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 Post subject: Can a Large Hard-plastic Ball seriously injure a dog?
Post Posted: Aug 19, 2018 3:25 pm 
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Hi Fellow Pet Lovers!

We are concerned about a toy that we think might be too dangerous for our Leia to play with. I know that many of you will have ideas about how to handle an aggressive dog, but please know that we already have a trainer and would like to prevent this thread from getting off topic. ALL WE REALLY WANT IS PEOPLE'S OPINIONS ABOUT WHETHER THIS TOY IS SAFE FOR OUR DOG TO PLAY WITH.


I am including a link to a YouTube video that we uploaded showing Leia playing with a ball that has given her some minor injuries in the past. We'd like you to watch it and give us your opinion about whether this is good for her or not. Please read the details of our experience with this ball below.

As some of you know, Leia is an aggressive dog with a history of biting. She needs to be strictly supervised to prevent her injuring someone. Because of Leia's fear and aggression issues, it is difficult to give her the exercise and stimulation she needs. She is afraid to leave the yard, and it is impossible for us to ensure the safety of people and animals who get within her leash-reach - especially since there is always someone who tries to pet her - EVEN THOUGH SHE HAS A VEST THAT SAYS NOT TO PET. We have a muzzle to keep her from snapping at people, but she hates it, and so outings are not fun for her. So we seldom take her for walks. We play a lot of "fetch", but she gets bored and needs something more challenging. And she needs more exercise that "fetch" will give her.

The problem with balls is that they aren't usually tough enough to stand up to the treatment she gives them. She plays hard and uses her teeth to puncture and rip anything she gets a-hold of. Consequently, any air-filled ball gets popped and destroyed within the first few minutes. She is destructive to her toys and we have to buy ones that she can't "kill".

We found this ball online. It is very large and a HARD, HOLLOW PLASTIC, and she absolutely LOVES it! The problem is that it is relatively heavy and hits her on the head and body when she is playing with it. There have been times when she has come in with a skinned nose after playing with it, and other times she has bloodied her lip. Never anything serious, but she does ding herself on a regular basis causing us to worry about the possibility of a more serious injury.

This ball is her very favorite toy and she never gets bored with it. She is also constantly improving her ability to control it and seldom lets it get out of her control. It is the only activity that we have found that actually gives her enough exercise to completely tire her out. She is far more relaxed on evenings when she's been outside playing with this ball.

My husband and I are having a disagreement about this. I don't believe this ball is harming her enough for us to deny her this pleasure, and I think it is good for her physical and mental health to have an exhilarating activity to occupy her. Anthony believes that the constant battering of such a large, heavy and tough toy is risking her long-term health. He especially worries about cumulative brain injury, such as what boxers experience and thinks that it could result in dementia down the road.

We are looking for help to decide if her long-term physical well-being is threatened by allowing her to play with such a heavy, tough toy.

We sent this video to our vet and are awaiting his reply, but would appreciate your input here, too. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Can a Large Hard-plastic Ball seriously injure a dog?
Post Posted: Aug 19, 2018 4:43 pm 
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Of course your vet will give you the best guidance. Not knowing how hard the plastic is makes it a little hard to offer my layperson’s “mummydog” opinion, but if she is hurting herself with the ball rather than vegetation in the yard, that might raise concerns.

We have a ball about the same size called a “jolly ball” that I think we got at Buster’s. It is a firm plastic but I can push my thumb on the surface and it will give. It has a handle that the human can use to toss the ball, and of course my Lab chewed part of it off, so it’s not so hard that it can’t be nibbled.

Again, I would talk to your vet, maybe show him the ball, and go with his/her recommendation. Good luck, it does look like she is having a great time with it!


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 Post subject: Re: Can a Large Hard-plastic Ball seriously injure a dog?
Post Posted: Aug 19, 2018 4:52 pm 
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She does look like she loves that ball. Do you think she could be running into things (like a tree or a corner) and this is how she is injuring herself? I guess is hard for me to imagine how a round ball could cause her harm, even if it's very hard; it has no sharp or angular edges to catch her head or mouth on.


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 Post subject: Re: Can a Large Hard-plastic Ball seriously injure a dog?
Post Posted: Aug 19, 2018 6:18 pm 
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If it was my dog, I would think if it hurts she'd stop. Looks like good exercise for her. I'm surprised she hasn't popped it.

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 Post subject: Re: Can a Large Hard-plastic Ball seriously injure a dog?
Post Posted: Aug 19, 2018 7:20 pm 
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We had a Jack Russell that loved to chase a basketball around in the same way. He'd do it all day and his nose would be rubbed raw from pushing it around. Didn't faze him a bit. Being a Terrier he wanted to bite everything he played with, including the balls. We got him a basketball because it was very tough and it was big enough that he couldn't bite it and puncture it. He never suffered any real ill effects from it and, like Leia, he was always running into things...fences, trees, rocks. We did moderate his play time, though, to keep the skin on his nose healthy.

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 Post subject: Re: Can a Large Hard-plastic Ball seriously injure a dog?
Post Posted: Aug 19, 2018 8:28 pm 
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mummydog wrote:
Of course your vet will give you the best guidance. Not knowing how hard the plastic is makes it a little hard to offer my layperson’s “mummydog” opinion, but if she is hurting herself with the ball rather than vegetation in the yard, that might raise concerns.

