Best Practices to Keep Your Pet Dog Away from Coffee and Other Hazardous Items


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Having a pet dog is a major responsibility for an owner and their family. On the other hand, it can be an experience like no other. Part of being a great dog owner involves watching out for your pet and ensuring they don’t get access to anything that might be dangerous to them. One of those things is coffee. While many humans, including you and I, appreciate having a cup of coffee every morning (or more!), it is a substance that is extremely hazardous to dogs and cats.

While we’ve talked about the various items that can be dangerous for your pet to get in contact with, what we haven’t done is go over the options you have for keeping your pet safe, other than constantly watching your coffee cup. Today we are going to go a bit further and talk about how to manage your household to keep your pet safe at all times without constant vigilance. That doesn’t mean that you can just ignore what your dog is up to, but it means you and your pet will both be more comfortable. It also means your dog will be less likely to run into trouble, become injured, or contract illness.

This article will delve into how to keep your pet away from the trash can, where all sorts of hazardous items can end up. We’ll talk about how to secure specific parts of your home and how to dog proof the rest to ensure the health and safety of your four-legged pal. Our aim is to offer you insight into how to have a home that runs well without a lot of additional input. We want you to be able to sip on your favorite latte or enjoy a bowl of coffee ice cream without stressing over what your dog might be getting into. Let’s start by considering that pesky trash cat that your dog probably can’t wait to get into.

Why You Need to Keep Your Dog Out of the Trash

The trash cans in your home contain all sorts of things that might be hazardous to your pet. It goes beyond grapes, coffee, and chocolate, although all of those things can make your pet deathly ill. Despite the fact that so many disgusting items end up in the trash, you may find that your dog is super interested in digging around in it anyway. This might seem crazy to you, but the reality is that your dog gets a whiff of the trash and thinks that there might be something tasty within.

Everything from empty chocolate wrappers to toxic items end up in your trash. It is your trash for a reason. You aren’t about to dig through it and eat what’s within and your dog should not, either. One of the reasons dogs may be so interested in the garage goes back to their roots as scavengers. That’s genetic and something that doesn’t go away just because your dog is now well-fed, healthy, and cared for. With a dog, anything that smells good should go in their mouths. This is why you might come home to find banana peels across the floor while your dog avoids your gaze, knowing it’s off-limits.

Digging through your garbage can be a fun game for your pet dog. Each item has its own scent and the dog wants to investigate further by tasting whatever is causing the odor. They’re looking for something, even if they aren’t sure what it is. The instinct within them tells them something is hiding, and they need to find it. Some dogs will also chew on items that aren’t food in any manner. It might be boxes, tissues, or other random items. This can be done as a way to get attention for some dogs. Dogs know that when they misbehave, you give them some form of attention.

However, a dog who is digging in the trash for whatever reason is at risk of illness or injury. Your pet could be putting their own health and wellness at risk. Both food items and packaging can contain toxins which will make your dog ill. There may even be poisons or medications that your dog can overdose on. Allowing your dog to go through the trash for coffee grounds, bits of onions, or chocolate can lead to serious illness or death. That is why it is so important to get the behavior under control immediately.

Below, we will share some options for keeping your pet out of the garbage to keep your home clean and your pet safe at all times.

Move the Trash Can to an Inaccessible Location

One method that is simple and straightforward is simply to move the trash can to a space where the dog cannot get into it. This is fast and easy, but it can be inconvenient. It’s up to you whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of this method. You can choose any place the dog isn’t able to get to, but if you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. Here are a few places you can start your trash cans to ensure your dog isn’t able to dig around in it.

  • Place the kitchen or bathroom trash can under the kitchen sink with the cabinet door closed.
  • Lock the trash can in the bathroom when you are out of the home or otherwise won’t need to use it.
  • Place the garbage can in the garage before work if you’re concerned about your pet rummaging around in it.
  • Stick the trash can in a nearby closet with the door closed so your pet cannot get near it.

These are only a few options available to you. The reality is that everyone is different, and everyone has a unique living space. You also have a gauge of your dog’s habit and abilities. If your pet can climb up on the counter, put the trash in a closet. If they have the ability to visit the bathroom, stick the trash in the garage, instead.

