Chasing a ball is often a dog’s favorite game. The first throws of the ball are fun and effortless. But then, as your arm begins to ache, you realise your dog still has plenty more energy to keep on chasing.
And that is where the fantastic invention of the automatic dog ball launcher will come along to save your poor aching shoulder.
Not only will your dog love you for all those extra ball throws, you’ll be able to enjoy watching your dog run endlessly in the great outdoors without risk of pulled shoulder muscles!
iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher
If never having to throw a tennis ball again is your hope, the iFetch automatic ball thrower will likely appeal to you. The device comes in a choice of two different sizes, one holds a standard size tennis ball, whereas the other holds a smaller sized tennis ball for smaller breeds of dogs.
Owners can choose to set the launcher to throw the ball either 10, 25 or 40 feet away, as well as the option to launch at a random distance.
What makes this dog ball launcher practical for owners is that it runs off a rechargeable battery – simply charge it and you can take it outside for use.
Potential owners of the iFetch should be aware that this is not a gadget for a dog to use alone, it does require someone to place the tennis ball back in the device each time and then press a button for it to launch again.
What We Like: Choice of distances for dog to run, different sizes for different breeds.
What We Don’t Like: Machine automatically switches off after 60 seconds of no use – but this will preserve battery life so could also be looked at as a plus!
Playball Automatic Ball Launcher & Thrower
The Playball launcher is a budget version of the above iFetch. Essentially it performs the same tasks – but is it of equal quality?
The Playball also has the ability to launch the ball to 3 varying distances but the difference with this model are the balls are not tennis balls, but instead smooth textured ones – definitely not suitable for any dog that likes to chew. Having said that, the balls are 1.5″ in diameter, which might be considered too small for some dogs. A more sturdy Kong type ball might be suitable for the more stronger jawed dogs.
The ball launcher is aimed towards smaller breeds, and can be used indoors as well as outside. If you have a cat that enjoys chasing balls this model might appeal to their playing needs.
If you are using the machine inside you can use the mains powered plug, saving on battery use. For outdoor use, you will need to put in 6 ‘C’ batteries.
What We Like: Choice of distances, a more economical purchase.
What We Don’t Like: Balls too small and chewable for many dogs.
Max Launcher Dog Ball Launcher
Just because this launcher isn’t powered by batteries don’t be fooled into thinking it can’t launch a ball just as far as the previous models! The Max Launcher can send a ball or a mini Frisbee disc between 40 and 90 feet away.
What we really like about this model is that the tennis balls float meaning you can launch them into water and give your dog a water workout too!
The Max Launcher works by a spring rather than batteries/main power. This make the product both more economical to run as well as lighter to transport to the park or beach with you – it only weighs 3.5 pounds.
The Max Launcher is a really fun way to throw a ball for your dog, although you are not actually throwing it yourself you are taking part in the process by pointing and pulling the trigger.
What We Like: Lightweight, runs without batteries, balls float, can go long adjustable distances.
What We Don’t Like: We like everything about this model!
Chuckit! Sport Launcher
The most economical and well known ball launcher is the Chuckit! Many dog owners are spotted with these down at the dog park, and with good reason, they work well! They do take a little bit of getting used to – they need to be angled correctly and launched at the right time or you might find the ball doesn’t go too far!
Although you might not be able to launch the ball as far as some of the models mentioned above, you will still be able to ‘throw’ it around 3 times further than if you were to throw it just by hand. Other benefits include increased interaction with your dog during play time, no need to pay for batteries to power it, lightweight and easy to transport.
Although you don’t need to bend down to pick up the tennis ball (just think – no more wet and slobbery balls to handle!) you will still need to use some arm and shoulder action – so not suitable if you have any injuries.
What We Like: Economical, easy to transport, can launch a decent distance
What We Don’t Like: Not suitable for owners with arm injuries
4 Reasons To Get A Ball Launcher For Your Dog
- They can often launch a ball further than you can!
- Saves injury/tiredness in your arms.
- If you already have an injury you can still play fetch with your dog.
- You can really tire your dog out!
Things To Consider
Exercising your dog is a daily necessity. Not only will it help keep them fit and healthy, it will also help to keep them out of trouble. Usually a well exercised dog is a well behaved dog! However, do remember that during hot weather your dog can easily dehydrate and suffer from sunstroke. Always carry water with you (or ensure you have access to it) and if you can’t touch the floor with the back of your hand for more than five seconds, its too hot for your dogs paws. During the hotter summer months try to exercise your dog early or late in the day when it is cooler.
Many dogs don’t know when they’ve had enough exercise. When they are engrossed in an activity as fun as chasing a ball they won’t just stop when they are tired – this is up to you to monitor and give your dog adequate rest. Allowing your dog to chase a tennis ball for too long could cause injury and exhaustion.