What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about playing fetch with your dog? Probably those bright yellow tennis balls. This is because tennis balls are a classic toy for fetch. Plus, dogs love them (in part because yellow is one of the few colors dogs can actually see). But are they safe for dogs? Read on to find out.
Are Tennis Balls Safe For Dogs?
Yes, regular tennis balls are safe for dogs, but with some caveats. There are some potential risks that you need to be aware of when you give them to your pup, which we'll detail below. Because of these risks, it's important to always supervise your dog when he or she is playing with tennis balls.
There are some potentially serious risks and issues associated with tennis balls and your pup's safety. Here are the main ones:
1. Choking Hazard
One of the biggest risks that tennis balls pose for dogs is that they can be a choking hazard, especially when broken. If your dog breaks the ball, a piece of it can get stuck in his or her throat or block the airway. Also, make sure your dog doesn't hold multiple intact balls in his or her mouth at once. This is because one can get pushed to the back of his or her throat and increase the risk of choking or airway blockage.
Pro Tip: It's recommended that you train your dog to drop on command before letting him or her play with tennis balls. This can decrease the risk of choking if the ball breaks because.
2. Dental Issues
A second risk of tennis balls involves their teeth and dental health. Regular tennis balls are designed to be durable, since they were created to withstand being smacked around by strong people with rackets. Because of this, tennis balls are tough and abrasive to your dog's teeth, wearing them down and causing dental problems.
Pro Tip: Pay attention to whether or not your dog likes to chew on the tennis ball. If he or she does, you'll want to replace it with a proper chew toy or bone.
3. Digestion Issues
The tennis ball can also cause problems with your dog's digestion. Specifically, the green fuzz on the tennis ball can lead to an upset stomach or intestinal blockage. In addition, a broken tennis ball poses an even bigger risk of intestinal blockage, which can require surgery.
Pro Tip: If your dog has eaten part or all of a tennis ball, go to the vet as soon as possible. First check the back of their throat to see if there are any visible pieces or any blocking their airway. If you see any, remove them before heading to the vet. Even if the tennis ball isn't causing choking or breathing issues, it can get stuck in your dog's intestine, which can cause serious issues.
Despite these potential risks, tennis balls can be safe for your dog. As previously mentioned, make sure you always supervise him or her when playing with them. But if you're worried about these potential issues, opt for a ball specifically created for dogs. These balls will be less abrasive, more suited for chewers and may even have a squeaker inside that your dog will likely love.