5 Reasons Why Your Dog Digs Through the Trash

Pandora the dog, like many pooches, has always enjoyed a good rummage through the garbage. One day, Pandora found an old pair of false teeth during the rummage. She returned home where her owner, Lucas, took a few fabulous photos with the dentures in her mouth.

The false teeth clamped to the dog’s jaw as she chewed on them. He posted the photos online for the world to enjoy. The photos quickly went viral, as you’d only expect. Who can resist a comical photo of a dog wearing false teeth?

Although your dog may not return home wearing a set of dentures, plenty of treasures await his rummages through the trash. The question is, exactly why is your dog so obsessed with the trash can?

Frustrated pet owners cannot seem to keep Fido out of the trash! It seems he’s digging something out of the trash every time they turn around or leave the house. So what gives?

Your dog may dig through the trash for a number of reasons. Some aren’t so serious while others might indicate a problem that needs further attention from the vet.

It gets his owner’s attention

Dogs love attention, especially when it comes to their owner. You are, after all, the most fantastic thing since a dog treats your furry friend. What better way to get your attention than by digging in the trash?

Although your dog doesn’t realize that it is frowned upon, he does know that you quickly react. It is only when he gets a time out that he realizes that his owner didn’t enjoy his antics. He isn’t sure why digging in the trash is so bad. He only knows that it gets the attention that he wants, even if only for a short time.

If your pooch is digging in the trash because he wants your attention, give him a few more belly rubs each day. Your dog needs daily walks, daily petting and rubs, and lots of attention.

Some breeds are needier than others, but all want and deserve that attention from their owners. Make sure that time is set aside each that’s devoted to your pet.

It’s a game

Dogs can be very ornery from time to time to time. It is especially true when they need or want attention. For some dogs, digging in the trash is merely a game to them.

There’s so much inside of the trash can for the dog to retrieve. Maybe he can hide it and return a few minutes later to find it again! Dogs love to play games. Some simply pick games that aren’t so flattering to their owners, such as this one.

Keeping the trash can out of your dog’s reach is important if digging becomes problematic. Some dogs cause more trouble than others, that is for sure.

There are special containers that also help prevent a dog from getting inside and strewing trash about the home. Consider investing in this type of product to reduce worry and mess.


Did your puppy chew on cardboard and other hard items? Many dogs start by chewing cardboard and other items as a natural instinct. As they age, they improve their skills and abilities. Thus, digging is often the next step in the process.

Long ago before dogs became the domesticated pets we love, they hunted for survival. They’d dig and scavenge through trash cans to find food. Some dogs simply still have that instinct and dig through trash because it is natural to them.

Some dog breeds are more inclined to dig as a natural instinct than others. The Pointer, Labrador, Beagle, Irish Setter, English Settler, and the American Foxhound are some well-known diggers.

Remember that any dog breed may carry this natural instinct apart from the breeds listed. However, the problem is more likely to occur if you own one of the breeds.

It smells great

Even trash cans without food inside may still have a food smell. Dogs may then associate the trash can with food. The smell of a juicy steak or chicken breast is tantalizing, especially to a dog who usually doesn’t enjoy human food.’

They’re unaware that dangerous things lie within the trash can. They’re unaware that many human foods are dangerous for them to eat. That is why owners must take appropriate measures to keep their dog healthy and safe.

Pet owners who keep the trash can out of the dog’s reach have fewer messes to clean later on. They also worry less about their canine friend.

If you always say that your dog is ‘into something’ you should consider keeping the trash can out of reach. Specialty products also help reduce trash spills if a dog decides to rummage. Check your local pet store or online to learn more about the items. Protect your pet and home by using these products.


Sadly, eating items out of a trash can is sometimes a sign of a more serious problem. Both behavioral issues and medical illnesses may cause a dog to rummage in the trash and eat his findings.

Pay special attention if your pet eats non-food items. Ingesting items out of the trash can, especially non-food items can cause toxins in the pet’s stomach. Vomiting, nausea, and other signs of illness warrant a trip to the veterinary.

Take precautions to prevent your dog from digging in the trash. It is dangerous since illness may develop from some of the foods or items that he digs out. Your dog may also ingest harmful items that can cause death or serious injury.

Who knows what has been tossed into the trash can that can potentially harm your pet? Preventing a dog from digging in the trash is challenging, but possible, with the right tools and persistence. And, of course, it’s always worth the extra effort when your dog is safe!

1 thought on “5 Reasons Why Your Dog Digs Through the Trash

  1. Kristina Greenwell

    I am so happy to say that my dog is FINALLY fully trained! I found out about this online dog training tool at TrainDogsOnline.org – it has been such a wonderful help in learning how to train my dog without ever leaving home. I learned so many great ways to teach my dog nearly every trick imaginable. Also, I can finally correct common behavioral issues, anywhere from potty-training to barking too much. It’s an actual man who’s a real dog trainer training his dog. He’s an expert so you can see his mannerisms and changes in his tone of voice… especially his body language. My dog behaves PERFECTLY now and picked up on these methods so fast. From what I understand, this will work on all dogs regardless of breed or age. Best of luck to you and your dog! Check out TrainDogsOnline.org – highly recommended!


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