Does your four-footer love a solid game of fetch? Many dogs do — and that’s fantastic!
Fetch is not only an activity many dogs love, it’s also a great way to provide enrichment and exercise for your pooch. In some cases, it can even be used for training purposes.
But in order to play a fun and safe round of fetch, you’ll need to select a good toy or ball. We’ll help you do so below, by explaining what makes a good fetch toy for your floof! We’ll also identify a few of the best ones available so that you can find the perfect fetch fit for Fido.
In a hurry? Jump right down to our product recommendations!
What Should You Look for in a Fetch Toy?
With tons of toys on the market, it can be challenging to cut through the noise and find the ideal fetch toy for your four-footer. Here are a couple of general guidelines to take into consideration while searching for your dog’s next favorite fetch toy:
- Make sure it’s not a choking hazard. You’ll want to make sure your toy of choice isn’t small enough that your pup could swallow it. Also, make sure it doesn’t have any parts that could easily break off and become choking hazards, either. Fetch toys should be especially durable, since they’re susceptible to more damage being flung all over the place.
- Pick one that’ll be gentle on your dog’s teeth. Your pooch will need to pick up his fetch toy quickly so that he can retrieve, rinse and repeat. Therefore, it’s best to pick something that’s gentle on your dog’s teeth so that he can carry it with ease.
- Go with a toy that’s soft enough to prevent injuries. Some toys can pack quite a punch, especially if they have the added energy by being thrown in the air. You’ll need to find a toy that’s soft enough that it won’t injure your dog (or passersby) in case the flying toy makes contact with your canine before hitting the ground.
- Pick a toy that’s easy for your dog to carry. You’ll want to make sure that your dog’s toy is compact enough to carry. The toy should be fairly lightweight as well so it doesn’t slow down your pooch’s playtime.
- Select a toy that’s easy for you to launch. It takes two to fetch, so it’s key that you pick a toy that’s easy for you to throw. If you’re not too jazzed about picking up a slobbery toy, you’ll want to find a toy that comes with a launching device.
- Good fetch toys are easy to clean. Let’s face it: Fetch toys are bound to get nasty. Accordingly, you’ll want to select a toy that can be cleaned easily so that Fido can experience fetch fun time and time gain.
- Try to pick a fetch toy that’s highly visible. It’s a good idea to select a toy that can easily be seen by both you and your dog. This way, you can always help your furry friend track down his favorite toy.
- Select a floating toy is possible. Floating toys are great for dogs who love to swim. These toys are less likely to get lost since you’ll be able to keep an eye on them whether they’re land or water bound.
You’ll also want to take your pooch’s preferences into account.
What types of toys does he usually gravitate towards? Does he like balls, rings, or bone-shaped toys? Or does he seem to like them all equally (looking at you Labs)?
Keeping these factors in mind will make it easier to find a toy for Fido that will last him longer.
The 14 Best Fetch Toys and Balls
Here are some of our favorite fetch toys and balls for your best buddy. Each toy is suited for different play scenarios, so it may be worth checking out more than one for your furry friend.
1. ChuckIt! Flying Squirrel Spinning Dog Toy
About: This lightweight spinning fetch toy from ChuckIt! is an excellent all-purpose fetch toy. Featuring an aerodynamic design, this toy is easy to toss halfway across the park, and it has curved sides that are easy for your pooch to grip. It also flexible for safety, and it floats for fun at the pool or beach.
- Spins like a Frisbee, but it’s easier for your dog to pick up
- Flexible design makes it less likely to cause injuries than a rigid toy
- Toy floats in the water for fun at the pool, lake, or beach
- Can be used at nighttime thanks to its glow in the dark design
- Curved, rugged fabric will last quite a while
- A versatile toy that can be used in just about any fetch-friendly situation
- Dogs seemed to love the way this toy spins and flies in exciting ways
- Lightweight, flexible toy is easy to throw and pick up
- Glow-in-the-dark design makes nighttime fetch fun possible
- This toy is pretty large, so it may not be ideal for small dogs
- You may need to practice a bit to throw it in a predictable way
2. West Paw Dog Fetching Stick
A safe alternative to real sticks, this US-made fetch toy bounces in fun ways.
About: Regular sticks aren’t safe for fetch (or any kind of play, for that matter), but this fetching “stick” by West Paw is an excellent pooch-safe alternative. Made in the USA from flexible and lightweight materials, this toy is not only great for fetch but light to moderate chewing too. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe so you’ll have no trouble keeping it clean for your furry friend.
