Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?
And if they like them so much, why do they love tearing them apart? A veterinary expert weighs in.
Many dogs love squeaky toys. Give your furry pal a rubber alligator that makes a grunting noise and he'll happily chew and thrash it around for hours. The sound, the texture, and the chewiness all add up to a fun plaything that helps keep your dog physically and mentally active.
But why do they enjoy squeaky toys so much? We tapped Dr. Tory Waxman, VMD, co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Sundays, the first ready-to-eat human-grade dog food—and here's what she had to share for insight.
Dogs are hunting animals.
Your best friend is only doing what comes naturally. "The high-pitched noise let out by a squeaky toy is likely reminiscent to our pet dogs of the sound of injured or frightened prey," says Dr. Waxman. "Although a little bit morbid to think about, at one time, our dog's ancestors had to hunt for their food."
It's fun to chew on them.
Even if your dog isn't out for the kill, he still may have a good time chomping down on a squeaker. Chewing on a durable material like vinyl or rubber is good for his dental health: It will strengthen his teeth and gums, and may reduce plaque.
They help keep your dog occupied.
Playing with a squeaky toy may help your pet psychologically. "Squeaky toys can definitely help some dogs relieve boredom and stress," says Dr. Waxman. They also can keep him physically active even indoors.
Your dog's bond to you may get stronger.
If you often play fetch with him and his squeaky toys, he may associate them with getting more attention from you—and what dog doesn't like getting attention from his beloved parent?
Play with squeaker toys safely.
A word of caution: If you give your dog a squeaker toy, you should supervise their playtime. A dog can often pull the stuffing out of a toy, exposing the noise mechanism, which could be a choking hazard. "Once your dog has destroyed a toy, and starts pulling out the fluff and tiny plastic squeaker, it's time to dispose of the toy," says Dr. Waxman. "Unfortunately, those little squeakers are easily swallowed and can become lodged in your dog's stomach and intestines, and can result in your pup needing emergency surgery."
You know your dog best: If he is at all destructive with squeaky toys, do not let them play unattended and immediately remove the toy once damaged. "Many dogs love to chew on squeaky tennis balls but the fabric on the outside is extremely abrasive and can quickly wear down a dog's teeth," says Dr. Waxman. "Don't let your dog chew on tennis balls of any kind—squeaky or not." Save them for playing fetch.