One of the most popular toys I’ve ever given to my dog was a tennis ball. This is THE classic toy, seeing it in movies, pet stores, and with a ton of pet owners using it for fetch! However, it’s come to my attention that some owners complain about their dog’s dental health from the tennis ball itself.
It had me wonder, “Are tennis balls bad for dog’s teeth?” I started delving into my research and asked other dog owners about their experience with giving tennis balls to their dogs. So if you want to see the truth about tennis balls, then read on!
The Risks of Using Tennis Balls For Dogs
You’re probably thinking, “But this has been such an old and traditional toy, how can it be possibly dangerous now?” Recent studies and experiences show that there are some risks associated with your dogs playing with tennis balls, unfortunately. Here are some potential dangers to watch out for:
1. It’s A Choking Hazard
If you have a dog with a large mouth that can accommodate tennis balls, then they have the strength to rip this to pieces. Because of this, some dogs would tear the tennis ball apart, attempting to eat it while you’re gone.
Unfortunately, your dog can’t digest the rubber or felt from the tennis ball properly. This can cause the pieces to get stuck in their digestive tract, increasing the risk of medical emergencies. Some might even swallow the entire tennis ball if left unattended, getting stuck in their throat!
2. May Cause Dental Damage
This is actually a common issue many owners have reported when using tennis balls for their dogs. Even when dogs don’t try to rip apart their tennis balls or eat it, there may be harmful to their dental teeth.
This is because tennis balls have an abrasive outer layer. Because of this abrasive texture, it wears down a dog’s teeth quickly and severely. As a result, it can damage your dog’s teeth, making it painful when chewing or eating food. It can even make your dog’s teeth more susceptible to breaking, not even good dog toothpaste can fix it!
Unfortunately, tennis balls can damage teeth, with this owner showing what happened to his German Shepherd in this video:
3. Might Give Tunnel Vision
A lot of dogs would be hyper-focused while they’re playing or training, tuning out anything else around them. It happens with all types of toys and games, though most common in tennis balls. While tunnel vision isn’t a problem when in a vast and open field, it can become a problem if there are a lot of obstacles around.
If ever you play around areas with a lot of rocks or obstacles, there’s a chance that your dog would trip and fall, bumping his snoot or injuring himself!
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Benefits of Playing With Tennis Balls For Dogs
With all this said, I also want to give light on the different benefits of playing with a tennis ball offers. After all, they aren’t a popular dog toy for nothing! Here are the best benefits tennis balls have to offer:
- They’re a cheap toy, more affordable than other specialized dog toys!
- These balls bounce really high and well, which is what dogs love when playing fetch
- You can throw them long distances with ease, or they’re compatible with ball launchers for more distance and power in your throw
- Because they’re lighter, they won’t seriously injure your dog if you ever accidentally hit them with the ball
- You can easily see them, even under dim light, because of its bright yellow and white colors
- There isn’t a problem in terms of losing the ball since dogs will know their balls by the smell
- They make great toys for the beach or pool since they float, making it easier for dogs to play fetch while in the water
- Dogs love to use their tennis balls because of how good it feels with their teeth. They like to squeeze the balls with their jaws!
Are Tennis Balls Bad For Dogs?
Now with all this said, are tennis balls bad for dogs and should you throw away all you have? Well, that’s totally up to you and what you think is right for your pet. I recommend that you ask your vet about it and see if it’s a good idea to continue using tennis balls or not.
Just because they have a few risks doesn’t mean you should remove it completely. After all, most toys also have their own risks AND tennis balls can improve your dog’s way of living since it makes them happy!
But if you’re a bit hesitant of continuing the tennis ball, then that’s totally fine and understandable. There are many other alternatives to the tennis ball when playing fetch you can consider, too.
If you do want to continue playing using the tennis ball, here are some tips to follow:
- Use the tennis ball only when playing fetch. Never leave it lying around your home for your dog to chew on
- Do NOT let your dog play with the ball without your supervision
- Make sure that you’re only playing with the ball in enclosed and hazard-free areas, like dog parks or your backyard
- Throw away tennis balls that look like they’re about to wear out to prevent it from becoming a choking hazard
- Look into getting tennis balls that are made especially for dogs. These tennis balls are made with non-abrasive felt and durable rubber for better safety
Wrapping It Up
Tennis balls are one of the most common toys to give to your dog, but is it really safe? I would recommend that you have your dog’s teeth checked beforehand and also ensure that they only play with tennis balls while you’re around. For me, it’s better to give them chew toys, or even alternatives to these balls when playing fetch!
I hope my article answered your question, “Are tennis balls bad for dogs?” Now that you know if it’s good or not, start learning more about the appropriate dogs for toys now.