Keeping your dog happy is all about feeding them a healthy diet, make sure they have proper training and attention, and keeping them active with lots of play. However, it can be hard to play fetch with your dog frequently if you’re struggling with old injuries or find yourself tiring out too soon. This is when automatic dog ball launchers and manual ones come into play.
You’ll be able to play with your dog longer and launch balls a further distance. Even better, your dog will benefit from the added time outside, exercise, and bonding experience with you. Ball launchers can even make great gifts for elderly friends or family.
Read on to learn our top five picks for the best dog ball launchers!
The Best Dog Ball Launchers
These dog ball launchers were chosen based on their combination of features, design, and ease of use. You’ll be able to play with your dog longer because of how easy it is to launch balls at longer distances, whether automatically or manually.
1. Chuckit! Classic Launcher Dog Toy
This manual ball launcher is affordable and one of our top choices if you want to throw balls further distances without getting tired as fast. The company even claims that you’ll be able to throw balls three times the distance than you normally would. It comes with an ergonomic handle with the ability to pick up balls with the launcher itself–no more touching balls covered in slobber.
It also comes with a 2.5-inch Chuckit! ball that’s good for adult, medium-sized dog breeds.
- 11.68 ounces
- 2.625 x 3.625 x 28.438 inches
- Plastic material
- Can be used with standard tennis balls
2. iFetch Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy
The iFetch Automatic Ball Launcher comes in two sizes for mini to small breeds or large dog breeds. This automatic launcher doesn’t require your manual input other than placing the ball into the chute and watching it launch the ball automatically. It operates quietly and also comes with rubber feet so that it stays in place even on slick surfaces.
The best part about this launcher is that you can choose the distance the ball is thrown: either 10 feet, 25 feet, or 40 feet. The mini has a maximum launch distance of 30 feet. It also has a rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing more batteries.
- Comes with three standard 2.5-inch iFetch tennis balls
- 8.5 pounds (Too) or 3.0 pounds (Mini)
- 14 x 13 x 12 inches (Too) or 11 x 8 x 8 (Mini)
Remember that supervised play is important for automatic ball launchers, especially if your dog is new to them.
3. iDogmate Smart Automatic Dog Ball Launcher Toy
This automatic launcher is capable of throwing balls for small breeds of dogs as well as medium and large. The three balls it comes with are felted to ensure that they’re easy on a dog’s teeth and gums, even when they’re being launched at high speeds.
The best part about this dog launcher is that it has four variable distances: 10, 20, 30, or 35 feet. You can also choose a random setting so that your dog has to guess what distance it will be thrown next.
This launcher also comes with a couple of luxury features that make it easier to use. It has internal storage so that the balls can be stored easily after use. You’ll also enjoy an anti-stuck motor so that even slobbery toys will be launched with ease.
- 8.81 pounds
- 13.25 x 13.25 x 9.75 inches
- Quiet operation
- Two handles for portability
- AC adapter and rechargeable li-ion battery
4. PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy
This is the best investment in an automatic launcher if you’re looking for one with multiple options to keep your dog entertained and safe with independent play. It also has safety features in place to protect yourself, family, and your dog from injury in case you’re caught in front of the launcher.
It has a motion sensor in the front of the launcher as well as one in the launch pocket to protect hands and snouts. Even better, it enables dogs to play for 15 minutes at a time with an automatic rest period of 15 minutes so that they don’t overwork themselves in your yard.
With the ability to launch between eight to 30 feet, this is one of the rare automatic ball launchers that you can use both inside and outside. It also has six different angle settings so you can determine how high the ball is launched.
- 12 x 13.5 x 13.5 inches
- 8.96 pounds
- Suitable for large adult dogs
- Made from plastic and rubber material
- Plug-in or battery-powered
5. Felix & Fido Playball! Automatic Ball Launcher for Dogs
The Felix & Fido Playball! launcher is your best choice if you have small dogs that are able to handle balls of 1.5 inches in diameter. If your dog is used to playing with larger balls, the smaller balls it’s only able to handle can be a choking hazard.
It comes with three throwing distances that can be used indoors or outdoors with a maximum throwing distance of 20 feet. It comes with lights on the unit itself that will indicate which distance you have selected.
The best part about this launcher is that small dogs are able to use it whenever they desire. It stays in standby mode until you drop the ball inside. You can even train your dog to drop a ball in themselves, but it’s important to supervise them before you leave them on their own with the machine.
This launcher is only able to handle one ball at a time. However, if it gets stuck all you need to do is tilt the unit back–no need to open it up.
- 12 x 8 x 9 inches
- 5.65 pounds
- Comes with three 1.5 inch balls
- Power plug or battery operated (batteries not included)
Three Things You Need to Know Before Purchasing Dog Ball Launchers
Before you purchase a dog ball launcher, here are a few details you need to consider. This will help increase your enjoyment as well as your dog’s enjoyment of your new purchase.
Your dog may not take to the dog ball launcher right away because to them it looks like a strange foreign object. It’s important to take it slow with them at first and introduce the ball launcher to them the right way so they associate it with good things. Once you get the launcher out of the box, allow your dog to approach it in their own time and give them treats.
Once they’re used to the ball launcher’s presence, you’ll want to bring it out with you while you’re playing with your dog and get him or her used to the sound it makes as it launches a ball. You can help decrease anxiety make positive associations with a treat or a clicker after the sound.
The size of the ball launcher you choose also matters. This is because if you choose a ball launcher that’s too big for your dog’s size, they’ll launch balls that your dog isn’t able to handle. It’s even more dangerous to use a ball launcher that’s too small for your big dogs, as the balls could be a choking hazard.
3. Automatic vs. Manual
You can also choose between automatic and manual ball launchers. This largely depends on your budget as well as if you’re experiencing mobility issues in your arm or shoulders. If you aren’t experiencing mobility issues and want a way to throw balls larger distances, then a manual ball launcher will save you money.
On the other hand, automatic ball launchers offer the convenience of not having to throw balls with a higher price point.
Benefits of Ball Launchers for Dogs
You may be wondering why you should invest in dog ball throwers when there are low cost or free options (ie- your arm!). When it comes to playing with your dog and making sure they have an active lifestyle, don’t compromise. There are a number of benefits you may not have considered before.
Automatic launchers are especially beneficial from anyone suffering from mobility issues of their arm or shoulder. All you need to do is load the ball into the launcher’s chute or funnel. You can even train your dog to do it for you.
Automatic ball launchers are also useful if you don’t have time to play with your dog but need to watch your children inside, complete chores, cook, or more. You’ll just need to make sure that your dog is already accustomed to the launcher and is trained to bring the balls back on their own.