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Bath Time For Winni – Tips For Bathing Your Cat

Abandoned in a field near our home, Winni came to us covered in ringworm. She was subsisting on a diet of dirt, and was suffering from a respiratory infection. At an estimated four weeks of age, her young body was under attack by many forces. Our veterinarian gave a chuckle with a concerned warning that the odds were not in her favor, but he was convinced this sickly kitten had found the right home if she were to have a fighting chance at seeing her first birthday.

Among her treatments, Winni was given a medicated shampoo to bathe in every day. She became very accustomed to baths. Subsequently, as I contracted the worst case of adult ringworm seen by both our veterinarian and physician, I shared a similar protocol of care.

We’ve always handled baths in the same manner—with patience, understanding, and love.

Here are our tips for bathing your cat:

  1. Forget the clock – Bath time for your feline is no time to be hurried or desperate to meet an appointment on time. Give your cat your undivided attention and set aside a good thirty minutes for the bath. You may not need all of the allotted time, but at least you’ve started the job knowing that you have ample time to complete the task without experiencing or causing any unnecessary stress.
  2. Have It All At Hand – Mid-bath is not the time to start searching for bath time necessities. Prior to corralling your cat, gather everything you’ll need for the bath. All shampoos, towels, rinse cups, medications, etc… should be within an easy reach.
  3. A Little Privacy Please – Keep the door to the bathroom closed. Should you forget rule number two, you may not be able to avoid your cat jumping out of the tub, but you can certainly avoid her running down the hall or fleeing under the bed. The closed environment helps create a more quiet and calm setting for the bath.
  4. Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected – Your cat will look to you for visual and physiological cues as to how bath time is going for the two of you. The more calm you are, the more calm your cat will be during the bath. If you’ve had a bad bath experience in the past with her, you’ll just have to close your eyes, take a deep breath, push that memory to the outer edge of your mind, and believe that this bath, thanks to more time, understanding, and preparedness, will go smoothly.
  5. Avoid Ears and Face – Don’t get any soaps or water in the eyes or ears.
  6. Temperate Waters and Slow Movements – The water temperature should be nice and warm. Not too hot, and definitely not cold. Seeking a comfortable 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit is a good idea, as this will match your cat’s temperature and keep a chill at bay. When to fill the tub makes a difference too. If your cat isn’t frightened by the sound of running water you might be able to fill the tub or add water when she’s in the tub. Some cats will be intrigued by the falling and splashing water. First time bath? You may want to fill the tub first, and then go get your cat and bring her into the bathroom.
  7. Don’t Push – If you cat hates the sound a handheld sprayer makes, don’t use it. If your cat prefers a shallow bath, respect her limits. Bath time should be a simple time for you and your cat. There may be times where you can’t avoid a deeper water level (especially if the cat needs to soak), but for the most part, always take your cat’s desire to heart. You’ll note in the video we don’t force the cat to stay in the water or hold her down. She will try to get out. A calm reminder that escaping is not allowed, with a gentle lift underneath her paws while rotating her body back toward the bath to set her gently in the water is the best way to keep her in the tub.
  8. Praise and Reward – There can never be too much praise. Be generous with your kind words and bestow them upon your cat in abundance. Following up the bath with a favorite treat is sure to take the sting out of any unpleasant experience for your cat.
  9. Safety First – A full length safety mat placed in the bottom of your tub is a comfortable and safe surface for your cat to stand and walk on while in the bath.
  10. Gentle Touch – Be gentle during bath time. We like to have the tub filled with water before we place Winni into it. We always place her into the water with a soothing reassurance, never dropping or throwing her into the water. Set your cat down on all fours into the tub. No matter what items you may need to remove from their fur (dried feces, oily substances, etc…) use a gentle touch and never pull their fur.

Additionally, you’ll appreciate keeping your cat’s nails trimmed when an unexpected bath is needed.

We hope you enjoy the video of how we handle bath time for Winni. We’d love to hear how you handle bath time for your feline companion.



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Grandbury’s Nose – Day 3 of Snout Soothing

Check out Grandbury’s nose after just three days of using Snout Soother! Looking pretty good, eh?

