A blog post by Gia Savocchi, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant
I’ve got a favorite toy, and it’s the Westpaw Toppl. This is a toy that I recommend to nearly all of my clients, and it is one of the best ways that you can add an easy enrichment activity to your dog’s life. I find that the biggest cause of behavioral issues that we can easily control and remedy is lack of exercise and activity. When most people think of activity, they think of physical exercise. However, mental enrichment is just as important! What I love the most about enrichment activities using food is that it takes very little time for us to create fun projects for our dogs that can keep them occupied for several hours a day.
What is this Westpaw Topple thing?
The Westpaw Topple is a non-toxic toy made of the proprietary material “Zogoflex”. It is a cup shape designed to be filled with food and treats, that comes in two sizes and three colors. I recommend the large size for dogs 30lbs and up, and the small size for smaller dogs OR if you’d like to give your dog just a small snack. The color coding can come in handy if you have dogs who eat different diets. It is dishwasher safe and very easy to clean. Unlike Kong toys, it doesn’t get food stuck in it, and doesn’t absorb bad smells either. Check out my review video below for a full demonstration!
How do you use it?
The best way to use the Westpaw Toppl toy is to stuff it full of wet or raw dog food, and freeze it like a rock in the freezer. When used in this way, it will take about 30-45 minutes for your dog to chew and take all the food out of! You can also use other things to stuff your Toppl, such as mashed sweet potato, yogurt, or cheese. I prefer to use dog food, however, as if I’m feeding my dog anyway might as well make them work for it. The first few times you give them this toy, it might be best not to freeze it so your dog doesn’t feel frustrated.
Who shouldn’t have this toy?
This type of toy may not be good for a dog who resource guards against people or other dogs. Toys that take a long time to consume can lead to a dog who resource guards feeling more stressed during meal times. You can also run the risk of another dog or person/child wandering over while the dog is chewing. If you do decide that your dog who resource guards can safely have a food puzzle toy, make sure that they have this toy in a safe area of the house where another dog or person cannot accidentally come into contact with them. I prefer to crate dogs with puzzle toys, or put them in a closed room.
This toy also might not work well for an extremely destructive chewer. If you suspect your dog could break this toy into pieces, it is best to supervise them for the first few times you give them this toy.
How often do you use your Westpaw Toppl Gia?
I personally try to use the Westpaw Toppl toy for at least half of my dogs meals. I have 4 toys per dog, and fill them all up at once. This allows me the convenience of having my Westpaw Toppl toys ready to go when I come home from working. I use them most often on days when my dogs haven’t had enough physical exercise. Remember, your dog doesn’t need to eat at the same time every day. They can eat during the times that you feel they need something to do! I especially love these toys when I have guests come over, because they keep my dogs quiet and busy.
About Me, The Writer, Gia: I’m a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (among other things), and a little obsessed with dogs. I’ve been working in the dog industry for 15 years now, and as a lifelong learner I’m continuously studying everything I can in order to better help my clients and their pets. I have three dogs, Poppy, Vera, and Levon and one parrot, Atlas. If you’d like to learn more about me, click here.