Putting the lid on garbage hazards  

by | General Pet Care Interesting |

There is something very enticing about a garbage can to animals. Whether from boredom or looking for additional food, our furry family members and wildlife will often investigate the receptacles for extras. This can pose severe risks for their health. Beware of the following common trash can items that can pose a risk for their health. 

Plastic/glass items 

Zip ties, bottle caps, pack rings and broken glass pose a choking hazard and the potential for gastrointestinal obstruction.  

Food scraps 

Human food in general is not safe for our furry friends to consume, but once it goes in the garbage bin there is an even greater risk. Foods can spoil, posing risk of Salmonella and other bacteria. This is the most enticing garbage for furry friends to investigate.  

Bathroom waste 

Diapers and personal hygiene products are difficult for our furry friends to resist, but even more difficult for them to digest. The materials these products are made with can easily cause digestive tract blockages and associated issues. 

To prevent these garbage-related incidents, it is imperative to safely store your garbage.  

The following simple steps will help prevent these dangers from occurring: 

Remove easy access 

Consider keeping the garbage receptacle in a closed cabinet, such as under the sink. Use only receptacles with closed lids to obscure access. For dogs, you can elevate any open-top bins. By adding a barrier, your furry friends are less likely to get into trouble.  

Empty often 

To prevent temptation, empty your receptacles often. As garbage sits, it can create stronger odors that draw the attention of our furry friends. By emptying often, you reduce the chances of attracting their attention.  

Train early 

Training your furry friend that they should not expect to receive table food, discouraging begging, and crate training to give them a safe space while you are away from the house are ways to establish positive habits and routines early on. This will help prevent interest in activities such as seeking out the garbage.  


Garbage is not only enticing to our domestic animals. Wild animals are often drawn to receptacles, too. Avoid leaving garbage and recycling outdoors. If garbage must be set outside for any reason, such as collection day, use sealed containers, preferably with features to prevent animals from gaining access. For racoons and other small animals, this could mean locking mechanisms. In rural areas where bears are present, locking steel bear bins may be necessary. 

Always take the extra time to cut any pack rings, put the lids on containers that an animal could get their head stuck in, and ensure any other potential hazards are removed before disposing of garbage or recycling. This extra step can mean the difference between life and death should a wild animal gain access to these items, either at your house or at the landfill or recycling location.  

It’s also important to keep your garbage and recycling containers tightly sealed. If wild animals get trapped inside, they can suffocate, starve, or die from exposure to the elements. 

If this information was helpful, please help us continue to educate about pet health and well-being by making a donation.