Tantalising tennis balls

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British summertime has finally arrived and what better way to celebrate than with a good dose of Wimbledon washed down with a cold glass of Pimms and lemonade. But if you are not fortunate enough to enjoy a front seat at the court, or like me, you’ve had your fair share of Tim Henman, then you can always venture outside with your pooch to enjoy some ball activity.

Dogs seem to be born with a fascination for chasing balls, be it footballs, basketballs, golf balls and tennis balls. I recently learnt that my dog would make an excellent ‘ball dog’ at Wimbledon fetching those small fluorescent orbs across the court.

It must be because they can bounce so high that tennis balls have a kind of magnetic power to entertain our canine friends (even the police use tennis balls as rewards for finding narcotics). I discovered this for myself when Milo, my teenage dachshund, sniffed out a round yellow ball from under my bed.

After playing with his exciting new toy for ages, Milo, who also comes with a desire to destroy just about anything, begins chewing the ball. So if, like me, you have a dog who prefers to ingest half the contents of his toys, especially those squeaky ones, then it’s probably best to reconsider letting him play with a tennis ball. For everyone else an abandoned tennis ball makes a great toy for your dog this summer, and another way to reduce your carbon paw print.

Much to Milo’s dismay I have to confiscate the terrific tennis ball, or what remains of it, and replace it with a safer option like a digestible rubber ball. This kind of ball does the trick, it bounces and rolls, but its also made from natural rubber and is 100% biodegradable so if mischievous Milo does decide to swallow some of it he can basically digest it along with his food, genius.

A ball is probably one of the most popular toys you can own for your dog so it goes without saying there are plenty to choose from out there. If the traditional rubber ball doesn’t get your tail wagging then give your dog more of a challenge and try something like the boomer ball which is pretty much indestructible!

If your pet needs more stimulation there are mint and peanut butter flavoured dog tennis balls, floating balls for swimmers, balls with tug ropes and even balls that make funky sounds – probably enough to send you ball barking mad. If the ball doesnt quite do the trick then try some more summer dog toys we sniffed out.

1. Dog frisbees – perfect for high flying dogs

2. Peppermint scented globe ball toy – the classic ball toy

3. Hemp rope toy – the natural dog toy for those green paws

4. K9 water dog toy – designer plush toy to quench posher paws

5. Tennis ball launcher – more fetching fun for active pooches