Dog's teeth wearing down from tennis balls

Hi everyone,

Has anyone else had this happen? my dog's "fangs" have become flattened from so much friction with the tennis balls she loves (and probably from sand at the dog park). She's only 6 so I'm worried because dental things are usually pretty expensive. Has anyone else had this happen to their dog? Did you do anything about it/did it become a problem?


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This happened to our senior pittie. We didn't know that tennis balls were "evil" until she was around the same age as your dog. A vet inspected her teeth and asked us if our pup had a tennis ball habit (boy did she). Apparently the dirt and sand combine with the texture of the ball to act like sand paper and grind down dogs' teeth. It's terrible. Our pup already had worn down to the roots being exposed by the time we found out. She spent her last years on a strict no chewing tennis ball diet until we found out she had cancer at age 13 at which point we bought her as many as she wanted since she was on pain meds anyway. The vet basically just had us watch her teeth and we would get them cleaned whenever we had to put her under for a biopsy or lipoma removal. There was one time when they were worried one of the teeth was cracked but it turned out it was ok. I think the main concern is that once they wear down the roots can become exposed and it can cause them pain. If your dog is turning their nose up at dry food it might be causing her discomfort. My best advice is to stop the tennis balls ASAP. Switch her to the chuck-it style rubber ones for chewing (not quite as exciting but better than years of pain). We have so much guilt for not having realized sooner as they definitely caused her discomfort later in life. Pet stores market tennis style balls that are non-abrasive but I don't know if I believe it, I would ask a vet.

Ah, yes. This is happens... I heard about it from my Vet... not many people know though.

On the bright side, my dog chewed on rocks(?!!) as a young dog, so her two front teeth were completely worn down.

She never had and dental issues directly related to those teeth.


Our now 7.5 yo dog has the sarne problem.  By 2 yo his canines were worn down.  We stopped giving him bully sticks and balls to chew on.  We have opted for a soft, flexible disc for fetch.  We heard from an animal hygenist that softing of the tooth can be caused from antibiotics at a young age.  Our dog arrived with Giardia and need a lot of antibiotics to clear it up so I am thinking that along with a lot of bully sticks and tennis balls contributed to his canine wear.  Since we stopped allowing chew sticks and rarely use balls as toys his canines have not worn down more. 

My dog (border collie mix)  had the same thing. His teeth looked like they'd been filed (maybe they had...we got him as a rescue when he was 3).
We never did anything about it and he never seemed to have a problem. The vet was never concerned. He lived to be 16.5
He never stopped wanting to chase balls.
If you are concerned, you can try switching him from balls to sticks. Probably less friction.

My neighbor had the same issue with his dog. The dog's doc said it was the tennis balls that caused his teeth to wear down. (btw - no sand was involved.)

He was told to switch to smooth balls.