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Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?

French Bulldog plays with squeaky toy
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When it comes time to have some fun with your pup, a favorite option for both ends of the leash is the classic squeaky toy. They’re cute, and there’s something about that dog squeaky toy sound that drives pups wild. What’s not to love? 

You might be surprised to learn that there are a ton of options when it comes to dog squeaky toys. Everything from the materials used to the type of sound the squeaker makes to the shape of the toy can have an impact on whether it’s a hit or a miss with your pup. Let’s take a closer look at these toy box staples. 

Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?

French Mastiff plays with squeaky toy in garden

Most dogs don’t just like squeaky toys, they love them! We don’t know the exact reason why, but it tracks that squeaky dog toys meet a few natural canine drives in a safe, healthy way. Squeaky toys take a dog’s “killer instincts” and transforms them into something that we consider pretty darn adorable. (Although some dogs still get intense with their squeaky toys!) 

Dogs like playing with toys that make noise for a few reasons, including:

They sound like prey. It might be tough to admit that your floofy little best friend is a predator at heart, but that’s likely why they enjoy chomping down on that squeaky toy. The high-pitched noise that comes out with every bite sounds a lot like a prey animal in distress. 

They “play back.” Sure, rope toys and tennis balls are fun, but there’s something unique about the way squeaky toys seem alive. They have an action/reaction element that occurs because the dog gets a shrill payoff every time they bite down. Plus some of the toys look incredibly realistic, so your dog can experience the thrill of taking down that pesky neighborhood squirrel!

They offer a ton of variety. You can find a dog squeaky toy in literally any shape, size, and sound, from fluffy monsters to balls to abstract shapes. There are unique options for small dog squeaky toys all the way up to oversized harder-to-destroy toys for the big guys.

They get you to play too. It’s tough to resist a dog squeaking on a toy, giving you that “come get me” look. Your dog will probably figure out that when they squeak, you listen!

How to Select a Dog Squeaky Toy

Dog with hamburger squeaky toy

Just because your dog doesn’t prefer one type of squeaky toy doesn’t mean that they won’t like any of them. There’s something for every dog, so when you’re considering what your dog will enjoy, take the following aspects into consideration: 

Size: The toy should be sized so that it’s too big for your dog to accidentally choke on or quickly destroy, but not so huge that they can’t easily play with it.

Texture: When most pet parents think squeaky toys for dogs, they think plush, but squeaky toys range from soft stuffed toys, to hard rubber, to squishable latex, to plush and rope hybrids, to triple-stitched ballistic fabric options. There’s a squeaky toy for almost every play style and texture preference.

Durability: Unfortunately, plush squeaky toys are among the least durable dog toys, so couple that with the fact that some dogs go on a mission to annihilate the squeaker, and you might wind up with nothing but a pile of fluff after a play session. That said, some squeaky toys are tougher than others, so if you have a destruct-o dog, consider options that are constructed of thicker materials, or harder rubber or latex squeaky toys. 

Shape: Consider your dog’s play style when selecting a squeaky toy. Do they like to shake their head to “kill” their toy? Look for a longer flat toy with crinkly sounds in addition to the squeaker. Or does your dog skew more maternal and prefers to cuddle with toys? A more traditional “chubby” plush squeaky toy is probably a better fit.

Squeak type: Squeaky dogs toys come in a symphony of sounds. Most pet parents are probably familiar with the high pitched (and yes, annoying) noise of traditional squeakers, but squeaky toys make a variety of sounds, from honking to growling to whining. Some even claim to emit a sound that only dogs can hear!

How to Play with Dog Squeaky Toys

Dog with squeaky toy running away from little girl

What’s the best way to incorporate squeaky toys into your dog’s life? Play with your dog and the toy. Most squeaky toys aren’t built for sustained canine chewing, which is why they can be quickly destroyed if pups are left alone with them. But engaging with your dog and the toy changes the focus from “I’m going to rip through this thing as quickly as possible” to brain-busting team play. 

You can use squeaky toys for fetch, games of “hide the toy,” and some durable versions can be used for tug. When you’ve got possession of the toy, make sure to squeak it to attract your dog’s attention. Try to keep your dog moving when playing with squeaky toys and teach your dog to drop the toy when you ask.

Dog Squeaky Toy FAQs

Dog chewing orange squeaky ball toy

Why doesn’t my dog like squeaky toys?

Some dogs might not have had exposure to squeaky toys, so they’re unsure how to interact with them, or the dog might not appreciate the noise. Then there’s the fact that dogs are individuals and they just might prefer other play options. A lack of interest might also be a case of not finding the right squeaky toy yet, but that perfect match is out there! 

Why does my dog cry with squeaky toys?

Crying while squeaking might be a matter of triggering a vocalization response, much like some dogs whine or cry when they hear sirens or certain musical tones.

Can you wash squeaky dog toys?

Most higher quality plush squeaky toys can take a dip in the washing machine, although the squeaker itself might conk out once it gets submerged.