One topic that used to come up a lot at the dog park was tennis balls because if you’re a dog park regular, you know the tennis ball habit can get expensive lol. I used to not think twice about this, get the biggest bag at the lowest price and GO! Then I read an article that really opened my eyes. It wasn’t just about tennis balls but how toxic pet toys in general can be. Most of them are made in China and there are no regulations on them like there is for toys for kids. It’s less of an issue for us now but when Jersey was a puppy she absolutely destroyed toys. I think the worst offender was the “indestructible” Nylabone plastic bones because she ended up eating large portions of them. For a while I bought her baby toys, balls etc to chew on. Now that’s she’s less of a chewer I try to get organic balls for the house.
Green Bone Wonderpet makes some that are great at a good price and
WestPaw makes a good variety also as well as some soft toys made out of hemp
When we go out places, I won’t deprive her of playing with a tennis ball but I try to encourage her now to play with her “friends” instead. She gets a bit territorial when a ball is involved, it’s not great for her teeth or joints and I think it’s just plain better for her to be social. I’m not against fetch I just think it’s healthier if she’s doing a wider variety of play when we’re out with other dogs.
I also didn’t have the heart to toss her old toys, they don’t pose much of a threat to her with her chewing habits now and she doesn’t sleep with them so I’m not going on a crusade. I’m just mindful now when I shop because I had been so naive in the past. I am also grateful to have some healthier alternatives because I definitely want to encourage play time and I think it’s SO beneficial to BOTH of us every day!