I heard tennis balls are bad on a dogs teeth. Any suggestions on an alternative outdoor toy for a 11 pound min pin/chi

I need an all weather toy that will put up with lots of outdoor use.

Asked by Jersey on Apr 20th 2010 Tagged toys in Pet Products
Report this question Get this question's RSS feed Send this question to a friend


  • Cast your vote for which answer you think is best!


Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011)

The Kong company puts out a tennis toy that is not abrasive to a dog's teeth--I found one at Pet Supplies "Plus".
You can read more info here:

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Aster always had tennis balls to play with. When we had to put her to sleep at 15, her teeth were still in excellent shape. However, she never had any real bones. I would go ahead with the tennis balls. I find ones meant for playing tennis hold up better than the ones meant to be dog toys.

Aster answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I know the kong toys are pretty durable, but not indestructable. Ive not found anything indestructable yet.

I happen to disagree with the tennis ball being bad. All but one of my dogs played with tennis balls when they were young. Gidget still does. The fabric helps "brush" their teeth. I tried using tennis balls made for dogs, but they didn't last 2 minutes for any of my dogs. So I still let Gidget play with real tennis balls.

So far, there have been no bad dental check ups for any of them, Hector is now 9, I occassionally manually brush his teeth, but it's not an every day thing. Vet says he teeth look very good for his age. Im sure diet has more to do with it than what he plays with, but the ball hasn't done any damage.

So, again, no trouble for the first 9 years, I can only hope the next 9 will be good to him too. :o)

If you don't want to use a tennis ball, the kong will probably work for you.

Good luck

Hector answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Ginger loves to play with stuffed animals that squeak when she bights them. Also, she plays with pull ropes a lot, so I think both things would be good alternates to tennis balls.

Ginger answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I'd be more concerned with what's IN a tennis ball than their immediate effect on the teeth. I think a dog would have to consistently gnaw on tennis balls to have any tooth abrasion that is significant. It DOES happen, but before it does, the dog usually chews through the ball and then it's not only a choking hazard but the bits are indigestible and cause blockages.

I also feel strongly that there are a lot of chemicals that go into making the rubber and fiber for tennis balls. If you google what is in them, it's not anything I'd personally want my dog chewing on.

I think they're fine for fetch or flinging across the dog park, but with so many other chew toys out there meant for safe, non-toxic chewing, why take the risks?

I'd suggest either Kongs for small dogs or Rogz, which come in small sizes and are pretty tough.

Jack answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Aster is wrong, there are chemicals in regular tennis balls in the dye that could poison a dog. If you want to use a tennis ball, get one from a pet store that are made just for dogs.

Ty answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 4 Report this answer


Go with any and all the West Paw Design rubber type toys including the Bow Wowzer Ball.
West Paw makes the very best stuff.

Visit the pages below for more help.

Have a good time playing.


Member 941913 answered on 4/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


yeh, the kongs are great. they dont float also.
I bought a kong frisbee and she loves it.
But they don't float so I hope I can find something for our pool.
But, the kongs they can bury them in the dirt and chew on them alot. I just wash them off when they bring them inside.
You got to watch the puppy kong it is really soft and it breaks down.

Dieta answered on 4/21/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Nylabone, Gumabone, and Kong toys are best. Most are weather proof and cannot be shredded apart or swallowed. They are great for a dog's gums and teeth, just make sure you get the appropriate size. You can get them at Petco, Petsmart, Petsupermarket, and
Hope this helps!

James answered on 4/21/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I agree with tennis balls being a chemical hazard as well as an invitation to a blockage from injesting them. I also caution against gumabones... they will break off easily with a moderate chewer and again, the pieces can cause blockages... my Frenchie ate a big piece off the end of a wolf sized one and needed surgery to remove it from his intestines. We now stick to the real nylabones!! My dogs are currently having a blast with toys made from heavy, ripstop nylon material. Some are stuffed, some aren't. The best part is they are also available without squeakers... squeakers cause immediate destruction in my house!!!

Member 641257 answered on 4/23/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Oliver PAWS

If you're looking for a toy to be thrown and tossed around (not chewed on) tennis balls are fine. Oliver has used them for years and even though he pulls off all the fuzz there have been no health problems. If you are looking for a toy that can be thrown outside with your dog to chew on and play while you are out of the house then I would suggest a kong and toys of that nature.

Oliver PAWS answered on 5/31/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Keiko (4/8/98-12/5/12)

The way tennis balls are bad for a dog's teeth is for those dogs who catch the ball in their teeth over and over and over again for years and years. It wears down the canines. Playing fetch with the ball is fine.

I have never known a dog to get sick from playing with a tennis ball...........however, you do have to keep an eye on them to make sure they aren't tearing it up and swallowig pieces.

