A happy dog - is a happy home...

Stuffed toys that go squeak

Chomp, chomp, squeak, squeak. Most dogs react to the squeak sound. The soft, plush little stuffed toy that squeaks when it's squeezed is a favorite of most dogs. Some dogs won't touch a plush toy if there's no squeaker inside, while others just enjoy the stuffed toy on its own. A great many of these toys are fashioned to resemble little animals.

The squeaker is so popular with dogs that it can be found inside many other types of toys including balls and other toys you throw.

squeaker chew toys

All species of stuffed animals, plush toys and other squeaker chew toys

Different dogs approach playing with stuffed toys differently.

Some dogs will carry the toy around in their mouth and if it has a squeaker they may squeeze it to hear the sound. The toy may show signs of light chewing but will last a long time.

On the other hand, many dogs approach stuffed animals and plush toys as chew toys. Their objective is to chew the toy up and remove all the stuffing and the squeaker is the prize inside. For these dogs, the pleasure is in removing the stuffing.

A question asked frequently is whether you should worry that your dog likes to rip into stuffed animals to remove the squeaker? Are you encouraging a bad behavior by providing stuffed animals for chewing?

The answer would seem it depends on your dog. For dogs, chewing is a way to relax. If your dog is the type that enjoys chewing on the stuffed animal and pulling out all the stuffing and then is finished with the toy, you probably have no need to worry. If cleaning up the mess is an issue, supervise. When your dog gets to the point of gutting the toy, stop them and replace it with a more durable chew toy. In this way you are teaching them that while chewing is ok, ripping up the toy is not.

There are many quality companies that provide safe stuffed plush toys for dogs, including KONG, Outward Hound, Ethical Pets and more.

If your dog is the type that approaches stuffed animals as their ancestors did on a hunt, shaking violently and then gutting the toy, you may want to avoid this type of toy. The concern is that your dog, especially a young dog, may eventually transfer this behavior to something other than a stuffed toy. They are practicing a very natural and instinctual behavior of hunting and killing.

It's rare to find a dog that will eat the stuffing, although it can be accidentally inhaled. To be on the safe side, observe how your dog chews on these types of toys the first few times.

A final word of caution. There are plenty of stuffed toys around that are not meant for dogs. These toys may have small objects sewn onto the outside or internal pieces that once the fabric has been ripped open become choking hazards. Giving your dog the wrong type of stuffed animal could cause them serious injury.

The new breed of stuffed toys

unstuffed toys

The stuffing has been removed and in some cases replaced with rope

If you're tired of cleaning up the mess after your dog has removed all the stuffing from that brand new toy you brought home, there is an alternative. Stuffingless toys come in the likeness of a variety of small animals. KONG Scrunch Knots took the unstuffed critter one step further and incorporated a knotted rope inside to give the toy some substance.

To stuff or not to stuff. For more information about stuffless toys and what others are saying, see our discussion on the trend to remove the stuffing from "stuffed" animals.