Photo of Dog's Healing Nose


Let’s take a closer look at that nose

Dog nose after applying healing ointment

If you don’t remember where his poor nose started from, check out the previous post.

Even the neighbor horse stopped to take note of the progress.

Horse in pasture


We’ll keep you posted, but so far, so very good. This is the quickest we’ve seen results like this with any product we’ve tried on his old dog nose. We apply three times a day, morning, afternoon, and night. A little goes a long way.

Some points we really love about Snout Soother by Natural Dog Company.

  • Virtually odorless – Grandbury doesn’t have a care in the world when we apply it to his nose.
  • Non-toxic and all natural – Love the all natural ingredients!
  • Vegan – While we are vegan and Grandbury isn’t, we love the fact that this is a compassionate product and are grateful that no other animal has to suffer for its creation.
  • Portable – The tin the Snout Soother is packaged in means that we can pop it in a bag and take it with us on the go, and you know that Grandbury definitely goes!

Snout Soother Tin

We are definitely seeing some great results, and we will keep you posted.


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Noses and a Donkey

Okay, let’s start with the donkey…

Introducing Clark, our neighbor donkey. How handsome is this sweet boy? Clark shares a pasture with many horses and has a huge personality–a personality that is almost as big as those ears!

Photo of a donkey.


and on to the noses portion…

Grandbury’s poor nose has recently suffered through bouts of  being chapped, dry, and cracked. It isn’t serious or life threatening, but can be uncomfortable and a challenge to heal. Geriatric pups like Grandbury may frequently have issues with their noses. We’ve  tried everything over the past year with limited success. This or that ointment may help with the cracking, but it doesn’t address the peeling and dryness.

We’ve heard great things about Natural Dog Snout Soother so we are going to give it a try. We love the natural ingredients in the product and positive testimonials we are reading. Say goodbye to that dry, chapped, and flaky nose Grandbury! Stay tuned for updates.

dog nose with hyperkeratosis

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Cat Carriers and Car Rides – Tips For Cat Travel and Transport

Cat in carrier looking out
Photo credit: Debbie Schiel

While at Grandbury’s latest checkup, we met some great pet parents. One gentleman was greatly stressed about getting his cat into the carrier. Ernie, his sweet cat, was calmly sitting in the carrier as we all sat in the waiting area, but this wasn’t the case when it came time to prepare Ernie for the trip to the vet. This man has another cat that is much larger and much more vocal about his unhappiness about his carrier and travel in the car.

We passed along the following in the hopes that Ernie will have a better go of it when he is ready to hit the road again!

The Big Bad Carrier – Think about it, if the only time you ever saw that big plastic box or bag with mesh “windows” was when you got a shot or experienced a surgical procedure, you’d have a hard time running to hop into it too. If you want your cat to be comfortable with his carrier, you need to desensitize him to it. Here are a few tips to help you and your cat.

Leave the carrier out among the living – Get the carrier out of the closet and put it down on the floor where your cat can become more acquainted with it. Leave the door open (or remove it totally), put a favorite toy or blanket inside, and just let your cat discover the carrier in his own time. Place the carrier near a favorite lounge spot. If you happen to discover your cat inside the carrier, give him his favorite reward- a treat, a pat, or a sweet word of praise. Don’t linger long enough to make him want to leave the carrier, just praise him and be on your way. Repeat as often as necessary. Keep this up and the carrier may actually become the favorite nap spot.

Food is great motivation – Your cat has a favorite snack. Winni is crazy about asparagus, chickpeas, and pasta noodles. I know, she is a little foodie. If your cat just won’t warm up to his carrier, why not try a little coaxing instead of force? While the image of a cat howling and gripping onto the edges of their carrier as the owner attempts to force the cat into a pet carrier may elicit laughs in a cartoon, it is anything but funny if you are the scared cat or frustrated owner (like the ones in the video above).

When you are frustrated and rushed, your cat gets frustrated too. Trying to force your cat into his carrier can result in physical injury to you or the cat.

When you are ready to leave and need the cat in his carrier, try the following:  While letting your cat see you prepare it for transport, put the open carrier on the floor and line it with a soft blanket/towel. As you prepare your cat’s favorite treat, make sure he is within eye sight and can watch what you do with that yummy treat. Place the treat on a little paper plate or paper towel, and then call your pet over to the carrier (hopefully they just follow you and the yummy) and place the treat inside the carrier at the back.