Choose a Trash Can the Dog Cannot Open

Rather than using a typical trash can for your garbage, you may want to consider a locking pet trash can. There are many of these available and they range in size and purpose. There are tiny locking trash cans that might work well in a bathroom or child’s bedroom. Larger trash cans are also available which are heavy and foot-operated. These may not offer a lock but it’s unlikely your pet will get into them. There are even lids for pet owners that come with a strap, so your pet can’t get in the trash, even if it’s a regular trash can. If your dog is a serious lover of trash cans, you will want one that is locked, too tall to get into, and heavy enough that it cannot be knocked over.

A Simpler Solution with a Child Safety Lock

If you have children or have spent any time around babies or toddler, you have likely experienced a child safety lock. These items are inexpensive and easy to use. They also work perfectly with nearly any type of trash can. This sort of lock has an adhesive that will stick to the trash can and then a latch which you need to press to release. They’re simple for humans to open but far more difficult for dogs. You can pick these up at any big box store or at a home improvement store. That said, if your dog is super savvy, you may want to place a latch on each side to ensure the dog cannot get into the trash.

Train Your Dog to Stay Away from the Trash Can

There are a couple of options for training your dog that the trash can is off limits. We’re going to look at the simplest one in this article. However, as with any training technique, it may take time to see results. In the meantime, you are going to want to keep your trash can secure in another manner. You also want to be aware that some dogs will have trouble staying away from the trash on occasion, even when they know it’s off limits. Keeping track of your pet and being consistent can go a long way to make this work.

The next time you see your dog going to the trash can to sift through the contents, you want to clap your hands and say “off.” Keep an authoritative tone as you do this, then move the dog away from the trash can. This is only going to work if you say “off” when the dog is actually going through your trash can. If you do it later, your dog isn’t going to understand what he is doing wrong. Being confused may make them anxious or fearful, which is not what you are going for here. Be aware that you may need to do this numerous times before the dog understands what you want from them when you say “off” and clap your hands together.

If you prefer not to clap your hands with this training, you can instead say “off” and call your pet to you. When he comes to you, provide him with a treat. Many people believe that rewarding a pet for good behavior is a better option than other options. This is also a technique that may take repetition before it settles in. However, once the dog begins to learn that they get a treat for walking away, they’ll be more likely to listen to you.

You can ramp up the difficulty of this technique later on if you would like. This involves placing a food item with a distinct scent on the trash can lid. If you know what your dog likes to dig out of the trash, use that item. Place the item on the lid and when the dog goes for it, say “off” and ask them to come to you. You should reward them when they come to you again. After some amount of repetition, your pet will learn that the garbage can is off limits, even if a great scent is coming out of it.

The Most Dangerous Household Items for Your Pooch

Before we get into other options for dog proofing your house, including how to keep your coffee out of their paws, we wanted to look at some of the most hazardous items that are found in most people’s homes. We’ll do this by location in your home just to make it easier to determine what locations in your home most likely house the dangerous belonging that needs to be kept away from your dog. First, we’re going to start in the kitchen with a handful of foods and other substances that your dog should not be allowed to access under any circumstances

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Kitchen Hazards for Your Pet Dog

  • Chocolate – Nearly everyone has heard that chocolate is something dogs should not consume and that is 100% accurate. Chocolate has two different ingredients that can be seriously harmful for a dog. These are theobromine and caffeine. These ingredients can cause seizures or even death. While all chocolate is dangerous, the most dangerous are baking chocolate and dark chocolate.
  • Coffee – You love coffee and your dog might enjoy the scent of coffee, but you should never allow your dog any coffee beverages or foods that contain coffee. Coffee contains caffeine. Even decaffeinated coffee has some caffeine and should not be fed to your pet. While this might be your go-to morning drink, keep your pet safe by offering them fresh, clean water instead.
  • Alcohol – You likely know the ways in which alcohol can damage the kidney and liver of humans, and it can do the exact same thing to your pet dog. However, much smaller amounts can cause problems in pets than they do in people. It is also possible for alcohol consumption to lead to acidosis or even cardiac arrest.
  • Chicken Bones – Bones form chickens, as well as bones from other items, can splinter when your dog bites into them. This can cause serious harm to your pet. Any cooked bones can be brittle and are potentially hazardous. This is something that should never be provided for your pet and if you see your dog dragging around a chicken bone, you need to get it away from them as quickly as possible.
  • Grapes – Many people enjoy having grapes or raisins around for themselves and their children to snack on. Your dog, however, should never be fed these fruits. Eating grapes can cause acute renal failure in your dog which is a major medical concern.
  • Macadamia Nuts – While not all nuts are off limits for your dog, macadamia nuts are. These nuts can be found in all sorts of snacks like cookies or brownies and it can be easy to forget they are there. However, these nuts are extremely poisonous for dogs and should not be fed to them.
  • Onions – Onions are an ingredient that dogs should not eve consume. This food item can kill off your dog’s blood cells and cause Heinz Body Anemia, which is life threatening to your pet. Even onion powder in food can cause this problem, so you need to be aware of the ingredients in anything you feed your dog.
  • Garlic – This ingredient is less dangerous than onions and you may even find it contained in some dog foods but in small amounts. However, if your dog manages to consume a large amount, it may cause major problems. It can cause stomach problems like vomiting, drooling, nausea, diarrhea, and more. Sometimes the symptoms of garlic poisoning do not appear until a few days after consumption.
  • Yeast – The same way that yeast will rise in bread, it will rise and expand in the stomach of your dog. You need to make sure they do not get access to this ingredient. If it’s a small amount, it may only cause gas and bloating. However, too much can rupture their intestines or stomach.
  • Raw Fish & Meat – While you may see television shows and movies where a dog is thrown a full steak completely raw, this isn’t realistic in your life. Raw meat and raw fish both may have bacteria which will often lead to food poisoning. When it comes to fish, some even have parasites that can cause serious health issues.

Of course, keeping your pet out of your trash can will avoid some of these hazards, but that isn’t the full extent of the danger. You should also be sure any of these items in your kitchen are placed in an enclosed area and up high where it will be hard to access. The same applies if you host a party or event with food sitting out for humans. Make sure it is high enough that your pets cannot get into it. You should also be sure your guests are aware of the rules to avoid problems when others are visiting.

Keep Dog Away from Coffee

Potential Dangers in the Bathroom or Bedroom

Many people keep their medications in the bedroom or bathroom and these can be hazardous for your dog. While having pain relievers and prescription medications may be useful for a human, the dog should not be allowed access to them. Tylenol and other drugs can cause major health issues to your pet, including harm to the liver and interference with their oxygen. Keep these somewhere locked up and far away from where your dog can snoop around.

In addition, watching where you keep the veterinary medications is also important. While these medications are for your pet, that doesn’t mean that taking a large amount won’t be harmful. Most of these medications are flavored to be palatable to dogs, which means they might snarf up an entire bottle if they get the chance. Keep these put away when not in use. It may also be a good idea to keep your pet’s meds away from your own meds and those of your family members.

You also need to be cautious about dropping any pills. A pet can easily find it and take it. This could lead to illness or even death. Your pills should be found if you drop even one. You also should be careful never to leave your bottles unsealed or without a cap. All of these items can be dangerous but making small changes will keep your pet safe. Get a pill box or lock them up somewhere to make your home safe and happy for both you and your pet.

Other Hazardous Items to Keep Away from Your Dog

The items we have already mentioned are those your pet is most likely to come upon that can cause them harm, but the list is far from complete. We’re going to list a few of the other items below that can be a problem for a pet dog. Keeping these away and locked up is the best option, but you can choose an alternative method to keep your pet away if you would prefer.

  • Insecticides and rodenticides
  • Cleaning products
  • Heavy metals
  • Fertilizer
  • Antifreeze
  • Detergents
  • Deicers
  • Batteries
  • Toys with small parts
  • Poisonous plants
  • Fabric softener sheets

Keeping Your Pet Safe from Coffee and Coffee Ingredients

There’s good news when it comes to your dog and your coffee. The method that is best used to keep your dog from getting into the coffee is also the optimal method to keep your coffee fresh and tasting great morning after morning. So, while you are going to be protecting your furry friend, you’re also going to be ensuring yourself the best cup of coffee every time you brew a pot. We’ll share the best storage method below and you can make changes for the sake of your palate and the health of your pet.

Once coffee has been exposed to air, it begins to degrade a certain amount. In fact, air, heat, moisture, and light are all enemies to a great cup of coffee. We always recommend choosing fresh roasted beans in whole form to get the best tasting beverage. You can grind them yourself and have fresh coffee that might even be better than what you find at a coffee shop. However, in order to keep the great flavor, a certain storage method is needed.

The best type of container to use for your coffee beans is going to be an air tight container that is opaque. The beans should be stored at room temperature, rather than being in the refrigerator or freezer. While setting the container out on a counter may be aesthetically pleasing, it’s not the best option. Counters often have sunshine on them, which can cause degradation to the beans. Instead, you want to store the container full of beans somewhere dark and cool. With a dog running around, you may want to consider a locked cabinet or at the least, you should apply a child safety lock for their safety.

This means you will need to clean up any grounds after making your coffee, but otherwise, you can stick the container back in its place and know your pet will not be able to get to it. It’s also best to store away the items you add to your coffee, as well. Many dogs are lactose intolerant and consuming large amounts of sugar is also not recommended. A few minutes time and an investment in a container will go a long way to making your morning easier and keeping your dog out of the coffee they smell.

And above all else, don’t share your favorite coffee drink with your dog. Caffeinated food and drinks are highly toxic to dogs and can cause some serious issues. That means not just coffee, though. Soda, tea, diet supplements, and other items with caffeine are also hazardous. Pets have a much higher sensitivity to caffeine than humans do and it’s better to keep them away from it than to take a chance on their health or life.

Dog Proofing Your Home for Less Stress and Anxiety

We talked about how coffee can be dangerous to dogs. We also went over how you need to consider securing your garbage can to prevent dogs from getting inside. We’ve also looked at some of the common hazards in a home for a dog besides just a cup of cappuccino. While we’re looking at dog safety and having a cup of coffee without stressing about what Rover is getting into, there are many other options for making your home dog-friendly and less likely to cause illness or injury. Read on if you want to implement some new tips to keep your pet safe and you comfortable and relaxed at the same time.

Contain and Cover Electric Cords

If you have a dog, especially if it is a young puppy, they might be tempted to chow down on the electric cords around your home. I’m sure you can see why this is a horrible idea that needs to be curbed immediately. A dog who chews into a cord might get burns in the mouth, accidental shock, or even worse. There are a couple of options to keep your pet away from these hazardous items. The first option is to use a deterrent spray on the cords which provides a nasty taste if the puppy licks or chews it. You can also purchase cord covers that protect the cords and keep your pet safe.

Keep Purses and Other Bags Properly Stored

Most of us carry around some sort of bag, whether it’s a backpack or a gym bag, purse, or even a diaper bag. When you toss that down in the living room after a long day, that usually is far from a problem. However, some of the items inside your bag may be hazardous for your pet. Xylitol is the most common problem and it can be in gum, sweets, and beauty products. While your dog may not nose around in your bag on a regular basis, once they do, this is an item that can cause disaster. Having a space to put your bags will alleviate this issue. It could be as simple as a high hook to hang bags or a closet where bags are deposited after a long day. Make sure you get your guests to use it too.

Pay Attention to the Plants in Your Home

This was mentioned briefly above but it bears repeating. Some house plants are poisonous. The most obvious is the coffee tree, which some people enjoy planting and growing to make their own beans. This is something that cannot be in the space with a pet dog. Your pet could eat the beans and become extremely ill. However, there are other plants that are poisonous as well. It’s best to look up the plants you have to determine whether they carry any risk to your dog. Some of the plants that do are American yew, autumn crocus, castor bean, and Sago palm. Others are out there though so always do a bit of research before bringing a new plant home.

Use Baby Proofing Supplies for Your Dog

If your dog is young and tempted to get into everything, sometimes baby proofing supplies are a good option for keeping them safe and making sure your belongings aren’t covered in bite marks. There are tons of options that work just as well for a pet as they do for a toddler who is starting to crawl around and get into things. A few of the best options are the following:

  • Covers or containment systems for any of your electrical cords
  • Baby gates for rooms which you wish to limit your pet’s access to
  • Safety locks for cabinets located in your bathroom and kitchen
  • Electrical outlet covers for outlets that are not being used

There is also an item specifically made for dogs called a dog food vault. This isn’t really a safety item, but it can come in handy. Essentially, the dog food is placed in the vault which has a lid that your pet cannot open. If your dog likes to get into your dog food and eat until they are sick, this is a great product to help with that problem.

