She’s an amazing certified therapy dog, but she’ll steal residents’ stuffed toys if I let her. Now for those of you who are handy with a needle, you can remove the stuffing and fill the toy with sturdy fabric, that way it will last forever!
I think dogs feel closer to being a dog when they actually have a stuffed toy in their mouth. They feel they have been trapped. They can carry it, they can claim it, they can retrieve it (especially retrievers) and it’s theirs. And, it feels good to them. After a while, the smell of this stuffed toy becomes horrible for us, but great for dogs.
Depending on what breed you have, some dogs will kill stuffed toys, some dogs will love it, sleep on it and snuggle with it. The retrievers will have it constantly in their mouths when you return home.
By far the cheapest way to keep your dog in stuffed toys is to buy cheap, properly sized stuffed animals at yard/garage sales. I wash them with hot water, and a little Solumel (Melaleuca household cleaner that helps eliminate bacteria and is friendly to animals and nature), this is very important! Then, I remove all the demountables; lose things like eyes, whiskers, etc. These toys are a very cheap alternative to expensive pet store toys.
However, be very careful to check and make sure this toy is not stuffed with small Styrofoam beads. Avoid those. You can easily tell by crushing the toy in your hand. Dogs often open their stuffed toys and Styrofoam beads could become a hazard to your dog.
I know of some big dogs that shake their stuffed toy so much that they are actually killing it. If you have more than one dog, be careful that the other dog doesn’t get hurt by the toy being shaken. It is easy for other dogs’ eyes to get pricked or hurt.
So, to repeat the question, why do dogs like stuffed toys? Well, it seems that we all love stuffed toys. Adults have them, children love them, cats play with stuffed mice and dogs claim them to kill, claim or just love.