Have you ever noticed your dog gravitating toward their squeaky toys more than their other choices? Maybe your new puppy prefers their squeaky toys above all the others in their toy basket? Once your pup gets their paws on the squeak toy, they will squeak and squeak to their heart’s content?
There’s actually several reasons that dog prefer sqeaky toys over toy types, and some of those reasons may surprise you. Dog breed can play a role in this behavior, but usually it’s much more primal than that. In fact, some of your behaviors as a dog owner may even contribute to them preferring this type of toy.
In this article we’ll discuss why our dogs love squeak toys so much, and the five most likely reasons your pup prefers noisy toys over all others. Let’s jump in and learn a little bit more about canine behavior!
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Five Reasons Your Dog Loves Them
Squeaky toys are different than others. Some brands have recently tried to start combining more durable chew toys with squeakers to that they last a bit longer.
This is a welcome change for many dog owners, as these toys now last longer, satisfying your pup’s need for something that squeaks. Let’s look at the five most common reasons your pup loves these types of toys over all others.
It Triggers Their Inner Wolf
One of the main reasons why our dogs love squeak toys is because it appeals to their inner wolf. Though our canine companions may be couch potatoes now, they still have an inner desire to hunt for prey. In the wild, a wolf would need to seek out their prey and capture them in order to enjoy a meal. When doing this, their prey would likely make a noise during the process.
A squeak toy mimics the process of chasing and capturing their prey. The squeak is similar to that of their prey being frightened or injured, which in turn awakens your dog’s wild side. Your pup may chew repeatedly to promote the loud squeaks, and will eventually stop chewing once they have “effectively killed their prey.”
This is also why your dog may often bring their favorite chew toys to you, as they are showing off their successful kill. While you may not believe that your adorable pup is simulating a hunt, this is a normal canine behavior in dogs of all kinds.
It Gets Our Attention
Like many other canine behaviors, attention may be at the root of why our dogs enjoy their squeak toys so much. We are our dog’s entire world, leading them to try and gain our attention through any method possible. A toy with a loud squeaker may not only get us to look their way but even join in on a fun game of tug of war.
For example, when we get our dog a new squeaky toy, we will often squeak it in their direction and engage in a play session. Our dogs don’t forget this, and will often try to use this same tactic to cause us to look their way. Your dog may also squeak their toy in your direction to show off their impressive “kill” and hunting abilities.
It Offers A Quick Reward
Our dogs may love to play with squeak toys due to the fact that it offers an instant reward. As we mentioned above, the sound of the squeak lets a dog know that they are doing a good job with their current hunt. The immediate auditory feedback of the squeak toy lets a dog know they are biting effectively, and essentially offers a pat on the back.
Though our dogs may get enjoyment out of playing with a normal chew toy, they don’t receive the instant noise gratification. This could make your dog lean more toward toys that make noise when it’s time to play.
It Relieves Their Urge To Chew
Each time your dog chomps on their squeak toy, they are met with a noise that encourages them to keep chewing, which is completely normal. The understanding that they are successfully killing their prey can essentially cheer them on, which encourages them to continue the behavior.
This is especially true with puppies, who are learning about the world through their mouths. Puppies have an irresistible need to chew. Finding a puppy-sized chew toy with a squeaker can help keep them entertained and satisfy their need to chew.
When our dogs are distracted by a mentally stimulating squeak toy, they are less likely to turn to destructive behavior. The instant reward of a squeaky toy can keep our dogs happy for extended periods of time, decreasing the chance of them chewing up inappropriate items in our home.
The Noise Is Fun
While there may be a deeper meaning behind a dog’s love for their chew toys, they may enjoy them because they are just plain fun! Have you ever wondered why a dog suddenly loses interest in a toy once the squeaker stops working. This proves that our dogs truly enjoy the sound, and that the squeak makes it a more enjoyable experience.
Whether your pup enjoys the thrill of the hunt or the attention the squeak brings them, it aids in extra fun. If your pup only wants to play with toys that squeak, they likely prefer the added excitement that the squeak offers.
Benefits Of Squeaky Toys
As we discussed above, a squeaky toy can offer happiness in many ways. They can easily become your pup’s favorite dog toy and can offer multiple benefits with each play session. So what perks can squeaky toys offer our furry friends?
