No doubt about it, tennis balls are not the best choice – and can be downright dangerous – when it comes to playing fetch with your dog. Here’s why.
Many tennis balls, even surprisingly those marketed as “pet tennis balls” can contain toxic materials in the glue and high amounts of lead in the lettering on the ball. Tennis balls are also abrasive due to their fuzzy covering. This covering picks up particles as the ball rolls, making them even more abrasive, and can wear down the enamel of your dog’s teeth.
Because tennis balls are “chewable” (not tough), dogs can easily chew through tennis balls, and the pieces can lodge in the dog’s throat and/or stomach, requiring painful and expensive surgery. Vets say that surgery to remove tennis balls is, unfortunately, one of the most common surgeries that they perform.
We all know how disgusting a tennis ball can get after just a little bit of use. Tennis balls can soak up water, ending up as a soggy, dirty mess, becoming a harbor for bacteria.
Don’t deny your dog the fun of a good game of fetch, but do it in a way that’s safer for your dog. Use balls that are tough and won’t easily break down, are non-toxic (BPA and Phthalate free), non-abrasive, easy to clean (many are dishwasher safe) and made in the USA.
As with any ball, make sure the ball is large enough that it doesn’t present a choking hazard. If a ball gets lodged in your dog’s throat this is an immediate emergency, and there will be no time for a trip to the vet.
If a ball should get stuck in your dog’s throat, reach in and try and remove the ball if it is near enough to your dog’s mouth. If it is not, place your hands on your dog’s throat to find the ball and move it up high enough with your hands that you can grab it.
A ball stuck in your dog’s throat can easily and quickly cut off their air supply, so time is of the essence. The best way to prevent choking is to use the proper size ball for your dog, remember that balls are not chew toys, and never let your dog play unsupervised with balls.
For some great alternatives to tennis balls, all made in the USA and non-toxic, check out our great selection of fun, high-quality, safe balls for dogs.