Why do dog toys squeak?

A border collie playing with his favorite squeaky toy in his mouth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering "why do dog toys squeak" and what it is about that noise that delights your dog so much, then you’re in the right place because we’re about to delve deep to find the answers to both of those questions.

One of the best dog toys on the market comes packed with a mammoth 12 squeakers and many of our other favorites contain them too, so clearly all that noise serves a purpose but where is it coming from?

For those of you that used to love blowing on whistles when you were a kid, you’ve probably already guessed that toy manufacturers use mini versions of these inside their squeaky toys. When your dog starts getting stuck into their favorite chew toy the pressure of their jaw forces air to move through the squeaker, causing it to omit that high-pitched noise that so many of our dogs go nuts for.

If your canine companion has several squeaky toys, you may have noticed that the noise that comes from each can vary. That’s because the size of the squeaker that has been placed in the dog toy can make both the duration and the loudness of the squeak different from toy to toy. Some are also designed to create noise, both when the air is pushed out of them and when the air rushes back in as they regain their shape.

Why does your dog love their squeaky toy so much?

Some dogs are squeaker seekers who just can’t get enough of their beloved noisemakers, and it turns out there might be several reasons why.

Your dog carries a natural killer instinct that has been handed down to them from their wolf descendants and that squeaky noise is similar to the sound that frightened prey make when they’re being hunted. 

While we don’t want to get overly graphic here, if you’ve ever noticed your dog swinging its head and their squeaky toy back and forth while they’re playing with it, that’s likely because the noise from the toy is tapping into the natural way they’d kill their prey in the wild. When the whistle in the toy stops squeaking, it signals to your furkid that they’ve ‘killed’ their prey and can stop attacking.

There’s another driving force behind your dog’s love of their squeaky toy and that’s the instant gratification it provides. When a dog bites down on a toy and hears a squeak, the pleasure center in their brain lights up and lets them know that their bite is effective. Your dog quickly learns that when they bite hard enough on a toy with a squeaker, a sound is emitted, which feels like a reward. 

Like the best rope dog toys, squeaky toys are also a lot of fun and can provide mental and physical stimulation, ward off boredom, and stimulate your canine companion’s natural prey drive. 

Well, now that we’ve solved the mystery of why do dog toys squeak, it’s time to give you a sneak peek at a few of our favorites…

KONG Wild Knots Bear and Signature Balls Pack

KONG Wild Knots Bear and Signature Balls Pack
We're pretty sure your dog will fall head over paws in love with this squeaky set that includes two ultra-durable and bouncy balls and the ever popular Wild Knots Bear with a squeaky rope interior and a plush exterior. Available in a range of sizes to suit all breeds.

Outward Hound Stuffingless Snake

Outward Hound Stuffingless Snake
Packed with not one, not two, but 12 squeakers, this snake comes with all the features you'd want in a toy. There's no stuffing, which means no mess to clean up, and it's durable enough to withstand a fair amount of chewing. Available in a variety of sizes and colors.

KONG AirDog Dumbell Dog Toy

KONG AirDog Dumbell Dog Toy
Another KONG favorite of ours is this novel approach to the traditional ball toy. With a super unpredictable and erratic bounce and a squeaker that more challenging to get to than other toys, this dumbell will keep your canine engaged for hours at a time. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.