Tennis balls are a staple for most dogs with households. But not all tennis balls are safe for dogs! The materials found in normal tennis balls can actually be hazardous for canines to chew one and accidentally swallow. Even worse, they will be more likely to break-down. That’s why many dog owners are turning to tennis balls specially designed for dogs. However, with so many balls bouncing around the market these days, which ones are actually safe, effective, and affordable? These are the absolute best tennis balls for your dog to play fetch with.
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A Quick Look at the Best Tennis Balls for Dogs
Here is a sneak peak at the best tennis balls for dogs. After in-depth research on canine dental health, our team chose these specific brands based on customer reviews, personal use, functionality, safety, durability, and price point. For further information and review on each, keep scrolling.
Why do dogs love tennis balls?
Why are dogs so obsessed with tennis balls? Well, it comes down to their natural predatory instincts. Although dogs were domesticated hundreds of years ago, these primal instincts still remain. Centuries ago, dogs had to find, chase, and kill their own food to survive. Although that’s no longer the case, we as dog owners still get to enjoy fun games of fetch with our dogs. Tennis balls are the perfect fetch toy because they bounce and roll. This mimics the movement of a wild animal that dogs would hunt in the past. Nowadays, fetch with tennis balls brings exercise to your dog and provides you with an easy activity for owner-dog bonding.
Why Can’t I Use regular tennis balls?
A regular tennis ball designed for human use is actually harmful for your dog to play with. Those bright yellow balls are designed for a game of tennis and, therefore, are not durable enough to withstand canine play and bite. They have a thin outer shell and hollow inside, making them easy to puncture, ripe, and crack. With materials like synthetic rubber and felt, if your dog ingests any portion of it, you will have some pretty nasty tummy troubles on your hands! Additional, that synthetic felt wear down the enamel on your dog’s teeth, making them much more prone to dental damage.
However, since your pup may be completely obsessed with tennis balls or fetching in general, it would be horrible to instantly rip away their favorite toy. That is why dog companies produce tennis balls specifically for dog use and play. They use materials safe for your dog’s teeth and gums, offer a range of size options for different breeds, and use a thicker outer shell for better durability.
The Best Tennis Balls for Dogs
#1 Pet Pizazz Eco-Friendly 100% Wool Dog Balls
Our top pick for tennis balls for dogs are these 100% wool dog balls. They are made of soft, 100% Merino wool which is a renewable resource. They measure 2.25” in diameter, which is slightly bigger than a normal tennis ball. This is a great size for many different dog breeds and will not turn into a choking hazard.
We love that these balls are eco-friendly, all-natural, and free of chemicals. Since your dog carries these balls in their mouth, it’s important for them to be as natural as possible. They are great for playtime indoors or outdoors because they are so soft, but still bounce when tossed. With fun, bright colors like blue, green, and red you have more options than just a standard tennis ball. Specifically for outdoor play, we suggest the blue or red color to increase visibility.
One of the main concerns with dogs and tennis balls is the damage that the felt can do to their teeth. These merino wool balls won’t damage their teeth. In fact, they will actually help to keep them clean by scrubbing off bits of food and plaque when your pup plays. A huge perk: they are machine washable! Tennis balls can often get dirty and slobbery from repeated play, especially when you take them outdoors. With these dog tennis balls, you will be able to let the washing machine do all the work.
If your dog is a heavy chewer, they may be able to chew these balls apart. They are made from 100% wool with no fillers, which is a great thing unless your pup likes to destroy their tennis balls. If destroyed, the dye may temporarily color the inside of your dog’s mouth. Although that sounds scary, these balls are dyed with eco-friendly dye that will cause no harm. That being said, they are not to be used as a chew toy for your pup, but a fetch toy.
#2 Kong Airdog Squeakair Tennis Balls
The Kong Squeakair balls fall at number two because they offer a durable and safe dog ball in a great range of sizes, all of which squeak. Not only is Kong a wonderful company who truly knows their stuff when it comes to rambunctious pups, they have the technology and experience to follow through. The non-abrasive felt that covers these tennis balls will not damage your dog’s teeth and gums like a traditional tennis ball would.
In particular, these balls come in sizes extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large; making it easy for you to really cater to your furbaby’s breed and size. We have found that the extra large size is specifically perfect for dogs with larger bite sizes. It will significantly reduce your worry of them choking on a standard size ball.
The balls resemble normal tennis balls with their bright yellow coloring and classic design. However, the distinguishing feature is the blue Squeakair logo on the front of each ball. Not only can you play the usual game of fetch, the balls also have a great bounce to add extra activity and liveliness.
