What are the dangers of my dog raiding the kitchen garbage can?

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Thieving comes very naturally to a dog; when a dog raids a trash can, it’s almost always because it smells food inside that it has tasted before. Maybe it was given to the dog by its owner—and that’s just one more reason why you should never give your dog table scraps. Maybe the dog discovered it on its own while raiding the trash before.

But one thing’s for sure: once your dog tastes something—even the smallest bit—chances are it’ll continue to want more and more of it and will do anything—including raiding the trash can—to get it.

Here are some reasons why a dog might steal:

  • Lack of knowledge regarding household rules
  • Curiosity
  • Availability
  • Alluring odors
  • Hunger
  • Self-reward
  • Attention-seeking behavior
  • Boredom
  • General under-stimulation
  • Separation anxiety

Why is it so dangerous?

  • First, know that many of the foods that are good for people are not good for dogs; in fact, they can be downright toxic, especially things like chocolate or grapes. A whiff of chocolate can be pretty enticing to non-humans and humans alike!
  • If the dog is on medication, these foods could have a negative interaction.
  • The smell that she’s after could actually be from a discarded item of that food, full of fat, grease and bones. This increases the dog’s risk for diseases like pancreatitis that can often be fatal, and bones can puncture lungs or intestines.
  •  Extra eating leads to obesity.
  •  The dog will be exposed to spoiled food, inedible items, such as tin foil (especially if it has the smell on it, he will try to eat it), sharp objects and toxic household and yard chemicals.

Some dogs eat strange items, like leaves. A trash can might include some dead leaves from plants, which could be poisonous.

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