Throwing a ball and having your dog fetch it is one of the most popular activities for dog owners and their companions. It’s great for the dog’s physique, the bonding between the dog and the owner, and it’s simply lots of fun.
However, if your dog seems to always want to play, it won’t be long until you grow tired of the constant ball throwing. Sooner or later you will start wondering: is there any way you can make this task easier for yourself? Perhaps, a dog toy that throws ball on its own? Luckily, there is a solution that will work both for you and your pooch! We are talking about a dog ball launcher, and here is everything you need to know about choosing the right device.
Why a dog ball launcher is a great toy
Even though we are used to thinking about dogs as family pets, they are actually animals trained for hard work and hunting. Limiting those aspects of your dog’s life can lead to your pet becoming physically weak, less energetic, or even more aggressive.
Fetching is actually one of the strongest instincts in most dog breeds, with some breeds like Labrador Retriever being specifically trained to fetch things for their owners. Throw-and-fetch is one of the first games you learn with your pup and likely a favorite activity for the two of you.
Unfortunately, few of us have the luxury to just spend hours with our dogs playing throw-and-fetch. A dog tennis ball launcher has been one of the greatest inventions of the pet product market. It has a number of benefits over the regular way of playing:
- Introducing a dog ball launcher to your pet is a fun activity on its own — your dog will undoubtedly be surprised by the new device and you can improve their confidence by showing them the ropes.
- A ball launcher will help maintain your dog’s health with the help of regular exercise.
- These devices allow to enjoy daily bonding sessions with your dog: even when you don’t physically operate the ball, you are still present, encouraging your pup with praise and occasional snacks.
- Dogs are the favorite companions of elderly people who often have trouble engaging in a game of fetch. A dog ball thrower is an ideal solution for dog owners who have physical limitations.
- If you frequently have to leave your dog at home while you work or run errands, having an automatic dog ball thrower will help your doggie have some fun while you’re out and prevent the dog from damaging the household items out of boredom.
Automatic ball launchers
An automatic ball launcher isn’t the most affordable option for entertaining your pet, but it does offer some considerable advantages like independent play and innovative design. Here are 6 best automatic ball launchers of the year.
1. iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher
The name of this automatic ball thrower for dogs instantly makes you think of high-end tech, and the look of the device doesn’t disappoint either. It has a clean design and a variety of features to make it your dog’s favorite fetch partner:
- This iFetch launcher was designed with smaller dogs in mind: with tennis balls that are just 1.6 inches in diameter, your doggie will have no problem fitting the ball in its mouth. The launcher comes with three tennis balls, but it is also perfectly compatible with other similarly sized balls.
- The dog ball launcher from iFetch can be used both indoors and outdoors thanks to one convenient feature — the ability to adjust the launch distance with a single touch of the button. Choose between the 10, 20, or 30 feet and easily tailor your dog launcher for your dog’s needs.
- With the help of the iFetch ball launcher, you will train not only your dog’s
physique,but also its mental abilities! iFetch teaches the dog to be proactive and initiate the ball throwing process all by itself. You can just sit back, relax, and watch your lovely pet master modern technology like it’s no big deal!
- iFetch was designed by a family of dedicated dog owners who have first-hand knowledge about what dogs need for healthy development and keeping their spirits up.
2. Playball Automatic Ball Launcher & Thrower
The Playball launcher looks streamlined and stylish, but the fun color scheme of the device reminds you that it’s still a dog toy. The most important features of this automatic ball launcher for dogs include:
- Instead of using regular tennis balls that are prone to getting quickly soaked in saliva and covered in dirt during an outside play session, Playball designers decided to go for smooth plastic balls that are resistant to saliva and other debris.
- This launcher throws balls automatically and your dog will get the hang of it pretty soon. As soon as the dog drops the fetched ball into the device, it will be ready to shoot out the ball in just a couple of seconds.
- The availability of both a power cord and a battery compartment makes the Playball ball launcher an ideal choice for outdoor and indoor use, as well as taking the toy with you during travel.
- Playball is designed for small dogs and comes with three 1.5-inch balls — perfect for petite breeds.
- The device has three launching settings and can automatically adjust the ideal setting for the space you are currently in.
