worth the investment. We have used the plastic garbage cans and metal garbage cans for garbage in the past but they both can be tipped and they get dinged and damaged over the years.

As a reply to the other posting...if you use ammonia for the other animals not to go into your garbage would you not have to put up with the strong smell of ammonia also?

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November 4, 20040 found this helpful

My husband used a broken freezer once. He removed the latch for safety reasons, cut drain holes in the bottom and even decorated it with leftover siding from the house. Just an idea.

Good Luck!

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November 4, 20040 found this helpful

this would be free- every time the teen didn't put the garbage out properly and an animal made a mess, the teen would be out cleaning it up. Wouldn't take them long to learn a job worth doing is worth doing right- the first time!

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November 5, 20041 found this helpful

First part of the solution: frail the dickens out of said teenagers, and force them to clean up the mess. Second part: tie the can lid down with a rubber bunji cord. The critters can't get in it.

I'm an old man now, but when I was a lad if I'd neglected to get the garbage in the garbage can my father would have beat the tar out of me. I guess I just don't understand what has changed so much. Just explain to the children (or okay, teenagers) that if they miss the can they will not be able to sit down for a week... and if one transgresses, show 'em you mean it.

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July 30, 20070 found this helpful

Has anyone seen a storage rack on wheels that you can store a couple of garbage cans outside, then roll to the curb on pick up day? This would be so handy!

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February 25, 2010 Flag
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Can anyone give me any information about composting? Is it OK to do it in Arizona? We have animals like bobcats and coyotes and I don't want to draw them into my yard.

By Michelle from Phoenix, AZ

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February 25, 20100 found this helpful

Well, I bought a compose bin and haven't had any problems with critters. I have deer, coyotes fishers and other smaller animals livingin the area. The bin looks like a barrel, made of plastic, has slot for air and is totally enclosed.

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February 25, 20100 found this helpful

You can compost anywhere that you have enough warmth, water, oxygen, and "food" to support life. A good book to buy or get from the library is Let It Rot by Stu Campbell. It is fun reading and covers it all without being overwhelming.

My bins are made of wire and metal fence posts with boards across the front to keep stuff from tumbling out. What is important is what you put in the bin. Don't put any meat, fat, oil, or dairy in the compost bin--stick only with vegetable matter. Use herbivore or chicken manure for an activator. You can also buy commercial activators. Don't use any high-nitrogen animal-based substance like dried blood or fish meal as they will attract meat-eating pests. Bury your "wet" vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filters, etc. in your rough, dry carbon layer--leaves, rotted straw, rotted hay, rough stuff from cleaning out the garden, or deadheading.

I've been composting for 20 years now, and my bins have always been open to all weathers and anything (deer, coons, coyotes, fox, cats, dogs, opossums, you name it!) that walks by with no problems. Have fun composting. Begonia

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