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Why Do Dogs Like Stuffed Animals? 5 Common Reasons

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Why Do Dogs Like Stuffed Animals? 5 Common Reasons

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Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs are like kids in many ways, including their affinity for stuffed animals. Many pups love getting their paws and mouths on stuffed animals, whether to tear them apart or cuddle up with them. So, what are the reasons that dogs like stuffed animals so much? Read on to find out!

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The 5 Reasons Why Dogs Like Stuffed Animals

1.  Stuffed Animals Are Versatile

Weimaraner blue puppy dog chew toy
Image credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock

One big reason dogs love stuffed animals so much is that they are incredibly versatile. They can be comforting in one second and chewed on in another. They’re easy to cuddle up with or to toss around the backyard. A stuffed animal can help a dog get rid of pent-up energy and stress by playing with it or it can stand in as a companion when humans and/or other pets are not at home.


2.  They Feel Good to Chew On

Stuffed animals are soft and chewable, and dogs—especially younger ones that are teething—tend to love turning these items into chew toys. The sensation of the soft material and filling on their gums feels good to a pup, whether they’re teething or not. Chewing on stuffed animals can also be relieving for dogs with inflamed gums and mild dental disease.


3.  It May Be About Hunting

Close up portrait of dog playing fetch with colorful toy rope
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

Certain dog breeds have an instinct to hunt, and stuffed animals can serve as faux prey for them. So, if you find that your pup is growling at, chewing on, thrashing, or otherwise mutilating a stuffed animal, they might be acting out their own idea of hunting prey.

On a similar note, carrying a stuffed animal around in their mouth can be a hunting dog’s way of simulating carrying their prey.


4.  Stuffed Animals Make Great Possessions

Canines love to claim things as their possessions, like the trees outside that they urinate on. Stuffed animals can easily be carried around and hidden away, making dogs feel like they really have something special that’s all their own. Just make sure children and other animals respect the dog’s personal space as they always should.


6.  They Can Offer Extra Support

white and brown short coated dog on brown bear plush toy
Photo by marieke koenders, Unsplash

A stuffed animal can provide a dog with extra support when they feel like it’s needed. It might be due to separation, an upset belly, or simply a lazy evening after a long day of outdoor adventure with the family. Whatever the reason, sometimes your pup just wants to help their emotional well-being and play or cuddle with a stuffed animal.

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When Is It Unsafe for Dogs to Like Stuffed Animals?

It becomes unsafe for a dog to be enthralled with a stuffed animal when it interferes with the lives of other people and/or animals. If a dog’s obsession with a stuffed animal makes them aggressive toward others, the toy should be removed immediately. Your dog should not be allowed to use aggression to protect what they perceive as their possession.

Another reason that it can be unsafe for a dog to like stuffed animals is if they tend to eat the stuffing. It can be a choking hazard and if ingested, can cause GI problems like gas, diarrhea, and nausea. If a dog simply seems to love stuffed animals and doesn’t use aggression when around them, there’s typically no reason to worry about it.

What Kinds of Stuffed Animals Are Best for Dogs?

The stuffed animals best suited for dogs are those that are well-stitched. This way, they don’t easily fall apart and start leaking the interior stuffing. Plushies made specifically for canines are typically designed to withstand chewing and other hardcore handling that typical toys may not withstand. However, there is no real right or wrong stuffed animal for a dog, as long as it isn’t so small or easily torn up.

What Alternatives Can Be Offered to Your Dog Instead of Stuffed Animals?

If your dog likes stuffed animals so much that they tend to destroy them in short notice, it can be expensive to continually replenish their toys. Therefore, it might be a good idea to find less expensive alternatives that can satisfy your dog’s affinity for stuffed animals without breaking the bank.

Here are ideas to consider:

  • Tie knots in old socks that have holes in them to create soft chew toys.
  • Fill old socks with a shredded T-shirt, pillow filling, or even cut-up newspaper to create makeshift stuffed animals.
  • Fill a pillowcase with pieces of foam, old clothing, or cotton, and sew small pieces of rope on the edges to create arms and legs like a stuffed animal might have.
  • Purchase used stuffed animals from thrift stores and garage sales that are present in your community. Be sure to wash them before giving them to your dog.

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Conclusion

Many dogs like stuffed animals, some more than others. Most of the time, it isn’t a problem that has to be worried about or corrected. However, if your dog is exhibiting aggression or is eating the stuffing, keep stuffed animals out of the home for the sake of everyone in the household.


Featured Image Credit: Catherine Murray, Shutterstock

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