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Keeping Pets Out of Trash

Category Training
Cat in Knocked Over  Trashcan
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.
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October 1, 2010

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

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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January 3, 2010

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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January 11, 20100 found this helpful

These are such great tips, thank you! Racer

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January 20, 2009

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

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January 20, 20090 found this helpful

I'd give her a good dose of hairball med. and put the garbage can in a closed cabinet.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 20, 20090 found this helpful

Why don't you put the rubbish somewhere she can't get into it?

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January 20, 20090 found this helpful

I would watch the litter box and her closely and call a vet to ask what you should do. It doesn't cost for over the phone advice. My meat liners have plastic in them, I hope yours are just paper for Goblins sake. Maybe you can leave dry food and water out for her so she doesn't get hungry and go for the garbage can. Get a garbage can with a locking lid!

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 21, 20090 found this helpful

I use a Large Popcorn Can lined with a plastic grocery sack, for any foods and keep the lid on tightly until trash pickup day. It does the trick because it not only stops kitchen odors but is double bagged in the plastic sack. If REALLY stinky, I triple bag it, and tie it tightly before placing it into the garbage sack/can for pickup outside.

We had a time with the neighbor's Ridgebacked large dog, named Crash. About once a month he gets out of their yard over their three foot high gate! We always have Crash in OUR Trash,regardless, and we have to pick it up ourselves to keep the peace with them. See, it could be much worse!

Also, my black cat has feline tapeworms and must be kept in one of the bathrooms most of the time until well. She learned how to climb up the 4 ft. wood paneling and tear the 6" wallpaper border trimming almost completely off!

I hope our troubles make yours seem more bearable? LOL

God bless and help you. : )

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 21, 20090 found this helpful

If not moving your garbage. try this one works for Chipmunks on outside house plants. Put Cajun pepper on the garbage. The only thing will do to her is give her a hot mouth. Can water down the Cajun pepper and put in spray bottle. Works

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January 21, 20090 found this helpful

The hairball medicine is a good idea. Give her plenty of water for about 48 hours, the hairball medicine, and if you are feeling brave attempt to get some corn oil down her throat with a small syringe with no needle of course (pharmacies generally give these away if you ask). Also try to get her playing so that she will get stuff "moving." You can also give her some "kitty crack" catnip which is actually an herb that has been used for a long time to help with intestinal problems, and impaction it can work very well.

If after the 48 hours nothing has happened CALL YOUR VET! This could become serious. I would really figure out a way to put a locking lid on the garbage can, too bad they don't make one with a cats only sensor on it that sprayed water automatically.

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January 21, 20090 found this helpful

I hope you didn't mean bleach spray bottle, and just meant spray bottle? Also, cats hate the scent of lemons, so you can get "stick ups" in that scent and put it near or on the inside of the lid. I would disposal every food thing I can, so that your trash doesn't attract her/him. Good luck.

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January 21, 20090 found this helpful

Use VINEGAR in a spray bottle to spray at the cat ...It will lick its wet fur and hate the taste!!

Please call your vet for advice on Goblin swallowing the garbage. Keep us up to date and good luck!

Grandma Jan & Kato the Wonder Dog

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January 21, 20090 found this helpful

My trash is in a drawer. First we rubber-banded the drawer handle with the drawer above to keep the cat out. Soon that didn't work and we wire-tied them together. We tried a child lock for cabinets, but could not attach the part to the inside of the drawer to line up properly. So then we tried industrial strength velcro. Then even we couldn't open the darned thing. For a while we put a chair in front of the drawer, but that really wasn't convenient.

THEN I bought one of those security devices you put under a door handle to keep the door from being opened. I got the smallest one possible and for the first time in two years the cat is no longer able to figure out how to pull the drawer open and crawl in for discarded treasures!

I sincerely hope your cat is okay, and if by any chance your trash in built into a drawer as well, try the security stick!

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 21, 20090 found this helpful

I have the same problem with two cats and a sneaky poodle. Try sprinkling the yummy trash with cayenne pepper. Works every time!

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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

UPDATE ON GOBLIN:

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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By guest (Guest Post)
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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March 26, 20090 found this helpful

Is your cat hungry? I have always kept a bowl of dry cat food out at all times. If you do, maybe he doesn't like it? The only time I had a problem is when I used a diet type dog food for our dog and she didn't like it and would get into the trash. When I changed the food, she stopped raiding the kitchen trash can.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 4, 2007

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

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November 4, 20070 found this helpful

I know the feeling of an over weight, starving dog. It's no fun! I can't suggest green beans enough! You can get them pretty cheap at aldis and other stores like that. Try to get the sodium free. Yes, I mean normal canned green beans that you usually store in your cupboard! They are fat free, low calorie, but pretty filling for the dog. Our dogs love them, no tricking involved! Any style bean will do, fancy, French, etc. You can either dump the can in their bowl between feedings, add it to his food during feedings, or feed it to the dog by the fork full if your dog can eat off a fork. I don't know how much your dog weighs, but one can a day helps our bull mastiff a lot, and half a can helps the 23 pound terrier mix. You can't really over feed green beans, so don't worry about that.

I assume you're using a low calorie dog kibble, not just cutting back the amount? I've used Authority dog food for over weight dogs, and it did pretty well. They can still have a good helping of food, but it's lower calorie and fat.

Treats for overweight dogs are tricky. It's the equivalent of a snack cake for a human, it may not be very big, but it packs a lot of calories and fat. Search for home made low fat dog treat recipies. Be sure to avoid those treats like beggin strips, t-bone shaped or hot dog shaped treats and things like that.