Walk away. You’ll be tempted to hover, but you’ll get better results if you just ignore the cat for a minute and let him enter the carrier and go in search of the treat. Once your cat has entered the carrier, gently close it up and let him finish the treat. Now you two are ready to travel.

Make it Fun – From the cat’s perspective, the idea of leaving the house just isn’t an optimal choice. Aside from the whole carrier issue, there may be a little more behind the refusal to hit the road. If the only time that your cat ever encounters a car is when he is headed to the vet, you must understand his apprehension. The car and the carrier now represent an unpleasant precursor to a visit at the “not fun place” where one has left body parts and dignity behind.

Additionally, between the stress of being chased around the house and pushed into a carrier and the actual movement of the car, there may be a real issue of car sickness behind your pet’s hatred of all things related to leaving the home. If you can limit the stress before going on the ride, and increase the rides that you take with your cat, you may just make car rides a fun event for you and your cat. Take your cat with you when you run that quick errand to return a library book or pick up a pizza.

Most importantly, take them when you are not stressed or in a hurry to do anything. You may even need to start with a simple ride around the block. If your cat continually has car sickness, talk with your vet to determine what might be the cause.

Just to cover the bases, you might make certain that the carrier is:

Clean – Cats don’t want to ride in a yucky carrier.

Size Appropriate – The carrier you purchased for the little kitten might be too small for the big adult cat.

Safe and Ventilated – Is there a piece of metal or plastic sticking out ready to poke kitty in the eye or bum? Is there adequate ventilation?

You never know when you’ll need your cat beside you as a co-pilot. Working with your cat to make him more comfortable and safe when he travels takes time and patience for both of you. Take a breath and take your time.

Try as we might, sometimes we aren’t able to decode the unhappiness that is associated with certain items or elements of our pets’ lives. Sometimes we adopt an animal that has issues so deeply ingrained that it will take many years and more treats and tips to change those habits and feelings. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t fix all of your pets’ issues right away; the greatest minds of science still don’t understand the necessity of sleep.

This video highlights how differently individual cats can view their cat carrier.

There are lots of carriers on the market, see the links below to get you started.

How does your cat feel about his carrier? Have a tip you’d like to share?

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Canine Tooth Abscess & Extraction

An extracted, Canine 4th premolar carnassial tooth, abscessec


While cutting veggies for soup, I gave Grandbury a few slices of carrot. He devoured them and went on his merry way. Later, while brushing his teeth, I noticed he had bit the inside of his left cheek. His gumline was irritated from the carrots, which is normal these days since he no longer receives hard chews.

However, I noticed he didn’t want the gum above his 4th premolar (Carnassial tooth) area touched. He was fine with me touching the actual tooth. He didn’t react when I pushed upward on the tooth. His sensitive reaction was limited to one tiny spot on the gum.

Later, I noticed his face had swollen a little more and I once again checked out his mouth. Nothing had changed. It almost appeared that he had been stung by something, so I gave him 1cc of Children’s (no alcohol) liquid Benadryl. The Benadryl had no effect on the swelling.


Grandbury’s face was still swollen. He ate and drank regularly. Appears fine except he doesn’t want the gum above the carnassial tooth touched.

When I brushed his teeth that evening I felt a lump, hard and circular at the meeting of the cheek and the gum line. This appears to be where the pain is radiating from.  Still eating and drinking regularly.

Grandbury, a dog, has a swollen face.

Dog with beginning abscessed tooth


Checked spot upon waking in the morning. Larger. Still swollen. By mid-afternoon/early evening redness has expanded on lip area and gum.

He is drinking a lot of water. The “lump” has now become more of an ulcer, extending over the gum, the gum above tooth now has a soft, very tender and swollen area. He is obviously experiencing pressure and pain buildup.

lump becomes ulceration

8:00 pm Grandbury is heavily panting and pacing. Grandbury's gum has a fluid packet.

10:30 gave him a second dose of his daily Tramadol (50mg)

12:45 am finally resting comfortably.


