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How to play fetch safely

Oh fetch! A much-loved game enjoyed by dogs and their humans all over the world. But did you know there’s a safe way to play fetch, and a way which may be putting a lot of strain on your dog’s joints? 

Read on to discover how to enjoy a safe game of fetch, whilst protecting your dog’s physical health.  

80% of dogs show signs of early-onset arthritis by the age of eight

Did you know that four out of five dogs suffer with arthritis in their lifetime? We often think of arthritis as an issue for older dogs, but a whopping 80% of dogs show signs of early-onset arthritis by the age of eight years old. 

Genetics play a part in this, but injury to joints and strenuous or high impact activities can also do a lot of damage.

Protecting your dog’s joints when playing fetch 

We recommend ditching the ball launcher and instead opting for a low-impact game of fetch. 

You see, when you choose a ball launcher you are throwing the ball a huge distance at a super fast speed. As your dog goes running out with enthusiasm to fetch and retrieve the ball, you may see your dog twisting, turning, and braking suddenly.  

All of this high impact exercise without a sufficient warm up can put a lot of strain on your dog’s joints and may even cause injury. 

Warming up your dog’s joints

Before strenuous exercise, it’s always a good idea to warm up your joints. And the same is true for our dogs. 

Whether you’re gearing up for a much-loved game of fetch, hitting the agility course, or going for a run together, you need to warm up! 

A warm up will increase your dog’s blood flow to their muscles, slowly increase their heart rate, and reduce the risk of injury. 

Enjoy a gentle walk together before you play fetch to get your dog’s body moving. Before you start the game, you can kick off with a game of tug which will get your dog’s body moving around and limbered up. 

Meet the tug toy that’s got it’s very own ball

Our Powerball range of tugs are perfectly weighted for throwing and have a nice tuggy bite area, so you can warm your dog up and cool them down with a little tug of war! 

What’s great about the Powerball range?  

  • Unlike conventional tennis balls, which are often made with dangerous glass fibres, the PowerBall is non-toxic and non-abrasive
  • It’s tuggable (you wouldn’t expect any less, would you?!)
  • Harder to lose than your average ball
  • It doesn’t fit in a ball chucker 🙌

Teaching your dog to ‘stay’

Asking your dog to stay and wait for a release cue before they chase to retrieve the ball is another great way to prevent your dog from twisting and braking suddenly. When a dog chases a ball in motion, they are more likely to maneouver in ways that puts stress on their joints. 

Working Cocker Spaniel Willow perfectly demonstrates how a pre-game of tug can warm up joints. Watch Willow’s owner throw the Powerball tug whilst Willow waits patiently. You can see how keeping your dog in a stay prevents all the twists and turns of chasing a ball chucked with a ball thrower.

Help! My dog has a ball obsession!

As well as the physical impacts of fetch, we can’t ignore the mental effects of this wildly addictive game! Some dogs just can’t get enough of balls. They’ll bark incessantly until the ball is thrown and can’t concentrate on anything else!

Whilst this can be helpful for recall and distracting your dog from things you’d rather they ignore, being so fixated isn’t very good for your dog’s mental health. 

Our tug toys with balls allow your dog to get their ball fix without the obsessive infatuation with chasing and retrieving. They can be a very useful tool for encouraging your dog to play safely with their favourite toy. 

Learn more about how to tame your dog's ball obsession here and discover 7 games you can play with your dog that aren't fetch! 

Switch fetch for hide and seek

A brilliant game to play with your ball obsessed dog is hide and seek! This is a low impact game that puts your dog’s brain and nose to work to find the ball/toy. 

How to play: After a quick game of tug, ask your dog to ‘stay’ while you hide the your toy. Don’t make it too much of a challenge at first – hide it somewhere in view and then release your dog to ‘find it.’  When they do reward them with a game of tug! 

The Powerball range is perfect for this game, as it has your dog’s ball nestled inside a winning tug toy. 

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