As a tennis player, I had always saved the old balls, and used them to play with my Lab, Beaumont. We never had a problem, but, as a Lab, Beaumont has a very soft mouth. He was started on live birds as a 5-wk old puppy by his breeder, and learned to carefully balance the amount of pressure he exerts when retrieving: strong enough to avoid losing/dropping the bird, but gentle enough to avoid crushing it. I would add some grouse scent, etc. to the surface of tennis balls that I’d sail out into the field, and he loved tracking them down. All I had to do was stand there, hitting the balls, while he wore himself out.
So, I was very surprised to hear that tennis balls could be dangerous, and I have been very careful about finding all the stray balls and preventing Dutch from accessing them, even though I didn’t know why. There is something about them he loves, and if I leave my tennis bag on the floor even briefly when I return home, he dives into it searching for balls. I didn’t know why they were dangerous, but I wasn’t about to take any chances. So, when I read the information below, I understood much more about this problem, and wanted to share it with you:
A large, strong dog with a powerful jaw can split a tennis ball in a matter of minutes if not seconds! And those halves can be swallowed quiet effortlessly. Even a whole tennis ball can be easily swallowed by large or giant dogs!
Always make sure that the toys you are training with are large enough and safe for your dog! Play comes with excitement and excitement sometimes comes with some abnormal chewing and sometimes grabbing and possessive behaviors. Make sure that your dog does not choke when he runs around celebrating with his newly won toy!
The fuzz or felt from the regular tennis ball can also be ripped off and swallowed and like swallowing the whole ball, this can be a danger. The fuzz does not break down in your dog’s stomach or in his intestines and if he swallows enough or any other foreign body it can get stuck in his stomach.
Stomach and bowel obstruction surgery is not only painful for your dog it is also expensive and potentially deadly!
And, last but certainly not least, is the fact that the glue used to glue the felt to these balls can break down the enamel on your dog’s teeth.
You can imagine how acidic glue must be, and some dogs chew and chew and chew and chew on a tennis ball, this makes the glue wet and then with the motion of the chewing the abrasiveness of the felt damages your dog’s teeth.
Even when your dog releases his ball, the glue remains on your dog’s teeth slowly and steadily breaking down the enamel!
There are sooo many reasons not to use regular tennis balls!
Instead find an adequately sized rubber ball!