tennis balls and dogs

Tennis Balls and Dogs

Robert Cabral Dog Health, Dog Training Leave a Comment

Tennis Balls and Dogs.

Tennis balls and dogs, they go together like summer and the beach.  I’ve written previously about the dangers of tennis balls and dogs, but think it’s important to address it again.  It’s often the best meaning people that give their dogs tennis balls, not knowing the dangers.  I’d like to state that DOGS LOVE TENNIS BALLS, and for that simple reason you should be aware of the dangers they pose.  Dogs are often obsessed with tennis balls and will chew on them incessantly.

Tennis balls are one of the most dangerous toys you can give your dog for several reasons:

1. The dye used to color the felt can be toxic.  The more the dog chews on the ball, the more of the dye your dog is likely to ingest. (some people say that this is not so, but I would rather be safe than sorry).
2. The fabric of the felt is like sandpaper to the enamel on your dog’s teeth.  Chewing on the ball will grind the enamel off of your dog’s teeth leading to dental damage and costly tooth extractions.  This can be the case with any rough surface including rough chew toys.
3. Dogs often ingest part of the rubber after they chew apart the ball.  This can cause blockage and possible death.
4. Throwing the ball ( as in playing fetch) can cause the ball to pick up small rocks in the felt and when your dog bites down on the ball this can cause tooth damage including splitting and fractures.

** These are only a few of the dangers that a dog can face playing with tennis balls.  There have been cases of dogs swallowing whole tennis balls and suffocating.

This holds true for any tennis ball whether they are made for dogs or not.  I urge you to consider this.  I used to use tennis balls occasionally to teach my dog to retrieve, particularly in water.  I have found so many other balls including Orbee balls, Dura Foam Balls, rubber balls, frisbees and many other toys that work just as well with much less risk involved.

Yes, I know, dogs LOVE tennis balls – but that doesn’t make it right.  Remove tennis balls from your dogs toy chest and start to make another toy a big reward.  It took me only a short while to replace my dog’s desire from a tennis ball to a rubber ball on a string and a Frisbee.  My dogs now love these toys and don’t miss the tennis ball at all.

In obedience work, detection work and other working dog training tennis balls are used to reward a high drive dog.  Under these conditions the dog is generally well supervised.  However many trainers have changed over to several other types of balls that are similar in color and shape to the tennis balls, but less risky.

As I always state, please be aware where your dog’s toys are made.  I do not recommend and I don’t like to use any toys made in China.  There are many good toys made right here in the USA as well as Europe that are equally as cost effective and made to a higher standard.  Remember, you make your dog’s toys fun!  The way you reward and play with your dog is how he sees the toy/reward.  You should use toys as an interactive reward instead of just leaving them laying around.  If your dog has his toys and chews on them all day long,  they are likely to be quite uninteresting to him when it comes time to play.  However if you bring them out and make a PARTY when it comes time to play – I think you will see a difference in your dog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *