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Do Dogs Think Squeaky Toys Are Alive?

We’ve been there before, that squeaking coming from the other room, only to see your pup maniacally attacking their squeaky toy, and wondering if they think that toy is alive.

Your dog doesn’t think their squeaky toys are alive. However, that squeaky toy has similarities to a live animal that makes them appealing for your dog and can set off certain behaviors for them.

We’ll look into questions such as why dogs whine with squeaky toys, squeaky toy hazards for your dog, and is your dog’s behavior normal toward the toy.

Five reasons your dog knows the squeaky toy is not alive

When watching your dog play with their favorite squeaky toy, it may seem like they think that toy is alive. 

However, if you look closely, there are signs your dog gives to let you know they are aware it’s just a toy.

Dogs are extremely intelligent animals and will quickly be able to tell the squeaky animal is not alive by using their senses, such as smell, hearing, and touch

A dog’s senses are extremely sensitive and help identify real animals vs. toys.


A dog’s sense of smell is its strongest sense. 

Dogs use their sense of smell for many reasons, and one is to sniff other animals or critters. 

When they sniff the squeaky toy, they will get no odor from the toy, which will be a good indicator to let them know right away that it’s a toy.


Another strong sense for a dog is their hearing. 

When playing with the squeaky toy, they will hear the squeaking, but no other noises, such as a heartbeat. This lets your pup know they are playing with a toy.


This is one more sense a dog uses to identify a real animal over a toy. 

When your dog has a real animal in his mouth or next to their head, they can feel the panicked racing breathing versus feeling nothing with a squeaky toy. 

Also, the squeaky toy would not be moving as a wild animal would.

Ignoring the toy 

A subtle sign your dog will give to let you know they are aware they’re playing with a toy is ignoring it. 

When dogs play with their squeaky toy, they often may quickly drop the toy and ignore it to go do something else, which they will rarely ever do with a live animal. 

Most dogs keep a constant eye and attention on a live animal they have caught or trapped.


Attachment is another tell-tale sign that your pooch knows their squeaky toy is not alive. 

When your dog has a favorite squeaky toy, they may play with and attack that toy with a ferociousness not spent on others. 

However, your dog may also feel a bond with that certain toy and not want to give it to anybody else. 

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Maybe your dog likes to sleep with their toy. This is a bond you won’t usually see between your dog and a real wild animal.

Why does my dog go crazy over a squeaky toy?

It can be entertaining and confusing when watching your furry friend acting crazy over their favorite squeaky toy. 

If you’re wondering why your dog may get so hyper around their squeaky toy, there are reasons for this, and all are perfectly normal.

Understanding why your dog is acting a certain way around their new toy can let you know whether they are developing any bad habits and if action is needed to correct those habits. 

Below we’ll talk about some of the reactions your dog may give.


One of the reasons for your dog’s whining or barking around your squeaky toy is just pure excitement! 

Toys are fun, and there is nothing your dog likes more than having fun. When your dog sees their squeaky toy, it’s just like seeing its leash, and it’s a reminder that it’s time to play!


When your dog is playing with the toy, you may notice them making excessive noise and whining. 

This could be because of the toy squeaker itself. When chewing on the toy, the squeaker will make noises that can make your dog a little stressed for a short period of time.


Almost every dog has a predator chase prey streak in its DNA, and the squeaking sound of the toy can sound like a wounded animal, which can spur on your dog’s aggressiveness.


Another reason you may overlook your dog’s whining or even growling could have to do with being territorial or protective of their toy. 

Even the most loveable dogs have a tough time sharing their toys sometimes, and the actions they are displaying with it may be them guarding their favorite toy.


Gratification can also be why your dog acts up with their squeaky toy. Dogs crave gratification from their owners and anything else, quite frankly. 

When a dog is chewing on its squeaky toy, it will get a response from it, satisfying a dog’s need for instant gratification.

Is my dog’s behavior with their squeaky toy normal?

Your dog can have a lot of unique reactions to their toy. 

Some of the reactions can be extreme, which can give pause to dog owners, making them wonder if the their dogs’ behaviors are normal when playing with their squeaky toy.

Dogs can have different reactions to their squeaky toy. Most of them are very normal, but bad habits could set in if limits aren’t set for your dog’s behavior.

Some dogs will be very vocal with their toy. This behavior can include barking, growling, whining. 

This may often be a response to the squeaky noise in the toy itself, as it draws excitement from your dog. Dogs will often jump or bounce around their toy, playing with it. 

This excitement that your dog shows is one of the most common reactions a dog will have towards a toy. They associate their squeaky toy with playing, which is a good thing.

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Some can become protective of their squeaky toy if it becomes their favorite.

A possessive behavior can be alright if your dog isn’t too aggressive and allows you to take the toy when you decide it is best.

Does playing with squeaky toys make my dog aggressive

Most reactions your dog has toward their squeaky toy will be positive. 

However, some negative traits can occur. These are some of the traits to look out for and how you can correct these negative behaviors, should they occur.


Dogs can become aggressive towards other animals/critters near your home because of the squeaky toy. Although this can be rare, it is something to be aware of. 

If you have another pet in the house, your dog may be protective of their toy towards the other pets.


Some dogs can develop a habit of destroying other items in the house if left to be aggressive with their squeaky toy. 

Teaching your dog boundaries about when playtime is over will help alleviate this problem—as always, teaching your dog these boundaries as soon as possible is always most effective.


When being around their squeaky toy, some dogs can develop a tendency to think it’s time to always be more hyperactive than usual. 

Being strict with your dog and stopping them from acting on that hyperactivity with other animals or people is key.

How to select a safe squeaky toy for your dog?

Squeaky toys are generally safe for your dogs, but there are a few things to consider when purchasing a new squeaky toy. There are multiple things to consider, including the size of your dog, the size of the new squeaky toy, and your dog’s temperament towards other toys. 

  1. Size of the squeaky toy. The toy should not be so small that the entire toy fits in your dog’s mouth, as that can be a choking hazard.
  2. Beware of your dog chewing the toy and tearing it apart. There could be a plastic speaker inside that can get loose and turn into another choking hazard.
  3. What is the toy made of? Squeaky toys made of cheap plastic can be hazardous, as they are easier to break off, and sharp edges can damage your dog’s mouth or create another choking hazard.
  4. Allergic reaction. Although it is rare, some dogs can have a possible allergic reaction to a certain material a squeaky toy is made from. Keep an eye on your dog when they get a new squeaky toy. 

It’s important to remember that picking out a new squeaky toy for your dog should be a fun experience, especially for your dog! 

There are things to consider when picking out the right toy, including the right size of a squeaky toy, safety for your dog, and controlling your dog’s behavior around the squeaky toy.

Understanding your dog’s behaviors with the toy is normal, and all these considerations should ensure that your furry best friend’s new toy is safe and a good experience for them!