How Do I Puppy Proof a Trash Can?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Puppies get into everything – including things we’ve thrown away. We’ve got some tips on how to puppy proof your trash cans.

Bringing home a new puppy is exciting! Before you get too caught up in the excitement, however, you need to remember that being a dog owner is a big responsibility. It’s your job to keep your dog safe and that means puppy-proofing your home, so your puppy doesn’t get hurt.

Related: Puppy Bad Behavior (and How to Correct It)

Picking small objects up off the floor and wrapping up electrical cords are some of the most obvious steps in puppy-proofing, but one thing dog owners tend to forget is the trash can.

Why is It Important to Puppy-Proof the Trash Can?

When you throw something away, it’s immediately out of sight and out of mind for you but not for your puppy. Your puppy can be tempted by the smells in the trashcan and he might knock it over to get at whatever he’s smelling. Here are some simple tips to puppy-proof your trash can:

  • Place the trash can in a cabinet or closet where your puppy can’t access it. You can also use baby-proofing cabinet locks as an added level of security.
  • Choose a trash can that comes with a tightly fitting lid – this is important if your dog knocks over the trash can because it will keep the trash from spilling out.
  • Consider a trash can that helps eliminate odors. If your dog can’t smell the trash in the can, he may be less tempted by it.
  • Place something heavy on top of the trashcan lid to keep it secure.
  • Switch to a trashcan that has a closeable lid such as one operated by a foot pedal or a hand button. These are more secure.

Related: 7 Things I’ve Googled Since I Got a Puppy

Choosing the right location for your trashcan is one of the best puppy-proofing measures and it doesn’t cost you anything. Try placing it under the sink or in a cabinet to keep it out of the way.

What to Do if Your Puppy Eats Trash

Puppies are curious and they don’t know what’s bad for them. If your puppy gets into the trashcan, it’s very likely that he’ll end up eating something. Unfortunately, many of the things we throw away are harmful to dogs – things like chicken bones, coffee grounds, and fruit pits.

If your puppy gets into the trash and you’re worried that he’s eaten something, do your best to figure out what it could have been. If you realize that a toxic substance such as chemicals or medications was in the trash, try to determine how much of it your dog could have ingested. Your next step is to call the ASPCA poison control center to talk to an expert about what your puppy ate. The expert will be able to tell you whether the substance is toxic and what steps you should take.

Even if you don’t think there was anything dangerous in the trash, you need to be on the lookout for signs of illness in your dog. If he starts acting off, you should take him to the veterinarian as a precaution to have him checked out.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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