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Best Dog Ball Launcher

Last Updated: January 24, 2020
Jack Campbell
Product Review by Jack Campbell

It can be increasingly frustrating to keep buying squeaky dog toys that don’t last more than a few minutes. I’ve been there, and I can feel your pain. That’s the sole reason I created a lost of the best squeaky dog toys – to help you choose the best squeaker for your needs and your furry companion.

By far, my favorite is the Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff squeaky ball. It is a proven performer from a reputable company. It comes in three sizes – small, medium, and large, and they are suitable for most dog breeds and sizes. The Orbee is super tough and durable, and it has all the bells and whistles a good dog toy should have – it is floatable, suitable for most types of play, and it is nearly indestructible. It is also 100% toxic-free, BPA-free, and has no harmful chemicals. On top of that, it is proudly made in the USA – who can argue with that?

The KONG Squeezz Ball is the runner up here, but I spotted quite a few references to non-genuine KONG products. Also, there were reports of the ball being shredded too quickly by overly aggressive chewers, so if your dog is one, it’s best to avoid the Squeezz Ball altogether – it just won’t last long.

Our Reviews
1

Chuckit! Sport Launcher

The Sport Launcher from Chuckit! Is an affordable wand style ball thrower for dogs. Available in a number of sizes and throwing ranges the Sport Launcher is made from a durable plastic material finished off with a vulcanized rubber grip.

Every launcher comes with the correct fitting ball supplied, and also has a hands free pickup motion; meaning you can avoid bacteria from your dog’s mouth.

Available in sizes from 12’’ to 26’’ for balls between 2’’ and 3.5’’ there is an option for every breed and size. It has been noted however, that there is a slight learning curve in the use of the Chuckit! Sport Launcher.

Overall the Sport Launcher is perfect for dog owners on a budget, or for those who want to reduce the strain on their shoulders when playing fetch.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good range
  • Durable
  • Hands free pickup

Cons

  • Learning curve
2

Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster

Nerf has been a staple in children’s entertainment since 1969 with their range of foam dart Nerf Blasters, but in 2013 they decided to adapt this technology for the pet market. This has resulted in the creation of the Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster, and while it may look like a children’s toy, the Tennis Ball Blaster is designed for all dog owners.

Available in both a compact and original version, the Tennis Ball Blaster is easy to operate, just pull back the cocking handle to the required power and pull the trigger. Loading the balls is easy too, with a hands-free pickup motion and underslung ball holder that houses a secondary ball.

Four balls are supplied with the Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster, but it is worth noting that they are smaller than a standard tennis ball. Capable of launching a ball 50 feet, the Tennis Ball Blaster performs admirably and has been known to exceed the max distance.

The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster is a great way to get kids involved in your dog’s daily exercise regime.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Hands free ball pickup
  • Multiple balls supplied
  • Adjustable power settings

Cons

  • Not compatible with regular size tennis balls
3

Idogmate Dog Ball Launcher for Small Dogs

The Idogmate Dog Ball Launcher is an automatic ball launcher designed for small breeds, although a larger version is available. Powered by both rechargeable Li-ion battery for use outdoors and AC power for indoor use.

The distance can be set from ranges between 10 feet – 35 feet either manually on the device, or with the supplied remote control. Idogmate comes with several balls on the purchase, but it should be noted the small version uses smaller 1.5’’ tennis balls which are unsuitable for large breeds as they pose a choking hazard.

Unlike some automatic dog ball launchers, the Idogmate has a large chute for your pet to feed the balls back into, which should make training a breeze. Sound levels are also low when compared to competitors, so if your dog is particularly nervous the Idogmate is a good choice when looking for an automatic device.

Pros

  • Designed for smaller breeds
  • Rubber balls supplied
  • Adjustable distance
  • Remote control
  • Rechargeable battery

Cons

  • Not for larger breeds
4

Hyper Pet K9 Kannon

Perfect for kids, the Hyper Pet K9 Kannon can really get your little ones involved during your dog’s daily walk. Easy to operate, the K9 Kannon simply requires you to pull the cocking handle back for your desired distance, load the ball and pull the trigger.

Ball loading is hands-free and is done by placing the nozzle over the ball and applying a little force; avoiding any bacteria the ball may have come in contact with.

The K9 Kannon is also good for older dog owners, or dog owners with a history of shoulder injuries allowing you to enjoy time with your dog pain-free.

Hyper Pet advertises that the K9 Kannon can reach distances of up to 75 feet, but many users dispute this, instead stating a distance of 50 feet is more accurate.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Ball supplied
  • hands free pickup

Cons

  • Launch distance not as far as expected
5

Franklin Pet Supply Dog Fetch Toy

This manual dog ball launcher from Franklin Pet Supply is simple to use, providing good ball distance for small to medium breeds. The shaft has a flexible section to reduce strain on your shoulder and elbow joints, making it a good selection for older dog owners or dog owners with previous injuries.

Hands-free ball pickup is easily achieved thanks to the design of the ball grabber, avoiding contact with germs or bacteria the ball may have encountered. A squeaky tennis ball is also supplied, but it is compatible with standard size balls.