- Made in the USA by one of the best dog toy brands in the business
- Dishwasher safe for easy clean up
- It floats, so you can play fetch in the water
- Recyclable and backed by West Paw’s “Love It” guarantee
- Made from FDA-compliant materials
- Flexible, stick-style toy is a safe alternative for dogs who like real sticks
- It floats, making it a great toy for the beach or pool
- Dogs seemed to love the unpredictable and chaotic way the toy bounces
- Can be recycled once replacement is required
- Some owners found that power-chewing puppers could quickly destroy this
- Obviously more expensive than a stick in your yard, but it’s hard to put a price on your pup’s safety
3. KONG Flying Disc
About: If Fido is a fan of fetching Frisbees, you’ll likely find that this flying disc by Kong works even better. Not only is it flexible (making it safer and easier for your dog to pick up), but it’s made from Kong’s time-tested red rubber, so you know it’s built to last. Made in the USA and available in two sizes, this is a no-brainer for disc-loving doggos.
- Made from Kong’s proprietary red rubber material
- This disc bounces upon hitting the ground for extra fun
- Available in two sizes
- Made in the USA dog toy
- Easy to wipe off after a long play session
- Owners were impressed with the strength of this disc
- Easy to throw far distances (though it may take some practice)
- Dogs loved chasing the disc when it bounces on the ground
- Flexible materials won’t hurt dogs who snatch the disc out of the air
- Some owners noted that it requires a slightly different disc-throwing technique than a traditional Frisbee
- Probably won’t hold up to serious chewing
4. Chew King Fetch Balls
Soft, flexible, and gentle on your dog's teeth, this ball is perfect for games of fetch.
About: This two-ball set from Chew King is super durable and made out of bouncy, dishwasher-safe rubber. These balls are about the same size as a standard tennis ball (so they should work with most dog ball launchers), but they’re much safer and won’t abrade your dog’s teeth. They also feature carved “seams,” which will help you Nolan-Ryan these balls clear across the park.
- Effective and safe replacement for tennis balls
- Rubber material makes the ball bounce well
- Can be filled with treats for extra fun
- Sold in packs of two, so you’ll have a backup on hand
- Available in several sizes to best suit your pooch
- Dogs loved the soft, chewy texture of these rubber balls
- Fetch balls double as puzzle toys, thanks to central holes
- Should work with most launchers
- Won’t damage your dog’s teeth like a tennis ball
- Not durable enough for serious chewing
- Doesn’t float in water
5. Goughnuts Black Ball HD
A super durable, US-made fetch toy backed by the manufacturer's lifetime guarantee.
About: This ball by Goughnuts is one of the most indestructible dog toys on the market, and it’s specifically designed for super chewers. Made in the USA from the manufacturer’s toughest rubber, this ball will easily handle the wear-and-tear of fetch play, and it’ll even stand up to general canine chompin’ fun. Best of all, these toys are guaranteed for life.
- Durable rubber designed for super chewers
- Made in the USA
- Ball bounces to keep your dog entertained
- Features air-channeling seams for additional safety
- Does not float
- Great ball for tough chewers
- Dogs seemed to love chewing on the strong rubber
- Worry-free purchase, thanks to manufacturer’s guarantee
- Also available in lighter-weight versions for gentler doggos
- This ball doesn’t float, so this won’t work at the pool
- Nearly 3 times as heavy as most other balls
6. ChuckIt! Ball and Launcher Combo Kit
Throw balls farther and keep your hands clean with this lightweight ball launcher.
About: If you don’t want to get your hands messy while playing with your pooch, this ChuckIt! Ball and Launcher Set is a great choice. It also prevents you from having to bend over and pick up the ball a gazillion times while playing. And best of all, this tool will increase your throwing distance, which will help make fetch time especially fun for your floof.
- Launcher makes it easy to keep your hands clean while playing with your pooch
- Available in several lengths to suit your height and desired throwing range
- Can be used with any other similar-sized ball
- Brightly colored ball is highly visible for dogs and owners
- Easy to learn how to use (though you will get better with practice)
- Owners loved not having to touch a slimy, spit-covered ball while playing
- Several owners were impressed by the range of the toy
- Many dogs love the long-distance tosses this toy makes possible
- Long handle allows you to pick up the ball without having to bend over
- The included ball doesn’t appear terribly durable (fortunately, ChuckIt! carries a number of alternatives).
7. Kurgo Skipping Stones
Lightweight, floating fetch toys that are easy for your dog to grab and dishwasher safe.
