What size is your tennis ball?

While none of my dogs have ever even considered returning a thrown ball back to me there are some dogs who thrive on a simple game of fetch.

This past Memorial Day I heard a story that made me rethink this past time or at least encourage some safety measures.

A couple was out on the Intracoastal in their boat with their Labrador. Excellent combination, Labradors, water, balls. So far, so good.

The Intracoastal is dotted with little islands where boaters enjoy pulling on shore and getting out to bask in the sun, a picnic or as on this day, to let their pup run and play.

The Lab bounded back and forth on the island pouncing on the ball returning it wet and slobbery to its owners, except for the last throw.

In its glee the dog pounced on the ball, or perhaps it was still bouncing and bounced into his mouth, either way it became lodged in the dog’s throat.

As everyone realized the dog was in distress, people began calling for help, animal control wasn’t available on the holiday weekend and the police department do not respond to dog emergencies on the water.

From what I was told one lady reached into the dogs mouth to try and dislodge the ball. She wasn’t successful but she must have repositioned it enough to allow air into the lungs. The dog was boarded back onto the boat and headed to shore (fortunately not a great distance) where they were met by police officers and I believe a fisherman.

Between them they were able to poke the ball with a hook of some type and pull it out of the Lab’s mouth.

We don’t think twice about using tennis balls as toys for our dogs. Wonderful exercise for our dogs and a great way to recycle the balls, or at least that’s what many believe.

Tennis balls are not manufactured as dog toys and have toxic chemical coatings that could cause medical issues for your pet.

The bigger concern is the size of the tennis ball. A small or medium dog, Corgi or terrier for example, would probably be fine playing with a traditional size tennis ball, under supervision. When the game is over take the ball away so they don’t chew them up and swallow any pieces.

Dogs should play with dog toys and specifically balls made for the sharp interior of a dog’s mouth.There is an impressive number of online and in-store products to choose from, in varying sizes, with no chemical coatings and reasonably priced.

When shopping look for the size of  the ball, where the ball was made, and the label to verify there are no toxic coatings. As with all toys, supervision while the toy is being enjoyed is important.

Now if I can convince my Corgi to play!

Do you have a photo of your dog playing catch or fetch? I would be happy to include it on my page.

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