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Best Dog Proof Trash Cans: These Locking Cans Will Keep Pups Out

Kelly Wilson

Last Updated: October 31, 2020 | 10 min read

Dog Proof Trash Can

Maybe you’re coming in from a long day at work, or a night out with friends; you turn the key to your front door and open it, fully expecting to see your buddy on the other side, overjoyed at the prospect of you arriving home.

Instead, you’re greeted by one rather sad and dejected-looking doggo and a home that’s been completely and totally littered with garbage. Sadly, this nightmare scenario is something that all dog owners deal with at least a time or two. Not only is the mess a huge pain to clean up, but it can be dangerous for your dog, too.

Thankfully, that’s where a dog proof trash can enters the picture. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at everything you need to know and take a look at some of the best dog proof trash cans on the market today.

At a Glance: Our Favorite Dog Trash Cans

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Why Do Dogs Get Into The Trash?

While buying a dog proof trash can is one way to help avoid ever having to come home to a garbage-filled hellscape, it’s only half the battle. You should also try and learn why your dog has such a nose for the trash so that you can correct their behavior moving forward. Here’s why your dog may be getting into the garbage:

Something Smells Amazing

One of the most common reasons why a dog breaks into the garbage is because something in it is piquing their interest. This is often an issue in the kitchen garbage. Those scraps from the dishes or other food waste may be disgusting to you, but chances are, it’s very appetizing for your pup.

The best way to avoid this is by taking out any food-related garbage immediately, so it isn’t in one of the garbage cans in the home.

They’re Hungry

While your dog may be getting a delicious and nutritious diet, if they’re breaking into your garbage, it may indicate that they aren’t getting quite enough food from you.

It’s easy to get into a routine when it comes to feeding your dog. But, your dog’s needs change as time goes by, and there’s a chance they may need more food than what you’ve been providing. If your dog is getting into the garbage, consider providing them with a bit more food and see if the behavior doesn’t change.

They’re Acting Out

Many dogs will ransack the garbage or have other similarly destructive behaviors if they aren’t getting the attention and stimulation they need from you.

Consider your dog’s activity level. Do they get plenty of walks or adequate yard time? Do they have durable toys that allow them to let out some pent up energy? Do you play with them, or have other pets in the house for them to interact with?

Sometimes, a bit more attention is an easy way to correct destructive behaviors like getting into the garbage.

If All Else Fails…

If you can’t put your finger on why your dog may be acting out in this way, especially if they’re repeatedly trying to get into the garbage, it may be a good idea for you to enlist in a qualified dog trainer for help. A trainer will be able to properly identify the unsavory behavior and help to break your dog of the habit.

You can also crate train, and just make sure your pup is crated while you are away from home.  Having the right crate is also an important piece of making sure your pup is cared for.

Additional Tips

A locking garbage can is probably the best way to keep your dog from nosing around in the trash, but there are some other tips to keep your dog out of the trash as well. Combining these methods with a new dog proof garbage can will be an especially effective way of eliminating your pooch’s fascination with the garbage.

Many dog owners have found success by spraying something to deter their dog from trying to get into the garbage. Some say that a spray mixture of hot sauce and water is an effective deterrent that will keep your pooch away. If your dog is licking or chewing on the garbage, bitter apple spray is another effective option you may want to consider.

If you like the garbage can you have now, or if you’re looking to add an extra layer of security to a pet-proof garbage can, consider purchasing a garbage can lock, or use a bungee cord to keep the lid from being opened.

These methods are particularly useful if you’re trying to keep your outdoor trash safe from rodents, strays, or other friends you may have lurking around your neighborhood.

Buyer’s Guide

Guilty Dog in Kitchen

Understandably, you are probably looking for a can that looks halfway decent in your kitchen so that your friends, family, and neighbors don’t chuckle when they head into your kitchen.  With that being said, functionality is important too because you don’t want your dog ingesting something that could put them in the animal hospital.

Whether you go for one of our best dog proof trash cans from the list below, or you opt for a different receptacle, you’ll want to consider a few different characteristics when you compare the different options.

Build Quality

The most important characteristic to look for is how well built the garbage can is. Basic garbage cans that are made from lightweight plastic or metal are no match for any determined dog, and these materials do nothing to deter your pet from getting into the garbage.

