Peter Brady Can't Play Ball In the House, but My Dog Wants To!
November 14, 2009 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Are there any non-Kong dog balls that my Lab won't destroy?

My 4-year-old black Lab loves to play ball, but when she has a ball inside the house, it takes her an average of 15 minutes to destroy any ball she'll play with.

Tennis balls are her favorites, because she can spend 5 minutes removing all the fuzz, and then she chews them in half and rips the ball into tiny rubber confetti.

We've gotten her Kong balls, which she doesn't seem to be able to destroy, but she doesn't like playing with them, either. It seems to be a mouth-feel thing with her, where if it's too solid, she has no interest.

We've tried mini-tires, squishy foam balls (which she loves, but it only takes her slightly more time to chew apart), "indestructible" fabric toys, and she can kill them all dead.

Any hope for a ball-playing but very strong-jawed dog?
posted by xingcat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Raquetball balls? There's no fuzz, and I think they're stronger than tennis balls. You should record this.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2009

Best answer: This is my labradoodle's favorite toy. He loves to retrieve it, not to mention chew it like gum and bury his nose in the holes. He has (I think) the 6.5" and 8" ones, and prefers the smaller one. They've lasted at least 3 years with liberal chewing.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 1:16 PM on November 14, 2009

Lacrosse balls? They're pretty hard, I lived with a golden and a malamute for 3 years, they ate tennis balls without a problem, but barely scratched a lacrosse ball.
posted by Marky at 1:48 PM on November 14, 2009

Look for stuff made out of the black rubber. It's stronger than the regular Kong material, and is the only stuff that can withstand the chomp of my lab-mix.
posted by sunshinesky at 1:51 PM on November 14, 2009

Have you tried ChuckIt! balls?
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:11 PM on November 14, 2009

I'll second i_am_a_fiesta's recommendation, my Husky has had one of those for a year and it is still intact... other advantages of it is that it doesn't break things when thrown in the house, it's easy to find in the snow it can be a fetch AND a tug of war toy...

Husky also loves this which she's had for about 6 months and hasn't been able to damage it at all (squeek warning, she's not allowed to bring it in the house, too damn noisy!)

Be very careful with anything your pup can chew up.... if they can swallow it, but can't digest it, it could cause a problem...
posted by HuronBob at 2:14 PM on November 14, 2009

Have you tried one of the toys from this Tuffy series? My border collie/lab mix loves the tug-o-war one and has yet to even rip a stitch on it. FWIW, if I let her bring a tennis ball inside the house, she'll pull all the fuzz off too, so I make her keep 'em outside. The tuggy is a strictly inside toy in our house.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:37 PM on November 14, 2009

The Orbee Ball is something my dog loves and still looks new after years of use. Planet Dog toys have lasted very well for my aggressive chewer, including the ('3 chomper' rated) Tuff Bone.
posted by bCat at 3:16 PM on November 14, 2009

Go to your local Home Depot or (insert similar name here) and get a one foot length of 3/4 inch or one inch braided poly rope. Take it home and do two things. First, singe the ends so it doesn't unravel. Second tie a knot in the center of the rope and warm (but don't melt) the material in the knot. Our Lab, our late Healer, our Aussie Cattle Dog have played with this toy for over five years, including spirited tug-of-war sessions with each other. We first discovered this when we thought we had thrown out an old lead rope at the barn. The dogs ignored all of their store-bought toys to play with the rope.
posted by Old Geezer at 3:18 PM on November 14, 2009

Our black lab/mastiff/german shep cross has the same problem with the Kong toys. She won't go after them at all. For her, chunks of firewood and heavy rope loops seem to do the trick. Other than that, we buy the rawhide bones (don't last long, but she likes them) and the biggest soup bones with can find.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:45 PM on November 14, 2009

Haha, our lab has the Ultimate Bone from the set Ufez Jones mentioned and while he has not *destroyed* it yet, he has definitely torn little bits off of it.

