Why Do Dogs Love Toys That Squeak?

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chasyost/iStock via Getty Images / chasyost/iStock via Getty Images

The grating sound of a squeaky toy is a familiar sound to many dog owners. People may have a low tolerance for toys that make noise, but dogs can't seem to get enough of them. When your pet squeaks a ball or stuffed animal in your face, he isn't doing it to get on your nerves: He's just giving into instinct.

According to the American Kennel Club, playing with toys is a way for dogs to satisfy their prey drive. Dogs love chewing on items that remind them of the small animals their ancestors may have hunted in the wild. That's why so many dog toys are soft, fluffy, and designed to squeak when bitten.

The high-pitched "squealing" you hear from squeaky pet toys simulates the cry small animals make when distressed. This noise tells predators that vulnerable prey is nearby, and dogs are hardwired to go into attack mode when they hear it. Dogs like to bite, shake, and tear apart their toys as if subduing a victim. If you've ever noticed your dog lose interest in an item the moment the squeaker stops working, that's because they've succeeded in "killing" it.

Noisy toys may also be more fun for pets to play with. When they chomp down on something with a squeaker inside it, they get an immediate, auditory reward. This instant gratification may encourage dogs to keep biting and stimulate them more than a regular toy would.

If you're not willing to trade your peace for your dog's enjoyment, there are plenty of non-squeaking objects out there that dogs also like to play with. Here's why dogs are obsessed with chew toys—even the silent kind.