Although it pains my red-blooded, NFL-loving, ‘Murican heart to say it, soccer is the world’s most popular sport. So, perhaps it isn’t surprising that many of our pups love to play with soccer balls.
But the problem is, you don’t want to give your pup a regular soccer ball to play with – at least not while unsupervised. Most dogs big enough to get a regulation soccer ball into their jaws have the strength and dental daggers needed to rip it apart pretty easily.
Instead, you need to give your dog a soccer ball built especially for dogs – these balls are extra tough and will be more liable to withstand your pup’s tough teeth.
While you’ll still need to exercise good judgement when letting your dog play with any toy, most of the soccer balls designed for pups are relatively durable and likely to stand up to your dog’s destructive instincts.
It can be hard to tell whether a given toy will hold up to your dog’s teeth, and you’ll never be certain until you toss her the ball and see how it goes.
Nevertheless, there are a few characteristics that normally indicate that a given toy is well-built, safe, durable and fun.
Most dog toys manufactured by reputable companies are made from non-toxic plastic or rubber. But because many of these companies use proprietary plastic blends, it can be difficult to determine what these materials are and to verify their safety yourself.
The best way to stay safe is by selecting toys made in the USA, Canada or Western Europe, where safety standards are high.
If you purchase a flimsy ball (or any other toy) it simply won’t last – even if your dog is a mild-mannered Maltese.
So, you’ll want to make sure the plastic or rubber used to make the ball is durable. This can be difficult to determine when making an online purchase, so be sure to review the experiences of other dog owners before making your decision.
Toys that have rough seams, raised panels, or other types of imperfections are often easy for dogs to rip apart.
Accordingly, you’ll want to select balls that are as smooth and uniform as possible. Balls with very thin or non-existent seams will mean your dog won’t have any spot for easy teeth leverage. This alone will help ensure any toy you purchase lasts longer.
If your dog loves to play in the water, you’ll want to be sure to pick toys that float; otherwise, they’ll quickly end up lost at the bottom of the lake. Most toy soccer balls will float, but you shouldn’t assume that they will unless the manufacturer specifically claims such. Of course, if your dog isn’t aquatically inclined, you needn’t pick a ball that floats.
If you are on the hunt for a good soccer ball toy for your pooch, consider the three detailed below (particularly the first two). Each should provide your dog with plenty of ball-chasing and ball-chewing fun.
About: The Jolly Pets Soccer Ball is a US-made toy, designed to give your dog hours of ball-playing enjoyment, while still being tough enough to last for a long time and withstand canine teeth.
Although they are not colored in the traditional black-and-white color scheme that most soccer balls are, your dogs won’t mind.
This is a great option for owners of big dogs who want to play alongside their pooch, as the ball is nearly regulation size.
About: The Planet Dog Orbee Soccer Ball is a super-durable toy, that not only has just enough give to make it fun for dogs to chew, it is a little smaller than a regulation, Size 5 soccer ball is.
This helps many medium-sized dogs get the ball into their mouth better, where they can chew to their heart’s content without decimating the ball.
The Planet Dog Soccer Ball is a bit small for adults to use, but your kids will probably love kicking it around with the pooch.
About: The LANCO Soccer Ball is a small and budget-friendly soccer-style ball designed to keep your dog happy and occupied. Made of natural rubber, the LANCO Soccer Ball should safe for any chewing attacks that may occur during your game.
This is a very small ball, so you won’t be able to use it with your dog, but tiny pups will still love it. This ball can classified better as a toy than an actual soccer ball.
No matter what type of toy your dog likes to play with and gnaw on, you’ll want to be sure she remains safe while doing so.
There are a two primary ways chew toys can become dangerous:
Heed the advice below to help avoid problems:
Have you come across a soccer ball that has worked well and stood up to your pup’s teeth? There aren’t a ton of different models on the market, and we’d love to hear about any we may have missed. Tell us all about it in the comments below.
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.