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While there can be a wide assortment of playthings for dogs, from rope toys to chew toys to Frisbees and interactive gadgets, dogs will always pick a toy ball anytime. Whether your hound is a Labrador or a Shih Tzu, roll or toss a ball and they’d happily go after it, fetch it, and, if properly trained, bring the ball back to you. Given that toy balls are such an important part of a dog’s playtime activities, it is our inherent responsibility as pet parents to give them only the most durable, safest, and most fun toy ball that they can play with. Our team came up with a list of the 20 best toy balls for dogs to help you determine the best one for your pet.
One of the most interactive toy balls for dogs is the Chuckit! especially if you also get the brand-specific ball launcher. But what actually makes the Chuckit! Ultra Ball quite exceptional is that its durable construction belies its buoyant properties that dogs can easily jump into the water to fetch the highly colorful balls. The exceptional bounce of the Ultra also make it a great toy as it can have that level of unpredictability that will be fun to watch with your dog making the uncharacteristic shift while running. The Chuckit! Ultra comes in 5 sizes so there’s not one dog that will not be able to play with it. The use of all-natural rubber also gives the Ultra exceptional durability, almost indestructible that even power chewers will have a hard time cracking the nut.
The KONG Rubber Ball Extreme is the toy ball version of the KONG Classic – tough, durable, virtually indestructible, and fillable with yummy treats. It is the nearly indestructible construction of the KONG Rubber Ball Extreme that makes it one of the best. For loyal followers of the Classic, however, it is the treat-refillable nature of the KONG Extreme that is most remarkable. This should afford dogs endless hours of fun while killing canine boredom. It’s also great for sharpening their cognitive functioning, making them better-rounded hounds. The rubber nature of the KONG Extreme gives it amazing bounce that other toy balls simply cannot replicate.
True to the KONG philosophy, the Jumbler Ball Dog Toy gives more versatility to power chewers as they are given two balls in one, although they can only use one. An integrated tennis ball is found seeded right in the core of the Jumbler. Forming the case of the tennis ball is a larger sphere that comes with an integrated handle on opposite poles of the sphere. The handles are oriented in such a way that they form a cross when seen from above. This unique design gives the Jumbler quite a few advantages. The handles allow for easier pickups both for you and your pet. It also affords unpredictability in its bounce and roll. The squeaker is a great addition, too.
Durable 2-in-1 ball design made with natural rubber
5.5- to 7.7-inch sphere with built-in asymmetric handle
With integrated standard-sized tennis ball in the core
There’s no denying the near-indestructibility of the canine products of KONG. But, its Squeezz Ball Dog Toy is not really indestructible as KONG designed it to be for light to moderate chewers only. What is fun with the Squeezz Ball is that it is designed with a highly irregular surface, some of which are thicker than others, to give it unpredictability in its roll and bounce. Adding to the fun is the integrated squeaker that is protected in a recessed casing. KONG says even if the ball is to be punctured, the squeaker will still work so your dog can continue having fun with its Squeezz. With the KONG brand at stake one can feel confident that the company is not going to produce a highly unreliable product.
If you’re looking for a more versatile toy ball for your dog the JW Pet Hol-EE Roller Dog Toy fits the bill quite remarkably. Its lattice design means it will never roll on a straight path as the flat sections can tilt the ball to roll in another way, giving it unpredictability yet full of fun for your pet. The same lattice design is what you can use to squeeze in your pet’s favorite treats so that it will have to toss, roll, and do whatever it can on the Hol-EE to retrieve the treats. It’s a useful tug-of-war toy, too as your pet can easily latch onto the bars made by the lattice. This also makes it a great teething and chewing toy for dogs of all ages and sizes.
If you’re having a hard time enticing your pet to run after the ball, try placing the Hartz Dura Play Ball right in front of its nose and let it sniff it all it wants. Now throw the ball as far as you possibly can and you’ll see your hound running after it like mad. The secret is in the rich bacon scent that has been infused into the natural latex exterior of the Dura Play. Everyone knows how dogs love the scent and taste of bacon. The other good news is that Dura Play doubles as a venerable dog chew toy, but should not be given to power chewers. It’s floatable so you can easily use it in water activities. It’s the foam core that gives the Dura Play its amazing buoyancy. The unique design of the Dura Play is also noteworthy.
