Why tennis balls are bad for your dog

A tennis ball can be a choking hazard. A dog’s jaw can be powerful enough to compress the ball or break it into two halves. The whole ball, or a half, can ‘flick’ back into shape and become lodged in the dog’s throat, blocking his airway.

Larger breeds may even be able to swallow a tennis ball whole, which can cause an intestinal blockage, resulting in emergency surgery. Even small pieces of tennis ball bitten off and swallowed can cause blockages, that may result in a seriously ill dog and necessitate surgery.

The felt covering can be abrasive and wear down your dog’s teeth if he chews on the ball excessively. If he rips off bits of felt, the fuzz is thick enough to become lodged in his throat and block his airway, or intestine if swallowed. Some vets do agree to the use of a tennis ball for a game of fetch, but only under your watchful eye and placed safely out of your dog’s reach after the game.

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