About: For serious swimmers, these fetch toys by Kurgo are a whole lot of fun! And although they’re designed for use in H20 as a dog water toy, these lightweight, buoyant, and neon-colored toys will also work on dry land. For extra safety and convenience, these stones are made from non-toxic, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe materials.
- Durable floating fetch toys that can be used on land or in water
- Neon colored “stones” are easy to keep track of with high visibility
- Toy can be “skipped” across the water for added fun
- Dishwasher-safe for easy maintenance
- Stones are very roughly the size of a tennis ball
- Dogs seemed to love chasing after these bright, floating toys — especially when skipped across the surface
- Owners were impressed by the durability of these toys
- They are easy for your dog to carry in the water
- Easy to clean in the dishwasher
- Some large breed owners found that the stones were too small and may even represent a choking hazard
- Despite their bright colors, these stones were difficult for some owners to see
8. Classic KONG
A durable fetch toy that's also great for chewing, treat-hiding, and training.
About: One of the most famous toys of all time, a Classic Kong is not only good for training, chewing, or hiding treats, but it is also awesome for fetch time. They’re built like little tanks, so they should hold up to countless fetch sessions, and they bounce in unusual and unpredictable ways, which will keep your canine’s cranium busy while he’s exercising his body!
- US-made toy that is constructed out Kong’s proprietary rubber material
- Kongs can be filled with treats, turning them into engaging puzzle toys
- They bounce in crazy ways when thrown, keeping your pooch entertained
- Available in sizes appropriate for most dogs
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
- Perhaps the most versatile dog toy in existence
- Most dogs love Kongs (they’re popular with trainers and dog-care pros for a reason)
- Though not strong enough for long-term power-chewing, they’ll hold up really well for fetch and moderate chewing
- Your dog will love the easy-to-grip shape
- It can be tricky to clean out Kongs by hand due to their design. However, the toys are dishwasher-safe.
- They’re a bit heavier than most other fetch toys
- They’re a bit rigid, so you don’t want to accidentally peg your pooch with a Kong
9. Chiwava Squeaky Toy
A trio of fun, interactive chew toys with a hilariously loud squeaker and comical look.
About: If Spot is a sucker for squeakers, these fetch toys by Chiwava are perfect for your next play session. These lightweight, rubber toys are easy to throw, super-easy for your pooch to pick up, and they’re easy to clean too. Plus, they’re made in bright, easy-to-see colors, and the creature-themed designs are just adorable!
- Stuffing-free squeaky toys are great for fetch
- Lightweight, so they’re easy to throw
- Rubber material is easy to clean
- Loud internal squeakers will keep your pup entertained
- Dogs seemed to love the loud squeaky sounds this toy makes
- Owners appreciated the lightweight design, which makes them easy to toss
- Super colorful toys are easy to spot
- Not durable enough for power-chewing puppers, though they’d still work well for fetch
- Extreme caution required for solo play time (due to the internal squeaker)
10. Browning Training Dummy
Versatile training tool that's perfect for teaching bird dogs and competing canines.
About: This training toy by Browning is great for turning your dog into an expert retriever. Made out of durable vinyl that’ll stand up to plenty of rugged, outdoor use, these fetch toys float, making them perfect for teaching duck dogs. And because they feature an attached throw rope, you’ll find they’re easy to throw without getting your hands gross.
- Versatile training toy with attached throw rope
- Textured surface is easy for pups to grab
- Floating, waterproof toy is made out of durable vinyl
- Orange color is easy for owners to keep track of
- Great tool for training your dog to retrieve
- Owners were impressed with the durability of the vinyl
- Easy to throw thanks to the rope extension
- May also work for light tug play
- Some owners found that the rope detached from the toy overtime
An automatic ball launcher with 3 lightweight balls that's great for solo canine play time.
About: If Fido can’t get enough of fetch, this automated ball launcher by iFetch is sure to keep your buddy entertained. Your pooch simply drops the ball into the launcher, and then the iFetch hurls it 10, 20, or 40 feet away (you can adjust the device’s range). A because your bestie has to use his noggin’ to play with this toy, it is a wonderful canine enrichment tool.
- Automated device lets your dog play fetch on his own
- Device can throw balls 10, 25, or 40 feet depending on the settings
- Comes with 3 lightweight, 1.6-inch balls
- Rechargeable battery makes this toy cord-free
- Excellent automated toy for keeping your pooch entertained
- Owners were impressed with the product’s longevity
- Adjustable launching distance makes it great for indoor or outdoor play
- Toy can’t be used in wet or muggy areas (the balls will get stuck)
- Doesn’t use standard tennis balls (requires 1.6-inch balls)
- Balls may be too small for large dogs
12. ChuckIt Indoor Ball
A tennis-ball-style fetch toy with a soft plush exterior that'll help protect your stuff.