Made with natural latex embedded with unique foam core technology
Fans of the Chuckit! system will love the Ultra Squeaker Ball that Petmate especially designed for its Chuckit! launchers. Each ball is designed with fun grooves or molds that should be pleasing to your dog as it mouths it and latches its teeth onto it. The ball’s high bounce and long distance capabilities will really work out your dog as it attempts to run after it as fast as it possibly can. The durable rubber material may be tough, but will not hurt your pet’s teeth and gums. Within the Chuckit! Ultra is a squeaker mechanism that should entice your dog to run after it as it bounces and rolls creating some funny sounds.
Dogs love tennis balls that they can very well be your personal tennis ball retrievers. They also love balls that create noise such as squeakers. KONG combines these two unique characteristics of dog toy balls to give pet parents the KONG Squeaker Tennis Balls. On the outside, they do resemble that of an ordinary tennis ball, but with a huge “squeaker” print on the surface. What you can expect though is the KONG brand of quality and durability. The material used in the construction of the tennis ball is guaranteed to be safe on your pet’s dentition so there’s no worrying about chipped or cracked teeth. There’s also a squeaker inside the tennis ball, adding fun to your dog’s playtime. Just choose the appropriate size for your hound, though.
Just because it’s raining outside or Mother Nature decided to dump all her angst in a severe snowstorm doesn’t mean you also need to curtail your pet’s need to play ball. With the Petmate Chuckit! Indoor Ball having great and fun times indoors is made remarkably easy. Technically the Cuckit! Indoor is a tennis ball that has been fluffed with a colorful and exceedingly soft chenille fabric. It is lighter, too than conventional tennis balls. It is this combination of a soft outer shell and a lightweight core that makes the Chuckit! Indoor relatively safe to play with right inside your home without ever worrying of damaging your furniture or other stuff.
Do take note however that the Chuckit! Indoor is only for small breeds of dogs as well as puppies. Can you imagine playing ball with a Great Dane inside your home?
The Romp-n-Roll Ball incorporates a rope toy into a classic ball, giving you added functionality. This can be an excellent training tool as dogs need to learn to differentiate playful tugging from a more aggressive pulling. The ball used in the Romp-n-Roll is also sturdy enough to withstand rough play from a 60-pound hound. It will never deflate if punctured so you can bet you and your canine friend will have plenty of fun times now and in the future. The Romp-n-Roll is specifically designed for outdoor play, although we assume that you can also use it for indoor playtime activities because of the rope attachment. This Jolly Pets product can be kicked, launched, thrown, tugged, and carried so you get optimum versatility.
Kids and teens alike love Nerf guns. So when the company designed the Ridged Squeaker Football many who are familiar with the design philosophy of Nerf recognized the product instantly. True to the design philosophy of Nerf, the Ridged Squeaker comes with a revolutionary styling that is part-football, part-Nerf toy. Made of FDA-approved, BPA-free, and super heavy-duty rubber, the Ridged Squeaker is perfect for medium- to large- sized dogs.
The bright colors of the Nerf Ridged Squeaker make it easy to spot regardless of the type of terrain you are playing in. it is water- and weather- resistant, too, making it a great plaything for some outdoor fun in the rain or near bodies of water. Pet parents who grew up on Nerf guns or those with kids who play with such toys will know what the brand stands for.
What is quite ingenious about the JW Pet Crackle Heads is that it essentially placed a plastic water bottle inside a Hol-EE style of ball. Empty water bottles make that crunchy, crackling noise whenever they get squished. That’s what the Crackle Heads hope to achieve. While the Hol-EE comes with a lattice design, the holes on the Crackle Heads look more like the ventilation holes on a bicycle rider’s helmet. Nevertheless, these holes allow for easier pickup while allowing your dog’s dentition to get in contact with the crinkly plastic core. It’s a very simple enhancement to a venerable dog toy. The Crackle Heads also come with an uneven surface which can produce unpredictable rolling and bouncing effects, perfect for keeping your hound on its toes and improving its overall agility.
Imagine more than 20 different sounds, funny noises, and wisecracks arousing the curiosity of your pet every time it picks up, rolls, or even kicks the Pet Qwerks Talking Babble Dog Toy. With its motion-activated babbling and talking effects your dog will be more than curious to try different ways on how it can elicit an entirely different sound. Of course, if your pet is already bored with such babbling, it can always use the Pet Qwerks as an ordinary ball. It can also be used as a training aid or even as a means to combat canine boredom. Do take note that while the Pet Qwerks Talking Babbling is durable, it may not be that entirely water-proof. It runs on batteries that need to be kept dry and free from moisture.
