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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products


A lot of us dog owners may not be aware that tennis balls can actually be quite dangerous to our furry friends. They can turn a typical game like playing fetch, for example, into a scary situation. There are times your dog might catch the ball in his mouth, but farther back than it should go. The ball could get stuck in your pup’s throat, and once this happens it usually blocks off breathing. This requires immediate action — and if the blockage is not removed right away, you dog may not survive.

There have also been studies showing that the glue used on tennis ball seams can erode tooth enamel. That’s because the natural stickiness allows this glue to stay on teeth long after your pup is finished with the ball itself. If your pooch likes to chew or eat tennis balls, pieces can also get stuck in the throat, esophagus, or anywhere along the digestive tract. Fragments can often get lodged in the bowel, for instance, and this can require emergency surgery.

These problems are seen most often in breeds like Labs, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. Why? Mainly, sheer size. These larger breeds are more likely to enjoy catching tennis balls and playing a bit more roughly with their toys. They also have mouths that are large enough to wrap around the entire ball. But tennis ball fragments can still pose health and choking risks for breeds of any size.

Like tennis balls, there are other toys that are smart to avoid for safety reasons. They include:

  1. Any ball-shaped toy that your dog can fully fit inside his mouth
  2. Bones that are thin, small, or splinter too easily
  3. Jerky treats made (or partially sourced) in certain overseas countries
  4. Commercial rawhide chews, which are not digestible and often contain formaldehyde or bleach

Fortunately, there are many great alternatives that are safe to use with correct supervision. For instance, here are Two Bostons we only offer treats and chews that are completely digestible for cats and dogs. Our products are made and sourced in North America – often locally – with natural ingredients subject to stringent safety standards. Most toys we carry are made of safe, non-toxic, and/or recycled plastic or rubber. Many are reinforced with extra-durable seams and stitching.

Tennis Ball Alternatives

Many dogs can hold one entire tennis ball (or more!) in their mouths — and even smaller fragments pose a serious choking hazard. Fortunately, there are safe, healthy, fun, and tasty alternatives to meet your pup’s chomping and romping preferences.

We’ll talk about some firsthand Team favorites in a future post, but there are a few that are especially awesome. When it comes to toys, for instance, check out the Planet Dog line (see football photo, above). These non-toxic, clean-rinsing toys are made in the USA with energetic players and assertive chewers in mind. First of all, they smell like peppermint, so they offer a great little breath-freshening boost with every chew. But they’re also made of pliable, super-durable Orbee-Tuff material. The special rubberized consistency allows the toy to bounce and float; and it stands up to even the most aggressive chewer because it encourages a dog’s teeth to rebound off the toy instead of puncturing the surface. Plus, Planet Dog toys are 100% guaranteed against defects … and many are also recyclable.

If you’re interested in chomper-friendly alternatives that your dog CAN digest, we carry a number of safe, healthy, non-splintering chews as well. Our customers just love bully sticks, which are made from fully digestible free-range beef with no added hormones, antibiotics, or animal by-products. Himalayan Chews (far right, above) are another huge favorite, which offer a long-lasting boost of flavor and calcium. Then there are Yaky Sticks, which wrap a Himalayan Chew around a bully stick for the best of both worlds! Sam’s Yams are a safe, yummy, all-vegetable hit that are totally digestible. Crocodile Bones are a super-healthy and safe option as well. And don’t forget about antlers (center, above). These are full of calcium and phosphorus and very clean-chewing – no gunky mess on your carpets. At Two Bostons, we carry only the naturally-shed variety in deer, elk, and moose flats.

So stop by and ask us for more firsthand suggestions — then stay tuned for more fun, safe, healthy Team insights in future posts!


[…] tennis balls, which have numerous dangers as discussed in a previous blog, the Unbreakoball is made right here in the United States of high-density polyethylene plastic … […]

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