That brings us to their true selling point: the squeak! Any toy with the ability to squeak brings out the natural instincts within your pup to play more and longer. The squeaker is an added bonus in these balls, and many dogs who are not usually interested in tennis balls will be chasing after these in no time. Squeakers in the Kong Airdog Squeakerair are covered in a rubber material. Plus, they are lodged deep within the ball itself, so it is difficult for your dog to tear into. After-all, less squeaker ingestion means less hazard!
With all dog toys, there’s a certain level of caution that has to be used. Make sure that your dog is never left alone with a Squeakair ball, especially if they are a heavy chewer. You don’t want to risk any swallowing of the tennis ball materials. If you’re worried about your carbon footprint, these are not as eco-friendly as the 100% merino wool tennis balls listed above.
#3 The Dog’s Balls-Premium Dog Tennis Balls
The Dog’s Balls Premium Dog Tennis Balls come in at number three because they are natural-made, more durable, and even compatible with standard dog ball launchers. If you love the traditional tennis ball look, these are a great upgrade from an average tennis ball. Unique to the brand, they have a thicker outer layer than normal tennis balls; which gives your dog some increased durability in their toy. Although not indestructible, they will last better in the hands of rough-playing pups and can endure weather elements. Which means: you can use them both indoors and outdoors.
The felt used is not only non-toxic and all-natural, it is non-abrasive on your dog’s teeth and gums. They are perfect for games of fetch and they are compatible with standard dog ball launchers; which makes playing will your dog easier, less slobber-filled, and more fun for everyone. They come in colors like blue, pink, yellow, red, and black; but the color option does depend on which size you go for.
Their size is safe for most dog breeds with any mouth size, specifically because you can choose from three different sizes: 1.89”, 2.5”, and 3.23”. Through Amazon, The Dog’s Balls Premium Dog Tennis Balls come in inexpensive 3, 6, and 12 packs. Especially if your pup tends to go through their toys quickly, it will save you money to buy a larger pack. Ultimately, it is nice to have a stash of new tennis balls saved up for when one becomes too dirty or destroyed.
This could be considered a pro or a con, depending on you and your dogs preferences, but these balls don’t squeak. Squeaking toys often help to engage your dog in play, but most dogs are excited enough by non-squeaking tennis balls. If your dog is a heavy chewer, they may be able to destroy these tennis balls. Always supervise your dog during play time to ensure their safety.
#4 Chuckit! Tennis Balls
At number four comes the Chuckit! Tennis Balls! Designed especially for the game of fetch, these dog-friendly tennis balls are constructed as a normal tennis ball would be. Therefore, two rubber half shells are glued together to form the core, then wrapped in a felt-like material. This design makes them a little less durable for rough play because the two halves can split apart. However, to compensate, they have a thicker core than you would find on a standard, human tennis ball. This provides added weight for throwing distance and added durability against being flattened from chewing.
They come in a bright orange color that makes them easier to find in the outdoors, but that is actually just for your visibility, as your pup will see the ball as dark yellow in color. Chuckit! brand Tennis Balls for dogs come in sizes from small to extra large and their medium size fits perfectly into a ball launcher. No matter which size you choose, it will come in a pack of two. That way you can have a back-up. Their medium size even has a four pack option. For further research and analysis on these tennis balls for dogs, head on over to the Chuckit! Tennis Ball Review.
These balls should not be used as chew toys. You will end up with small bits of orange felt all over your house, and likely in your dog’s stomach because they have ingested the felt after chewing on it excessively. If you let your dog have these balls as chew toys, you’ll end up with two halves of what used to be a tennis ball lying about your home when the ball splits at the glued seam on the core.
Pro tip: Combine with Chuckit! Ball Launcher
Chuckit! company makes an accompanying throwing arm for the Chuckit tennis balls. The worst and most discouraging part about playing fetch with your playful pooch is having to touch the slobber covered ball they return to you. With a ball launcher, grabbing that moist, felt ball is a disgusting task you will not have to do ever again.
You will love being able to avoid all the dog slobber and your dog will love you more because you will be willing to play fetch for longer. The Chuckit! Launcher can be used with any medium-sized Chuckit! ball, or any ball that measures 2.5”. In our full article The ChuckIt! Ball launcher, you will be able to get even more insight into how and why this launcher is extremely useful. Especially if your dog “demands” fetching frequently and your arm tends to get tired or sore, the launcher is going to provide much-needed help.
Other Dog Ball Toys
No matter which way you look at it, even tennis balls specifically designed for dogs is not for everyone. Specifically if you have a power chewer pup, you are probably still searching for a ball that can withstand their gnawing habits. Additionally, younger puppies and senior furbabies require something more gentle on their teeth and jaws. If you find yourself relating to these situations, check out this article on The Best Dog Balls. The article encompases all kinds of ball toys for dogs, each made with different materials and having unique functions. You will be able to see the top overall pick, interactive pick, puppy pick, most durable pick, and more. In the end, even if your journey to perfect dog ball continues, we have your back.