2 Major Safety Issues with Tennis Balls, According to Veterinarians

Credit: MICOLO J Creative Commons


Tennis balls are a perennial favorite of dogs for decades.  Their fuzzy texture and rubbery mouthfeel make them absolutely irresistible for pups. Veterinarians, however, have been increasingly warning certain safety concerns.

The 2 Major Safety Concerns with Tennis Balls, According to Veterinarians

  1. The Fuzzy Surface Actually Acts as Sandpaper on Teeth – Dr. Thomas Chamberlain, a board-certified veterinary dental specialist, warns that “Tennis balls and other objects with abrasive surfaces should be avoided as these have a sandpaper-like effect on tooth structure that damages and may expose the pulp.” 
  2. The Material & Design of a Tennis Ball Creates a Higher Risk for Throat or Intestinal Obstruction – Dr. Marty Becker writes, “The problem is that dogs have strong jaws capable of compressing a tennis ball. If that compressed ball pops open in the back of the throat, it can cut off a dog’s air supply. Most notably, one of Oprah Winfrey’s beloved dogs was a tennis ball victim, but there have been many others. The chewed bits of a tennis ball also aren’t something you want inside your dog.”

Of course, every dog toy poses some risk to your dog. If you do choose to continue using tennis balls, be sure to closely supervise your dog and do not allow them to gnaw on the fuzzy felt. We do think, however, that you and your dog might like this alternative instead.

A Safer Alternative To The Tennis Ball

With the recent popularity of the BetterBall™, we wanted to address some of its most advantageous features:

  1. Durable yet lightweight EVA foam – A recent trend among pet toys has been the move towards EVA Foam, a dense yet lightweight material that is very durable. Being lightweight, it’s easier for a dogs to catch in their mouth and puts far less strain on the teeth and jaws compared to a heavier rubber ball or excessively springy tennis ball. It also floats in water, which makes retrievers very happy!
  2. Airflow hole allows for safety and even treats and chews to be stuffed inside – This bore hole through the ball was designed with 2 purposes in mind. First, to allow dental sticks, bully sticks, or treats to be stuffed inside. Second, the hole allows for better airflow and breathing, as many dogs do not get sufficient oxygen intake when running with traditional balls in their mouths.
  3. Easy to clean surface – Unlike tennis balls, the EVA foam surface is extremely easy to clean, extending the life of the toy.

This BetterBall™ was designed specifically for a very tough customer in mind: animal shelters and the dogs that have a tough time getting adopted out. As part of the iHeartDogs Project Play™ program, for each toy you purchase from the iHeartDogs store, a BetterBall™ is donated to a shelter dogs. After all, dogs at a shelter seen playing with toys leads to a 70% increase in adoption rates!

Learn More About the BetterBall™ or click here to purchase.

Featured image credit: carterse Creative Commons via Flickr

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