A common dog owner dilemma: Should I get another squeaky toy that I know my dog loves while knowing the toy will wake me up every night?
While playing, dogs exhibit their hunting instincts. That’s how dogs think of “playing”, as a hunting game. One explanation why dogs like squeaky toys are that the squeaky sound resembles an injured prey. So, the squeaky toy activates the dog’s prey drive.
Most dogs prefer squeaky toys, they like to chew and devour them entirely. Although seeing your dog’s joy while playing is great, squeaky toys can be tiresome. Also, you may need to replace the toy every week.
So, what is it about dogs that they like squeaky toys that much? Well, that’s what we’ll be answering here. Understanding why your dog likes squeaky toys may change your opinion towards them.
Why Do Dogs Like To Play With Squeaky Toys
Let’s take a step back before we dive in. I would like to talk about how we investigate dog behavior and how we come to conclusions.
I’m pointing this out because it’s really important to know when you want to find out why your dog is behaving a certain way. The thing is, we can’t ask dogs: Why are you doing that? So, we have to rely on observing dogs and preparing experiments. Here, we try to find some similarities and come to conclusions.
Scientists noticed that in general, when dogs play a “game” of any kind, they exhibit their hunting instincts. Although dogs were domesticated a long time ago, they still have a natural prey drive. [Source]
So, one way to explain why dogs like to play with squeaky toys is to apply that theory. It certainly makes sense, the squeaky sound resembles the sound of some prey animals.
The sound activates the dog’s instinctive prey drive. We can’t deny that dogs react this way to other types of toys. The dog’s eyes just light up differently.
Another explanation may be that dogs just like auditory feedback. Other toys don’t make a squeaky noise, so that’s why they prefer squeaky toys over others.
Do All Dogs Like Squeaky Toys
Not all dogs like squeaky toys. In fact, some dogs actively avoid squeaky toys. I have seen dogs that are really scared of the squeaky sound. They may like tennis balls as toys but not squeaky tennis balls.
The sound scares some dogs. They see it as a strange sound coming from a foreign object. So, it depends on the character of the dog. After all, all dogs are different.
Also, some dogs do not have a strong prey drive. So, they may be unbothered and uninterested when they hear the squeaker.
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Why Do Dogs Like To Chew Out Squeaky Toys
Something all pet parents have noticed is that the dog not only likes the squeaky toys but also destroys them completely. I lost count of how many squeaky toys I’ve bought over the years.
Now, this is not something all dogs will do. It depends on how strong the prey drive is. There are dogs that will just chew on the toy. Most dogs chew the toy until they remove the squeaker though. Why do dogs do this?
Well, the hunting game comes into play again. The high-pitched sound activates the basic instinct of hunting injured prey. Dogs also get a dopamine rush when the hunting game is successful and done. So, “killing” the squeaker puts an end to the prey. Dogs get a reward out of this, consider it as feel-good playtime.
Is This Unwanted Behavior
All dog owners want their quiet time. Unfortunately, some dogs will start playing with their favorite squeaky toy late at night. So, the squeaky sound maybe just too much for you.
More so, the dog will destroy the toy quickly enough. That means you have to buy another one, especially if it only likes that toy. So, is this something you should stop?
The smartest thing to do is to not let your dog have constant access to the toy. So, give the toy to the dog only in surprised playtime. That way, your dog will get that feel-good playtime. More importantly, you will get your sleep, and the toy will last longer.
I would not consider playing with squeaky toys as unwanted behavior as long as this doesn’t happen all the time. So, just limit the time your dog plays with squeaky toys, maybe introduce other toys as well.
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Are Squeaky Toys Good For Dogs
All of this begs the question: Are squeaky toys good for dogs? In general, squeaky toys are good for dogs. They provide a playtime filled with dopamine, and they can also improve dental health, especially in puppies.
Squeaky toys are not always good though. Because dogs love to chew them so much, they quickly get damaged. When chewed out, pieces start falling off which the dog can swallow. This can lead to some respiratory issues.
Dogs like to chew the squeaker out of the toy. If swallowed, the squeaker can block out the airways. It’s so small, the dog will barely notice it.
That’s why you need to supervise your dog when it’s playing with a squeaky toy. Make sure the toy is not damaged, make sure it’s made from safe materials as well. If there’s anything that can be swallowed, remove it. [Source]
Related Questions And Other FAQs
Why Does My Dog Cry When He Plays With Squeaky Toys
Squeaky toys resemble the sound some prey animals make. The toys activate the dog’s prey drive, so when it’s chewing the toy it thinks it has prey in its mouth. Some dogs cry when they have prey in their mouth to alert their relatives and pet owners that they captured a meal.
Why Do Dogs Love Stuffed Animals
Dogs love stuffed animals for two reasons. The stuffed animal may resemble a dog’s fur, so some emotional dogs feel attached to the toy, especially dogs that have lost a sibling. Dogs that devour stuffed animals see the toy as a prey animal.