Dogs and Garbage

At some point in every person’s life, in real-life or in the movies, they have watched a dog eating trash. This behavior begs the question, what do dogs find so appealing about trash?

During my lifetime, I have had over seven dogs. I am currently the owner of three, one of which is a Labrador Retriever. She is the dog who is infamous in our house for always finding a way into the trash can. Now, this was particularly puzzling to me because I know that my mom gives her tasty dog food (I’m assuming it’s tasty, anyways), along with treats to reward good behavior and tricks. As I pondered this puzzle, I realized that I was probably not the only pet owner baffled and worried by this behavior. What I’ve learned is that the trash can can be a dangerous place for pooches.

First, the reason dogs eat out of the trash is simply for the food. The smells coming from the trashcan are more exciting than the smells coming from the same old dog bowl. And apparently, the trash doesn’t taste that bad. However, not only does eating out of the trashcan cause a huge mess to clean up, but it can also be very dangerous your pet, in several ways. First, the trash could hold many foreign objects which may be sharp. Your animal could accidentally swallow a sharp bone or object and puncture or scratch its insides. Another big problem is that the trash contains food which may be spoiled. Two big examples are moist food and moldy cheese. Moist food can very quickly become a toxic mess for a pet that’s checking out the trash. Moldy cheese and cheese products such as pizza toppings can also have toxins that can cause muscle tremors and seizures in dogs.

If your pet does get into the trash, you should monitor its behavior closely. Some symptoms to watch for include loss of appetite, shivering, and yellow eyes or lips. If you see or suspect that your pet has any of these symptoms, you should call your veterinarian or an animal hospital immediately.

What are your tips for keeping your dog (or your neighbors’ dogs) out of the trash—inside or out?

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