Vanilla has a certain sweetness that many pets love. That is why JW Pet decided to infuse its iSqueak Ball Rubber Dog Toy not only with a squeaker mechanism, but also with vanilla extract. This serves more like a tasty treat for dogs to chew on if they have grown tired of playing with it. However, the long-winded squeaker that’s integrated in the design of the iSqueak is guaranteed to keep on producing that characteristic shriek of prey that is being cornered or is already pinned down on the ground. It’s perfect for all dog breeds, but most especially those that seem to can’t get enough of playing toss and fetch.
The beauty of the Wobble Wag Goggle Ball is in its irregular surface, giving it a really unpredictable bounce. Toss it in one direction and it bounces off towards another. This can be a real test of your hound’s agility. Regardless of how intelligent your canine friend can be, it simply will never guess where the Wobble Wag will be wagging to next. The moment your furry pal rolls the Wobble Wag the ball will let out funny giggles. Your dog will be curious as to where the giggling is coming from. Picking it up in its mouth and shaking its head vigorously and other funny sounds are emitted.
The Wobble Wag Giggle is a great tool for keeping you and your pet entertained for hours on end. And since there are no electronic components involved in the production of such fun sounds, the Wobble Wag is perfect both in and out of the house.
Looking more like the stress balls we use in the office whenever we find ourselves in need of venting some steam, the Gnawsome Squeaker Ball is actually a very useful gum massager for dogs especially those that are in the process of teething. The soft thermoplastic spikes on the Gnawsome are what massage your pet’s gums every time it uses the ball as a chew toy. It may not have that bounce that you’d expect from a ball, though since it’s not made of rubber. But, you will find the use of BPA-free and food-grade plastics to be exceptionally thoughtful, at the very least. The 3.5-inch Gnawsome is about an inch larger than a standard tennis ball and should be perfect for small dogs.
3.5-inch spiky ball design for gum massaging action
Made of BPA-free, food-grade thermoplastic material
The Chuckit! Fetch Ball is built specifically for dogs that love a game of fetch. It bounces a lot higher and farther than conventional tennis balls, making it a great companion for small ball launchers that have maximum launch distances of at least 20 feet. It’s great for exercising your pet as it gets to run faster and jump higher to catch and fetch the ball for you. But if you don’t have a Chuckit! launcher, you still have your hands and arms to throw the ball with. What is remarkable about the Chuckit! Fetch Ball is that it comes in the two fundamental colors that are highly visible to dogs: blue and orange. At least, your dog will have no issues spotting and running after it amidst an ocean of green.
Designed for small breeds and puppies, the HDP Spot Soccer is a 2-inch diameter soccer ball made of soft yet chew-resistant latex. Always keep in mind its size as this is a significant factor in the risk of foreign body airway obstruction in dogs. Given that each pack already comes with 3 colorful miniature soccer balls for under $5 you should not really have any issues not giving your pet the fun and exercise that it needs.
If you look at your favorite pet shop you’ll be presented with a lot of options for the best toy balls. They come in all sizes and shapes as well as a few other extras that will make you wonder whether your pet really needs them at all. Well, we know how mind-boggling it can be to choose the right one for your pet. Allow us to enlighten you with our buying guide for the best toy balls for dogs.
Importance of Dog Balls and Exercise
Toys are as important in the growth and development of young children as it is on puppies and dogs. While it is easy to dismiss ball toys as nothing more than simple spherical objects, experts say that these play a very important role in their development.
Playing with toy balls gives your pet something to do. While it is true that the idea of a dog today is more like a lap dog, these pets were primarily bred for work. For thousands of years, they have helped and assisted man in his pursuits. They hunted and retrieved game, herded flock and livestock, and even defending their master’s family and property.
Long before they began assisting man, however, dogs have already been very busy scavenging for food, hunting prey, defending their territory, and even caring for the young members of their pack. Dogs lead complex and busy lives, solving problems that undermine their survival, and even interacting socially with other dogs in the area. Simply put, dogs thrive a lot better when they are given something to do.
There is a very serious effect of dogs leading a very sedentary lifestyle and this can be gleaned from the rising numbers of pet parents complaining of behavioral problems in their respective dogs. Animal behaviorists believe that the lack of physical exercise is what leads dogs to present with a variety of canine behavioral issues such as the following.
