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Let’s face it, our dogs often find our trash as delightful as they find us. A few years ago, I thought I’d finally outsmarted my tissue-loving dog, Sasha, with a fancy garbage can that opened with a pedal. My success lasted about three days until she figured out this “dog proof trash can” and hunted for tissues to her little heart’s delight, intrigued by her new toy that rewarded ingenuity with…used tissues. #DogMomFail.
Sterilite 12.6-Gallon Locking StepOn Wastebasket
Sold in a two-pack, these trash cans are truly dog-proof, thanks to both a locking mechanism and push pedal that keep the lid shut.
They may be nosing through the trash because they miss us when we’re gone or perhaps they truly love the surprise treasures in our garbage. Regardless of the motivation, finding a truly dog-proof garbage can can be challenging.
We suggest looking for styles that employ some type of contraption, such as:
- A pedal, paired with a heavier can, might work for smaller dogs who can’t throw enough weight into the step to open
- A lock, for dogs who have made quick work of pedals or who have learned to tip over cans
- A motion-sensor, which makes a trash can both hygienic and extra dog-proof
In addition, these features will help back up any pet-thwarting mechanism your dog-proof garbage can employs:
- Odor-control, which keeps pets at bay by containing those appealing smells
- Heavier materials, such as stainless steel, making a can hard to tip over but also a lid hard to lift
- Something that anchors garbage bags in the can
The 7 Best Dog-Proof Trash Cans
For those of us who are the proud owners of a clever and motivated dog, check out the highly reviewed dog-proof garbage cans below.
Best for Determined Doggos: Sterilite 12.6-Gallon Locking StepOn Garbage Can
This trash can purports to be dog-proof with two mechanisms: A pedal and a lock. Not only would an enterprising dog have to push the pedal, but she would also have to unlock the trash can. That locking mechanism is so secure, this can remains closed even after being tipped over.
Even better? These cans are sold as a two-pack. Well played, Sterilite, well played.
- Two steps to open makes this more challenging for most dogs
- Stays locked even when tipped over
Sterilite 12.6-Gallon Locking StepOn Garbage Can
Sold in a two-pack, these trash cans are truly dog-proof, thanks to both a solid locking mechanism and push pedal that keep the lid shut.
Best for Trash and Recycling: Simplehuman 15.3-Gallon Step Can
For the dog owner who wants a dog-proof trash and recycling solution in one, look no further than this dual receptacle from Simplehuman. It has two bins for storing both trash and recycling, and uses a pedal mechanism to keep pets at bay. Reviewers praise its durability and functionality, though if your dog learns the pedal trick, you might have to look for a more complex setup (see the Sterilite cans above).
- Attractive design
- Pedal mechanism works against many dogs
- Built-in liner storage and dispensing
Simplehuman 15.3-Gallon Step Can
This 15.3 gallon double bin is a great option for a trash can and recycling container in one. It boasts a pedal mechanism to keep dogs out and a brushed stainless steel exterior.
Best for Small Dogs: Simplehuman 12- or 16-Gallon Kitchen Dog-Proof Step Trash Can
This garbage can’s step mechanism can sometimes be outsmarted, but its weight makes it difficult for smaller dogs to open. There is a mechanism that locks the garbage bag in place as well. As with most Simplehuman dog-proof cans, it’s attractive as well as more of a splurge than other brands.
- Heavier weight thwarts dogs, in addition to step
- 10-year warranty
- Silent-close lid
Simplehuman 16-Gallon Kitchen Dog-Proof Step Trash Can
The heavy-duty nature of this trash can combined with its step pedal mechanism makes it an ideal choice to keep nosey dogs away.
Best Tech Solution: iTouchless Multifunction Sensor Dog-Proof Garbage Can, 4 Gallon
A motion sensor opens this 4-gallon trash can, meaning the lid stays locked when it’s tipped over. While a dog could certainly learn how to use this mechanism, reviewers haven’t reported dogs mastering that technique so far. In fact, multiple reviewers praise the trash can’s ability to withstand even the most determined dogs.
- Motion sensor proves harder for dogs to crack
- Touchless is more hygenic
- Odor control cartridge
iTouchless Multifunction Sensor Dog-Proof 4-Gallon Trash Can
The sensors on this 4-gallon trash can keep the lid firmly in place at any angle, so even the most determined of dogs will find it difficult to open.
Best Small Capacity: Simplehuman 2.6-Gallon Butterfly Lid Bathroom Step Trash Can
This bathroom trash can incorporates a pedal mechanism for easy (human) use and proves to be a difficult can to crack, even for large dogs. It has a stainless steel exterior that is smudge resistant, which for dog owners translates to “drool-mark and wet-nose resistant.” Similar to others in this brand, this trash can is on the more expensive side; however, its functionality and appearance earn high praise from dog owners.
- Silent closure
- Butterfly lid opens from center for low clearance
2.6-Gallon Butterfly Lid Bathroom Step Trash Can
In addition to its pretty and smudge-resistant stainless steel exterior, this bathroom trash boasts a pedal mechanism that keeps dogs out.
Best for Odor Control: Brabantia 16-Gallon Touch-Lid Dog-Proof Trash Can
This simple and solid dog-proofcan from Belgian brand Brabantia opens with a touch, making it easy to use for humans but tougher for pets to figure out; it also boasts solid odor control to keep pets from getting curious in the first place. The fingerprint-resistant finish keeps this trash can looking neat in spite of all that goes inside. It comes in matte black, black and steel, and white.
- Pawprint, fingerprint, and drool-proof proof finish
- Efficient touch-to-open method eliminates paw-level steps
- Soft closure
Brabantia 16-Gallon Touch-Lid Dog-Proof Garbage Can
This Belgian company’s touch-lid design may work for dogs who have step trash cans figured out.
Best for Outdoor Dog-Proof Use: Doggy Dare Trash Can Lock
For pet owners who rely on an outdoor trash can, this could be a good solution to make any trash can into a dog-proof garbage can. It’s essentially a bungee cord designed to keep lids secured. Reviewers heap on the praise for these locks, which are effective at keeping dogs (as well as raccoons, bears, rodents, and livestock!) out of the trash.
- Use this for any trash can you use outdoors
- Keeps additional critters, such as raccoons, out
Doggy Dare Trash Can Lock
Keep an outdoor trash can secure with this bungee cord-style lock that will prevent dogs and other animals from raiding it.
Whatever your trash woes, we wish you luck in keeping even the most enterprising dog safely out of the garbage and into better things—like laps.
How We Chose
The products featured here were selected based on a combination of our own hands-on testing and a comprehensive look at customer reviews across a wide variety of retail platforms. To find the best dog-proof trash cans, we prioritized a variety of opening mechanisms that might prove difficult for pets; that varies very much by your particular pet—so while a step might be tricky for some dogs, others might need additional measures. We also looked at heavier-weighted cans and materials that were easy to keep clean. We’re also guided by the experience of living and playing alongside our own much-loved and strongly opinionated pets, who are never stingy with their feedback.