Pet owners who play lacrosse wonder are lacrosse balls safe or toxic for dogs. If you’re wondering like them, here’s an answer for you. It’s both a yes and a no. Lacrosse balls may be safe for dogs who are mature and trained enough to play with them. Also, lacrosse balls may be toxic if the quality of materials used does not pass safety standards.
If pet dogs didn’t grow up exposed to ball playing and fetching, then it can be unsafe. There’s also a risk if you buy lacrosse balls and dog toys from unverified or unknown sellers. Their products may not have met quality standards. And these could be toxic both to you and your pet dog.
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Is the Size of a Lacrosse Ball Safe for My Dog?
Yes. According to US Lacrosse, the official lacrosse ball size measures at 7.75 to 8 inches in circumference. This is the standard set by NOCSAE, which is the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.
In practice, a ball size is safe for your dog when it is small enough to fit in your pet’s mouth. But it should be large enough to avoid accidental choking and swallowing.
Can I Let My Dog Chew on a Lacrosse Ball?
The ASPCA or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agrees that dog chewing is normal. And it’s healthy in many ways. It helps relieve pain during the teething stage. It also helps strengthen and clean dog teeth and gums.
Now, lacrosse balls are strong enough to handle dog chewing. But, pet owners must be careful to watch their dog while it chews on a ball. Indeed, lacrosse balls are considered strong and sturdy. But heavy chewing may damage your dog’s gums. And that may even break some of its teeth.
So yes, you can let your dog chew on a lacrosse ball. However, it’s not mostly recommended. And especially not so, when there’s no proper monitoring.
Can I Play Fetch with My Dog Using a Lacrosse Ball?
Yes. Playing fetch with your pet dog is a satisfying, relaxing, and healthy type of activity. You bond with your dog. And you get to release the stresses of daily life. Plus, it can be a form of exercise in itself, both for you and your dog.
Playing fetch is a great way to burn your young dog’s extra energy, which it could otherwise burn in destructive ways. Just make sure that it is experienced with handling a lacrosse ball, or any ball for that matter.
Keep in mind though that not all dogs should be playing fetch with their pet owners. The Canine Arthritis Management says that it is not a good activity for aging dogs, dogs with injuries, and dogs with bone problems like arthritis. They may suffer injuries and worse, their current problems may likely worsen.
Are Tennis Balls for Dogs a Good Substitute for Lacrosse Balls?
No. Tennis balls are common toys that pet owners use to entertain their dogs. But the American Kennel Club has some negative things to say about this. These are choking hazards. Because dogs can easily break them into pieces and ingest them. As a result, your dog may suffer from a blocked airway.
The fuzz that covers the tennis ball is also abrasive to dogs. The sandpaper-like material may damage their teeth and gums over time.
What Balls Are Safe for Dogs?
We already gave a few guidelines above. But let’s mention them again along with other suggestions on what balls are safe for your dog.
- Balls that are small enough to fit into your dog’s mouth.
- Balls that are large enough to avoid accidental swallowing or choking.
- Balls that do not contain toxic materials like lead. (You don’t want them to get poisoned.)
- Balls that are durable yet a bit squishy. (You don’t want them to break apart. But you don’t want them to be too hard on your pet dog’s gums and teeth.)
- And lastly, balls that have a gentle, non-abrasive texture. So they don’t cause irritation in your dog’s gums and tongue.
Why Do Dogs Love to Fetch?
Fetching can be a doggy instinct, especially for those that have been specifically bred to retrieve. You might have already guessed the background history.
Dogs inherited this ingrained ability from their ancestors who were trained by their humans to find food or retrieve prey for their owners (among other things).
Specific breeds may come to mind. These seem to be particularly good at fetching. These are the Border Collies, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and more.
Training your pet dog to fetch is already a reward in itself. You’d find that it’s pretty happy just fetching things for you. So you don’t have to spoil it with treats during a training session.
What Dog Activities Can You Do Instead of Fetching Ball?
If fetching balls poses a health risk for your dog, there are other activities you can provide for your dog’s enjoyment and exercise. Here are some of them.
- Swimming. Take it to the nearby beach or pool. Swim and enjoy the scenery together.
- Socializing at a dog park. If your dog is friendly with other pets, take it for regular socialization at a nearby dog park. That’s a great way to improve its personality.
- Walking or hiking. Walking is the simplest form of physical activity you can do with your dog. Stroll around the neighborhood or take it with you to the grocer. You can also take your pet hiking on basic, newbie-friendly trails.
- Rollerblading. If you can handle it, try teaching your pet dog to keep up with you while you go rollerblading around the block or at a nearby park.
- Bike riding. Like roller blading, this is something you both can try to do together. You on a bike and your dog on a leash. Start simple and short. Go for longer routes and times when you’re both used to biking together.
How Do You Stop Your Dog from Chasing Balls?
This may be a hard thing to accomplish, especially if you have a highly agile dog who just loves to retrieve things for you. It may take time. But with patience, you can stop your dog from chasing balls. Or at the least, keep its fetching activities to a minimum. Here are some suggestions:
- Tell friends to stop throwing sticks and balls for it to fetch. And stop doing that yourself. If your dog needs to break the habit, you need to ease it out of the urge of doing it.
- Teach your dog to follow a schedule. Have a fixed schedule of when you will play fetch together. Hide the ball during other times. And only bring the ball out when it’s fetch time.
- Let your dog get used to just watching you or other people play ball. It may have gotten the idea that every ball is for fetching. But when you show your dog that it doesn’t need to retrieve the ball each time, then it will catch on. Your dog will understand that it doesn’t have to get the ball at all times.
In closing, we learned that while lacrosse balls can be safe for dogs, there are not recommended. We also learned that some lacrosse balls may be toxic for your dog. It is your responsibility to ensure that ball fetching will not only be fun but also safe for your dog at all times.