Vet Raises Health Concerns Over Dogs Playing with Tennis Balls

Whether it’s gently tossing the fuzzy yellow-green ball across the lawn or lobbing it from a hand-held launcher, you might want to think twice about the ball you’re throwing when playing fetch with Fido — at least that’s what Texas-based veterinarian Hunter Finn is warning dog owners.

Jack Russell with tennis ball
Photo: Pixabay/BerckenGroep

Tennis Balls & Dogs

Hunter, a vet who routinely shares animal care advice on his TikTok account, outlined the dangers of tennis balls in two videos that have since gone viral. In the first, viewers are educated on a list of things pet owners should never give their canine pals, and tennis balls are high among them. But why?

German shepherd
Photo: Pixabay/Printz_of_Pawz

Veterinarian Health Warnings

Very few among us have never played fetch with our dogs using a brightly colored tennis ball, so what gives? Finn dove in and explained via an on-screen caption that “over time, the felt [on a tennis ball] is abrasive and will severely wear down your dog’s teeth,” advising pet parents to instead look for safer options.

dog playing fetch
Photo: Pixabay/Pfüderi

Dogs & Dental Health

Finn then shared a follow-up video where he included pictures of a dog’s obviously worn teeth while pointing out that this type of wear can eventually lead to a small fortune in veterinarian bills.
“Stop giving your dog tennis balls,” the clip opens. “Right now, you’re probably thinking, ‘Dr. Finn, how does [a tennis ball] harm my dog?’

“Well, when you’re playing fetch with your dog and throwing this thing, it’s getting caught in saliva and dirt and sand, and just basically turns into sandpaper.”

Yorkie with tennis ball
Photo: Pixabay/Josch13

In Your Pet’s Best Interest

The course surface of the ball will then start to do serious damage to the inside of a dog’s mouth as it moves around inside of it, Finn explained.
“As that ball turns in your dog’s mouth as it’s playing with it, and you’re grabbing it, and it’s being thrown and picked up multiple times… your dog’s teeth will start to look like this,’ he noted while sharing an example of the damage via a profile image of a canine tooth depicting wear.

canine teeth
Photo: TikTok/@dr.hunterfinn

Safer Dog Toy Options

He acknowledged that while the teeth don’t always have to be removed when they get into that state, he urged viewers to look for safer alternatives, such as plain rubber balls or smoother balls that won’t hold grit or sand when tossed around outdoors. 

It may seem like a minor thing, but if it improves your pet’s quality of life, we say listen up and take the good doctor’s advice by watching his TikTok video below.

chewed tennis ball
Photo: Pixabay/MichaelTampakakis

#greenscreen #drfinn #petmethod #petmethodveterinary

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