3. ZandZone Smart Pet Companion Robot
Compared to other launchers on our list, the ZandZone robot is both the best equipped and the most expensive one. It doesn’t look like your typical automatic dog ball launcher and certainly feels like a high-end device. Here are some of the features of the ZandZone pet robot:
- ZandZone can throw balls with three shooting distances ranging from 2.5 to 8 meters.
- It has a built-in screen that allows you to communicate with your dog even when you are away or use it to see what your pup does when you are not home.
- If you don’t feel like taking your dog for a walk, send ZandZone on a mission!
- This device can function as an automatic feeder for your dogs and cats. Simply add the pet food, set a feeding schedule, and go to work without worrying about your pets not getting their food.
- ZandZone can be easily controlled with a complementary app over Wi-Fi.
- The built-in battery will give you between 2.5 and 5 hours of constant use; when the battery is low, the device will simply attach itself to the charging point.
- You can talk to your dog via the ZandZone robot speaker.
4. iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher For Dogs
This device is the cousin of the iFetch launcher we mentioned earlier, but this one is created specifically for larger breeds. With the iFetch Too launcher you will be able to enjoy the following features:
- The device comes with 3 tennis balls that are around 2.5 inches in diameter. Like the other iFetch launcher, this one can easily work with regular tennis balls if the stock ones get dirty or damaged.
- There are three launching distances: 10, 25, and 40 feet. You can effortlessly choose between the distances using a button or try the random setting to keep the game even more fun for your pup. Thanks to the variety of launching distances, the device can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- The iFetch Too ball launcher is powered by a rechargeable battery, which means you’ll never know the hassle of replacing the batteries when the old ones run out.
5. Paws & Pals Automatic Dog Ball Launcher Toy
The dog ball launcher from Paws & Pals is small, cute, and easy to use. This device is designed for small and medium dogs, while larger breeds will find the ball too small for their taste. The Paws & Pals launcher has the following characteristics:
- The device comes with 3 non-abrasive 2-inch tennis balls. There are plenty of brands selling packs of 2-inch balls for dog ball launchers that you can use as a replacement.
- The owner can choose between three settings: 10, 20, and 30 feet, which allows you to use the device both for indoor and outdoor fetching sessions.
- The Paws & Pals launcher is equipped with a rechargeable battery and charging cord; the battery will give you several hours of non-stop fun.
- The standout feature of this launcher is the dog treat compartment. Now you can not only exercise your dog, but also let it have a bite in between! Simply put some dog treats into the Paws & Pals device and it will reward the pup with a treat every time it throws the ball back into the launcher.
6. PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy
The PetSafe dog ball launcher was one of the first fetch devices in the market and currently offers the biggest variety of features for a reasonable price:
- While most automatic launchers have 3 distance settings, the PetSafe device has a whopping 9! Plus, there are 6 angle settings, which will surprise your dog every time a ball is launched and prevent it from getting used to the same throwing distance.
- PetSafe is water resistant and can be powered by either a power cord or replaceable batteries, giving you the opportunity to choose between indoor and outdoor fun.
- For every 15 minutes of play, the device is automatically paused for another 15 minutes, so that the dog doesn’t get exhausted by the exercise.
- PetSafe comes with standard tennis balls that can be easily replaced, but it can also work with smaller 2.5-inch balls for smaller dog breeds.
- The launcher is equipped with multiple sensors that eliminate the possibility of throwing a ball into the people or dogs standing in front of the device.
- The PetSafe dog ball launcher comes with a sound system that alerts the dog and the owner before the launch and before the 15-minute pause and ends to train the dog more efficiently.
Manual ball launchers
Manual dog ball launchers don’t have as many features as automatic devices, but they are much more affordable and are a great choice if you do have the time to play with your dog but experience troubles with throwing the ball to the required distance. Here are 5 of our favorite manual ball throwers of 2019.
1. Hyper Pet K9 Kannon Ball Launcher
The K9 Kannon ball launcher from Hyper Pet looks like a futuristic firearm, but it’s actually a practical and fun device for playing throw-and-fetch with your do. This thrower has several useful features:
- The device allows you to effortlessly shoot a ball up to 75 feet.
- Hyper Pet comes with a ball that has the dimensions of a standard tennis ball but is made from pet-safe rubber.
- The launcher has an extra ball compartment, which makes it ideal for a long outdoor fetching session.
- Thanks to the hands-free ball pickup mechanism, your back will not have to endure hours of constant bending over and getting up.