About: For indoor play, you want a fetch toy that won’t demolish your home. Enter the ChuckIt! Indoor Ball — a great choice for living room fetch sessions. Plush and lightweight, this toy is designed to be somewhat low-impact when thrown, so it’s less likely to damage items in your home. And because it features a textured exterior, this toy is super easy for pups to pick up and carry throughout the house.
- Lightweight dog toy with a plush exterior to minimize impact
- Soft texture doesn’t prevent ball from rolling or bouncing
- Textured ball is easy for dogs to carry from one room to the next
- While it may feel damp, it won’t feel slimy in your hand
- Great for pups who like soft-textured toys
- Soft design reduces risk of toy damaging household items
- Tennis-ball-like design appeals to most puppers
- Won’t hold up well for super chewers
- Not a great choice for outdoor use
13. Chew King Glow Balls
Bouncing, glow in the dark balls that create a whistle-like sound when thrown.
About: These glow balls by Chew King are great for playing a round of nighttime fetch with your furry friend. These easy-to-spot balls glow in the dark, making them easy to find no matter when you and your pooch play. For bonus fun, these balls create a whistle-like sound when thrown to peak your pup’s interest. They’re also dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
- Highly visible ball glows in the dark for nighttime play
- Dishwasher-safe rubber is easy to keep clean
- Balls make a whistle noise when thrown
- Durable and made in the USA
- They “charge” quickly under any bright light
- Owners were impressed with the durability of these balls, especially since they’re so affordable
- Bouncing, glowing balls are great for keeping dogs entertained
- Compatible with medium-sized Chew King stick launcher
- These balls don’t float well, so you’ll need to stick to land-based fun
14. Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster
Lightweight and portable blaster toy that's great for long distance ball launching.
About: If you’re looking for a toy that’s as fun for you as it is for Fido, the Nerf Tennis Ball Blaster is an amazing choice. Giving you the chance to shoot balls up to 50 feet, this toy also allows you to pick up fetch balls in slobber-free fashion. Your furry friend will love chasing after the launched balls, and it’s a great pick if you don’t want to throw your arm out.
- Tennis ball blaster fits most standard tennis balls
- Shoots balls up to 50 feet
- Barrell picks up the balls so that you can keep your hands clean
- Blue and orange design is highly visible
- Great for long distance fetch
- Owners had a great time using this fun tool with their pups
- Great for owners who can’t throw as far
- Not ideal for indoor use
Five Important Safety Rules for Fetch: Keep Your Canine Safe!
Are you ready to have some fun with Fido? Hold up! Let’s make sure you and Spot stay safe while playing.
Here are some fetch-playing tips to keep your dog safe and make sure he has a great time:
#1 Play fetch in an enclosed space.
No matter how trustworthy your dog is, you’ll want to restrict fetch games to enclosed areas, so that your dog can chase the toy safely while off-leash. This will also minimize the risks of accidentally pegging passersby while chucking the ball hither and yond.
If you simply don’t have access to an enclosed play space, consider using a long lead (like, a really long lead). This will still give you some control of your canine, even when he’s pretty far away.
#2 Check the area for hazards before playing fetch.
Before throwing your dog’s favorite toy, inspect the area to make sure you’re in a perfect pooch playtime zone.
Dogs can suffer from sprained ankles and torn ligaments easier than you’d think, so look for a a semi-soft, fairly flat play area, without any holes, bumps, or obstructions that could injure your fetcher.
#3 Be mindful of the temperature.
Fetch is an intense game for any four-footer, so you’ll want to pay special attention to the temperature.
Let your floof rest for a while if you see signs that the heat is getting to him, such as excessive panting, sticky saliva, or lethargy. A few minutes spent chillin’ in the shade will let your pooch cool down and be ready for round two (or three, or four, or five…).
Also, be sure to keep your pooch hydrated while playing fetch. Just don’t let him gulp down a gallon of water and then go run — give him regular access to reasonable quantities of water.
#4 Be careful with dog-dog aggression.
While some dogs love playing fetch with other four-footers, others don’t share very well — they may even start conflicts over toys. This will not only bring your game of fetch to a rapid conclusion, it may even end up with injured and traumatized pooches.
