Q: We took our young puppy to a training class at the regional family pet store. The fitness instructor handed out a list of hazardous items that we need to never ever provide our animals, and on that list was a tennis ball. We believed this was odd. We’ve had dogs for years and have actually constantly thrown tennis balls for them. As a vet, do you see an issue?
Are Tennis Balls Bad Toy for Dogs?
A: Yes – and no. Our Golden Retriever, Shakira, is a tennis ball addict, and a daily dosage of fetch has actually assisted keep her lean and healthy well into her senior years. However tennis balls do present a risk that requires they be used only in monitored conditions.
The problem is that dogs have strong jaws efficient in compressing a tennis ball. If that compressed ball pops open in the back of the throat, it can cut off a dog’s air supply. Most especially, among Oprah Winfrey’s cherished dogs was a tennis ball victim, however there have been lots of others. The chewed littles a tennis ball also aren’t something you want inside your dog.
You don’t need to discard all your tennis balls, however you do have to use them in such a way that minimizes the risk of choking. Tennis balls ought to always be put out of reach after a game of fetch, and no dog must ever be allowed to use them as a chew toy. In supervised play, insist that your dog bring, return and instantly launch the ball – no games of keep away while the dog works the ball in her mouth. And have only one ball in play at a time, to decrease the risk of having your dog get more than one and get the extreme ball lodged back in her throat. Keep the game of fetch quick and lively to keep the concentrate on the chase and the next throw. (I couldn’t live without the Chuck-It, a tool that flings the ball much further than most of us can toss.)
Nothing in life is without risk, unfortunately, however there’s no need to deny your dog the delight and required exercise that a tennis ball can offer. Just make certain to follow a couple of easy guidelines to keep playing safely.
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