As for an alternative depends on the dog. Does your dog like to play fetch? or just chew on things? The others on here have suggested some good alternative toys. My rat terrier loves raquet balls.........way too big for him to swallow, yet he can still carry it around..........may be a bit big for your guy tho. So I might suggest the mini tennis balls. they aren't as durable but great for fetch.

Keiko (4/8/98-12/5/12) answered on 5/31/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


They are fine for dogs. I play fetch with a regular tennis ball with my dog's all the time. Nothing has ever hurt them. I've never seen anything about tennis balls hurting dogs.

Member 930032 answered on 7/12/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Curtis Leroy Pudgett-HPS

I eat them! So Mom says no more tennis balls for me

Curtis Leroy Pudgett-HPS answered on 7/22/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Tanuk CGC

Just because it's specifically made for your pet, does not mean it's safe. The Air Kong tennis ball type toys are known to contain toxic levels of lead and arsenic.

The Kongs themselves are safe though, and they make a small Kong ball.

Tanuk CGC answered on 8/11/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It depends on how your dog is with them. Tucker is a ball freak, uses tennis balls as pacifiers and would have one in his mouth 24/7 if he could. By the time he was 3 he had serious wearing of his teeth. He's on tennis balls made for dogs now. He wouldn't have anything to do with rubber balls.

Tucker answered on 8/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


you could use a rubber ball, it's baseically like a raquetball only tougher and a little bit heavier.

Joey answered on 8/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I have 2 dogs who are ball maniacs and play fetch daily. Their teeth are worn down. The vet told me the tennis balls have an abrasive surface which has worn down their teeth. Also, dogs pull off the felt surface from the tennis balls and sometimes swallow it, which can cause internal blockage. Give your dog rubber balls to play with, instead of tennis balls. There are lots of other good toys available besides tennis balls.

Member 1006556 answered on 10/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer



Sketchy chemicals in all balls, "pet" ones don't last long, and most of all, my girl DID chip a tooth (canine) playing with one. It is the catching face on play that does it, not chewing.

Yes! There is, happy day, an answer to this doggie issue! Look up "Felted ball" or "Felted dog toy" on Google or Etsy. Or, use the search term "How to Felted ball" in YouTube to find video's on how to make one yourself. They are made entirely of natural fiber, wool or fiber blends from sheep, goats, rabbits, alpaca's, etc. Or, you can also use my trick, felt the fiber around a racquetball to make it sturdier and easier to throw far, they can even be used with the "Kong Rocket" ball launcher.

I had a problem, I looked for an answer in all places, and eventually my life long love of DIY saved the day, again. Best part about the felted balls...they don't pop/slit like tennis balls! And if they start to look ratty, throw it in the washer in a pillow case, then dryer, fixed

Member 936753 answered on 2/2/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Darwin, CGC

I used to work at an animal hospital and our vet always told clients that tennis balls were bad for dogs when it comes to chewing. She always said the material they are covered in is abrasive to their teeth and if they chew on them, she can she where their teeth have worn down.

My Darwin loves tennis balls and loves chasing them. She has said it's okay for them to play fetch with them but it's not okay for them to lay their and chew them. Which he LOVES to do.

We have supplemented the tennis ball with assorted nylabones and jolly balls for chewing and rougher play but we still use the tennis ball for outdoor exercise. My mother has 3 smaller dogs, like Jersey, and they also have nylabones they enjoy for chewing and tennis balls for play.

Darwin, CGC answered on 3/31/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I'm not sure if it could hurt your dog or not.
You should get the dog tennis balls specially
made for dogs.
You could also try a rope toy, a KONG, or a Frisbee.

♥Gir♥ answered on 5/7/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


They're not bad or anything like that. They help them brush their teeth. You wanna be careful if your dog or puppy swallows or eats it up. It usually doesn't happen. I'm not saying it's a bad idea to give it to him/her, but you just wanna be careful if your dog/puppy chews up then swallows the hair on the tennis ball. I have a Chihuahua, Pomeranian and a Tibetan Mastiff and they don't eat it up. However, when I had my fourth dog when I was younger, she had a surgery because she wasn't careful and swallowed a little bit of the tennis ball. I don't give too many tennis balls to my dogs too much. I only use them for the game of fetch which is not too often. I'm more careful with them now.

Member 1040886 answered on 7/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


The ones made in china can have lead in them. There was an article on it a year or two ago

as for wearing down the teeth, you should not let them sit there and rasp the fuzz off. The stuff gets in their poo as well. Our dad's male schnauzer taz loved to push around with his nose a basketball sized one, but he would chomp at it if it got stuck and eventually, his canines got worn to nubs and the vet told us we had to put his balls away, so it does happen.

Taggert answered on 1/2/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer