We’re all used to seeing dogs playing with a tennis ball – but what about a lacrosse balls? Is it okay for your dog to play with this, too or should you keep these balls away from your pet?
Lacrosse Balls vs. Tennis Balls – A Comparison
Tennis balls are fairly common so it’s actually easier to describe lacrosse balls by comparison. Now, at first glance, you can immediately tell the main difference between them. Color-wise, the tennis ball is made primarily in neon green while the lacrosse ball is done in white. This has something to do with the material used to make the item.
The exterior of a tennis ball has a carpet-like feel to it. Lacrosse balls however are done in solid rubber. Does this mean they’re lighter? Not really. In fact, lacrosse balls are heavier than your average tennis ball, weighing in at around 140 to 147 grams. For the sake of comparison, you should know that a standard tennis ball can be anywhere from 56 to 59.4 grams.
What about the size of the ball? Well, the International Tennis Federation requires that the professional tennis ball have a circumference of around 8 inches. The lacrosse ball however can be anywhere of 7 ¾ to 8 inches of circumference so really, there’s not much difference between the two.
|Aspect||Lacrosse Balls||Tennis Balls|
|Material||Solid rubber, non-toxic, and generally durable.||Felt-covered rubber, non-toxic but less durable.|
|Size||Smaller than tennis balls, usually around 2.5 inches in diameter.||Larger than lacrosse balls, around 2.7 inches in diameter.|
|Choking Hazard||Less likely to be a choking hazard for large dogs, but still a potential risk for small dogs.||Greater choking hazard for large dogs due to size and compressibility. Safer for small dogs.|
|Durability||Highly durable, more resistant to puncture and tearing.||Less durable, prone to puncture and tearing, especially when used by aggressive chewers.|
|Dental Health||Hard surface may cause tooth wear or damage if chewed excessively.||Soft felt surface may be gentler on teeth but can accumulate dirt and grit, which may lead to dental wear.|
|Bounce||High bounce, making them suitable for playing fetch.||High bounce, making them suitable for playing fetch.|
|Water Resistance||Non-absorbent, dries quickly after getting wet.||Absorbent felt cover, takes longer to dry after getting wet.|
|Visibility||Typically bright colors for easy visibility.||Typically bright colors for easy visibility.|
Material Used for a Lacrosse Ball
Lacrosse balls are made of 65 percent rubber, having a rebound of around 1800 in height. You get roughly 70 percent worth of rebound from the fall of the ball – which is why it’s important for players to carefully calculate the angle of their shots to make sure it hits the target.
Lacrosse Ball – Toxicity
But really – we come to the most important part here which is – can you give your dog a lacrosse ball as a toy? The quick and short answer is: yes. In terms of toxicity, a lacrosse ball is perfectly safe. Your dog can put it in his mouth and not have any negative reactions.
Of course, you still have to watch out for allergies or anything that might be on the ball. Keep the lacrosse ball clean during playtime so your pooch won’t accidentally swallow anything that could make them sick.
The good thing here is that since the ball is made primarily from rubber, you can wipe it dry each time so that little dirt will stick on the surface. Tennis balls with their carpet-like exterior would often have grime sticking on them after getting wet.
Safe Against Accidental Swallowing
Despite the fact that a lacrosse ball is smaller than an average tennis ball, this shouldn’t pose any problem when placed in the dog’s mouth. There are zero chances of the ball being swallowed and causing the dog to choke. Of course, this is true for medium and large breeds – but watch out for the really big breeds.
The rule is that the ball must be small enough to fit the mouth but big enough not to course through the throat. Hence, if you have a REALLY large breed that’s out of the ordinary, you might want to think things through first.
Good for Gums and Teeth?
If you think the lacrosse ball will help with plaque buildup – you’re wrong. While there are chew toys designed to remove dirt and plaque from your dog’s teeth – lacrosse balls are not part of it. They’re more likely to damage the gums and teeth because they’re too hard for the pooch. This is because the ball is perfectly dense. It takes a LOT of pressure to dent a lacrosse ball and most dog teeth are not capable of doing that. Simply put – if your dog bites into a lacrosse ball, the teeth will give in before the ball does.
Don’t use a lacrosse ball for this purpose. Just bring your dog for teeth cleaning once in a while or perhaps use a toothbrush specially designed to do the job. Some toys can also help with this so your pet maintains perfect teeth all through his life.
Availability of Lacrosse Balls
Lacrosse balls can also be bought in various stores. They’re not as common as a tennis ball or a baseball – but they’re definitely something you can find online and buy in bulk. They’re also fairly cheap so if you’re trying to save on doggy toys, you might find cheaper brands of lacrosse balls as opposed to tennis or baseball items.
So What’s the Verdict?
To wrap it up – yes, lacrosse balls are safe for dogs, but you have to look into the context of how it is being used. If the lacrosse ball is used primarily to play fetch – then do so for as long as your dog wants to exercise outside. There is no harm in your pooch retrieving the ball for a game of fetch. In fact, the rebound capacity of the ball makes it a more interesting toy for the pooch.
You can throw that ball against something solid and watch it bounce back, allowing your dog to do some mental and physical calisthenics in order to catch the item. This not only lets the pooch exercise his body but also his mind, giving both of you several hours of fun time. Note though – lacrosse balls do NOT float so don’t throw them in water.
However, if you’re going to use the ball as a chew toy – you would rather get a purpose-built product. The lacrosse ball can take your dog’s chewing – but there’s no telling if your dog’s teeth can handle the ball’s hardiness. Hence – once you’re done with fetch playtime, make sure the lacrosse ball is tucked neatly away and swap it for a legitimate tooth-safe chew toy.
Other Things You Can do with a Lacrosse Ball that’s Not Lacrosse
So if your dog can’t use a lacrosse ball as a chew toy, what else can you do with it? One of the most common uses for this ball is as a massaging aid. Since it is very dense, it’s perfect for being rolled up and down a person’s body, putting pressure into painful spots and relieving muscle tension and pain. In fact, they might be better than tennis balls because of their hardiness.