Why do dogs need their own 'tennis balls'?

    Dog with two tennis balls

    Tennis balls are a classic toy that dogs have adopted as their favorite ball. They bounce, fly, stick out like a highlighter as they soar in the air, and make a satisfying bonk as they land on the ground. It’s no wonder that your dog absolutely loves to chase and chew on them.

    Unfortunately, like human frisbees, tennis balls aren’t all that they’re made out to be. Believe it or not, this seemingly safe toy for dogs can pose a number of problems for your furry friend.

    Here’s the 411 on why tennis balls aren’t safe for dogs, as well as our best dog balls made specifically for dogs.

    Why Are Tennis Balls Bad for Dogs?

    First and foremost, what exactly is the problem with tennis balls? They’re designed to be whacked by a racket over and over again, so surely, they’re durable enough for dogs, right? Not so fast. Tennis balls are unsafe for our furry friends for a number of reasons:

    Choking and Stomach Hazards

    Though tennis balls are made from a rubber core, that fuzzy wool or nylon casing is what makes tennis balls especially dangerous for dogs. The fuzzy particles are easy for dogs to chew off, and they can lead to digestive blockages.

    Toxic Ingredients

    The rubber used in sports tends to be synthetic, which means your dog might be chewing on a toxin-infused ball. At Chopper and Otis, our eco-friendly rubber dog toys are sustainably sourced and free from these harmful ingredients.

    Easy to Break Apart

    Another potential choking hazard is the rubber core itself. Tennis balls have a hollow core. This makes them extra bouncy, but it also means your doggo can chew through one quickly, causing it to break.

    Dental Damage and Tooth Decay

    Last but not least, all that grinding on fuzzy nylon particles can actually wear down your pup’s teeth. The casing around tennis balls is an abrasive that can even lead to exposed pulp tissues that make it difficult for your dog to eat.

    Broken tennis ball is not good for your dog

    Can My Dog Play with Other Sports Balls?

    Though your doggo might be a tennis-playing champion, balls designed for human sports aren’t safe for dogs. Whether it’s a tennis ball, football, soccer ball, or another popular sports ball, giving your dog any toys that are not specifically designed for dogs is risky.

    When you choose to give your dog an object made for human activities, you increase your dog’s likelihood of getting hurt, choking, or having life-long issues. Not to mention, it’s just plain hard to know exactly what is put in human sports balls. From the dyes used to the factory conditions and ingredients, it’s not a risk worth taking.

    Safer Dog Toy Alternatives for Tennis Balls

    Dangers aside, you want your pet to have high-quality dog toys made with safe ingredients. At Chopper and Otis, we have a wide selection of balls for dogs with all kinds of personalities.

    Without further delay, these safe tennis ball alternatives are bound to bring tennis back to your dog’s court:

    Best for Heavy Duty Chewing

    RuffDawg Tough Dog Ball & Ball XL on Chopper & Otis

    Retrieving Dog Ball

    For medium- and large-sized dogs, RuffDawg’s retrieving dog ball is the perfect replacement for tennis balls. This bright toy is exciting enough to keep your dog’s attention. It also bounces, floats, and is durable, yet keeps your dog’s teeth and gums safe.

    Always non-toxic, recyclable, and FDA-approved, your dog will love chewing on and chasing after this ball.


    Best for Outdoor Fetching

    Cycle Dog Retread High Roller Dog Fetching Ball

    Retreads High Roller

    Cycle Dog’s high roller ball is a textured, light-weight, and bright ball that dogs love to fetch time and time again. Great for high-energy dogs, this durable, floating ball is made from EcoLast, which is derived from post-consumer recycled bicycle tubes.

    Buy it in trio pack.


    Best for Senior Dogs or Pups with Sensitive Teeth

    PetPlay Scout And About Nova Treat Ball

    NovaFlex Nova Ball

    Treat-lovers look no farther! The P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle ball has a hidey-hole that is ideal for dogs who would rather roll, paw, and chew on their new ball. This soft rubber treat dispenser is made from NovaFlex material that keeps your dog’s sensitive teeth protected.

    *Not for tough chewers


    Best for Blind Dogs

    Beco Balls made with Natural Bamboo Rubber by Beco Pets on Chopper & Otis

    Beco Ball

    If your dog is blind or has trouble seeing, Beco Pets has created a simple yet engaging dog toy that whistles when flying to keep the dogs informed where it is. Unlike the other choices in our list, this ball has an asymmetric design that wobbles and sways. This interactive puzzle toy also has a little hidey-hole for tasty treats. Made from 100% natural rubber and rice husks, the Beco Ball is biodegradable and nontoxic.


    Next time you pick up that tennis ball, why not treat your doggo with one of these fun, safe balls for dogs?

    *Remember to always supervise your dog with any toys and inspect toys prior to playtime fun to ensure there are no worn or broken pieces.