Why you should NEVER let your dog play with a tennis ball

I’m a vet – and here’s the terrifying truth about why you should NEVER let your dog play with a tennis ball

  • Hunter Finn is warning people about common errors with their pets to avoid
  • TikTok users are shocked by what the frequent mistakes are 
  • These problems could lead to health issues for your dogs if not implemented

Tennis balls, pig ears, and meaty bones are all standard items that one would expect to find in a dog’s mouth – yet a vet is now lifting the lid on why these popular pup chew toys could be causing serious harm to your beloved pooch. 

The next time you get set to throw a bright yellow tennis ball into the distance and urge your dog to race after it, think about this harrowing warning from Texas-based animal expert Hunter Finn, who has laid bare exactly why these toys should never be used to entertain pups. 

Hunter, who regularly shares pet care advice on his popular TikTok account, detailed the hidden dangers of tennis balls in two now-viral videos – the first of which saw the veterinarian laying out a list of things ‘pet owners should never do’, which included giving your dogs cooked bones, pig ears and… the oh-so popular tennis ball. 

Hunter explained in a brief on-screen caption that ‘over time, the felt [on a tennis ball] is abrasive and will severely wear down your dog’s teeth’, advising pup lovers to opt for a safer rubber ball instead. 

A vet has issued a severe warning about giving your dog a tennis ball to play with, revealing that it can cause serious and costly damage to the inside of the pup’s mouth  

His warning immediately sparked a firestorm of questions from his followers, who demanded to know more information about the injuries that tennis balls can cause their dogs. 

Eager to spread the information far and wide, Hunter shared a second follow-up video, in which he shared images of a dog’s warped teeth – while noting that this kind of injury can cost pet owners a fortune in vet’s bills. 

‘Stop giving your dog tennis balls,’ he began the clip. ‘Right now you’re probably thinking, “Dr. Finn, how does [a tennis ball] harm my dog?

‘Well when you’re playing fetch with your dog and throwing this thing, it’s getting caught in saliva and dirt and sand, and [it] just basically turns into sandpaper.’ 

That rough surface of the tennis ball will then start to do serious damage to the inside of a dog’s mouth as it ‘turns’ inside it, Hunter went on. 

‘As that ball turns in your dog’s mouth as it’s playing with it, and you’re grabbing it, and it’s being thrown and picked up multiple times… your dog’s will start to look like this,’ he continued while sharing the gruesome image. 

While he conceded that the teeth ‘don’t always have to be removed’ when they get into that condition, he urged his followers to opt for a safer toy like a rubber ball or ‘a smoother ball’ that won’t pick up dirt or sand. 

And it’s not just tennis balls that need to be trashed, Hunter insists. 

Cooked bones and pig ears are also banned items as far as he is concerned. 

According to the doc, cooked bones ‘are a great way to spend thousands on dental extractions when they wear down or fracture the teeth’, while pig ears are ‘a great way to give your dog diarrhea and salmonella’. 

‘As that ball turns in your dog’s mouth.. your dog’s will start to look like this,’ he continued

Many TikTok users were shocked about the tennis ball – while others admitted to being in the know based on personal experience

Many TikTok users were shocked about the tennis ball – while others admitted to being in the know based on personal experience.

One user commented: ‘I stopped immediately a few years ago after my dentist told me the same thing.’ 

There was also a lot of shock from TikTokers about how unhealthy pig ears really are for pets. 

One TikToker commented: ‘Wow my family always gives my dog pig ears as a birthday gift or Christmas gift. always thought thought they were good for him.’

Finn currently has a loyal fan base of over 2 million followers and more than 50 million likes on his videos dedicated to giving advice on how to best care for your pets.

He is the owner of Pet Method Animal Hospital in McKinney Texas, specializing in services such as primary care, preventive treatments, surgical procedures, urgent care, and dental services.

He continues to post videos on a regular basis answering common questions relating to the care of pets – primarily dogs.

One of his most-watched TikTok videos discusses tips on running a successful pet store, earning more than 15 million views as of 2023. 

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