So, just be sure that you think carefully about playing fetch (or using any other toys) in social situations and be on the lookout for dog on dog aggression. Make sure you know how your dog is likely to react when other pups join in, and always touch base with the other owners around to make sure their dogs aren’t likely to start a spat.
#5 Clean and replace your dog’s toys regularly.
Unless this is your first fetch-dog rodeo, you surely know that fetch toys get pretty grody during use. So, make sure to clean your canine’s fetch toys regularly to ward off any nasty dirt, debris, and bacteria.
Ideally, you’ll wash your pet’s toys after each play session, but twice or thrice a week will likely suffice. All the toys discussed above can be safely washed off with warm water, and some can be thrown in the dishwasher.
It’s also important to note that fetch toys will suffer damage and wear out over time. So, it’s important to replace your dog’s toys regularly to keep Spot safe. Failing to replace toys with punctures or cracks can create a choke-hazard for your four-footer.
To help make your dog’s fetch toys last longer, try using a collection of several toys, which you can rotate.
This will not only reduce the damage each toy suffers, it’ll introduce more novelty to fetch time, which will help keep your dog interested and provide more fun!
Can You Use a Regular Tennis Ball for Fetch?
We’re not going to say you can’t use a classic tennis ball for four-footed fetch sessions, but you should certainly do so with caution.
In fact, if you look around the dog park, you’ll see more and more owners are deciding to go with purpose-built fetch toys instead of these old (and potentially harmful) standbys.
What’s the problem with tennis balls?
Well, for starters, they can represent a choking hazard. Large dogs may swallow them whole, and small floofs may tear them up and consume pieces.
Tennis balls can also be pretty abrasive against your dog’s teeth. This can wear down your dog’s teeth gradually leading to dental issues.
Considering the risks, most modern owners generally think it’s best to find an alternative that’s better suited for Spot.
Although sticks may seem like a totally innocent toy for your four-footer, they can be incredibly dangerous.
Sticks from certain plants (like walnut trees) may be toxic to your pooch, and any stick can splinter leading to scary injuries or even death.
Needless to say, it’s not worth taking the risk with your furry family member. Make sure you steer your dog away from sticks and branches of any kind, and play with a pooch-approved toy instead.
What If My Dog Doesn’t Like to Play Fetch?
Not all doggos like fetching toys.
Some just don’t understand the idea, and others probably think you should go get the ball you just launched across the park if you want it back so badly.
For that matter, older or mobility impaired dogs may find that the pain-to-pleasure algebra of fetch isn’t attractive. And then, some dogs would just rather sniff and socialize at the park than repeatedly retrieve a ball for you.
You can probably train your dog to play fetch by using positive reinforcement (start at short-distances indoors and give your doggo a treat every time he brings you the ball). But it’s probably a better idea to just try out other types of toys he may enjoy more than a Frizbee or fetch ball:
Fetch Toys for Dogs: FAQ
Still have some lingering questions about the best fetch toy for dogs? We’ll try to answer some of the most common queries owners have below!
What is the best fetch toy for dogs?
There is no one-size-fits-all fetch toy for dogs, so you’ll simply need to try a few different ones out and figure out which one your dog enjoys best. As long as you stick to a safe toy and play with it in a sensible manner, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
That said, any of the balls discussed above are a great place to start. Just try to decide if you want a pretty standard ball, a glow-in-the-dark option, one for indoor play, or something super durable.
Do all dogs need fetch toys?
No. All dogs need toys; they do not necessarily need fetch toys.
Some dogs would rather nom or tug on their toys, and have no interest chasing one down that you flung across the lawn. However, others love nothing more than chasing down a fetch toy all day long.
What is the best ball for playing fetch?
It depends on the specific needs and desires you and your dog have, but we tend to think Chew King Fetch Balls are the best for all-around use. The Goughnuts Maxx Ball HD is best for super-chewers, and the Chuckit! Indoor Ball is best for, well, indoor use.
Is it OK to play fetch with your dog every day?
It’s always wise to discuss your dog’s play and exercise regimen with your vet, but generally speaking, healthy adult dogs can play fetch every day without issue. Just be sure that your pooch has plenty of water, is given time to rest as needed, and you play in a safe area with a soft substrate (to avoid wear-and-tear on his joints).
What is the best toy for fetch after dark?
In our opinion, the Chew King Glowing Fetch Ball is perfect for after dark fetching fun!
Fetch can be an amazing workout and super fun game to play with your furry friend. Hopefully, one of these toys makes it easier to enjoy an enriching game of fetch with your best buddy.
Does your dog enjoy fetch? What’s his favorite toy to play with? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!