What to do if Your Dog Eats Part of a Tennis Ball

Our canine best buddies mostly use their mouths when interacting with the outside world. When it comes to tennis balls, a dog can spend hours having fun with them, whether indoors or outdoors. 

And as any dog owner knows, once something enters their dog’s mouth, it’s hard to pull it out. Many canines have a constant need to gnaw on anything, even a stick or a tennis ball. 

Little do people know that swallowing something deemed safer, such as a tennis ball, can lead your dog to some serious conditions. In fact, a tennis ball can be the next target of your dog’s destructive chewing habits and lead to serious illness. 

Your dog can easily chew off portions of rubbery skin or surface when they begin to slough. Doing this puts your dog at risk of developing a life-threatening condition, such as an obstruction in its digestive tract and other fatal possibilities. 

So, if your pooch has swallowed an entire tennis ball or eaten parts of it, find out when it’s time to call your vet and what they can do to help when your dog ingests a piece of the tennis ball. Keep reading!

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats a Tennis Ball?

You can instantly take your dog to a vet if you’ve witnessed them gulping down parts of a tennis ball. But if your dog ate a tennis ball when you weren’t around, it might take a while to figure out what happened.

If your dog’s toys are easily accessible at all times, your pet may have swallowed the ball while you were busy. In this case, look out for symptoms of discomfort such as:

1. Vomiting

2. Diarrhoea

3. Lack of appetite

4. Low energy levels

5. Lethargy

6. Dehydration

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7. Abdominal pain

When you discover that your dog has eaten a tennis ball, you must examine its mouth to see if it is still lodged in the dog’s throat or swallowed. If taking out the ball by hand is viable, do it, and then contact your vet.

Some tennis balls contain elements that are bad for animals, so it’s a good idea to bring an extra ball so your vet can figure out what’s in it right away. 

Large-breed dogs are more susceptible to this issue since their muzzles can easily accommodate an entire tennis ball. Immediately call your local animal hospital if you suspect your dog has ingested a tennis ball.

Is your dog experiencing intestinal obstruction? Check out this video to see how you can help!

Things to do if Your Dog Eats Parts of a Tennis Ball 

Most dogs won’t be able to ingest it since even a tiny piece of a tennis ball can make a dog sick. Hence, you should treat your dog as if it had swallowed the entire tennis ball, even though the symptoms may not be as severe.

Tennis ball fuzz will not break down in your dog’s stomach and could cause an obstruction, which can be quite serious if not treated on time. Seek the advice of your trusted veterinarian to be safe. 

Moreover, you should also determine the approximate quantity of tennis balls you think your dog ate. If the problem does not appear to be an emergency, the veterinarian may recommend that you wait until the dog eliminates the ball through its feces before contacting them again.

What Happens After a Dog has Eaten a Tennis Ball

When your dog digests the ball first, it will damage the stomach lining and clog the pylorus. You’ll notice that when your dog ingests a tennis ball, the symptoms—nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain—will lead your dog to stop eating. 

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If, by chance, the ball or parts of it survive the stomach and intestines, they face a long and challenging trek to the outside world. The irritating ball will damage the intestinal lining and may even clog your dog’s digestive tract anytime. 

Symptoms such as tiredness, nausea, stomach pain, restlessness, and loss of appetite are early indicators of intestinal obstruction. Your dog may also exhibit constipation or diarrhea symptoms.

An ill dog will stretch out with its rear end raised in the air. Usually, it might take 12 to 72 hours for balls to cause intestinal obstruction in dogs. Nevertheless, some dogs can hold their bowel movements for up to five days, which may cause further discomfort and pain to your dog.

Here’s why letting your dog play with tennis balls is a bad idea!


Conclusively, it’s never a good idea to take this action lightly. A dog may playfully eat parts of a tennis ball, which can be life-threatening if not given attention in time. 

And while tennis balls are a hit with dogs, it is best to offer them toys they cannot break apart or swallow. These dog-friendly toys are also made with safer materials that wouldn’t get too troublesome even if it gets ingested accidentally. 

If your dog must play with a tennis ball, make sure you’re around to keep an eye and never let them bite or eat it. Replace the tennis balls often, as older ones are easier to break and swallow. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has consumed a ball or ball component, and get the best recommendations for your dog.

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Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.