Playing fetch is an excellent way to bond with a furry hound while providing them with essential exercise. Naturally, most pet parents automatically reach for a tennis ball, thinking it a safe, fun and, for the most part, relatively cheap option for playing energetic games in the park. After all, who (hounds included) doesn't enjoy playing with a bouncy tennis ball? Plus, if the tennis ball goes AWOL, it won't break the bank to replace.
Undeniably tennis balls rank top of many a hound's playtime treat, and so they should as long as playtime sessions are carefully supervised by loving pet parents. Why? Because tennis balls, when used as dog toys, can pose a significant risk to your pet's health.
Today's Mountain Hound blog post will explore the reasons why tennis balls aren't the best idea for your hound and provide you with alternative dog toys that are better suited to your pet's needs.
Tennis Balls Are Choking Hazards
Most dogs love tennis balls because they're just so darn chewable! Think of those powerful jaws chomping on that tennis ball until it goes pop or, worse, breaks in two. This presents a huge choking hazard, especially if one-half of the tennis ball gets lodged in their throat and blocks their airway. Take it from us; dealing with a choking dog is the stuff of pet parent nightmares!
Tennis Balls Can Damage Your Dog's Teeth
Tennis balls were not designed to be a chew toy. Instead, the furry fuzz on a tennis ball is meant to make it more durable. In fact, the fuzz on a tennis ball is very abrasive and can collect a lot of dirt, soil and sediment. Now think about how much your hound loves to chew on a tennis ball and visualize this abrasive, dirt-filled fuzz acting like sandpaper on your hound's teeth. The more they chew, the more their teeth wear down, leading to dental issues, chewing difficulties or exposed tooth pulp.
Tennis Balls Can Cause Gastrointestinal Problems
Some dogs don't just like to nibble on a tennis ball; they have to destroy it by stripping the fuzz chewing it, and eating it. Of course, this fuzz then tries to work its way through your hound's intestines, which can be problematic as it isn't a food substance. Blockages in the intestine can be incredibly painful or, worse life-threatening and require removal with surgery. Furthermore, swallowing scratchy tennis ball fuzz is bound to result in a choking dog!
Safe Alternatives to Tennis Balls
Instead of using tennis balls, consider these safe alternatives that are more appropriate for your furry friend:
- Rope toys:
Rope toys are perfect for tugging and playing fetch. They're also less likely to cause dental damage or result in a choking dog.
Made from durable rubber and designed to be stuffed with treats, they're an excellent option for keeping your dog entertained and chewing for hours.
- Rubber ball:
Rubber balls specifically designed for dogs who love to chew are an excellent tennis ball alternative minus the risks.
The Final Nibble
When choosing a suitable tennis ball alternative or dog accessories for your hound, consider your pet's size, age, and chewing habits. Choose toys that are safe, durable (chew-proof) and appropriate for your dog's individual needs. Always supervise playtime and discard damaged toys, as these can pose a choking hazard.
Of course, no matter how vigilant pet parents are, their furry children can end up in trouble; it's part of being a canine kid! Check out this recent Mountain Hound article on what to do if your hound starts choking; it also advises when to take to your dog to the vet and gives some excellent doggie Heimlich Maneuver pointers!