If your dog loves squeaky toys, you are certainly not alone. When you go to a pet store, you can find a variety of squeaky toys made from different materials, from plush to vinyl, that make different types of squeaky noises. Some dogs prefer one type of squeak toy over another, but what about squeak toys that make our dogs so tempting?
Why do dogs like squeaky toys?
“The main theory of why dogs love squeaky toys so much has to do with their foraging. It is believed that the squeak of a toy resembles the high-pitched scream of the prey that is being chased or caught, ”says Dr. Jamie Richardson, Chief Medical Officer at Small Door Veterinary.
The sound of a scared or injured animal may not be what we first think about when we see our dogs playing with cute squeaky toys, but it is probably at the forefront of our dog’s thinking.
“Though it was a bit sick to think about, our dog’s ancestors had to look for their food once,” says Dr. Tory Waxman, Chief Veterinary Officer and co-founder of the human dog food brand Sundays for Dogs, Inc.
How does your dog react when playing with squeaky toys?
Dogs love squeaky toys because the toys take advantage of the dogs’ foray, a normal behavior that is fun and very rewarding for dogs. However, be careful until you know how your dog reacts to playing with toys.
“In certain dogs, squeaky toys can unsafely unleash their predatory tendencies and redirect this behavior elsewhere. Be careful if you have very small dogs, cats, or pets (like guinea pigs, rodents) in your household if they do, ”warns Dr. Waxman. Your dog could potentially redirect from the toy to your smaller pet, which could result in injury or worse.
Does your dog love squeaky toys? Tell us about your dog’s favorite toys in the comments. Photo: Getty Images
Don’t let your dog destroy a squeaky toy
As funny as squeaky toys are, they can cause injuries.
“Many squeaky toys contain a small plastic squeaker. For non-destructive dogs, this is an advantage because with some toys, once the squeaker breaks, all you can do is replace the squeaker and not have to buy a new toy. However, this little plastic squeaker can be very dangerous – especially if swallowed whole, as it can cause intestinal obstruction that requires surgery or endoscopic removal, ”says Dr. Waxman.
These safety concerns were raised by Dr. Richardson affirms who advises you to reconsider giving your dog a squeaky toy if he’s a super chewer who has a tendency to chew and tear apart toys easily. “If the toy is destroyed,” he says, “the squeaker can easily pose a choking hazard, or if swallowed it can cause life-threatening intestinal obstruction.” Many squeaky toys also contain filling, which carries similar risks if swallowed. ”
The key to playing with squeaky dog toys safely is to make sure your dog is only playing with the toy, not chewing it, or accidentally ingesting any component of the toy.
Always supervise your super chew dog while he plays with squeaky toys.
“If your dog is at all destructive with squeaky toys, do not leave him unattended and remove the toy immediately as soon as it is damaged,” encourages Dr. Waxman.
Unless otherwise stated on the description label, squeaky toys are not intended to be chewed and will not be able to withstand prolonged chewing by your dog.
“You should never leave your dog unattended while playing with a squeaky toy (or other toy) to ensure that you can enter and remove the toy (or parts of the toy) when it becomes dangerous,” says Dr. Richardson.
I regularly and closely check all squeaky toys in my house to make sure they are still in good condition and dispose of any worn or developing holes. Always offer your dog a “deal”, either for a different toy or for a treat, whichever is more valuable to your dog, so that your dog will be comfortable when you remove the squeaky toy. The goal is to keep your dog comfortable and rewarded whenever toys are taken away for inspection (and possibly throw away). This can help prevent your dog from developing resource conservation tendencies.
How to determine if a toy is safe for dogs
Always pay close attention to how your dog is playing and how he interacts with different toys. “Over time, owners will get used to their dogs’ habits and learn what types of toys are best for their dog,” says Dr. Richardson.