Why Do Dogs Love Tennis Balls? A Thorough Guide

Why Do Dogs Love Tennis Balls? A Thorough Guide

Why Do Dogs Love Tennis Balls? A Thorough Guide

Tennis balls are highly erratic, like trapped animals. For dogs, chasing a ball is like chasing rabbits or ducks, even though they know it's not real. Many dog owners are fascinated by this behavior.

Why do tennis balls excite dogs so much? Let's explore this playful passion and why it's so common in parks and backyards.

Why Do Dogs Love Tennis Balls?

One of the nicest things you can ever see is a dog's joy upon spotting a tennis ball. We may all agree that this toy is among the best for sharpening their instincts. Dogs may love their tennis balls for a variety of reasons, but the following are some of the more sensible ones:

1. Ancestral Instincts

Returning to dogs' evolutionary beginnings, it is important to understand why they love tennis balls. Thousands of years ago, human beings domesticated dogs descended from wolves. Wolves are predators and scavengers in the wild; they follow and catch prey with the help of their acute senses. Though in a changed form, dogs still possess this predatory instinct. The need to chase and retrieve tennis balls comes from their predatory instincts.

2. Ideal Size and Texture

Surprisingly, dogs like the tennis ball design. Though big enough to avoid accidental swallowing, its size is just suitable for them to grab and hold in their mouths. Like infants who explore all the things with their hands and tongues, our dog pals do the same (without the hands). When puppies are young and exploring or whenever they are bored, you will often witness them chewing their paws. 

Tennis ball texture appeals to dogs. They like to bite down on tennis balls and mouth them. They find it thrilling and enjoyable to bite into the ball and hear it squeak. Additionally, chewing on a tennis ball is good for dogs' teeth. Cleaning their teeth and gums will promote better oral health. It is a terrific kind of workout and a terrific approach to maintain their teeth healthy and clean.

dog getting a tennis ball in a lake

3. Bounce and Excitement

The excellent bounce tennis balls provide is another reason dogs like them. The ball may change direction as it strikes the ground, keeping the dog interested and ready to attack. This irregular pattern, which mimics the unpredictable patterns that their canine ancestors may have encountered when hunting, heightens the thrill of the pursuit. Dogs that chase the bouncing ball repeatedly get a good release of energy and may enjoy the process.

4. Color Visibility

Though their color range is less than that of humans, dogs can detect colors, contrary to common perception. Tennis balls appeal to them because they notice mostly blue and yellow tones. Tennis balls are especially visually appealing because of their vivid yellow or green color, which pops out against their surroundings.

Nandog Pet Gear® has a range of colorful tennis balls for dogs for you to choose! Choose your pup's favorite color and go play!

The Joy of Fetch for Dogs

For dogs, fetch is much more than just a fun game; it's a vital exercise that improves their mental and physical health and forges closer relationships with their owners.

Mental Stimulation and Physical Exercise

Dogs can relax their mind and keep their bodies active by playing fetch. Chasing a tennis ball helps maintain muscular tone, cardiovascular health, and weight. The quickest way to recover the ball and anticipate where it will fall is to provide mental stimulation. Because it keeps their mind active and concentrated, this mental challenge helps to avoid boredom and associated behavioral problems.

Strengthening Bonds

Playing fetch is another important way a dog and its owner strengthen their relationship. Dogs and humans may work together and build trust through this shared activity. Dogs look to the owner for cues and return the ball to continue the engagement after each ball toss. The game is maintained by this back-and-forth interchange, which also helps the dog and owner communicate and understand one another better over time.

The Pleasure of Retrieving

Dogs like retrieving by nature. The domesticated dog's desire to please its owners contributes to this enjoyment. Dogs get praise and attention for returning tennis balls, making them feel important and happy. Retrieving may also be intrinsically pleasurable for dogs since it appeals to their instincts. They like this easy game deeply, as shown by their happiness as they run after a tossed ball, retrieve it, and race back.

Browse more dog toys in our store!

Are Tennis Balls Safe for Dogs?

Yes, it's safe for dogs to play with tennis balls. They're a great way of bonding with your pet and using his or her drive to exercise and even learn some commands.

That said, responsible owners should always be aware of a few safety points with tennis balls related to bite damage, the ball's material, and the risk of choking (which is something you should always be aware of with anything your dog is chewing, even its own food).

Chewing and Dental Concerns

The material on the outside of a tennis ball is composed of fiber felt, which, although it may be tough enough for a game, is still very rough. Chewing on the abrasive surface of a tennis ball too often can erode the canines' enamel over time, leading to tooth wear and dental problems that can result from it. This is called "blunted teeth" and is frequently noticed in dogs that chew tennis balls.

Avoiding that is simple: don't let your dog chew tennis balls. You can play with tennis balls as much as you want, but do not let your dog nimble it. Instead, prefer proper environmental enrichment toys like ox ears and 

Materials and Dental Wear

The frayed surfaces of tennis balls roughen up the teeth, wearing it down each time the dog chews on the ball. With time, it can cause dental sensitivity and other issues that may need veterinary care.

Again, this is a simple thing to avoid by not letting your dog nimble on tennis balls. They're one of the best dog toys for everything we said above, but your dog should not chew it.


Choking is another risk with tennis balls (as with any other bite size dog toy), mostly larger breeds who are actually the size of swallowing it. The dimensions of a typical tennis ball may unintentionally be lodged in a bigger dog's windpipe if they are too rough in their play or if the ball accidentally breaks into pieces.

If you have small or medium dogs, this isn't a problem with regular sized tennis balls. But be careful when you're playing with mini or small tennis balls for dogs.

Whether you're using bite size toys to play with your dog or not, it's important to familiarize yourself with the Heimlich maneuver for dogs and other proper ways of unblocking your dog's windpipe. Note that the best maneuver depends on your dog's size. Check this resource in First Aid for Pets to know more.


The ability of tennis balls to attract dogs is rooted in their primal predispositions that enable physical and mental exercise and strengthen. Because of that, tennis balls are a must have dog toy for your collection. 

The special relationship you share with your furry friend can be enhanced through meaningful playtime, and you'll note that playing with a tennis ball will make your dog specially engaged. Just be mindful of the best practices we shared above (careful with checking and don't let your dog chew the ball), and you'll be fine!

Take a look at our range of dog toys and discover the best gadgets for your pet's health and happiness!

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