Also, give your dog something to chew on instead of the trash. Store bought leg bones are good b/c they don't actually eat it like raw hide, it takes them months if not years to chew it up, and it's not detrimental to their diet.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 5, 20070 found this helpful

I feed my dogs a lot of low/no-call people food too. They eat apples, carrots, Meijer natural lower-cal popcorn, frozen carrots, grn. beans & peas, boiled chicken & lean beef. I make them a meal every other week & they eat it for 4 days. Just make sure you do a search for foods they shouldn't eat. Some of the animal orgs. have lists on their sites. Plus they have all natural human grade dog food. Cheaper food adds more calories because it's made from cheaper/less quality ingredients. Being hungry is frustrating for a human & we understand it. Think how frustrating it is to a dog & they DON'T understand it. So fill her up on no/low fat human foods.

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November 5, 20070 found this helpful

Spray them with Raid...I am assuming these are indoor cans and your dog is not running the neighborhood and getting in the trash...take them outside, for the ventilation and lightly spray them. this taste awful, but not harmful. We used to do this to our outdoor cans years and years ago when dogs roamed free around our area. Thankfully laws and times have changed. Good luck

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 5, 20070 found this helpful

Not all dogs chew or dig cuz they need something, they smell, they like, they want, they try to get it. We have that problem periodically and we simply put ammonia on a napkin or paper towel or rag and lay it on in or near the trash can. They don't like the smell and it masks any smells that may be coming from the trash so they generally leave it alone. We did have one persistent big old girl years ago that would get past it to what she wanted. So we placed a small mouse trap near things we wanted her to leave alone, including the counter tops. She was never hurt but it scared her enough to leave it alone. Good Luck

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 5, 20070 found this helpful

My dad is a carpenter so he built me a wooden one and the dog can't tip it over. No more messes.

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November 5, 20070 found this helpful

Just like in the game of chess, your options are only three: block, move or capture. You can block her access to the garbage with a barrier, you can move the dog or the garbage, or you can cage her.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 6, 20070 found this helpful

You can give your dog all of the toys and snacks in the world, but unless you make the trash uncomfortable, she will always get in it. As a last resort, go to the dollar store for some inexpensive red pepper or chili powder and sprinkle a good amount on top of the most inviting morsels...meat, bones, etc. It won't take long. Just to show you how long ago I learned this, it was on Sgt. Preston of the Yukon (a 50's TV show) when he explained how he taught his sled dog, King, not to take food from anyone but him.

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By guest (Guest Post)
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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By 1 found this helpful
December 9, 2013

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

Answer Was this helpful? 1
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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By 0 found this helpful
March 6, 2007

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

Jason from Leitchfield, KY

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March 6, 20070 found this helpful

A tight fitting bungie cord should do the trick. I put a garbage can in the back of my truck on it's side and the lid stays on with a bungie cord, even when it's full of yard waste.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 8, 20070 found this helpful

Mouse traps, ammonia, bleach??? She said she doesn't want to harm the dogs?? What's wrong with you people? Are these indoor garbage cans? I keep mine under the kitchen sink so the dogs have no access. There are many inexpensive cans with locking lids if you choose not to. If they are outdoor cans & your dogs have access you can also buy inexpensive cans with locking lids. Mine only cost 10. each. The bungi cord is a good idea too.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 9, 20070 found this helpful

spray bug spray on the cans...one small lick or taste and the dogs will leave it alone. We use to have this problem years and years ago...where do you all live where dogs are allowed to roam,? it is against the law to let your dogs run. We live sort of in the country and the "roaming" during the last 15 years around here has stopped, because, people will call the law.?

Do not harm the dogs under any circumstance...it is not the fault of the dog, if it has an owner go through the law, if not call animal control and get it trapped and taken away. Remember they are not targeting you, they are just trying to survive!!

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 9, 20070 found this helpful

Notify the neighbor whose dog is responsible

Call Animal control if you have notified the owner and the dogs continue to run free (this works even if you can't identify the dogs)

Once my husband had the neighbor come over and clean up the strewn garbage. He put the dog in the garage (enticed him with a treat) and held him "hostage" until the owner picked it up (This was ONLY after this had happened repeateldy...as we have leash laws about dogs running loose)

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 12, 20070 found this helpful

So..you wanna call animal control and get them taken away from their owner? Awful. It's not the owner or the dogs fault. I assume most of you have a beloved pet. How would you feel to lose it forever. Yea...not great. You need to rethink your morals and learn to have some feelings.

How hard is it to try some non-harmful solutions. Grow a heart.

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 19, 20070 found this helpful

I do not own a dog, nor do I wish to. Yet almost every day, I am forced to pick up disgusting trash out of my yard or step in piles of poop in my OWN YARD. I keep my gates locked, and the dogs squeeze through cracks or jump it. I have spent hundreds on animal proof trash cans that the dogs just knock over and still manage to get into.

I feel that it is very irresponsible for a dog owner to let a dog wander around the neighborhood destroying other peoples property, and also putting the dog at risk. Just this morning a car almost hit my neighbors dog. The driver swerved, and missed but could have injured the dog or themselves. I'm at my wits end.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 7, 20080 found this helpful

The suggestion about the trash can on wheels is a joke. Because dogs can jump on the trash cans and still scatter trash everywhere. Even if the cans have lids. I have three dogs, but only one of them gets in to the trash and I personally has seen him do it.

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February 21, 20150 found this helpful

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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