As tennis fans pack their picnics for a summer of strawberries and cream, pet insurance provider, ManyPets, has launched a plea to get our furry friends onto Centre Court as the very best Ball Boys and Ball Girls.

In celebration of our pets and what they do best, ManyPets, is calling for Wimbledon Tennis Club to consider ‘Ball Dogs’ for next year’s tournament – the very best fetchers out there after all. The pet insurance brand has launched a new trial in partnership with Wimbledon tennis society, Wilton Tennis Club, that saw budding ‘Ball Dogs’ put their skills to the test in preparation for future tennis championships. ManyPets now calls on Wimbledon via an Open Letter on its Twitter and Instagram channels to consider giving four-legged friends a chance as official ‘Ball Dogs’ in 2023.

Oke Elazu, CEO, ManyPets UK, said: “As we approach this year’s tournament, we’re calling on Wimbledon to get our ‘Ball Dogs’ to centre-court next year. Our four-legged friends have always been highly regarded for their dedication and skill when it comes to chasing after tennis balls. We hope that the nation will get behind our plea, and that Wimbledon grants our Ball Dog ambitions for 2023.”

Martin Schiller, Club Coordinator at Wilton Tennis Club, said: “We’re delighted to be working with ManyPets to train the next generation of aspiring Ball Girls and Ball Boys. We were so impressed by their natural ability and passion for the game that we can’t believe the Ball Dogs in training haven’t been snapped up already.”

Ahead of a summer of sport, ManyPets is also offering top tips from Qualified Vet, Cat Henstridge and Sarah James, Vet Nurse at ManyPets, on ‘how to keep pooches healthy and active during the warmer months’:

1. Bin the fling: Although many pet owners choose to use a ball flinger when out on a walk, these can in fact be damaging to our pets, as the ball goes so far that the repetitive running at extreme lengths puts a strain on our pets joints. Instead, simply throw the ball with your hand, or serve it up on the court where they don’t have to run so far.

2. Prepping paws: Sweating for both humans and dogs causes evaporation, which cools us down. Rubbing alcohol helps speed up evaporation, so try swiping a very small amount over your dog’s paws with cotton wool if you suspect they need some help lowering their body temperature.

3. Cooling down: There are many cheap ways to keep your pets cool in the summer, from cooling mats, vests and beds, there are plenty of products out there to give your pet a soothing, cold relief.

4. Healthy hacks: Make your dog some tasty pup-cicle ice lollies at home – it’s as simple as adding their favourite food (be it leftover chicken broth or high water content fruit) to an ice tray with some water and popping it in the freezer. As well as cooling them down, it’s also an activity that stimulates them mentally by engaging them in a task. A fun activity for you in the kitchen, and a welcomed treat for your pup!

5. Fresh trim: Getting regular trims and brushing your dog daily during the warmer months will not only make them look handsome, but it will keep them cool by removing excess insulation. Just be sure to apply pet-safe sun cream to shield their skin when out and about.

6. Ditch the stick: When walking in the great outdoors, it can be tempting to let your dog chase a stick, like we often associate dogs to do. However these can easily cause injury, so always opt for a tennis ball to ensure they fetch safely.

7. Be safe in the sun: Dogs love to run around in the glorious sunshine, but we must be mindful of how much time dogs spend in direct sunlight during hot temperatures. Avoid long walks and ensure they have access to plenty of shade and water when on the go.