Unusual hyperactivity and hyper-excitability including increased activity during nighttime
Rough play and play biting
Unruliness, jumping up on individuals especially kids and knocking over items and furniture
Garbage-raiding, scavenging, and other unnecessary or uncalled-for investigative behaviors
Nuisance barking, howling and whining as well as other attention-getting behaviors
Excessive predatory play and unnecessary social activities
An Active Dog is a Healthy Dog
Behavioral issues in dogs arise from the lack of activity. Some pet parents think that having a spacious yard is enough to have the dog get its exercise. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. They won’t run several laps around your yard without you telling them to. That is why you need to interact with them and use gadgets or items to entice them to use their muscles.
For example, giving them toy dog balls will not really count as exercise unless you toss or throw it. Sure, they will chew on it, but this is not a vigorous exercise that will afford them the various health benefits of exercise. You’d have to throw the ball, let them run and fetch it, and bring it back to you. Do this several times and you’ll get your dog panting heavily.
Compare this with simply giving the ball to your dog without so much as an interaction from you. They will chew on it and perhaps run with it. But how many times do you think they are going to run if you don’t entice them to?
Dogs need direction, especially on what they need to do. They’re essentially like young kids that will look for something else to do if you don’t give them something more constructive to do. We all say that our dogs are little bundles of joy and there’s a very good reason why. They’re filled with lots of energy that need to be spent. Giving them work will give them the opportunity to spend this energy in a more constructive way. If not, they will be spending this energy on something else. This ‘something else’ is easily translated into canine behavioral problems. Some of the more well-known benefits of exercise in dogs include the following.
Minimizes, if not eliminates, canine behavioral problems
The various behavioral issues in dogs that we have listed above are just a few of the many problems that can be solved if only you let your dog play and exercise. It may not be with its favorite toy ball, as long as you are able to give it meaning or purpose to its existence, then it should not feel bored. The tremendous amount of energy that it has for doing meaningful work will also be put to good and constructive use.
Improves agility and joint flexibility
Running and jumping can substantially increase the range of motion of the dog’s joints. This helps prevent certain diseases from developing while improving the overall agility and flexibility of your pet. This can have a lot of implications in their overall health. An improved joint range of motion helps facilitate better movement or mobility. Increased mobility allows dogs to enjoy their existence a lot better.
Enhances cardiovascular health
Exercise, in general, improves cardiovascular health. Sure your pet will increase the heart rate. But a more important physiologic effect is that the increase in heart rate will stimulate a compensatory mechanism that sees an increase in the strength of heart muscle contractions. Just like humans who exercise regularly, they have better cardiac outputs. This can lead to better endurance in the long run. Your dog can obtain the same benefits. Improving its cardiovascular health improves the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to all the tissues of its body. And as we all know, oxygen and nutrients are important for life.
Reduces constipation and other digestive problems
In relation to the improvement in cardiovascular health, your dog will also experience dramatic improvements in its digestive system, especially in the removal of wastes through the gut. Improved blood flow to the digestive tract facilitates better digestion which, in turn, provides all the nutrients for your pet to use.
Boosts canine confidence and trust
You may not believe it, but animal behaviorists say exercise can help boost your dog’s trust and confidence in itself. This is especially true if your dog is the timid or shy type. This also means reduced incidence of dog bullying and other problems associated with low self-esteem in dogs. It may be hard to believe especially since there is no definitive literature that can best describe canine psychology. However, based on existing studies and general observations, dogs that receive their daily exercise are better-rounded and more confident than dogs that don’t have enough exercise.
Helps to keep a healthier weight
Chewing on a toy ball will not really lead to a significant reduction in your dog’s weight; directing it to run several laps around your yard can, however. Just as human couch potatoes tend to be obese, the same is true with dogs that do nothing every day than to lie down and wait for their next meal. Obesity begets its own set of problems. You can avoid these problems altogether by simply engaging your pet in a more vigorous physical activity such as playing fetch. You don’t even have to throw it yourself. Instead, you can use one of those automatic fetch machines in the market, let the device do the work, and watch your pet maintain a healthier weight.
Different Types of Dog Balls
Choosing the right ball toy for your dog means you also have to look at the different types of balls in the market. There are those that are designed more like tennis balls while there are also those that come in different styles such as soccer balls and even footballs. There are balls that come with added features such as holes for gripping as well as for inserting treats. Plus, there are ball toys that are best thrown manually while there are those that fit in fetch ball machines. They come in various materials, too. Technically, whenever choosing a ball for your pet you’re given a plethora of options that can make picking the right one especially challenging.
Safety Tips When Picking the Best Dog Balls
Like everything else, ball toys for dogs can also pose substantial safety issues. That’s why it’s equally important to keep the following safety tips in mind when picking the best ball toys for your pet.
