You may discover a variety of toys for your dog to play with in any pet store. But the traditional squeaky toy is the most tried-and-true dog toy. Why do dogs adore using these toys for playtime so much?
Why Dogs Like Squeaky Toys
There are many reasons why your dog could prefer their squeaky toy, but most dog behaviour experts concur that the three primary reasons dogs like squeaky toys are connected to chewing, hunting instincts, and the sound itself.
Many squeaky toys are frequently small, fuzzy, and shaped like objects that dogs may naturally like to hunt. They may also squeal in a manner that is reminiscent of the alarm calls made by some wild prey. This explains why hunting breeds might be more likely than non-hunting breeds to enjoy squeaky toys. This may also be the reason some breeds, like terriers (who were developed as ratters), like destroying their squeaky toys. Of course, any breed can enjoy playing with squeaky toys, but a Jack Russell may enjoy destroying his toys while a small schnauzer may be pleased to only squeak it due to his hunting tendencies.
The sound of the squeak itself may also be a factor in your dog’s enjoyment of squeaky toys. Your dog experiences immediate joy when they nibble on their favourite toy and hear a squeak. This might start a positive feedback loop, for example. The reward area in your dog’s brain may release dopamine in response to hearing the squeak sound. Your dog might keep squeaking its squeaky toy to get that dopamine surge once more.
Additionally, your dog can discover that if they squeak their preferred squeaky toy near you, you might play with them. Your dog will soon establish a connection between “squeaky toy” and “mom/dad plays with me” if you always join them in their play whenever you see them enjoying themselves with their squeaky toy. Some people may jokingly refer to this as their dog training, but who are you to refuse your dog when they want to play?
Finally, if your dog simply enjoys chewing on stuff, they might enjoy their squeaky toy. The teething of younger dogs may make this especially true. Distinct dogs might have different preferences for chewing texture, similar to cats and scratching. Puppy teethers might like softer, rubber toys. Older dogs may favour soft, stuffed toys with squeakers, particularly smaller breed dogs who are more prone to tooth illness. Power chewers could benefit from supposedly indestructible toys. Compared to soft squeaky toys, toys composed of heavier rubber, plastic, or vinyl may also endure longer, but they might eventually need to be replaced. Additionally, keep in mind that as your dog ages, their preferences may alter.
So Dogs Like Squeaky Toys—But Are They Safe?
As long as the toys aren’t too small for the animal to eat, squeaky dog toys are generally safe for the majority of animals. Make sure you step in if they’re tearing them up before the bits are small enough to ingest, advises Becker.
She continues by saying that some dogs do destroy these toys in an effort to “kill” the squeaker. “If they can’t stop the squeak, some dogs may become anxious. They struggle and keep trying, eventually giving up “she claims. For instance, a terrier—bred to hunt and kill other animals—might be more inclined to try to destroy these toys.
Dogs come in a variety of personalities and play patterns, so Becker advises that you pay attention to your dog’s body language and what they’re trying to tell you about how they’re feeling during play.
“It’s critical to comprehend and gauge their mental health. Make sure you’re not punishing them for following their instincts as dogs and destroying or flinging the squeaky toy around, “she claims. “Give an alternative toy in its place if it starts to disrupt.”