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The Danger of Dogs and Tennis Balls

Dogs and Tennis Balls – Be Aware of the Dangers

They are fuzzy, colorful, easy to find, and dogs love them—-tennis balls. However, tennis balls do present a hazard that requires they be used only in supervised conditions.

lukeballThe problem is that dogs have strong jaws capable of compressing a tennis ball. If that compressed ball pops open in the back of the throat, it can cut off a dog’s air supply. Most notably, one of Oprah Winfrey’s beloved dogs was a tennis ball victim, but there have been many others. The chewed bits of a tennis ball also aren’t something you want inside your dog. This dog tennis ball danger tends to be most common in larger breeds like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. The reason: those breeds are more likely to enjoy catching and playing intently with balls. Plus, their mouths are large enough to entirely wrap around a tennis ball.

You don’t have to throw away all your tennis balls, but you do need to use them in a way that reduces the risk of choking. Tennis balls should always be put out of reach after a game of fetch, and no dog should ever be allowed to use them as a chew toy. In supervised play, insist that your dog fetch, return and immediately release the ball — no games of keep away while the dog works the ball in her mouth. And have only one ball in play at a time, to minimize the risk of having your dog pick up more than one and get the furthermost ball lodged back in her throat. Keep the game of fetch fast and lively to keep the focus on the chase and the next throw.

cookieballNothing in life is without risk, sadly, but there’s no need to deny your dog the joy and needed exercise that a tennis ball can provide. Just be sure to follow a few simple guidelines to keep playing safely.

What To Do If Your Dog Chokes On A Tennis Ball

If you find your dog choking on a tennis ball, you need to act quickly. The first thing you need to do is get your dog, and if he’s a big dog, then straddle him. Open your dog’s mouth. If you are able to reach the tennis ball, grab it with your fingers to remove it from your dog’s mouth.
If the tennis ball is further down in your dog’s throat, then you will need to roll the ball out of your dog’s throat.

Here’s how to remove a ball from your dog’s throat:

  • On the outside of your dog’s throat, roll the ball up his throat and into his mouth.
  • Then, open your dog’s mouth and once the ball is within reach grab the tennis ball.

Just remember, the faster you get the item unstuck and out of your dog’s mouth, the better your dog’s odds of surviving. If your dog has something stuck in his throat and cannot breathe at all, then chances are you don’t have time to get to the vet and it will be up to you to save your dog’s life. If someone else is in the house, yell for them to assist you in getting the item out of your dog’s throat. The lesson here is this: If your dog isn’t breathing, don’t go looking for help — because once you find help, it may be too late.

Your pet sitters and dog walkers of Team PPP always supervise ball play, and we won’t allow chewing, gnawing or other dangerous situations while under our care!

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