- Tapping into your dog’s ancestral traits is extremely healthy.
- The simulation of hunting for their prey is mentally stimulating for dogs.
- It can provide hours of endless entertainment.
- The belief that your pup is successfully killing its prey can boost confidence.
- It’s highly stimulating and will discourage destructive behavior.
- A squeaking toy can act as a wonderful tool in positive reinforcement training.
- It can grab your dog’s attention as most dogs respond to the squeak easily.
- Some noisy toys are durable and can withstand chewing.
- While chewing can be destructive, it does benefit gum health.
Dangers Of Squeaky Toys
While your canine companion may love their squeak toys, there are a few potential dangers to be aware of. Squeaky toys can be risky if you do not monitor your pet during their use, and can lead to serious medical complications in some cases. Some potential dangers of squeak dog toys include:
Potential Choking Hazards
The squeakers in squeak toys are often circular and small, making it the perfect size to become lodged in a dog’s throat. If your dog appears in distress or begins coughing while playing with a squeak toy, it’s important to examine their mouth for any airways obstructions. You should then seek veterinary care immediately.
If a dog happens to tear apart a squeak toy and ingest the squeaker, it can easily cause a foreign body. The squeaker and other parts of the toy will not easily digest in a dog’s GI tract, and can cause a life-threatening blockage if it does not pass on its own. If you notice any signs of abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, or other abnormal symptoms, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for immediate care.
You may not see your dog ingest a squeaker or tear up a toy in the moment it happens, so it’s important to inspect their toys for any damage as often as you can. If you notice that a squeaker is no longer in your dog’s toy, we suggest contacting your veterinarian for further advice.
If your pup is known to be destructive with their toys, a squeak toy may not be the best option for them. Stick with something that’s more durable, and find ways to make them more interesting by using peanut butter, or other treats to incent them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should My Dog Play With Squeak Toys?
After seeing the potential dangers of squeaky toys in dogs, you may wonder if you should allow your dog to play with them or not. Though there are some risks involved, they can all be avoided as long as you monitor your pet when they play with the toy.
If your dog is known to tear up toys or become extremely worked up when playing with their squeak toys, it’s best to put away the toy each time you leave your home. It’s also important to check their toys for any damage and immediately remove any toys that have become compromised. This can make it easier for your dog to consume the squeaker, and can lead to serious illness down the road. While removing the toy may upset your dog in the moment, it’s better than a life-threatening medical complication.
As long as you can monitor your pup while they play with their favorite squeak toy, it is perfectly safe. Squeak toys can be extremely beneficial to a dog’s behavioral development, as well as a way to offer hours of canine fun. Squeak toys can be a wonderful addition to your dog’s play routine when following a few safety precautions.
How Do Squeaky Toys Work?
In most cases, there's a small part inside of the dog toy that makes the noise. It's usually tied to some sort of tube, or mechanism that is used to manipulate the air that goes in and out of the toy. When this happens, it makes the high pitched noises that are known to drive canines crazy.
Why Does My Dog Hate Squeaky Toys?
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs love toys that make noise. Many canines find the additional noise to be bothersome and will ignore them completely. This is usually a learned behavior and comes about when your dog potentially had a negative experience with the noise. Some dogs are just timid and don't enjoy loud noises.
Do Dogs Think Squeaky Toys Are Alive?
Dogs don't think in the same way humans do. Their behavior is more instinctual. Usually if they hear a noise, that triggers a "need to bite" reaction due to their prey drive. Unfortunately, we can't ask dogs if they think it's alive or dead, so we are left to best "theorize" what canine psychology can teach us. Some dogs have "toy drive" instead of "prey drive" which would lead us to believe that yes, dogs can in fact tell that there's a difference.
Are Squeaky Toys OK For Aggressive Chewers?
As mentioned earlier, yes, and no. Some toys have become more durable, but there is no toy that's completely dog-proof. If you find a toy made of more durable rubber or nylon, it's likely to last much longer than something made of fabric or plush.
Squeak toys are a wonderful way to offer your pup some extra fun, while also appealing to their more primal instincts. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of why your pup may be completely obsessed with their squeaky toys compared to others. Finding a durable toy that makes noise is often the best of both worlds, and can keep your pup busy for hours on end.