She is an amazing certified therapy dog, but she will steal the residents’ stuffed toys if you let her. Now for those of you who are handy with a needle, you can remove the padding 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 like they got it. They can take it with them, they can claim it, they can get it back (especially retrievers), and it’s yours. And it feels good to them. After a while, the smell of this stuffed animal becomes horrible for us, but great for dogs.
Depending on what breed you are, some dogs will kill the stuffed animals, others will love it, sleep on it, and snuggle up to it. Retrievers will have it constantly in their mouths when you return home.
By far the cheapest way to keep your dog with stuffed toys is by buying cheap, appropriately sized stuffed animals at yard sales. I wash them with hot water and a little Solumel (Melaleuca household cleaner that helps kill bacteria and is friendly to animals and nature), this is very important! Then, I remove all the detachable ones; losing things like eyes, whiskers, etc. These toys are a very cheap alternative to expensive toys from pet stores.
However, be very careful to check and make sure this toy is not filled with small Styrofoam beads. Avoid them. You can easily tell by squashing the toy in your hand. Dogs often open their stuffed toys and the styrofoam beads can become a danger to your dog.
I know of some large dogs that shake their stuffed animal so much that they are actually killing it. If you have more than one dog, observe that the other dog is not injured by the toy that is being shaken. It is easy to pierce or hurt the eye of other dogs.
So to repeat the question, why do dogs like stuffed toys? Well, it seems that we all love stuffed animals. Adults have them, children love them, cats play with stuffed mice, and dogs demand that they be killed, reclaimed, or simply loved.