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Are tennis balls bad for dogs?

They might seem innocent, after all, a quick trip to the local park will likely present at least one dog playing with their beloved tennis ball… but are tennis balls safe for dogs? 

In short, no! The material that traditional tennis balls are made from can be harmful to dogs. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dog’s favourite toy altogether - a simple switch to a ball made from dog-safe materials will have your fetch games back in full swing. 

dog carrying a tennis ball in it's mouth

3 unexpected risks with tennis balls for dogs

1. Harmful chemicals and toxins

Traditional tennis balls are made from rubber, a combination of adhesives, and up to 10 additional substances before being filled with pressurised gas. 

Since they’re made for human sport, the materials and substances used to make tennis balls are not required to be safe for dogs to ingest or put in their mouths. 

The materials and chemicals used vary widely by production line; some contain glass fibres, toxic adhesives and even lead. Typically, they’re mass produced to keep them cheap and they certainly aren’t made to be licked, chewed or mouthed by dogs! 

2. Damage to your dog’s teeth

Tennis balls have a very rough and abrasive surface which acts a bit like sandpaper against your dog’s teeth. The fuzz on tennis balls can also pick up a lot of dirt and grit, which can build up and add to the sandpaper effect on your dog’s gnashers. 

Choosing a rubber dog ball can protect your dog’s teeth from being worn down over time, allowing them to play their favourite game while looking after their dental health. 

dog tugging on rubber dog ball toy with handle

Plus, rubber dog balls are easy to rinse off - washing away any grit and dirt picked up during play.

3. Choking hazard

Does your dog like to chew or tear their tennis ball to shreds? Yes, terriers, we’re looking at you! 

Some dogs find chewing and shredding the fuzz on tennis balls innately satisfying. But not only can the fuzz damage your dog’s teeth, it can pose a choking or intestinal blockage risk too. 

We always recommend that play with Tug-E-Nuff toys stays interactive. Ensuring your dog is not left alone with their toys can keep them safe from accidents. Play with you is the most satisfying enrichment for your dog - so when the game’s over, pop your dog’s favourite toy safely away til next time. 

The best balls for dogs (that are safe!)

Vets recommend choosing a rubber ball over a tennis ball, because they’re safer for dogs. The best balls for dogs are made from non-toxic, non-abrasive materials - like our dog-safe Powerball toys.

Rubber dog balls

Tug-E-Nuff Powerball toys were designed with your dog’s safety (and fun) in mind. Crafted from natural rubber, they elicit a wicked bounce, are perfectly weighted for throwing, and won’t damage your dog’s teeth. 

Choose from a stand-a-lone dog ball or amp up the fun with one of our tug toys that add a whole new element to your play!


Dog ball toys with handles

A dog ball toy with a handle not only reduces any choking risks (because it’s easy to retrieve), but it’s easier to throw and can double up as a tug of war toy. 

Our pocket powerballs come in a range of designs and are perfectly sized for taking out and about for your dog’s favourite game, any time - any place!

Playing it eco-friendly

Not only are our PowerBalls made from nontoxic, non-abrasive materials that are BPA free, Phthalate free and PVC free. They’re also recyclable - thanks to the natural rubber we use. So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly dog ball, our powerballs stack up well against traditional tennis balls. 

With over 300 million tennis balls being produced globally each year (that are tricky to recycle), opting for one of our natural rubber dog ball toys means you can play guilt-free - they’re naturally recyclable. 

In Summary

Essentially, while dogs may love them, tennis balls aren’t made for dogs. Choosing a ball that’s been especially designed and created with dogs in mind, can help you squash the dangers and focus your energy on having lots of safe fun together!


Read Next:

How to play fetch safely

Why your dog loves to play fetch

Help! My dog is obsessed with balls!

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