Keeping Pets Out of Trash

Pets, dogs and cats, in particular are often attracted to the smells coming from the indoor garbage cans. Cleaning up after their adventure is not much fun. This is a guide about keeping pets out of trash.

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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January 20, 2009 Flag

Help, Goblin did it again! She is rotten to the core, the runt of the litter, jet black and even has a wart on her ear! We got her on Halloween. She is a true Trash Cat, and is very hard to keep out of the kitchen trash. I have yet to get the bleach spray bottle thing going, to keep her out of it.

Last night she got a hold of the meat inserts I threw away. You know, the padded liners you find under your store-bought meat that absorbs the yuck. So, do you think she can pass that stuff? It's pretty much impacted tissue paper right? Anyone know if a vet visit can be avoided?

Dede from Macon, MO

January 21, 20090 found this helpful

For my dog, if I have meat trays or other interesting stuff, it goes in the big outdoor garbage can immediately.

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January 21, 20090 found this helpful

Cats HATE the scent of citrus. Orange peels or orange oil sprinkled around should do the trick.~Janette~

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January 22, 20090 found this helpful


Alive and well after pooing outside the litter box a very firm turd, actually six of 'em! lol

Trasharina, as we have been calling her has had no untoward effects and is now OUT of the trash!

Yes I used straight bleach in a spray bottle to keep her out, don't worry, I watched to be sure she was averted to the smell and not licking up the toxic stuff. She walked up once and pawed the edge, took a whiff and was gone!!

As for keeping the trash out of reach, I have no cabinet to put it in as we have two kids, and generate our fair share of garbage, however I do put food yuck in an ice cream pail, but it goes out to the dog so I can't put things like chicken casserole incrusted foil, and meat tray liners in it....... hence, the kitten's love for the garbage can.

The bleach has worked so well I don't even see the claw marks on the rim of the bag anymore!

Thanks for all the stories and help. Me and mine laughed at you.... I mean with you!

Dedesworkshop Dede Smith

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January 23, 20090 found this helpful

The easy and simple way to solve this is keep your garbage away from the cat. Put it under the sink in a cabinet and protect your cat! It's a very simple thing to do.

Animals respond to different deterents in different ways. You can use citrus, moth balls, solutions of pepper spray, etc but they are all labor intensive and none will be as effective as storing your garbage properly.

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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. He's now 46 inches tall and walks right past it, not even taking a look!

By tahloolabelle from Ventura, CA

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July 17, 20160 found this helpful

Thank u 4 this tip. Do u think this would work w/a 9yr old dog. We just acquired him from a friend. He's in retirement now & we're all in the 'gettin used 2 each other' phase. He's a very gud dog, well trained. I need 2 find a way 2 keep out of the garbage when we have leave him inside longer than we really want 2. Thank u.

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December 9, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

Ok, I too have a small place and a limited budget so I cannot afford an expensive can. My cat Odd Thomas will get into the garbage and leave a huge mess, sometimes even going right back to it right in front of me, right after he has been caught and told firmly no!

Sneak attacks with the water bottle don't work and he "likes" pepper! He has been known to chew lemons and other fruits. I have not tried aluminum foil, I keep forgetting to buy some. I have this nasty smelling ammonia spray I have tried, as soon as the smell evaporates he is right back at it. I have even tried to hang the bags up on the highest cupboard, but this is inconvenient as well because I am so short. And this does not stop him. He sometimes gets in the sink or beside it and rips the bag open, or on the stove and rips the bottom, happily chowing down on whatever falls out. I am at my wits end. I need some helpful suggestions. My other cat Sara, doesn't do this. She is relatively well behaved.

By hjgeddie

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December 12, 20130 found this helpful

Odd Thomas sounds aptly named. Your posts really made me smile. How about a can with a lid that really stays on. I got a diaper can (for soaking diapers) with a locking lid to keep the dogs out of my cat food in the garage. Even the racoons couldn't get into that. But they can be kind of pricey. Also they make small garbage cans (they look just like the large galvanized cans)they have tight lids. Good luck to you.

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December 12, 20130 found this helpful

I have a small place, also. And a cat who loves garbage! I got a good, sturdy Rubbermaid bin from a big box store for $12.00. I keep my garbage bag in there with the lid closed tightly. I put a pillow on top of the bin and use it as a seat by my door or you can keep it under the table, or in a closet. Keeps the cat out, the odors in, and the garbage out of sight, without taking up much room and it's cheap!

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January 3, 2010 Flag

It is not a major problem for me, but I would like to hear from others about how they keep their big dogs from the trash. Mine won't do it in front of anyone, they wait until our backs are turned. Usually I keep it in the other room, but I would like to learn of any tricks you may have learned.

