If you’re a dog owner you’ll be all too familiar with the high-pitched sound of squeaky toys. While the repetitive, shrieking noise may seem incredibly annoying to us, there’s nothing quite like a squeaky toy to keep your curious pooch occupied.
A dog’s fascination with squeaky toys leaves many owners wondering why the toys provide more entertainment compared to almost anything else?
And, what is it about the sound that dogs can’t resist, keeping them interested for hours upon hours?
This guide will take an in-depth look at why dogs like squeaky toys so much, the potential dangers of squeaky toys, and whether there’s anything to worry about if your dog doesn’t like them.
We’ll start by explaining four of the main reasons why dogs are so fascinated by squeaky toys.
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1) Animalistic Instinct
A dog’s fondness for squeaky toys can be traced back to their ancestry. Specifically, the fact that they’re descended from wolves.
Of course, the dogs we have as pets don’t have to hunt for their food. Nevertheless, this instinct is still in their blood. So, just like a wolf chooses its prey, dogs prefer toys that can be torn apart, make noise, and smell like something they can eat.
While the repetitive squeaking sound may be annoying to us, it’s the best sound for most pooches. This is because the noise closely resembles that of a scared or injured animal, which triggers the natural hunting instinct within the majority of dogs.
It also explains why some dogs often won’t stop playing with their toy until the squeaking mechanism is broken. Without sounding too sinister, this could be compared to a wolf killing its prey.
2) Invitation To Play
Besides the obvious wag of the tail, many of a dog’s communication tactics are often cryptic and endearingly clever. For example, when your pooch plays with their squeaky toy right next to you, many experts believe that there’s an ulterior motive for this behavior.
As soon as you engage with your dog and pick up their squeaky toy, dopamine and oxytocin is released which consolidates the bond between the two of you. So, when your pup interacts with the toy, they’re not only reinforced by the toy itself, but also by the attention from you as their owner.
While it’s normal for some dogs to be content with just a normal toy, squeaky toys can take playtime to a whole other level for your pooch.
As they bite down and hear the noise, the pleasure centre of their brain lights up. As a result they’ll keep biting down on the toy in order to hear the sound and experience the feeling again and again.
The sound emitted by a squeaky toy will also provide your dog with instant feedback that their bite is strong and effective. This positive feedback leaves them satisfied with their progress and keeps them stimulated to continue playing.
4) Dental Health
While they may not realize it, the natural urge to chew on a squeaky toy can actually improve your dog’s dental health. This is backed up by the fact that active chewers often have less plaque buildup than dogs who don’t regularly chew on toys.
Therefore, squeaky toys not only satisfy your dog’s natural desire to bite and chew on something, they also make their mouths feel significantly better by scraping the teeth and massaging the gums. A win-win situation for all dog owners.
While squeaky toys may provide great entertainment for your dog, unlike solid rubber or stuffing-free toys, there are a few potential dangers to be aware of.
Dogs have been known to ingest the speaker inside a toy, as well as the stuffing, which can lead to a pricey visit to the vet. Some dogs pass the material and speaker when they poop, but for others, it can cause a serious intestinal blockage that requires surgery to remove.
This is why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your pup when they’re playing with toys, especially squeaky ones. Failure to do so could lead to potentially damaging consequences.
The best way to limit this risk is to regularly inspect your dog’s toys. By doing this, you can ensure that damaged toys and the stuff found inside them don’t pose any danger to your pet, as well as any young children in your home.
Do All Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?
It’s perfectly fine and nothing to worry about if your dog doesn’t like toys with speakers. Just like all humans don’t watch the same sport and not all cats like playing with a piece of string, some dogs don’t get a thrill out of playing with a squeaky toy. Ultimately, it’s a personal preference.
The only time you should be concerned is if you notice a sudden change in your dog’s behavior. So, if they’ve been enjoying squeaking their toy for weeks on end and then suddenly become disinterested and lethargic, make sure you keep an eye on them.
If their behavior doesn’t return to normal within a couple of days, and you notice further lethargy in their actions, it’s best to contact your vet.
High-Pitched vs. Low-Pitched Toys
Some dogs may act differently when playing with high-pitched and low-pitched toys. Generally, the former tend to encourage activity and excitement, while the latter provide a more calming reaction.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, high-pitched toys are typically popular amongst younger dogs, whereas low-pitched toys are better suited to less energetic, older dogs.