Tennis balls, the most popular ball on the market for dogs can wreak havoc on your dog’s canine teeth. The outer shell of the tennis ball is abrasive in itself, let alone after it collects dirt from rolling on the ground. Compound that with the fact that it hardens from the saliva in your dog’s mouth. The ball now becomes a round piece of sand paper for your dog’s canine teeth that will wear off the enamel and wear down his canines.
In the 1980′s regular tennis balls were thought to have a dye in them that increased the risk of cancer. Today, that dye is no longer “supposed” to be used in the production of the balls. I believe you would have to check with the manufacturer of the tennis balls to verify that they use a safe, nontoxic dye. Though I’d have my doubts about any that came from China.
If you have a “ball dog” like I do, a much safer ball to use would be a smooth rubber ball. Please be sure it is not a hard ball as your dog can crack a tooth or hurt his mouth when catching it. A smooth soft rubber ball would cut down immensely on the dirt it collects while playing catch with your dog. I doubt your dog would notice the difference as long as you continued to play fetch.
If you continue to use tennis balls, it would be a good idea to spray or wash them off daily with plain water to cut down on the collection of dirt and sand. This should help to preserve your dog’s canine teeth.
Worth mentioning, basketball type balls that have a rough outer shell will also wear down a dog’s teeth as the dog continues to bite at it, never being able to fully grab it. Dogs that chew on wire crates also have dental problems as this wears down teeth at an alarming rate as well.