By Robyn from TN

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January 4, 20100 found this helpful

Try using a bungee cord to hold the lid on. Or get one of those decorative wooden trash containers that you put a removable trash can inside. These come with heavy lids. Or get a small trash container with a lid and keep it on the counter. Empty as needed into the outside can. This is what I do. Since there are only two of us, it gets emptied about every other day.

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January 7, 20100 found this helpful

I have always kept mine inside a cabinet under the sink. And if I have a particularly stubborn dog (or cat like I have now!) I put a hook on the cabinet door so they can't open it. There's only one of me most of the time but I still empty it every nite after doing the dishes.

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January 7, 20100 found this helpful

We keep a spray bottle with a 4/1 water to bleach mixture and spray the trash on top as the bag fills. This keeps our dogs' noses out of the garbage.

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January 10, 20100 found this helpful

We keep our 13 gal (no lid) under the kitchen sink. It's out of sight, and smelly things get bagged (we use wax-paper cereal box inserts or plastic grocery bags)before going in the can. We've always trained our dogs not to enter the kitchen, but one of ours will sneak in if he can get away with it. So, when the bag is too full to remain in the can but isn't full enough to go out, we block the kitchen doorway (we only use a small, inexpensive picture print, but a baby gate would also work) as a reminder of their training. Works for us- hubby's a dog whisperer!

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February 21, 2015 Flag
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I can not seem to keep him out of the garbage can in my bathroom or den. He loves getting in there and digging the trash out and playing with it. He has toys all over the house. I'm at my wits end keeping him out of the cans. What can I do?

By Vickie B

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February 21, 20150 found this helpful

I have a garbage bin in my kitchen. It's a wooden bin that fully contains a garbage bag and has a lid. In my bathroom, I have a small wooden stand that holds a basket on top. The stand has a door that opens to reveal a small garbage can.

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February 22, 20150 found this helpful

Why don't you provide your kitty with his own trash can full of interesting things? You can change the items often so he has fun with his new challenges.

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November 4, 2007 Flag
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Help. My dog has been on a diet for almost a year. She is driving me nuts. She has been raiding the trash cans and finding things I know were in the trash. She is always hungry. This diet is because the vet said she was over weight. She has lost 4 pounds but then drives me nuts so I give her a treat every once in a while any ideas?

Sandy from Baltimore

November 6, 20070 found this helpful

I wouldn't recommend the Raid approach- Dogs are notorious for eating things even tho they may not be good for them or are deadly- antifreeze is a good example. I would recommend making the garbage inaccessible by using a covered garbage.

Giving your dog healthy treats like green beans -or even better, a crunchy vegetable will help. I give my 2 rescued LH tweeny Dachshunds treats when I chop vegetables- brocoli, lettuce leaves, etc. I also feed them weight-control food. One of my guys came to me at over 20 lbs- he was down to around 17 lbs within about 3 months.

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February 15, 20110 found this helpful

The red pepper/chili powder is a really good idea. I have never tried it though. What I do to make the trash distasteful for the neighbourhood dogs is every time I throw something like meat etc. in the garbage, I spray some ordinary fly spray. So it's, meat, a layer of fly spray, egg shells another layer so by the time I'm ready to throw the trash out it smells like fly spray and not appetizing, also, it has the added benefit of keeping all other bugs out too.

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February 15, 20110 found this helpful

A couple of things. How often do you feed your dog? If she is only getting food once a day, she may be hungry and looking for more if she hasn't eaten in hours. Split the food she does get into 2-3 feedings, it might help if she is only eating one time a day. I sometimes add a little bit of non fat no/low sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable broth to their water, just to flavor it, drinking more water is good for them and makes them feel fuller. In hot weather I will freeze an ice cube tray with broth flavored water and the ice is a huge treat for them. (My crazy dogs line up for an ice cube as a treat all the time at the fridge door, saves me money buying them treats) I have successfully used the red pepper on the garbage and even sprinkled some in holes when my dog started digging with great success, they hate it and leave it alone.

I also give my dogs green beans, even frozen from a bag in the freezer, and they love them. I was told by my vet that green beans, solid pack canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, no sugar or spices) natural organic plain yogurt (no sugar or flavorings) all are fantastic for dogs and their digestion. All add fiber and bulk and more than likely will fill her up and make her feel she is not so hungry. I will mix some or all of the above in with dry organic dog food and although it is absolutely disgusting to look at, my dogs go crazy over it instead of their plain dry food!

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February 18, 20110 found this helpful

Even though it is now 2011, I learned from my mentor to pour a little Pine Sol into a plastic garbage bag and it will stop the dog from going through the trash.

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Anonymous Flag
March 4, 20160 found this helpful

March 6, 2007 Flag
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How do you keep dogs out of outside garbage cans without spending a lot of money? And without harming the dog.

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