Keep the Doors Closed to Rooms with Hazards

If baby gates aren’t for you, or aren’t working as you want them to, you can also limit access to rooms you don’t want pets in. All you need to do is close the door. Unless your dog can open the door, they are going to be forced to stay in the spaces you want them in. This can be a great option for bathrooms where there is medication or closets that contain cleaning products. This will prevent your pet from chewing up your favorite belongings and avoid finding unexpected puddles of urine if your dog isn’t fully potty trained just yet. Of course, you can use this method for any room that is a problem area and not just the bathroom or your bedroom. The best part is that this requires no financial commitment, just a quick shut of the door.

Remove Clutter and Banish the Problem

If you are anything like me, you probably have a bit of clutter around your home most times. However, it’s also true that the fewer items are laying around for your dog to get interested in, the less they are going to be getting chewed into oblivion. If you make it a habit to put up items that matter to you, your dog won’t have the chance to damage or destroy them. While training your dog can provide structure and make it less likely something is chewed, it isn’t a guarantee. Having a dog can be a good time to clean up the clutter and find a place for everything. Your dog will happily play with their toys if there are no other options hanging out all over the counters, tables, and other surfaces in your home.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking to keep your pet safe from coffee, as well as other items that can be dangerous to them, this article offers some tips for making the process straightforward and easy. We’ve provided some information on why trash cans need to be kept away from your pet dog, as well as how to do this in a way that isn’t a complete inconvenience to you and your family. We also looked at certain items that are hazardous to pets and why they should be kept far out of reach.

Beyond that, you now know how to store your coffee in a pet friendly manner and how to dog proof your home against common hazards. While this doesn’t cover every scenario out there, it does give you a great place to start from. Having a pet dog can be a truly exceptional experience but mixing the dog with certain items in the home should be avoided. Making a few changes and being aware of your environment can make a huge difference. Good luck!

Bonus Questions

1. What is my dog eating cardboard?

If you have noticed your dog eating cardboard, paper towels, or napkins, your first step should be to visit your veterinarian. The condition pica may cause some pets, dogs and otherwise, to eat strange items that are not food. In some cases, this may be due to a medical issue.

2. What can I spray on my trash to keep dogs away?

If you’re looking to keep dogs out of your garage with a spray, try using a solution of vinegar and water. Ammonia and water will also work well. You will want to spray near your outdoor trash cans, as well as on the cans and their lids.

3. Is vinegar a good dog repellent?

It is a fantastic repellent for dogs and some other types of animals. The scent of vinegar is extremely unattractive to dogs and will keep them away. However, avoid using it in your garden as it can cause harm to certain plants.

4. Why is my dog suddenly chewing everything?

Sometimes a dog will begin to chew items on a more frequent basis if they are anxious, stressed, lonely, or board. To avoid this problem, you can confine the dog to a crate when you are not able to supervise them. However, spending more time with your pet may help alleviate the issue.

5. What scent will keep dogs away?

There are a few scents that dogs tend to veer away from including hot pepper, citrus, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and mothballs. However, every dog is a bit different so what dissuades one dog may not have the same effect on another dog.

6. Can dogs eat slightly spoiled meat?

No, spoiled meat is unsafe for dogs just as it is for humans. While the dog may be able to digest it, there is a possibility that the bacteria and parasites which could be present will cause your dog to become ill.

7. Can a dog eat a coffee bean?

Coffee, coffee beans, and coffee grounds are all toxic to a dog and should not be given to them. The same applies with raisins, grapes, alcohol, xylitol, and home cleaning products.

8. What does onion do to a dog?

One of the ingredients in onion is thiosulphate, which is known to be toxic to both dogs and cats. Consuming onions can cause damage to the red blood cells in a dog. It can even cause the blood cells to burst.

9. Should dogs have ice cream?

The general answer is no. However, some sugarless ice creams are okay depending on the ingredients. It is also acceptable to give your dog ice cream specifically made for dogs.

10. Is tea good for dogs?

Tea which contains caffeine should never be fed to your dog. The ingredients in non-caffeinated tea will dictate whether it is acceptable for your dog to consume.

Related Content:

Dogs and Coffee, Chocolate, Raisins and Other Forbidden Foods of the Holidays (Video)
Adventures with Fido…What You and Your Best Bud Can Do When You Can’t Kick Back with a Beer or Coffee (Video)
Your Coffee Shop Allows Dogs: How to Pay a Visit, Show Good Dog Etiquette and Stay Safe (Video)