2:12 am resting, took photo to document very red and swollen areas.

To us it looks like a tooth abscess, but for Grandbury’s sake, we certainly hope it isn’t.

grandbury's increased swelling

As Grandbury wakes up and we prepare to take him in to the vet, I snap this photo to show the increased swelling of his face.Visible outward signs of what lies beneath.

Grandbury, a dog, has a swollen face.

Grandbury definitely wondered why he was up and out with no food. Anticipating there might be surgery, we didn’t allow him any food, only water.

We provided the photos and notes we’d taken to the vet. It has been our experience, that the more information you can provide, the better off you and your pet will be. The rapid change in his status was visible. Even if you don’t take photos, try to get in the habit of making notes. You’ll be surprised what you forget when you are standing in the vet’s office, as you attempt to keep your pet calm and run down a list of symptoms while answering questions about when you first noticed this or that.

The vet believed it was an abscess. The plan was to x-ray his teeth, and since he has to have anesthesia for that, if the x-ray proved positive for an abscess, move him into surgery. No point in getting anesthesia twice. We were already up half the night worrying about the potential risk to him for anesthesia, any required surgery, and healing. Sixteen years old is not an age to start taking risks.

We lost one of our girls, a precious ferret, during a surgical procedure. Losing a beloved companion due to a surgical error never leaves you. Our guys have had many surgeries over the years. We’ve weighed every conceivable risk and benefit before giving the green light to the procedure. It is a decision that we never enter into lightly. No matter how many surgeries we have under our collars, each presents its own problems and fears from the surgical procedure to the post operative care.

While he had blood work done just one month prior, a new panel had to be done to make certain that he was okay for surgery. We needed to know that he would be able to metabolize the anesthesia and that no other surprises were lurking.

Blood work came back great. Pretty amazingly in fact, for a 16 year old with a 7″ round tumor on his side (we’ll get to that in another post). So, operation “remove the abscess” had begun.

The whole procedure, from the time he was given a pre-anesthesia, to the time his tooth was pulled and he was in recovery, was approximately 90 minutes. He was monitored as he woke up from the surgery. Total time at vet’s office: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm. A long day for him and us.

Here is the nasty tooth that caused so much ($734.63) trouble.

An extracted, Canine 4th premolar carnassial tooth, abscessec

He came home and slept and slept. He also had a good deal of drainage, but the underpads save the day again! They made clean up a snap, and saved a lot of washing of beds and coverlets. Once you have these things, you’ll find 101 uses for them.

Underpads make clean up a breeze after surgery.

Grandbury pulled through the surgery and the post-op care like a champ. At first he was very reluctant to eat even his favorite soft treat: canned pumpkin. A lot of coaxing and some syringe feedings were required for the first three days of his healing. It was very important for him to have some food on his stomach due to the pain medications he was on.

We are relieved that he is still with us, and came through the surgery like a champ. It was a scary idea for us, and thankfully, this time it worked out in his favor.

While waiting to be seen, the male office cat, Butter, came out to love on Grandbury. Here is a cute video we snapped of the two exchanging a very loving “hello.”

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Happy Birthday Grandbury and Tristan

A birthday balloon

Birthdays are a big deal here at 24Paws. How can we not feel blessed when we look at the faces of our beloveds as they celebrate their 16th and 15th birthdays? We are so happy to see their smiling little faces as they continue to expand our lives and hearts with their love and lessons.

Our birthday brag book:

Grandbury in his party hat

Tristan eats his bday dinner

A woman  recently stopped to ask how old our dogs are. She had a hard time believing our guys were so elderly. Their glossy coats and alertness threw her for a loop. She went on to say that all of her dogs have died when they reached 10 or eleven.

She asked us, “What do you do to keep them living so long?”

Stunned, we were not sure how to respond, we’d never been asked that before.

We went on to explain that we’ve had the boys on reduced vaccination schedules, have always fed them food fortified with the healthy stuff they need, have done everything in our power to eliminate needless injuries, have provided them room to run and play, have given them a quiet place to heal and sleep when they need it, and have loved them.

Disappointed that we didn’t offer a magical salve or potion, the woman went on her way, leaving us in remembrance over how blessed we are.

We hope you celebrate the milestones your companion animals reach, and we’d love to hear about them!

Dog food in the shape of a star

Winni the cat stretched out

Grandbury and Winni curl up together for a much needed nap.

Grandbury is an equal opportunity snuggler

Tristan and Grandbury snuggle

Balloon photo credit: Ale_Paiva

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Not Just For Humans and a Product Review: Absorbent Underpads

For the past two years we’ve been a house well stocked with baby wipes and incontinence pads. Not exactly items you’d expect in a home dedicated to fur-kids, but they are daily essentials for our pack.

We started using baby wipes a few years ago to help clean the folds around Tristan’s mouth as he is prone to develop an allergic reaction to any dirt, dust, or stray food particles that might linger on him. He requires a very gentle product that doesn’t contain alcohol (because it stings and burns any open wounds or scratches and acts as an irritant to his skin), no fragrances, and no dyes.

Other uses for these wipes:

  • cleaning ears – very gentle, large, and two-sided
  • cleaning around the eyes – very gentle
  • cleaning up any mistakes that may occur while on the road
  • wiping down the saddle portion of Tristan’s cart to maintain a clean seat

Speaking of other uses for “human” products:

If you’re pet is experiencing recovery from surgery, incontinence, sickness, or just potty training, you quickly become acquainted with the products on the market that will help make the best out of your situation.

Most pet parents are familiar with the disposable absorbent pads that can be used for any of the above situations. We really like these for traveling (even small trips become long trips with an incontinent dog), and for use when an animal is violently ill. These pads really saved the day for all of us when Frosty was in his last weeks and controlling his diarrhea became our own Olympic trial.

There are manufacturers who produce biodegradable versions of these pads, and we really like those, because if you must use these pads very often they do create a lot of waste.

However, you may find that you are better served by a washable, waterproof, and absorbent fabric underpad. These would especially be good for a pet who has undergone surgery, as they often have a spot that leaks, drains, or even bleeds.

Tristan has moments of incontinence when he is asleep, as well as when he first awakens and gets to a standing position. We had been using an old twin mattress pad cover that had a cotton top with a plastic bottom. It was waterproof, and it did work well, but after about six washings, just fell apart.

I happened to stumble upon exactly what we needed quite by accident one day. I found myself in the incontinence/bladder control section of the store and saw the following box:

Waterproof Sheet Protector Absorbent Underpad by Inspire

These pads are large (30″ x 34″), washable and reusable, have a non-slip bottom layer that keeps Tristan standing instead of sliding, a waterproof barrier, a soaker core, and a dry-touch top layer that wicks moisture into the pad. They make a larger size (36″ x 72″), but I haven’t seen it available locally.

Here is the top (white side) and underside (green) of the pad:

We’ve been using them now for a little over a month, and after many washings, they are still performing like new. All this for just shy of $10.00. You can find them at a variety of stores that may be in your neighborhood, or check the online retail list.

There are comparable products marketed specifically for pets, but you’ll pay a great deal more for them.

24Paws Rating: 5 Paws (5/5)

5 Paw Rating for Excellence

The Product: Waterproof Sheet Protector Absorbent Underpad

Company & Site: K2 Health Products, Inspire Brand

Retail Price: $9.00 – $11.00

How’d we get our paws on it: Purchased at a local store

Why we love it: Economical, large, portable, non-staining, doesn’t leak, washable, reusable, and safe for the elderly or young pup who can’t get their footing very easily. Machine washable and dryable.

Room for improvement: We wonder if an antimicrobial agent applied to the material would be a beneficial feature to the product or cause a price increase that would be unjustified. There doesn’t seem to be much of an odor-blocking element to the pads. Not that there is an overwhelming odor, as the moisture is quickly drawn into the core of the pad, and they launder beautifully and dry quickly.

Remember: Let your pets inspire you – poke your nose around different sections of your favorite stores…you never know what you’ll find. Dare to explore!

Got a favorite incontinence product you’d like to share? How about a product that is marketed for use by humans but is a great item for pets?

