Why Do Dogs Shake Their Toys?

Watching your canine walking around with its favorite toy and shaking it right-to-left is funny and adorable at the same time. Many dog owners find this behavior a little weird. However, what does this side-to-side shaking mean? Why do dogs shake their toys?

Dogs shaking their toys can mean several things, but it primarily shows the hunting instincts that they have inherited from their ancestors. Dogs shake their toys to display aggression, to show that they are bored, to seek your attention, or to tell you they are having fun.

Dogs love to play with their toys, and this is beneficial to their mental, physical, and emotional health. Seeing the dogs shaking their toys seems funny to many dog owners at first. However, this behavior can cause problems in the future.

To help you understand your pup’s weird yet interesting behavior, we will give you deep insight into why it does so. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.

Why Does My Dog Aggressively Shake His Toy?

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Dogs shake their toys when they need someone to play with or gain attention, and it also exhibits their instinctual predatory behavior.

However, keep an eye on your dog’s behavior, as your dog shaking toys can mean many other things. Some of the reasons behind this unusual conduct are as follows.

To Gain Attention 

Your canine often brings its toys to you when it wants to play fetch. But, if the pup feels that you are no longer playing with it or giving it any attention, it will start shaking toys. It is simply your pup’s way of telling you to “pay attention to me.” So, to prevent this, play with your dog a little longer so that it doesn’t feel lonely.

Prey Drive

Another reason behind this behavior is their prey drive. Dogs are hunters by nature. In the wild, a dog’s survival depends on its ability to hunt and killShaking the toys, chasing and throwing them shows your pup’s killer instinct

Even if your canine is not a wild dog, it will still act on its instincts. Therefore, you will often see it parading or wrestling with toys.

To Show Aggression

If your doggie jumps while raising its head, it signifies that your pup is showing aggression. Although shaking the toys is not a big thing, it can be that it will act it out on other animals. 

Moreover, this type of aggressive behavior puts your children at risk. Therefore, if you feel your pup’s shaking is getting out of control, you should consult a veterinarian.

What About Squeaky Toys?

Dogs think of squeaky toys as small animals because they are small and furry. The squeaky sound alerts their hunting instincts, and they cry. Because according to them, the hunting doesn’t end as their prey keeps on squeaking.

You’ll notice that your pup will often take its favorite squeaky toy and walk around with it in its mouth. It will always look for a place to hide it so that no one can take its precious prey away from it.

However, this behavior is not because dogs think the toys are alive because they can’t hear any heartbeat or feel the toy breathing. Still, they try to kill their prey by stopping the squeaker from making any noise.

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads When Playing With Toys?

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Dogs shake their heads when they feel irritation or itchiness in their ears. This irritation is caused due to allergies, yeast or bacterial infections, water in the ears, and some severe problems.

Shaking their head a little while playing with the toys is something you’ll often notice your pup doing and is completely okay. However, if the shaking looks a little too aggressive to you, then it is a sign that you should not ignore it.

You need to know about the causes so that you know exactly when your pup needs to see a veterinarian. Let’s look at these reasons in detail and understand what causes your dog to shake its head violently.


If your furry friend keeps shaking its head, it can be because it got in touch with something it was allergic to. Dogs can be allergic to many ingredients as well. According to a survey, wheat, chicken, eggsbeef, soy, fish, pork, rice, dairy, and corn are a few food ingredients that cause allergies in more than 278 dogs.

There is another way to find if the irritation or shaking is due to allergies. Look out for any hair loss symptoms, itching, face rubbing, and feet chewing. If you see any signs, you should take your dog to a vet soon to avoid worsening.

Bacterial Or Yeast Infection

Bacterial and yeast infections cause inflammation, itchiness, and discharge and lead a dog to septic shock. Sometimes, only one of these, or all these symptoms, can cause your dog to shake its head.

You should check for bacterial and yeast ear infections by lifting the flaps of your puppy’s ears. If you see any signs of redness, pus, inflammation, it means your pup has an infection.

Water In The Ears

Dumping or spraying water on your dog leads to water consumption in its head which causes it to shake its head violently. It is not a big problem, and you can easily avoid this with precautions.

Always put a cotton ball in your dog’s ears before swimming and bathing. You can bathe its body neck down but use a damp washcloth to clean its face. Apart from these precautions, you can consult your veterinarian and develop other ways to avoid this.

Severe Health Conditions

Your canine will shake its head vigorously due to an inflammatory disease, neurological disorders, and foreign objects in its ear canals. These problems can cause tremors, leading your dog to excessively shaking its head.

You should contact your vet to find the cause behind this. Because your pup will not only be suffering from serious health problems, it can also cause ruptured blood vessels in your dog’s flap.

Why Do Dogs Walk Around With Toys In Their Mouths?

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Dogs carry toys in their mouths when they are anxious or have started teething. If they often carry around a specific toy, it means they like the toy or its smell.

Dogs have a different affection towards their toys. You’ll often notice your furry friend parading with a toy in its mouth. It does it for multiple reasons, so you should know these reasons to better understand your pup’s behavior.


Young dogs always carry something in their mouths when they start teething, mainly because they learn to control their bite strengths. You can easily identify whether teething is the main reason why your pup is carrying a toy.

Take a look at the toy it was carrying last. If your canine has chewed on it, then it has started teething. Now, it keeps a toy in its mouth to decrease irritation.

Considers The Toy As Possession

If your pup doesn’t let you take the toy from its mouth and becomes pretty aggressive, it means it is your pup’s favorite. To confirm if this is the reason, see if it’s always a particular toy your canine takes for playing.

Moreover, if dogs consider something as their possession, they will not let you come near them, thinking you will take it away from them.

Loves The Smell Of It

Have you noticed that dogs keep sniffing everything? The smell is the dog’s primary sense to transmit information. They love their owner’s scent and the smell of food. Apart from that, dogs also like the scent of essential oils. If your dog always picks the toys with the strongest odor, then it simply loves the smell of that toy

Sign Of Anxiety And Stress

Dogs can also suffer from anxiety. However, the signs of anxiety in dogs are different from that of humans. One of the signs of stress is that your dog always walks around with something in its mouth. If your pup shows this type of behavior when you leave the house, your furry baby doesn’t want you to go.

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Pete Decker