WARNING! Do Not Give Tennis Balls To Your Dog!
Let’s face it. We dog lovers tend to go overboard when it comes to buying playthings for our furry companions. The toybox is usually overflowing at the start of the day, and as evening rolls in, toys and chewies are scattered throughout the house. A sign that our furbaby has had another adventurous day of rolling, chewing, and licking.
There is one item, however, that you should never see in your dog’s toybox. The beloved tennis ball. That one ball that “Rover” just loves to chew and lick. It’s probably the texture and that hollow “springing” of the ball that makes it a favorite. And for the owner, the fluorescent ball is perfect for playing “fetch”. It’s easy to find among the foliage of the backyard.
And Now The Bad News
As fun as they are, dog experts say that tennis balls are a health hazard. The American Kennel Club says,
Dogs with powerful jaws can easily break tennis balls in their mouths. This can lead to serious choking hazards. Sometimes, one-half of the tennis ball can get lodged in the back of their throats, blocking the airway.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As your dog licks and chomps on the ball, the fuzz accumulates dirt and becomes abrasive. The fuzz acts like sandpaper, gradually wearing down the teeth. In fact, this process is officially called “blunting”. As your dog begins shredding the yellow-green fuzz that covers the ball, the fuzz can also become a choking hazard and cause intestinal blockages that could require surgery.
Dogs Love Them, But They Could Be Deadly
So, What’s A Good Alternative?
First of all, you need not totally abandon the tennis ball. It can still be used in supervised play, such as “fetch”. Your buddy will still be able to place the slimy plaything in your hand, once they retrieve it. Just don’t leave it in the toybox.
Kong Company is a company, based in Colorado, that was created when founder Joe Markham noticed his German shepherd damaging his teeth by chewing rocks. Kong sells a “Squeezz Tennis” that looks like a tennis ball but without the fuzz. It is textured for easy grip and even harbors a “squeaker” that will engage your pup. Its 1-piece construction is designed for durability and safety. Just keep in mind, never give your dog a ball that is small enough to swallow.