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Dog Toy Makers Have Freezable, Fillable Fun

Leaders in the category share their greatest and latest in these enrichment toys for dogs — and even for cats!




Toy of Cooking

PET PARENTS AND pups alike can’t get enough of fillable toys and lickable mats. Bolstered by education on their many physical and mental health benefits, demand from retailers continues to increase. Brands are eager to meet it with savvy marketing of existing products and development of new toys and accessories, especially those that pop into the freezer for longer-lasting enrichment.

Social Media Stars

Back in 2008, WEST PAW introduced its first fillable, freezable toy — Tux. Since then, the company has developed additional toys that can go in the freezer, with Toppl and Qwizl joining Tux to help create the “fillable dog toys as tasty art” trend on social media. Cary Kessenich, director of product and marketing, explains that during the pandemic, “Pet parents who were on Zoom calls all day wanted ways to keep their pets busy. We had always been suggesting recipes for our treat toys and getting asked for more. Our fans took matters into their own hands and inspired each other, and inspired all of us at West Paw.” The result: The Toy of Cooking booklet retailers could offer to their customers; it’s now available as a download on

Seasonal and everyday recipes from West Paw’s favorite social media “chefs” fill 23 pages. Kessenich says it was a “labor of love for everyone involved” and points to its impact on sales for the company and retailers. “Since 2020, we’ve seen growth in our enrichment and puzzle toy category of 45%, and our Toppl toy has firmly moved to our No. 1 selling toy during this timeframe. We’ve seen retailers offer Toppls ‘to go’ or a Build Your Own Toppl Bar.”


For Cats, Too

P.L.A.Y. created the ZoomieRex EverLick Mat with inclusivity in mind on multiple fronts. Natalie Hennessy, director of public relations and marketing, explains, “Available in two sizes to accommodate both cats and dogs, the mat is designed with a unique and textured surface that encourages pets to explore and interact with it. The mat can be used as a standalone interactive toy, or pet parents can add variety by spreading treats onto the mat and popping it into the freezer to create a cooling and soothing experience.” Marketing photos show both dogs and cats enjoying the mat, which comes in a small avocado design perfect for small pups and kitties and the larger pineapple mat best suited to bigger dogs.


Polar Wobbles

TALL TAILS added Polar to its natural rubber toy collection earlier this year. Alexandra Barone, marketing and sales specialist at 3TBrands, shares, “Our design goals were to not only create a toy that can be filled and frozen for a cooling treat, but to include a fun element of engaging play that also acts as an occupying tool for pets.” The shape makes it doubly engaging, as it wobbles and rocks on the weighted base. Tall Tail designers also added a convenience factor for pet parents by making it stackable, for easy storage in and out of the freezer.

Smart Designs

SODAPUP has a seemingly endless lineup of colorful, creative rubber toys perfect for filling and freezing — among them wildly popular Honey Pot and new Flower Pot. Founder and CEO Adam Baker takes pride in them all, but especially likes to talk up his problem-solving Unstoppables Stoppers. “One of the primary aggravations of filling treat dispensers with moist ingredients for freezing is the mess! It’s hard to fill the toys, and it’s hard to keep them from leaking on your counter and in your freezer. It’s also hard to keep them standing upright in your freezer so they don’t spill. Our Unstoppables Stoppers solve these problems. Designed to be inserted into the small hole of the treat dispenser, it plugs the hole, preventing leaking, and it acts as a stand, keeping the toy upright for filling and freezing. These are simple, but ingenious devices that solve a common problem!”




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