Vet Raises Health Concerns Over Dogs Playing with Tennis Balls

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.

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?

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.

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."

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.

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.

Rebecca West

Rebecca is a writer and editor for both print and digital with a love for travel, history, archaeology, trivia, and architecture. Much of her writing has focused on human and animal health and welfare. A life-long pet owner, she has taken part in fostering dogs for military members during deployment and given many rescued and surrendered dogs the forever home they always wanted. Her two favorite canine quotes are, "Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are," and "My dog rescued me."

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