Are Tennis Balls Dangerous for Dogs?

Are tennis balls dangerous for dogs? It’s a question that many people have been asking themselves since they were little. The answer is not so simple, as it depends on who you ask and what your definition of “dangerous” is. In this blog post, we will explore the different opinions from veterinarians and dog owners about whether or not tennis balls are good for dogs.

Why are tennis balls dangerous for dogs?

Many veterinarians say that tennis balls, while they seem innocent enough, can actually be dangerous for our dogs. However, these claims are not without some controversy. Some vets say that the reason why certain tennis balls are dangerous is because they contain a chemical called lead which has been known to cause cancer and other health problems such as brain damage and kidney failure in animals.

Others claim that it’s not just the paint on the ball that poses a potential threat to your dog but also the string attached to them. The string can become tangled into your dog’s intestine and intestines causing blockage and potentially leading to surgery. Another theory about why tennis balls may pose a risk of danger is due to how most people play fetch with their dogs.

Fetch is a great way for your dog to exercise, bond with you and have fun, but many people throw the ball so high that their dogs have little choice but to jump after it into whatever may be standing in its way such as trees or even cars if they are on the road (which as we all know is dangerous for both humans and canines).

Carrying extra weight from jumping down from such heights may not only injure your pet’s legs and paws, but also cause some serious damage to their spine and neck.

How can I make tennis balls safe for my dog?

As we mentioned earlier, the controversy surrounding whether tennis balls are dangerous for dogs rests mainly on two issues: lead paint and choking hazards posed by the strings attached to the ball. Here is what you can do to keep your dogs safe when they play with tennis balls:

If you buy new tennis balls for your dogs, check if there are any warning labels on them regarding lead paint. If so, consider returning the balls and getting something else instead. There are plenty of dog toys out there that will withstand your pet’s teeth without posing any environmental or health risks for them, so don’t be afraid to look around.

Also make sure that when you get new balls you inspect them carefully all over their surface in case they were already broken into pieces before purchase (this way it will lower the risk of choking).

Be very careful when you play fetch with your dog and throw the ball not very high up in the air but at a height that it would be easy for your pet to catch. Also, don’t play this game for too long as more than half an hour of such activity is enough to tire even the most energetic of dogs. Consider switching between indoor and outdoor activities so that they can get just as much fun out of playing without any health risks.

Check on your dog after each session of playing fetch to make sure there are no string or tennis pieces left on its teeth, paws or around its neck (if it was wearing a collar while playing). This will lower the risk of them choking on anything and becoming injured.

If you don’t play fetch with your dog or if after examining your dog you see no evidence of them playing with any tennis pieces, consider switching to something else. There are many other activities that are just as fun and healthy for dogs without posing any dangers to their health.

There is still some controversy surrounding whether tennis balls are dangerous for dogs, but it seems there are ways to reduce or even eliminate the risks posed by these seemingly harmless toys. Of course, veterinarians argue that there is no definitive way to make sure that your dog will not get injured when playing with anything, let alone a tennis ball, but following the guidelines above might go a long way in keeping both our pets safe.

How to safely play with your dog and tennis balls


Buy Used Tennis Balls:

Homemade play can be even more fun and healthier for your dog than playing fetch. You can teach them tricks, make them look for the ball in places where you hide it (which will help them to develop their problem solving skills), or simply spend some quality time with your pet without any toys.

Tennis balls also make good chew toys, so if you decide to keep a few of them around the house just know that all that chewing is actually healthy and will help strengthen their teeth and gums.

Throw the ball at a comfortable height:

Don’t worry about making yourself look like an awkward fool when throwing the ball just to have your dog jump higher than were able to throw it. Not only will you look silly, but your dog will be tired very quickly and won’t have fun chasing the ball around.

Don’t Play Fetch for Too Long

It is a good idea to switch between indoor and outdoor activities so that they can get just as much fun out of playing without being exposed to any risks. Also, don’t forget to try various ways of throwing the ball instead of always doing it from the same stand. You never know what might trigger your pet’s interest in playing with you!

Be Careful When Cleaning Up

If you notice that there are tennis pieces left on their paws or mouth, take them away from your dog immediately. As we mentioned earlier, there are many other toys that are just as fun for your dog without posing any health risks. Also, be sure to closely examine the ball before throwing it to make sure it doesn’t have any sharp pieces which might cut your pet’s mouth or paws while running after it.

Inspect Your Pets After Each Session of Playing Fetch

If you see any evidence of them playing with string or tennis pieces, take them away from your dog immediately and consider getting rid of this toy altogether. You can always try something else with which they will have just as much fun without being at risk like chewing on sturdy chew toys made for aggressive chewers (squeaky balls and ropes).

What Can Happen If You Leave a Dog Alone With a Ball

Choking: if a tennis piece gets stuck in your dog’s mouth or paws it might get cut off while trying to get rid of it. Once this happens, they will not be able to breathe or drink and may die from dehydration.

Injuries: just like with humans, playing outside can lead to scratches and bruises on their paws and body. If they get hit by the ball while running after it, they may also sustain injuries that are even more severe than simple cuts from tiny pieces of string.

Swallowed Pieces: dogs love chewing on things including balls, which is why you should always supervise them when playing around with anything small enough for them to swallow whole (like pieces of strings). Even if they’re not planning on swallowing it, they might accidentally swallow pieces of the ball while playing. Both types of accidents are very dangerous.

Poisoning: Pieces that have been swallowed may cause intestinal problems including vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in their stomach area even if your dog swallows just a tiny piece. If you see any of these symptoms after they play with the tennis ball, take them to the vet immediately or better yet call them for advice before doing anything else.

What to Do to Prevent Injuries and Poisoning

1) Give your dog time to play with the ball at their own pace and don’t force them if they’re not in the mood. This way you will be able to notice any unusual interest or behavior so you can remove dangerous objects before it’s too late.

2) Make sure that their paws are clean after each session so they won’t cut themselves while running around after the ball (or anything else). Their mouth should also be carefully examined for strings which might get stuck in their teeth or between their gums. If you see any, take them away from the dog as soon as possible.

3) Only throw a tennis ball if you plan on playing fetch with your dog and if they don’t show any interest in chasing after it, leave it where it is to avoid any risk of swallowing or choking on small pieces.

4) Supervise their play sessions at all times because even if they know better than to swallow a tennis ball, they might accidentally swallow a tiny piece while running around after it without noticing that this could cause serious damage to their body.

You can also carry a water bottle with you so you can rinse off their paws immediately after coming back from outside. This way you will prevent them from getting sick by cutting their pads on anything harmful which may be left over from their outdoor play sessions.

5) Make sure you watch the weather and never go for a walk or play outside with your pooch if it’s raining or snowing because this could cause pain in their paws as well as drowsiness and confusion which can lead to injuries even when supervised.


The jury is still out on whether or not tennis balls are dangerous for dogs. Some people say they can be a choking hazard while others believe it’s just a myth. What do you think?


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