A reader from our last post had asked about tennis balls. Specifically, if they were safe for dogs. Well, today, we’re going to be talking about tennis balls!
Actual Tennis Balls
Almost every dog owner has one, whether they play the sport or not. The ubiquitous tennis balls. And they’re the go-to toy for playing fetch! But just how safe are they for our pets?
A standard tennis ball is 2.5 inches and is made of rubber, nylon, wool and pressurized gas. Early designs used lead-based paint. Today’s balls use safer dyes. And they usually come in light green color.
While veterinarians don’t necessarily say that these balls are dangerous for you to use as playthings for your dogs, they do warn that there are some dangers to watch out for.
Tennis balls are choking hazards. Dogs have very strong jaws and teeth and when these balls get to the back of their throats, dogs can choke on them.
Dogs can also easily destroy these balls. Once they do, they can swallow pieces of the ball, which they may not be able to digest. These indigestible pieces may, in turn, cause intestinal obstructions, that could rupture their intestines, requiring surgical intervention, but may also lead to death.
Finally, the “soft” covering of these balls are made of deceptively strong, very abrasive materials, designed to withstand repeated bounces on hard surfaces. Dr. Thomas Chamberlain, a board-certified veterinary dental specialist, suggests that the fuzz covering these balls act like sandpapers that wear down your pet’s teeth.
It’s for this reason that tennis balls should not be used as chew toys. They should only be used with supervision. And when you’re done with playtime, put them away! Don’t leave them around for your dogs to find and play with.
If you don’t want to use tennis balls to play with your pet, there are many tennis ball-like toys on the market today. So, what are the best tennis balls for dogs? We picked four that we thought would be suitable alternatives, all from Amazon.com.
Hyper Pet Tennis Balls for Dogs. These balls are made of non-toxic materials, no harmful coatings or gas, and the soft covering is safe for dogs’ teeth. They also float, so they’re great near water. They come in light green, orange and pink colors. They’re 2.5 inches in diameter, same with a regular tennis ball, and are easy to throw when playing fetch with your pet. A pack of 4 costs $3.06.
Scenereal Squeaky Tennis Balls For Dogs. These 2.5-inch diameter balls are made of light rubber materials covered with non-toxic felt. Each ball is multicolored, and a pack of 12 costs $13.99.
Snug Rubber Dog Balls. These are billed as “virtually indestructible” by its manufacturer. It, too, is the size of a regular tennis ball. Made of natural rubber, this toy comes in a pack of 3 balls for $9.85.
Zanies Mini Tennis Balls are only 2 inches in diameter, smaller than the regular sized tennis balls. They are perfect for smaller dogs. Also made of rubber, these balls come in a pack of 6 for $6.32.
There are so many brands of what is virtually the same product made by different manufacturers. All approximately the size of tennis balls, made with non-toxic materials and rubber. Some are smaller for smaller dogs, while the rest is best for medium and larger sized dogs. Others are sold individually. Some are sold in packs of multiple balls.
One additional item you may want to add to your shopping list. Chuck-it! It’s a “sports launcher.” You use it to pick up your tennis balls and throw it for your dogs to chase after and fetch. It’s ergonomically designed, made of flexible plastic, and can be used with most 2.5 inch balls. Pick up slobbery balls and throw them farther and faster! Each launcher cost $9.92. If you’re serious about playing fetch, you should have one of these.
There are other mechanical launchers available, but all cost over $40. This manual launcher (Chuck-it) is all you really need.
So take your pick for the best tennis balls for your dog.