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The Negative Effects of Ball Launchers on Your Dog's Health and Wellbeing

Ball launchers are one of the most popular toys for dogs, but it’s essential to be aware of their potential negative effects. While ball launchers may seem like a fun and easy way to keep your dog entertained, they can have negative effects on their health and wellbeing. In this blog post, we will explore why ball launchers can be harmful to your furry friend and what you can do to ensure their safety.

Ball Launchers Interrupt Natural Behaviour

Dogs are naturally curious and enjoy exploring their surroundings. They love sniffing and investigating their environment, and it's an essential part of their mental and physical health.

However, when dogs become obsessed with ball launchers, they may lose interest in these natural behaviours. This can lead to boredom and frustration, causing your dog to become less active and less healthy.

When you constantly throw the ball using a ball launcher, your dog's focus shifts from sniffing and exploring to just chasing and fetching the ball. This can result in them becoming addicted to this behavior and not wanting to do anything else. This can be detrimental to their overall wellbeing as they may end up neglecting other vital activities such as socialising, exploring, and even eating.

Ball Launchers Can Cause Joint Problems

Repeatedly launching a ball puts a lot of stress on your dog's joints, especially if they are a high energy breed. The sudden stop and quick turns required in chasing a ball put pressure on their joints, and over time this can lead to joint problems such as arthritis. This can be very painful and expensive to treat. It's important to limit the amount of time your dog spends playing with a ball launcher and to give them plenty of rest breaks.

It's worth noting that some dogs are more susceptible to joint problems than others. For example, large breeds and older dogs are more prone to arthritis, and playing with a ball launcher can exacerbate their condition. It's best to consult with your vet to find out if your dog is at risk and how to manage their playtime.

Ball Launchers Can Cause Obsession

Some dogs become obsessed with fetching a ball, which can lead to behavioural problems. They may become aggressive or anxious when they are not playing with the ball launcher, making it difficult to enjoy time with your dog. It's important to recognise the signs of obsession and to limit your dog's use of the ball launcher.

Obsessive behavior is a genuine concern, and if your dog starts displaying any of the signs, it's best to limit their use of the ball launcher. Obsessive behavior can cause anxiety, which can be detrimental to their mental health.

Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Constantly dropping a ball at your feet.

  • Barking or whining when you don't play fetch.

  • Refusing to engage in any other activities.

  • Being obsessed with your pockets and hands on walks.


Ball launchers can be a fun toy for your dog, but it's essential to be aware of their potential negative effects. They can interrupt natural behavior, cause joint problems, and even lead to obsessive behavior. It's essential to monitor your dog's playtime and limit their use of the ball launcher. Additionally, you can also encourage your dog to engage in other activities such as sniffing, exploring, and even puzzle games.

Ultimately, your dog's safety and wellbeing should always come first, and it's up to you as the owner to ensure that they are happy and healthy. By being aware of the potential negative effects of ball launchers and taking steps to limit their use, you can help ensure that your friend lives a long and happy life.

About NICE

The National Institute for Canine Ethics is a membership-based organisation that promotes ethical and humane treatment of dogs. NICE is ABTC and UK Dog Charter Accredited.

By joining, members show their commitment to upholding high standards for dog care and welfare. The institute offers two free webinars each month, covering a range of topics related to canine health and behaviour, to provide members with ongoing education and support. If you are passionate about dogs and want to make a difference in their lives, the National Institute of Canine Ethics is a great community to be a part of.

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