The short answer to that is… maybe! One thing to remember is that when our dogs happily chew on tennis balls, their jaws are more than capable of compressing the ball. If that compressed ball pops open in the back of your dog’s throat, it can cut off your pup’s air supply.
Furthermore, some dogs love to shred and rip the yellow-green fuzz that covers the tennis ball. It seems like that is not too harmful. However, eating this fuzz can lead to choking hazards and intestinal blockages that could require surgery.
Another problem is that tennis ball fuzz is actually quite abrasive. The accumulated dirt and sand increases the abrasive quality of the ball on your dog’s teeth. As your dog happily chews the tennis ball, the fuzz acts like sandpaper. This gradual wearing down of the teeth is called “blunting.” Eventually, with enough chewing (and wearing down of the teeth), dental problems such as exposed tooth pulp and chewing difficulties can result. In order to avoid these problems, you can find some non-abrasive, dog-safe tennis balls.
The Final Verdict: Are Tennis Balls Safe for Dogs?
Overall, the most important aspect of giving toys to our dogs is simple. For your dog’s safety, always supervise playtime. Remember to take all reasonable precautions regarding which toys are left with your dog while he/she is unattended. They depend on us to keep them safe at all times.
Want more information on safety for your pets? Here are some other posts from our blog:
Information given here is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way, intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a licensed veterinarian.
Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for JeffersPet and JeffersPet.com.
Questions about this article, training, or non-emergent health concerns are welcome. You can reach Renee most days from 9am – 5pm Central Time (Mon-Fri) at 1-800-JEFFERS (533-3377) ext 381 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.