Whether you go for a can that’s built from metal or plastic, you’ll want to choose one that’s built to last and made from heavy-duty materials. This consideration becomes especially important if you have a large dog that can tip the can over.

Tip and Fall Proof

This factor is especially important if your dog is bright, and has no trouble making their way into a garbage can that’s easily tampered with. Even locking lids can be easily knocked off if they aren’t built specifically to prevent dogs or other animals from entering.

It’s one thing if the garbage can is able to be knocked over; what’s important is that your dog won’t be able to get to the contents of the can, even if it tips and falls. The best options provide superior protection even when the can is knocked over.

Bigger & Better

Obviously, a bigger garbage can will be more difficult for your dog to get into than a smaller one that they can more easily manipulate. While it may not be possible to purchase a large garbage can if you’re using it in a kitchen, bedroom, or common room of your home, larger garbage cans are more difficult for dogs to break into.

Locking Mechanism

If you’re looking for the utmost in security, you may want to consider a garbage can that has multiple safety features in place to keep pets and small children from getting into the garbage.

While the functionality of these varies from brand to brand, most operate with a step lever as well as a lock on the lid that must be turned before the lid will open. This also prevents the can from being compromised if it’s tipped over.

Best Dog Proof Trash Cans

Again, we know that looks play a huge part.  You don’t want an eyesore sitting in your kitchen.  That’s why we’ve listed the most popular picks first, simply because they incorporate functionality and practicality.  Further down our list, you’ll see our budget picks & more.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into our five favorite trash cans that you can pick up in order to keep Fido locked down.

SimpleHuman 15.3 Gallon Stainless Steel

simplehuman 58 Liter Rectangular Hands-Free...
  • 10-YEAR WARRANTY - We use the best materials and solid...
  • ECO-FRIENDLY - Our dual compartment trash can makes recycling...
  • SOFT SILENT-CLOSE LID - Patented lid shox technology controls the...
  • KEEPS YOUR TRASH BAG FROM SLIPPING - Stainless steel liner rim...

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If you’re looking for the best you can buy, look no further than this stainless-steel dual compartment option from SimpleHuman.

This container features a fingerprint-resistant stainless-steel finish that’s available in a variety of colors to suit the decor in your home. The moving parts are all heavy-duty, and the foot pedal is designed to last more than twenty years. A silent lid is completely quiet when opened or closed.

Inside, two separate compartments allow you to house your garbage and recycling in a single unit. Or, you could use both sides for garbage. A wide steel pedal is virtually impossible for most dogs to operate, making this garbage can effectively dog-proof.

We love the looks of this can, how it has two containers in one unit, has a heavy duty pedal and carries a 10 year warranty.

SongMics 16 Gallon Dual Compartment

SONGMICS 16 Gal (60L) Dual Trash Garbage Can,...
  • A BOON FOR YOUR KITCHEN: Your trash can doesn’t have to look...
  • HANDS-FREE OPERATION: It’s hard to open the lid of a rubbish...
  • STRONG YET SOFT: The rigid steel body of this rubbish bin...
  • BUCKET IN BIN: This trash can includes 2 removable buckets for...

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If you’re looking to add a high-end touch to your home with a stainless-steel garbage can that’s pet-proof and more affordable than the competition, this 16-gallon dual compartment garbage may be an ideal choice for you.

This can costs about half what other high-end garbage cans do, but it still provides many of the same great features that are exclusive to the top-of-the-line garbages. There are even some additional features you won’t find on some other models.

This garbage can has two separate containers, with two independent lids and foot pedals. That way, you can open the lid to the garbage without opening the lid to the recycling compartment, and vice versa. Available in several attractive stainless-steel finishes, this can also offers handles on either side to make transport a breeze.

The lid closes softly and quietly, and the foot pedals are heavy duty and built to last. Inside, each independent bins has a stainless steel carrying handle, so it can be easily lifted out of the enclosure when it’s time to change the garbage.

We love the cost on this unit.  The dual compartments have recessed carry handles for easy removal and movement.  It also has a stain and fingerprint-resistant finish.

Sterilite Step On 12.6 Gallon

Sterilite 12.6 Gallon Locking Lid Step On...
  • HANDS FREE: High quality wastebasket features a step-on pedal...
  • SECURE: The locking lid helps prevent pets and kids from...
  • DESIGN: D-shaped design fits neatly against wall and has an easy...
  • CAPACITY: Features a 12.6 gallon capacity and fits standard 13...

