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“Squeak.” “Squeak, squeak.“ “Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak.”
You may be familiar with this repetitive sound if you have a dog who loves playing with squeaky toys, and let’s be honest, most dogs do. It may make you wonder: why do dogs love squeaky toys?
There’s nothing quite like a high-pitched squeaky toy to keep our curious pets occupied. My own dog, JoJo, is absolutely obsessed with any toy that makes even the slightest sound. He seemingly can’t rest until he gets to the bottom of where the sound is coming from, and, sadly, that usually means he has figured out a way for the toy to squeak no more.
This has often left me asking why do dogs love squeaky toys more than almost anything else? What is it about that sound that they can’t resist and keeps them inspired for hours upon hours?
Find out more about this interesting phenomenon below, including recommendations on how to safely encourage your dog’s passion for the squeak.
Why do dogs love squeaky toys?
Squeaky dog toys come in endless shapes, sizes, and textures. From squeaking tennis balls to plush noodles with multiple squeakers, there’s something out there for every dog to love. So why do dogs love squeaky toys so much? Turns out there are a number of potential reasons.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), studies conducted by scientific researchers to examine why dogs preferred certain toys over others concluded that it can all be traced back to our dogs’ wolf ancestry. Similarly to how wolves choose their prey, dogs prefer toys that can be torn apart, smell like something they can eat, or make noise.
That squeaking sound may be annoying to us, but to our pets, it resembles the sound of a scared or injured animal, which activates their hunting instinct. This is why our dogs, my JoJo included, often won’t stop playing with their toy until the squeaking mechanism is broken, i.e. they have “killed” their prey.
Instant stimulation and reward
Even though some dogs are just fine with a quiet chew toy, a squeaky toy takes playtime to a whole other level for your pet. According to Kimberly Alt from the Canine Journal, the sounds emitted by a squeaky toy give your dog instant feedback that their bite is strong and effective, which keeps them stimulated to continue playing and satisfied by their progress.
It can improve dental health
Your dog may not know why he’s doing it, but the natural urge to chew on a squeaky toy can help improve your pet’s tooth and gum health. According to WebMD, dogs who are active chewers have less plaque buildup than those who don’t.
As a result, squeaky toys not only satisfy your dog’s desire to chew but also make their mouths feel better by massaging the gums and scraping the teeth, WebMD’s Veterinary Reference from the ASPCA points out.
Be aware of potential dangers with squeaky toys
Squeaky toys may be great fun for your pet to play with, but unlike solid rubber or stuffing-free toys, there are some potential dangers to be aware of.
Dogs have been known to choke on or swallow squeakers whole, which can lead to an expensive vet visit. PetMD has a comprehensive guide on what to do if your dog has swallowed a foreign object, but it’s generally recommended that you supervise your dog with a new toy to prevent mishaps.
Because your dog may become filled with an insatiable drive to chew and rip his favorite toy until he gets to the squeaking mechanism, consider following these steps when offering your dog a squeaker-filled toy:
Inspect toys regularly
In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to regularly inspect your pet’s toys. By taking a look at frequently played with toys, you can ensure damaged toys (and the things that may be found inside of them, such as stuffing and small squeakers) don’t pose any danger to your pet or young children in your home.
Remove or repair damaged toys
If you find a damaged squeaky toy, decide if you can replace it with a new one, or if you want to repair it and safely reintroduce it to your pet.
Full disclosure: I’ve spent many a night throwing away damaged squeakers, refilling the stuffing, and sewing up ripped squeaky toys JoJo couldn’t live without until I found some heavy-duty toys that worked to satisfy my dog without immediately getting destroyed.
Always supervise your avid chewer
Sometimes, inspecting your dog’s toys at the end of the day isn’t enough to prevent an avid chewer from destroying a squeaky toy.
If you know your dog has a history of easily ripping apart their toys, protect them from ingesting either stuffing or the squeaker itself, which can cause serious health problems, by always supervising them during squeaky toy time.
Great squeaky toys for your squeak-obsessed dog
Now that you have the answer to your question, “why do dogs love squeaky toys so much?” you may be looking for some fun new toys to introduce to your pet. Here are some highly-rated squeaky toy options to consider:
The Chuckit dog ball is a staple in many dog-loving homes. This ultra squeaker version is a durable, high-bouncing ball that’s available in a variety of sizes, making it a great interactive fetch toy.
It also floats in water, making it a fun water toy for your pet, too.Buy Now on Amazon
These Skinny Peltz dog toys feature three squeakers and include no stuffing. They’re great options for dogs who are proven squeaky toy destroyers because they’re a safer, mess-free version of the traditional squeaky.Buy Now on Amazon
The Gnawsome spiked squeaker ball will not only hold your dog’s interest with its loud squeaker and flashing LED light, but the spiked texture massaging the gums and cleaning teeth also promotes good dental health.Buy Now on Amazon
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