We all know that dog. Ball-obsessed. Never gets sick of fetching. Loves to chase the ball (but may or may not love giving it back). Yup dogs love balls. Most dog owners wouldn’t think twice before giving a tennis ball to their dog. We can play with them and so can they right? But there’s one thing that’s between your dog and that tennis ball that can severally affect their health: their teeth.
Tennis balls have a rough felt coating on them which was designed to reduce the aerodynamic drag and to make the ball travel faster and therefore bounce higher. The felt coating is exactly what can be detrimental to a dog’s teeth. Essentially the coating, combined with accumulated dirt and saliva, acts as a file on their teeth. For a dog that doesn’t chew much on the tennis ball, it’s possible that there won’t be enough friction to do any harm. However, for a more serious ball fanatic (we’re looking at you golden retrievers and border collies), the filing could have a cumulative effect over time and seriously damage their teeth.
So what to do now. The safest option is to discontinue using tennis balls and switch to a non-felt coated ball. Rubber balls are generally recommended by vets and known to be the safest option. They are just as fun, and you don’t need to worry about harmful side-effects on your dog’s teeth. As with any ball, always make sure that it’s the correct size for your dog to prevent jaw injuries or choking.
Happy ball-chasing pups!