Are Tennis Balls Safe for Your Dog?
Are Tennis Balls Safe for Your Dog?
As the first signs of spring beckon for outside play, ball-crazy dogs are ready for the game that always results in joy: fetch. The sole equipment necessary for this sport is the ball -- the tennis ball, to be precise.
But some controversy exists over which ball is the perfect one for throwing.
Apparently, there are tales of tennis ball fuzz wearing down dogs' teeth and, worse, cases in which dogs have nearly choked on the ball.
The Tennis Ball Is Safe for Most Dogs
I don't put much stock in either of those tales. Most dogs can use a tennis ball safely. In fact, I find that the outer coating of the tennis ball actually helps reduce plaque on dogs' teeth. And as far as the choking hazard, there might be a rare dog that's incompatible with tennis balls, but it's uncommon. If your dog is a larger breed, such as a German Shepherd, gauge the size of his mouth and whether it looks like he is more suitable for a larger ball or a dog tennis ball with an attached handle.
Don't Play Fetch With These Objects
The choking cases that have come through my emergency practice are dogs that have either small, hard plastic balls or dense rubber SuperBall-type balls lodged in their throats. These balls cannot be compressed like a tennis ball, making them more likely to get stuck. For that reason, I absolutely discourage the use of those balls.
I would also not recommend using sticks. Sticks can puncture the esophagus or the mouth. Bits of wood from the stick can also be swallowed and cause a foreign body obstruction. Here are the most important basic safety rules for ball play:
- Always supervise when your dog has a ball (or any toy, for that matter).
- Don't let your dog carry the ball home. He needs his mouth to pant in order to cool down, especially after a hard run.
- Throw away worn or chewed-up tennis balls or other balls. Make sure the ball has not gotten to the point where it's been chewed into small pieces that can be easily ingested.
When Your Dog Chokes on an Object
If your dog does end up choking on a ball or toy, you can take him to an emergency animal hospital, where they will put him under quick sedation to remove the obstruction. If he is showing acute signs of severe choking (e.g., his gums turn blue, he passes out, etc.), you might have to take the situation into your own hands and carefully dislodge the ball yourself. You can attempt the Heimlich maneuver by lifting up his front paws, with your dog facing outward, and using your fist to thrust upward just beneath the rib cage. Another option -- with a greater risk of getting bitten -- is to reach in through the mouth to try to free the ball.
Recent Pet Articles
- Is Your Dog Ready for Agility?
- When Should You Tell Your Dog 'No'?
- How to Plan a First-class Puppy Playgroup
- Dog Lovers: You Too Can Have a Garden!
- Are Tennis Balls Safe for Your Dog?
- 4 Simple Steps to Stop Dog Jumping
- Minimize the Shedding: Essential Springtime Dog-grooming Tips
- Grooming Curly-haired Dogs
- Why Your Dog Needs Vaccinations
- Old Wives' Tales About Dogs: Dispelled
- New Supplement Can Help Your Dog's Digestion
- What Snoring Says About Your Dog's Health
- The Dog Olympics
- Stop Cat Bullying
- Turn Your Cat Into a Social Media Star
- Best Books for Cat Lovers
- Improve Your Senior Cat's Eating Behavior
- Find Your Perfect Kitten
- Don't Declaw Your Cat: Furniture-saving Tips and Tricks
- Common Eye Problems in Cats
- Cat Displacement Behavior
- Luxury Hotels for Cats
- The Right Way to Handle Puppy Behavior Issues
- The Silken Windhound: A Low-maintenance Beauty
- Is Your Puppy Ready for Sports?
- Dog-friendly Spring-cleaning: A How-to Guide
- Dog Training Partner
- How to Help Keep an Aging Cat Healthy
- Do Bored Cats Sleep More?
- The Agile Cat
- Cat Athletes With Summer Olympics Talents
- Why Cats Have Whiskers
- 5 Ways to Save on Pet Costs
- 10 Questions a Dog Breeder Wants to Ask You
- Puppy Socialization: A Trainer's Top Tips
- The Real Story Behind Dog Odors
- Apps for Dogs
- Easy Ways to Reduce Pet Allergens in Your Home
- Benefits of Owning a Senior Dog
- What Makes a Dog Yawn?
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy This Spring
- Are You Protecting Your Dog's Health?
- Does Breeding Impact Dog Behavior?
- Dog Treadmills: Safe or Hazardous?
- The Irish Setter: Fun Wears a Red Coat
- How to Read Your Dog
- Games to Download for Your Cat
- Is It Too Late to Train Your Senior Cat?
- How Cats Show Their Happiness
- Natural Ways to Eliminate Litter Box Odor
- Are You Protecting Your Cat's Health?
- Is a Toy Dog Breed Your Best Match?
- Introducing Your Older Dog to Your New Puppy
- True Stories of Presidential Dogs
- Off the Beaten Career Path With Dogs
- Best Sleep Position for Dogs
- Keep Your Dog Safe on Night Walks
- How to Exercise Your Cat
- Why Your Cat Acts Stressed and Anxious
- Hidden Causes of Cat Obesity
- Lower Your Stress with a Cat
- The Cat Connection to Dating and Romance
- Make Your Senior Dog Feel at Home
- Top 5 Ways to Improve Life for Your Senior Dog
- Healthy Nutrition for Your Senior Dog
- How to Care for Your Arthritic Dog
- How to Introduce Your Puppy to Your Cat
- Tibetan Spaniels: The Dog for Cat People
- How You and Your Dog Can Go Green
- Dieting With My Dog
- Dog Fitness Centers
- Running With Your Dog During Cooler Weather
- Take Care of Your Dog's Hot Spots
- How to Introduce a New Pet to Your Old Pet
- Should You Clothe Your Cat?
- Cat Sleep Routines
- Can You Give Your Cat a Bath?
- Healthy Nutrition for Your Senior Cat
- Top 3 Apps for Cats
- Breed Match
- Doga: Yoga Your Dog Will Love
- Groom Your Dog Like a Pro
- Puppy, Get That out of Your Mouth!
- Terminate Stinky Dog Breath
- The Schipperke: Escape Artist Extraordinaire
- Help Your Dog Cope With Holiday Guests
- Coping With the Loss of a Dog
- Cat Breeds for Dog Lovers
- Teach Your Dog to Enjoy Your Garden Without Destroying It
- How to Play Tug-of-war With Dogs
- Size up Your Puppy's Food
- What's Not to Love About Yorkies?
- What to Ask a Dog Breeder
- Train Your Aggressive, Biting Kitten
- Can Cats Find Their Way Home?
- Caring for Your Arthritic Cat
- Keep Your Cat Calm During Storms
- Top 5 Ways to Improve Life for Your Senior Cat
Copyright © 2012 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.