Choosing an appropriate toy for your pup is rarely as simple as it may seem. There are a ton of attributes to look for to make sure you get the best toy for you and your pet’s specific needs. What kind of play is it for? Does it need to be waterproof? How active of a chewer is your dog? These, among many others, are important factors to keep in mind when making a purchase. In honor of National Fetch Day on October 19th, we’ve put together a list reviewing the pros and cons of some of the most popular fetch toys!
Of course, we have to start with the Chuckit Launcher. Arguably the most well-known dog toy, chances are if you’ve spent any time around a dog, you’ve encountered the Chuckit Launcher. For dogs with high energy and fetch drives, these launchers are fantastic. Thanks to the property of leverage, you can launch balls for your dog over some tremendous distances. This does make this toy great for big outdoor areas like beaches or parks, but probably not the best backyard toy unless you want to be knocking on your neighbor’s door every 10 minutes to retrieve stray balls.
Another appeal of the Chuckit Launcher is its’ hands-free design. No more are the days of picking up those slippery slobbery balls, the Chuckit’s handle is always clean! The Chuckit brand has its line of durable rubber balls made to fit into its launchers with some cool perks: some make a whistling noise, and some are glow in the dark for nighttime play. If you don’t want to shell out the extra cash for brand name balls, regular tennis balls fit into the launcher as well.
#2 Kong Flyer
Frisbee is a classic activity to play with your pup, but how many times are your brand new discs destroyed after a 10-minute session? Those cracked and bitten up frisbees can pose a danger to tearing up your dog’s mouth, and your hands too. Kong is a brand widely known for its durability, and its version of the frisbee is just that. The Kong Flyer is made of a soft but durable rubber that can withstand some of the most intense games of frisbee, and won’t get those nasty sharp edges like its firm plastic counterparts.
Because it is a more substantial material, you won’t be able to get the distance or airtime you do with classic frisbees. The Kong Flyer comes in several sizes, so be sure to choose appropriately for your dog: puppy, small, or large! Again, this toy needs a relatively large space, so a big backyard or outdoor area is the best spot for a game.
Who doesn’t love a multi-tasking toy? The JW Pet Hol-ee Roller is great for fetch, as well as hours of independent entertainment for your dog. The Hol-ee Roller is made of a tough, pliable rubber, which makes it great for both indoor and outdoor games. Its hollow structure makes for easy throwing because it’s easy to hook your hands and fingers to get a good grip on the toy. On the same thread, however, this means it is essential to carefully select the size of the toy appropriate for your dog.
I’ve seen a few occurrences of dogs getting their mouths stuck in the holes if they are too small or too large. When you’re finished up with your game of fetch and have to run off to take care of your day, stuff a soft toy or chew toy inside of the roller and leave it for your pup to problem solve and keep occupied while you’re gone!
This one is for all those water-loving retrievers out there! Grabbing a shoreside stick is great and all, but sharp points and flaking can pose some serious health and safety concerns for your dog, including lacerations or choking. The Kong Training Dummy is made specifically for games of aquatic fetch. The bright color gives it high visibility to hopefully prevent losing it, and the durable material is water-resistant and won’t crack, rot/mold, or break down like other non-aquatic toys.
It also includes a nylon rope handle for easy throwing on your end! Something to always be careful with when playing water fetch with your dog is the risk of them aspirating (inhaling) large amounts of water. To help prevent this, make sure to give your dog breaks in between each throw to catch their breath.
There is something pure and simple about playing a game of fetch with plain old stick out in the backyard. Unfortunately, sticks can get sharp points or crack, which pose some pretty serious health concerns for your pup. That is where the Ruff Dawg Crunch Stick comes in. It is shaped like a stick, and thanks to a unique core, even crunches like a stick (but doesn’t break) when your dog chews it.
If any of you have dogs who seem to love chewing on things like water bottles, this toy will be a big hit with them! This does make it an extremely rewarding chew toy for your dog, but it, unfortunately, isn’t durable, so expect it to break down rather quickly if you let it get chewed on for too long. The Crunch Stick comes in a smaller size called the Twig, so always be sure to purchase the appropriate size for your dog.
Do you tire out before your dog does? Need to keep them occupied while you’re out to work or appointments? PetSafe has released an automatic ball launcher for your dog to play fetch all on their own! This toy does require some training, though, so don’t expect to just plug it in and go. You’ll need to train your dog to drop the ball into the appropriate slot on top of the launcher, which can be tricky for certain dogs or if you don’t have much training experience.
If you feel confident in some training, this toy is excellent to set up in an ample indoor space or backyard to keep your high energy dog entertained and out of mischief when you can’t be home.
This is currently one of the highest-rated and most purchased toys on chewy.com. For everyone who just loves a good game of fetch with their dog, this ball has some great benefits a regular tennis ball can’t offer. It comes in three different sizes for whatever kind of fur kid you have, and all of the products from this company are handmade in the USA so you can feel good about your purchase.
The Wunderball’s asteroid-like appearance and texture promote dental health while your dog chews on it, which makes it another excellent multi-tasking toy! Their website claims that the ball is ‘nearly indestructible,’ which reviews online seem to back up. This ball also comes in a ton of exciting bright colors for high visibility during your games. The biggest downside to this toy appears to be its price tag, a whopping $10-$13 for each ball depending on size.
The Chuckit Kick Fetch is another great toy for keeping your hands free of slobbery toys and fun for all the soccer lovers too! Its grooved design makes it both easy for you to kick and for your dog to get a good grip on it, unlike a regular soccer ball. These grooves also give the ball a hard to predict movement, keeping your dog on their toes and stimulating their prey drive.
Although the ball is made of sturdy rubber and canvas, some mixed online reviews are claiming it isn’t quite as durable as the website claims. If your eye-foot coordination isn’t great, this ball is perfectly fit for throwing as well and is buoyant for water games too.
Get out there and play!
Nothing bonds you and your pet like a great game of fetch, so grab one of the toys from this list and get out there to celebrate National Fetch Day on October 19th! Check out our list of great dog parks in Brevard county for some safe outdoor spaces to get your fetch on. Space Coast Pet Services also includes games of fetch with our dog walking services or home visits, so don’t forget that we can help out with keeping your pooch active and happy while your busy or on vacation.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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