We've had great luck with this Cuz toy. I think its legs are too short for the dog to be able to get any grip on them to bite them off, and the rest of it is really durable, thick rubber. We've had it for a couple months now and it's dirty but otherwise intact, which is unusual. Plus, the squeak it makes is apparently very satisfying.
posted by crinklebat at 3:46 PM on November 14, 2009

I've been using street hockey balls for years. They're just about the same size and weight as tennis balls and are made of hard nylon.
posted by snsranch at 5:04 PM on November 14, 2009

The Buddy Glow Ball is my lab's favorite toy. We've had once since he was a puppy and he is 11 years old now. He loves it so much that we have to hide it when we're not up to throwing it for him- otherwise he'll keep carrying it around and dropping it in our laps.
posted by Ostara at 10:56 PM on November 14, 2009

I keep the label for the Star Mark Everlasting Fun Ball (label has as their url) on the fridge so I don't forget the maker of the beloved Green Ball. I see one at PetSmart several times a year, not all the time. These dogs, who have eaten sofas, PDAs, glasses, remote controls, and doorknobs, and who eat rocks for fun, have never put a visible mark on Green Ball, Small Green Ball, or The Other Green Ball (because Green Ball sometimes disappears for months under furniture).

They also don't get very dirty. I have had to wash one once when it was stomped into the mud, but otherwise I cannot tell Green Balls I and II (five years' age difference) apart. They have a really good bounce, too, if you'll be using it for outside games of fetch.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:58 AM on November 15, 2009

I'll second the Orbee ball. I used to dogsit a pit bull and he never managed to tear it apart, though HuronBob's recommendation lasted mere minutes (though it's a good tug toy). The Orbee Football is also a great fetch toy as its bounce is unpredictable. It's not a chew toy though.

On a side note, you shouldn't give your dog tennis balls--in addition to the danger of swallowing the rubber (a neighbor's dog had to have surgery to remove a half-tennis ball), the fuzz wears at the dog's tooth enamel. Check with your vet.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:47 PM on November 15, 2009

My dog Lyle is so obsessed with his ball that there's a whole Flickr group worth of photos. They're the Tough by Nature Ruffians - some are more ball-shaped than others & it's probably good to get the more ball-shaped ones if your dog is likely to destroy it.
posted by judith at 1:54 AM on November 16, 2009

Best answer: We have a 50# English bulldog with strong jaws, who likes to play tug-of-war with her toys with us and to vigorously chew her toys by herself.

The Orbee ball lasts about a week at my house. I think the dog lifts up the continents too easily and then can decimate the rest of the ball in a day. We tried it about four times, because people had raved, but it didn't work for us.

What has lasted (for almost a year!) are the Planet Dog Orbee Cosmos 'Luna' ball (5"), which I never thought would last because the plastic is soft and rubbery, and a smaller, slightly harder ball (that also smells minty), which might be this one (though the logo is gone). [I see in comments that some people's dogs dispose of this little ball in a week. I don't know why ours hasn't.]

Those two are her favourites and ours as well!

We also have a cheap rubber/foam ball (looks kind of like this) that has lasted, too, though there are lots of tooth-marks in it. She doesn't like it as much as the others, though, which might explain its prolonged survival.
posted by mmw at 12:31 PM on November 16, 2009

My labradoodle loves her Hol-ee Roller too! (recommended by i_am_a_fiesta). She will destroy anything she can sink her teeth into, but she CAN'T sink her teeth into this one. Balls, bones, etc. are hopeless. For the same reason, those really cheap hollow rubber squeaky toys also last a long time with her - she can't actually bear down to gnaw it apart because it's filled with air. I go to the sale bin and find broken ones with non-functioning squeezers so it doesn't drive us insane when she plays with it. She too has no interest in kongs or "indestructible" toys because she doesn't get the same mouth satisfaction. Your dog will love it!
posted by Snower at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the great suggestions! Katie managed to chomp through a bunch of them (she's relentless), but we've had a couple of successes, which I marked as "best".
posted by xingcat at 5:41 AM on November 24, 2009

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