- This launcher is super easy to operate and doesn’t produce any frightening sounds.
2. Chuckit! Dog Ball Launcher
Manual dog ball launchers don’t get easier to use or more affordable than the Chuckit! launcher. It’s a very straightforward device that still offers a variety of convenience features:
- Chuckit! ball launcher comes in a wide range of sizes, allowing you to pick the right ball size and throwing distance for your pup.
- Despite the seemingly easy construction, Chuckit! can not only throw the ball, but also pick it up without bending over.
- The tennis ball that comes with the launcher can float on water, which means your Chuckit! device can be used not just in your backyard or dog park, but also at the beach.
- Measuring at just 12 inches, a Chuckit! launcher is extremely portable and is perfect for travel.
3. Hyper Pet Ball Launcher
This is another dog ball launcher from Hyper Pet, and this one definitely looks more high-tech. Ideal for bigger, very active dogs, this launcher boasts the following features:
- The ball launcher is made of stainless steel that is resistant to rust and chipping.
- Hyper Pet comes with four standard tennis balls, saving you the hassle of looking for a new ball every time the old one is lost or chewed up.
- The device requires no assembly and can be conveniently folded for transportation.
- With this launcher, you will be able to throw balls up to 200 feet, so make sure your pup is up for the challenge!
4. Kyjen Flik-It Tennis Ball Launcher
The construction of the Kyjen Flik-It Tennis Ball Launcher is similar to the Chuckit! device in its simplicity, and it actually shares many of its features with the latter launcher:
- The Kyjen launcher comes with 1 tennis ball that can be later substituted for a regular standard tennis ball.
- This thrower is ideal for dog owners with back or shoulder problems who cannot throw the ball far enough for their dog’s enjoyment.
- Equipped with an automatic gravity lock, the Kyjen device allows you to effortlessly pick up the ball an unlimited number of times without getting tired.
5. LavoHome Blast Komando Ball Launcher Gun
The LavoHome shares a lot of its characteristics with the HyperPet Kannon ball launcher, but it also has enough features to stand out on its own:
- The LavoHome launcher comes with three standard-sized tennis balls.
- While one ball is placed into the launcher, the other two can be securely stored in the lower compartment.
- The hands-free pickup mechanism allows you to retrieve balls with nothing more than a lift of a finger.
- The device comes with a shoulder strap for convenient transportation.
Important features to consider
Fetch machines and manual throwers come in all kinds of designs and price ranges, which is why choosing the best one for your doggie can very challenging. There are five main features of a dog ball launcher you need to consider when choosing the device for your pet:
- One of the most important choices you’ll need to make is the choice between a manual and automatic thrower. Manual throwers are perfect if you don’t have a strong throw or have health problems limiting your throwing abilities. They are considerably cheaper than their automatic counterparts, but they don’t allow you to get detached from the process for more than a couple of seconds — your pup will expect a new throw every time it fetches the ball to you.
- The size of the dog ball launcher and the ball specifically also matter a lot. A ball that is too small for your dog is a potential choking hazard. Most dog breeds perform great with a tennis ball or another tennis ball-sized ball. That is why you can’t go wrong with a standard tennis ball launcher!
- When choosing between several ball throwers, consider the primary location where the training will take place. If most of the throwing sessions will take place outdoors, you can choose nearly any launcher intended for outdoor use. If you live in an apartment or your dog spends most of its time inside, we recommend going for a launcher that allows you to regulate the throwing distance. These are multifunctional dog ball launchers that can be used in any setting.
- While throwing balls is an undeniably fun activity, your dog ball launcher needs to come with certain safety features to keep your pup happy and healthy. One of the most essential safety parameters is the sensor, which stops the device from throwing a ball if it detects the dog in its nearest area. Dog launchers that throw the ball in an arc trajectory rather than in a direct line are also safer than their counterparts that don’t have this feature.
- Both automatic and manual ball throwers produce a sound when throwing the ball, which can frighten a dog that is easily scared. Getting a sensitive dog used to the sound of the throwing may take a while, so it’s best to choose a device that produces little to no sound.
Over the past several years, both automatic and manual dog ball launchers stopped being a novelty and turned into a necessity. A dog ball thrower fits perfectly into the lifestyle of a modern dog owner and his pup. Any of the 11 ball launchers on our list will give endless amounts of safe fun to your and your furry companion and will improve the bond between the dog and its owner.