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For pet owners looking for an economic garbage can with an especially effective lock, this model from Sterilite could be perfect.

With a 12.6-gallon capacity, this garbage can is perfectly suited for the kitchen or outdoors, but it’s sleek enough for other rooms, too. The lid of the can is operated with a foot pedal, and a turn lock on the lid is completely pet-proof, even when the can is knocked over.

A simple twist of the knob on top of the can allows you to unlock the can for easy operation. Sold in a pack of this can is perfect for people who need multiple dog proof garbage cans for their home.

Compared to other dog proof garbage cans on the market, this is the only option that provides a lock that no dog will be able to operate.

We love that this can is dog proof, affordable and the D-shape fits nicely in any room.

Hefty Touch Lid 13.3 Gallon

If there’s one brand you’d expect to puppy-proof the garbage can, it’s Hefty. While it may not be the sexiest topic, Hefty is an industry leader at bringing affordable garbage management solutions to the market. This 13.3-gallon garbage can provides a great blend of style, value, and performance, making it perfect for anyone looking for a dog-proof garbage can.

This can is 13.3 gallons, which is a bit larger than most of the other popular single container garbage cans on the market. Its large size is ideal for the kitchen, or outdoors, but it’s still small enough to be used in other rooms if necessary.

When it comes to keeping your dog at bay, this garbage can features a touch lid on the top of the can, which will be able to keep all small and medium breeds from getting into the can. This model is available in black, white, or bronze.

We love that this can is affordable, has an effective top lock and is made in the United States.

Hefty Select Step On 12.8 Gallon

Another viable option for anyone looking for a pet-proof garbage can that offers a second level of security thanks to a locking mechanism, this 12.8 gallon can from Hefty may be a solid choice.

This can features attractive two-tone styling and a quiet close lid that adds a high-end touch to this economical garbage can. The can features hands-free operation with an easy to use touch step, which can be locked with the locking mechanism on top of the can.

At 12.8 gallons, it’s ideal for most situations, and it’s rounded sides and flat back fit perfectly flush against any wall in the kitchen, on the deck, or in any other room in the home.

We love that this can looks nice in your kitchen, has a lockable lid and is budget friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much should I spend on a dog-proof garbage can?

A: This depends largely on whether or not you need your garbage can to look like, well, less of a garbage can. While some of the best dog proof garbage cans are available for well under $100, there are options that cost upwards of $200 as well.

If you’re looking for a can with a decorative function, or additional features, like touchless operation, you may want to consider a more expensive can. If that’s not important to you, you may be better served by a more affordable option.

Q: Can I dog-proof my current garbage can?

A: Depending on the garbage can you have now, you may be able to effectively dog-proof it without having to replace it. There are some universal garbage can locks that fit a variety of trash can styles, allowing you to lock the lid to the can to prevent it from being opened. While these locks are quite effective, they also need to be unlocked before you can use the garbage, too.

You can also do things to your existing trash can to make it more difficult for your dog to break into. Some things, like placing weights or bricks in the bottom of the can, or placing a weight on top of the lid when you aren’t using it, can be helpful. If the can is outdoors, consider attaching it directly to an exterior surface so it can’t be knocked over.

Q: Is a plastic or metal trash can best?

A: This question boils down to a matter of personal preference, with some people preferring the look of a metal garbage can to a plastic one. The fact is, there are some equally high-quality options available in both materials.

If you’re looking for the most durable garbage can possible, a high-density plastic model is the least likely to show wear and tear.

Final Thoughts

While each of these garbage cans is a solid option if you’re determined to keep your dog out of the garbage, one option, in particular, caught our eye as the best dog proof garbage can, and that’s the Sterilite 12.6-gallon Step-on garbage can.

While all of the cans on our list provide an added level of security over a standard garbage can, this can provides the most secure locking mechanism, as you need opposable thumbs to operate the lock, which is a trait our furry friends are sorely lacking.

If you’re looking for an affordable and effective way to keep your trash where it belongs and away from your pup, this Sterilite garbage can may be your best bet. Or, if you’re looking for a beautiful looking stainless-steel garbage, the SongMics dual container garbage above offers a great blend of value and intuitive features you can’t find on other models.

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