A lot of older dogs that I have known have had worn down teeth, especially the tips of their upper and lower canines. We all know how important dental care is for general health, and if you've ever had a problem with a tooth, you likely know how sensitive teeth can be when the nerves are exposed!
I never really thought about why this might happen in domesticated dogs, until my friend Suzanne casually mentioned something one day. "Axel is obsessed with balls, so I only give him rubber ones. That way his teeth won't wear down."
Axel is as ball-obsessed as a dog could be. He spends several hours a day vigorously chewing on a ball. Miles loves a good game of fetch, but would rather save his chewing energy for thick dry bullysticks or frozen raw bones. Between the two of them, both dogs do a LOT of vigorous chewing on tough objects. Yet, they both have perfect teeth. Miles and Axel may have different chewing preferences (obsessions), but, they do have one major thing in common: neither one has spent time any time chewing felt-covered tennis balls.
So, thank you Suzanne, for the clever and invaluable tip.