We have a ball about the same size called a “jolly ball” that I think we got at Buster’s. It is a firm plastic but I can push my thumb on the surface and it will give. It has a handle that the human can use to toss the ball, and of course my Lab chewed part of it off, so it’s not so hard that it can’t be nibbled.

Again, I would talk to your vet, maybe show him the ball, and go with his/her recommendation. Good luck, it does look like she is having a great time with it!

Mummydog! WOW! Thanks for the tip! I found the Jolly Ball on Amazon and will be ordering it!



TillerBee wrote:
She does look like she loves that ball. Do you think she could be running into things (like a tree or a corner) and this is how she is injuring herself? I guess is hard for me to imagine how a round ball could cause her harm, even if it's very hard; it has no sharp or angular edges to catch her head or mouth on.

Tillerbee, it is the ball itself that is injuring her in two ways.

First, the surface of the ball is in constant motion and when she puts her nose against a spinning ball it flails the skin on her nose right off, leaving a raw, bloody patch.

Second, While she is running, she uses her head to hit and direct the ball. This is usually harmless unless she swipes it at the wrong angle. Then, she gets popped in the eye, or she ends up smacking her lip on the ball - which smashes her lip into her teeth.

So, yes, it is actually the ball that is causing the injuries. It has to hurt because when there is blood, there is pain. But she doesn't seem to care and is an absolute crazed, ball-tossing maniac when she gets it! :shocked: Although she plays super-hard with everything. Even before she got this ball, she broke her foot when running insanely over a vole-hole.

What my DH is worried about is a condition that human athletes get called Impact Dementia. Here is how it is defined by the Mayo
Clinic:

Quote:
"Traumatic brain injury. This condition is caused by repetitive head trauma, such as experienced by boxers, football players or soldiers.

Depending on the part of the brain that's injured, this condition can cause dementia signs and symptoms, such as depression, explosiveness, memory loss, uncoordinated movement and impaired speech, as well as slow movement, tremors and rigidity (parkinsonism). Symptoms might not appear until years after the trauma."

DH knows about this condition because he is a sports-fan and has followed the long-term careers of his favorite athletes. Many, many of them end up with dementia, such as Muhammed Ali, Greg Ploetz, Tony Dorsett and others. It is a very sad and very preventable condition that is caused by repeated head injuries. The victim of this kind of dementia does not have to be hit hard, but only has to be hit over and over again for a period of years.




bdogsgal wrote:
If it was my dog, I would think if it hurts she'd stop. Looks like good exercise for her. I'm surprised she hasn't popped it.

I agree with you. I think the pleasure and the exercise are probably worth the risk. If she could tell us what she wants to do, I am convinced she would choose the risk over a lifetime of frustration and boredom associated with over-protecitveness.

The reason that she hasn't popped this ball is because it isn't an air-filled soft ball. It is a hard plastic sphere that is not filled with air. It is more like to break than it is to pop. In fact - popping is impossible.




Bailey Guns wrote:
We had a Jack Russell that loved to chase a basketball around in the same way. He'd do it all day and his nose would be rubbed raw from pushing it around. Didn't faze him a bit. Being a Terrier he wanted to bite everything he played with, including the balls. We got him a basketball because it was very tough and it was big enough that he couldn't bite it and puncture it. He never suffered any real ill effects from it and, like Leia, he was always running into things...fences, trees, rocks. We did moderate his play time, though, to keep the skin on his nose healthy.

Thanks, Bailey Guns! I was hoping to hear from someone who has been through this! It sounds like your Jack Russell was really similar to Leia. She is a high-energy, athletic dog who NEEDS exercise and something challenging. She is never happier than when she has her "Big Blue Ball"!

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 Post subject: Re: Can a Large Hard-plastic Ball seriously injure a dog?
Post Posted: Aug 21, 2018 5:03 pm 
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Wow, I never saw a dog have so much fun, so sad that this is causing her harm. I agree so much that this provides her exercise and mental stimulation by trying to keep the ball going. Pretty neat.

What if you got one of those really big light balls that kids would play with. It will definitely go a lot further when she pushes it, but it won't do her any harm. It will probably almost fly into the air. Something like a beach ball. The kind you blow up. - just realized you are trying to avoid air filled balls, but it appears she isn't trying to break it, just push and run after it. I think they are cheap enough to just give it a try.

Another thought is a foam ball or something soft and round.

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Post Posted: Aug 21, 2018 5:22 pm 
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gia58 wrote:
Wow, I never saw a dog have so much fun, so sad that this is causing her harm. I agree so much that this provides her exercise and mental stimulation by trying to keep the ball going. Pretty neat.

What if you got one of those really big light balls that kids would play with. It will definitely go a lot further when she pushes it, but it won't do her any harm. It will probably almost fly into the air. Something like a beach ball. The kind you blow up. - just realized you are trying to avoid air filled balls, but it appears she isn't trying to break it, just push and run after it. I think they are cheap enough to just give it a try.

Another thought is a foam ball or something soft and round.


Thanks for the ideas. I should have said in my original post that we've already tried the lightweight inflatable balls. It takes her about 30 seconds to destroy one of those. But I posted this on a Facebook Aggressive & Reactive Dog Support Group and got some wonderful ideas. I'll share those here in a few days after we have seen her veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Daniels. We've been communicating with him via email - I sent this vid to him. His bottom line is that she is getting more benefit from this toy than harm and it outweighs any risk involved with repeated head trauma.

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~Hugo Black~


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