Always buy a ball toy that is appropriate to the size of your pet. It is equally important to make sure that all the balls that your pet can access are of the right size; you risk choking or even accidentally swallowing the entire ball.
Steer clear of products that contain harmful chemicals such as BPA and other chemical additives. Your pet’s safety is anchored on the absence of these harmful chemicals on the ball toy that they will eventually grab with their mouths.
Be careful where you bounce the ball at. You might bounce the ball into a street or perhaps even a river where the current can be exceptionally strong.
Always supervise your pet whenever it is playing with its toys whether it is a ball toy or any other plaything.
Things to Consider When Buying Dog Balls for Your Pet
There are certain things that have to be taken into consideration when buying toy balls for your dog. These are as follows.
This is one of the most important considerations basically for safety and comfort reasons. You don’t want it to be very big that your pet will have a really difficult time grabbing onto it with its mouth. You don’t want it to be too small relative to your pet’s size either since this can increase the risk of choking which can lead to a veterinary emergency. The larger the ball, the easier it is to spot; the smaller it is, the more difficult it is for your pet to see.
Pay attention to how the manufacturer of the toy ball rates its product. If it says that it is for light to moderate chewers, then don’t expect it to last if your pet happens to be a power chewer. While this actually has something to do with the ball’s material construction, another consideration in buying toy balls for your dog, it is more a function of how well you understand your pet’s chewing behavior as well as jaw strength. Remember, it may be labeled as ‘moderate chewer’ but if the material upon which the toy ball is made is simply not suitable for the bite force of your pet, then you will most likely end up buying another set of balls anytime soon.
We mentioned in the preceding point that the material used in the manufacture of a dog toy ball has a bearing on its durability. This is just one part of the equation, however. It may be durable for light to moderate chewers but definitely not for power chewers. If it is durability that you are after, then industrial-grade rubber materials offer you the best. If you prefer light rubber that is covered in felt, like tennis balls, you don’t want to play with it near bodies of water as it can get soggy once wet. Additionally, if you prefer to play in a rather small dog park, you don’t want to get a high bouncing ball as this will only bounce right over the perimeter fences. Make sure you understand the pros and cons of each type of material used in the construction of the toy ball.
You may also want to consider the weight of the ball toy. Even if you do manage to use fetch ball machines and save your arm from having to throw a really heavy ball, remember that your pet will be grabbing it with its mouth. If it is too heavy, it might not be able to carry it. If it is light, you won’t be able to throw it as far as you like. Additionally, if it is quite heavy, you’ll need more space to throw it in.
Best Dog Balls FAQ:
Q: What should dog balls for heavy chewers be made of?
A: There are certain materials that dogs are known to be especially averse to or are tough enough to withstand repeated powerful chewing.
For instance, nylon and rubber are two of the most often used materials for making dog ball toys that are specially designed for power chewers. Nylon is especially durable and can withstand bite forces in the hundreds of pounds per square inch. The same is true with rubber. KONG makes one of the most indestructible rubber materials for dog ball toys, a feat they achieved in their Classic KONG dog chew.
There are also dog ball toys that come with rope attachments. These are extra heavy-duty, too so they should be excellent choices for heavy chewers. There are also newer materials that are proprietary in nature, meaning they are only found in products designed and manufactured by the same maker of the super-strong material.
Q: How can I get my dog to play with toy balls?
A: A very important responsibility of any pet parent is teaching their respective pets how to use the different gadgets or items that are bought for their pets. As we have already mentioned in the early sections of this buying guide, dogs need to be directed or taught on how to play with their toy balls. Otherwise, you will not give them all the benefits that only exercise can provide. So how do you get your dog to play with toy balls?
The first thing is to encourage your pet to go after the ball. Once it grabs the ball reward your pet with its motivator of choice. It could be a treat or plenty of hugs or even both. You can even play with your pet. Make sure to remove the ball once you give the reward. Practice this many times always rewarding your dog every time it grabs the ball with its mouth. Your goal is to toss the ball and get your dog to run after it even without the reward.
Dog trainers actually recommend holding your pet back while giving the command to run after the ball. The natural reaction is for your pet to keep on tugging against you. Once the ball is about midway to its intended destination you can release your hold and watch your dog blitz towards the ball. Fetch ball machines can help in this regard so you can hold your dog while the ball is being launched some distance. As soon as the ball hits the ground you can release your dog. Once your dog consistently runs after the ball even without receiving a reward for it, you can start training the retrieving aspect of the ball fetch game.