Almost all dog owners will be familiar with the shrill sound of their pooch’s favorite squeaky toy.
While the noise may be incredibly annoying and drive you a little crazy at times, there are few things that can keep your dog as content and occupied as a squeaky toy.
But, why do squeaky toys provide so much comfort for dogs compared to other toys? What is it about the sound that makes them so incredibly interesting for dogs?
This guide will take a detailed look at some of the main reasons why dogs love playing with squeaky toys.
We’ll also provide you with all the information you need to know about the potential dangers of squeaky toys, as well as whether there’s anything to worry about if your pooch prefers to avoid them.
Stimulation And Feedback
While the vast majority of dogs are more than happy to play with normal toys, squeaky ones can take playtime and their overall enjoyment to a whole new level.
As your pooch grips the toy in their mouth and hears the squeaking noise, this sends immediate feedback to the pleasure center of their brain.
As a result, they’ll want to hear the noise and experience the feeling again and again – keeping them stimulated for hours on end.
The feedback that dogs receive when they hear the noise of the toy is that their bite is strong and effective.
This leaves them satisfied with their efforts and provides them with further stimulation to keep playing.
Natural Animalistic Instinct
Perhaps the clearest explanation of why dog’s love to play with squeaky toys can be traced back to the fact that they’re descended from wolves.
Yes, there are some major differences between dogs and wolves – mainly the fact that dogs don’t have to hunt for their food. Nevertheless, most dogs still possess this natural predatory instinct.
Therefore, just like a wolf chooses and feasts on its prey, a dog will favor a toy that can be torn apart, create noise, and smell like something they can eat.
If you’ve ever wondered why the repetitive shrieking noise of a squeaky toy is so interesting and stimulating for your pooch, it’s probably because the noise is similar to that of a scared or injured animal.
To put it simply, it triggers the natural animalistic instinct inside your dog.
This also explains why some dogs refuse to stop playing with a squeaky toy until they’ve broken the squeaking mechanism – almost like a wolf killing its prey.
Dental Health Benefits
While they may not realize it, chewing on a squeaky toy is beneficial to your dog’s dental health.
This is proven by the fact that dogs who play with squeaky toys have less plaque buildup than dogs who don’t regularly chew on their toys.
Therefore, not only do squeaky toys satisfy your pooch’s natural desire to chew on something, they also make their mouth’s look and feel considerably better by massaging the gums and scraping the teeth of any plaque.
This is a win-win scenario for all dog owners!
Interaction With Owner
Dogs tend to be extremely clever in the way that they communicate with humans and other animals.
While wagging their tail may be the obvious sign that they’re happy and content, many of their other methods of communication are far more subtle.
For example, many experts believe that when your dog plays with their squeaky toy in close proximity to you, there’s an ulterior motive behind this behavior.
As soon as you motion to either pick up their squeaky toy or give your pooch some attention, dopamine and oxytocin is released in your dog, strengthening the bond between the two of you.
So, when your dog interacts with a squeaky toy and receives positive reinforcement through the noise of the speaker inside, they also feel the same reinforcement when you show them attention and affection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Potential Dangers Associated With Squeaky Toys?
There are a couple of potential dangers to keep in mind when allowing your dog to play with squeaky toys.
Perhaps the most important one to consider is that squeaky toys have harmful components in them, unlike stuffing-free or solid rubber toys.
For example, some dogs have been known to ingest both the stuffing and the speaker inside a squeaky toy, which can result in a rather expensive trip to the vets.
Some dogs are lucky enough to get rid of the material and speaker when they poop, but there’s every chance that ingesting the material can lead to a serious intestinal blockage that requires surgery to remove.
The most effective way to limit risks such as these is to inspect your dog’s toys on a regular basis.
This way you can ensure that damaged toys don’t pose any risk to your pooch and they’re safe being left alone with them.
What If My Dog Doesn’t Like Playing With Squeaky Toys?
While the majority of dogs prefer to play with a squeaky toy over a normal one, there’s no need to worry if your dog steers clear of them.
Just like all humans have different interests, some dogs just don’t get a thrill out of interacting with a squeaky toy – it’s all down to individual preference.
On the other hand, if your dog has previously loved playing with squeaky toys, but all of a sudden is avoiding them, this may be something to be concerned about.
Even more so if they’re displaying symptoms such as increased lethargy and anxiety.
If their behavior and “normal” demeanor doesn’t return within a few days, it’s a good idea to contact your vet just to be safe.