A rubberized comfort grip handle means that long walks and play sessions remain comfortable, and the construction is lightweight yet durable.

Pros

  • Hands free ball pickup
  • Supplied with ball
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Lack of distance for larger breeds

Benefits of a dog ball launcher?

Health of your dog

Dogs love to play, and in order to keep them healthy, it is important to make sure they have a regular exercise regime. If a dog is cooped up too long, or is inactive to extended periods, their health can be impacted.

Depending on the size and breed of your pup, it is recommended that they receive between 30 mins to two hours of exercise every day.

Mental stimulation

Playing fetch can have a positive impact on your pet’s wellbeing, stimulating their brain and building coordination and problem-solving skills. Not only that, but by using a handheld device it can strengthen the bond between a dog and its owner.

Enjoyment

Playing fetch with your dog is an enjoyable activity for both owner and pet but teaching your dog how to use an automatic dog ball launcher means they can entertain themselves whenever they want.

As dog owners know, a bored dog with excess energy is a destructive dog, by keeping them well stimulated and active they are less likely the destroy furniture or other property.

Types of dog ball launcher?

Manual

Requiring personal effort, manual dog ball launchers are perfect for dog owners after a budget option for their pet play. With use, it is possible to reach distances of 40m using manual ball launchers.

Slingshot style launchers are seeing a rise in popularity, but wand type ball launchers are still the most popular option.

Semi-automatic

Semi-automatic dog ball launchers can be thought of as a ball rifle, using a cocking mechanism to ready the ball before firing. Capable of firing balls up to 20 meters semi-automatic options are generally less durable than manual dog ball launchers.

Semi-automatic launchers are popular among children due to their design.

Automatic

Automatic dog ball launchers provide your pet with hours of fun, with only limited input from their owner. While new on the market compared to other types of dog ball launcher, automatic launchers are becoming more popular.

This is due their ease of use, requiring limited interaction from you and a small amount of training for your dog. Automatic dog ball launchers are also suitable for indoor and outdoor use, with settings such as distance and power able to be set manually.

Teaching your dog to use an automatic ball launcher

Following our tips will help you get your dog up to speed with their new automatic dog ball launcher.

If you have recently purchased an automatic ball launcher for your dog it will take some time to correctly teach them how to use it. During the first few sessions you will need to load the ball launcher yourself, when teaching your pet how to play fetch.

By doing this your dog will associate the machine with playing fetch. You should aim to train your dog up to three times per day, but never for more than 10 minutes at a time; by using short sessions it will ensure the game remains fun for your dog and doesn’t become fatiguing.

Always have treats on hand to reward your dog for correctly using their new ball launcher; This will help reinforce good habits and keep them focused. It is important to not reward your dog for other behaviour during these sessions, such as giving paw, rolling over etc.

If your dog is wary at first, you can try rewarding them when they are in close proximity to the device to get them used to its presence, before moving on to training.

Key considerations before purchasing the best dog ball launcher

Breed

The size and breed of your dog is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a new dog ball launcher. If your launcher is only equipped to handle smaller balls, there is a risk that a larger breed may choke, or have the ball lodged in their mouth.

The opposite is true for small breeds also, with smaller dogs facing difficulty when handling large balls leading to dental damage.

Most ball launchers support a standard tennis ball which has a diameter of 2.6’’, but some require specific sizes. If this is the case, they will normally be provided with the launcher.

Standard tennis balls are suitable for German Shepherds, Labradors, Mastiff’s and Retrievers. Smaller tennis balls (1.6’’-2.0’’) are generally only used with manual launchers.

While the size of the ball is important, the distance your launcher can cover also needs to be taken into account. Larger breeds will need a launcher that can cover a wider distance.

Always make sure that the launcher you purchase supports the appropriate size ball for your dog’s breed.

Ease of use

Manual dog ball launchers are the easiest models to use and require no training for your dog. Automatic launchers require an initial time investment to train your dog in its use.

If you are looking for an automatic dog ball launcher, it is advisable to find one with a large chute, making it easier for your dog to operate. It is also important that the device doesn’t make an excessive amount of noise or is too loud.

Some dogs can become nervous or spooked by devices that make too much noise which will be detrimental to fetch training sessions.

Distance settings (for automatic devices)

Nearly all automatic devices are appropriate for indoor and outdoor usage, and many allow you to power with either batteries or an AC connection. Some automatic launchers cannot be adjusted, so you will need to be aware of the distance settings before purchase.

Commonly, automatic dog ball launchers can be adjusted from between 10ft and 50ft.

Cost

Dog ball launcher prices can vary from $10 up to $200, depending on if you are looking at a simple manual device or a more complex automatic launcher.

How much you are willing to spend is budget dependent, but more expensive models offer a greater level of durability.

Recap

Hopefully you have found this article helpful when looking for the best dog ball launcher available on the market. Our favorite has to be the Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster.

Not only is it a fun way to bond with your dog, but if you have young children it can promote positive animal relationships that last a lifetime.

Do you agree with our picks of best dog ball launcher? Let us know if the comments below if you have tried any of the products featured.

At Heel Boy Heel we are always trying to deliver the most relevant informational topics when it comes to dog ownership; so if there is anything you would like to see featured don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.

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