Check out our full Review/Rating Process Guidelines

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Blog Action Day: Global Warming – Toxic Chemical Contribution

Pet parents are concerned about the environment and responsible pet product manufacturers are sitting up and listening. From the natural resources and energy it takes to create a either a toy, treat, or accessory, to the raw materials used, manufacturers are wise to consider the final impact their product has on the environment, the pets who use them, and the buyers who are becoming increasingly selective with their purchasing dollars. Most alarming, the very same toxic chemicals that are damaging our planet and contributing to global warming are finding their way into our homes and into our pets and children.

Thankfully, there are organizations that are leading the way when it comes to discovering the hidden dangers that await our beloved companion animals. The Ecology Center, a nonprofit research organization, has released the first-ever guide to toxic chemicals in pet products ( Researchers tested over 400 pet products, including pet beds, chew toys, stuffed toys, collars, leashes and tennis balls.

Photo of a Coleman Pet Bed

Here is a snapshot of their frightening results:

45% of pet products tested by had detectable levels of one or more hazardous chemicals, including:

  • One-quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead.
  • 7% of all pet products had lead levels greater than 300 ppm — the current Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard for lead in children’s products.
  • Nearly half of pet collars had detectable levels of lead; with 27% exceeding 300 ppm — the CPSC limit for lead in children’s products.
  • One half (48%) of tennis balls tested had detectable levels of lead. Tennis balls intended for pets were much more likely to contain lead. Sports tennis balls contained no lead.

These findings are part of a larger effort to test toxic chemicals in everyday products. In addition to pet products the Ecology Center tested cars, children’s carseats, back-to-school supplies, women’s handbags and more.  All of the results can be found at

“These chemical hazards are as real for pets as they are for humans,” said Gearhart.  “While there are some protections in place for children, there is no regulatory system in place to protect our pets from these hazards.”

To sample the pet products, experts at the Ecology Center used a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, which identifies the elemental composition of any material in less than 60 seconds.

Bromine: Associated with the use of brominated flame retardants, BFRs are added to plastics in order to impart fire resistance.  Levels of some BFRs in cats are up to 23-times higher than humans. Some BFRs have been associated with thyroid problems, learning and memory impairment, decreased fertility, behavioral changes, and other health problems.

Lead: Lead is sometimes used as an additive in plastics.  Exposure can lead to a number of potential health effects including brain damage, and problems with the kidneys, blood, nerves, and reproductive system.  It can also cause learning and behavioral problems.  Lead exposure and poisoning in pets is common and can be an indicator of lead hazards in homes and products.

Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act

In response to increasing consumer demand for safer products, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Bobby Rush are expected to introduce a new bill this Congressional session to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the current federal law for regulating chemicals.   These reforms would phase out the most dangerous chemicals from the manufacturing process; require industry to take responsibility for the safety of their products; and use the best science to protect vulnerable groups.  To date the EPA has only required testing on about 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals that have been on the market since the law was passed 33 years ago.

“A Made in the USA label should be a guarantee, not a warning,” said Charlotte Brody, National Field Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition working toward toxic chemical policy reform.  “This database of products is further proof that our system of testing and regulating toxic chemicals is broken. We have an opportunity to reform federal law this year and start putting common sense limits on harmful chemicals to protect the health of Americans.”

Photo credit: / The Ecology Center

We’ll be following the additions to the site and encourage you to do the same.

Take the next step and join the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign. Send your representatives a letter encouraging them to support a reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

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Too Much of a Good Thing: Tennis-Ball Mouth


Yep, “tennis-ball mouth” is a real condition. Ever rubbed your hand or skin against a tennis ball? That scratchy texture acts as a very effective abrasive on teeth.

Pooches who love to carry a tennis ball around in their mouth for several hours throughout the day or like to addictively mouth and chew on tennis balls are the prime candidates for developing worn and eroded teeth. The constant holding and chewing of the balls wears the teeth down, creating tennis-ball mouth.

Most dogs love tennis balls, and you don’t have to stop them from playing with them, just make sure that they aren’t carrying them around all day or using them as their main chew toy. While the name may sound funny, the potentially painful diagnosis is humorless.

Doggie Bag Summary: Moderation tennis ball lover!

Photo credit: ernestbon & Shanti 🙂

For the tennis ball lover and for the protection of your throwing arm, consider the HyperDog Play Pack with a two ball launcher!