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It is no secret to dog owners that most dogs are obsessed with food, and a good proportion of them are also obsessed with anything smelly, dirty, rank or messy as well; and this can mean that your bins and also if you are particularly unlucky, other people’s bins as well, are a source of endless fascination for many dogs. If you have the dubious privilege of owning a bin-obsessed dog and the problem is getting out of control, don’t worry, we can help! Read on to find out more about dogs and scavenging from bins, and what you can do about it.
For some dogs, bins seem to hold the same appeal as catnip does for cats, and seeking out bins, gaining access to them and either rolling around in the contents or eating whatever they can get their paws on is something of an obsession. Digging is natural dog behaviour and one that provides its own rewards in terms of what they can get out of it, both figuratively and literally. Much as we often encourage dogs to entertain themselves with interactive toys and puzzles that provide positive feedback or a treat as a reward, so is digging in the bin its own reward for your dog. Gaining access to the bin itself provides an intellectual challenge that is then swiftly followed up by the enjoyment of digging and burrowing, and also provides a physical reward in the shape of scraps of food and the remains of discarded meals.
It is probably obvious to the dog owner and particularly the owner of a bin-mining dog, but scavenging for rubbish and digging through the bins causes problems for both dog and owner on many different levels. Not only does digging through the bin of course create an almighty mess and potentially cause damage to your property, but it also places your dog at risk from injury from any sharp or pointed objects that may be lurking in the rubbish. Also, many human foods are poisonous or harmful to dogs, and inadvertently eating something unsuitable can lead to a range of health problems. Even if the food your dog finds in the bin is technically safe for dogs, eating supplementary food as well as their regular meals can soon lead to problems with providing balanced nutrition and keeping your dog’s weight under control.
While it is important to teach your dog to leave the rubbish alone, both in terms of the bins you have in the house and any that your dog may encounter when out walking, it is also important in the short term to do what you can to minimise your dog’s opportunistic chances of getting into the bins at all. There are various ways that you can attempt to achieve this:
If at all possible, it is best to avoid any problems with bin-mining or nip them in the bud early on.
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