Woof Pupsicle Review: an Easy Way to Enrich and Calm your Dog
Reviews | By: TAYLOR WYLLIE, KPA CTP | Oct 24, 2023
Join our mailing list
Get updates about new courses, new classes, and the latest discounts.
Picture this: you just sat down to watch TV (Taskmaster, for the curious). Your dog starts barking at you. He’s not usually a demand barker — and you remember that you had to cut his morning sniffy walk a little short because, well, life, so he’s likely under-exercised, both mentally and physically.
You try some training and other enrichment for a bit, but he’s only getting more hyped. He’s too over-aroused for play.
Enter Woof’s The Pupsicle.
This story — which is true, by the way — came to a happy end when my partner popped a frozen bone broth ice cube into The Pupsicle. My dog licked it for fifteen minutes and then, satisfied, promptly fell asleep.
This sounds like an ad, but I have nothing to do with the brand. I bought the toy with my own money and have been using it the past four months and counting. I’m only an impressed dog owner and dog trainer.
So, let’s jump into the full review.
What is the Woof Pupsicle?
The Pupsicle is an enrichment toy designed to keep your dog licking. You fill it with a frozen treat of your choice, such as yogurt, canned pumpkin, peanut butter, wet dog food, or—my favorite—bone broth. You can also be creative and make recipes— Woof has a few ideas to get you started.
To make these DIY treats, you can freeze them in your own contraption or use the treat tray Woof sells separately. You can probably freeze treats within the Pupsicle itself, though Woof does not recommend that as it could become damaged or get stuck shut.
I highly recommend going with the treat tray. The treat tray freezes the ingredients in the exact right shape for the Pupsicle, making it super easy to pop them inside. It's also nice that there's always multiple treats ready to go.
Technically, you don’t have to freeze anything and can simply pop a treat in the Pupsicle, though freezing will likely get you the best mileage in terms of the treat lasting.
Additionally, you can buy already frozen Pupsicle Pops from Woof and skip the DIY aspect altogether. Of course, this will be the most expensive option.
The Pupsicle is made of BPA and Phthalate free natural rubber.
It’s available in small, large, and extra large sizes for dogs under 25lbs, between 25-75lbs, and over 75 lbs respectively. Who knows why they chose to skip a medium size and, instead, went with extra large. Perhaps to give those 30lb dogs the confidence of being large?
It’s also available in a variety of colors with limited edition colors available at various times of the year.
What are the Benefits of the Woof Pupsicle?
Mental enrichment is vital to our dogs’ mental health. A dog that’s provided the appropriate mental stimulation will be less likely to engage in annoying or destructive behaviors, such as chewing furniture, excessive barking, pacing, and so on. When working with clients with reactive dogs, I always prioritize mental enrichment, as it can have a major impact on behavior.
And—you’ve guessed it—the Pupsicle is a form of mental enrichment.
As I alluded to at the beginning of this review, enrichment that involves licking tends to bring dogs down from a state of higher arousal to lower arousal. Take my dog—he enjoys positive reinforcement training, social play, and foraging activities. These are all forms of mental enrichment. However, they don’t always facilitate a state of relaxation. If I want to encourage calm and sleep, I reach for enrichment that involves chewing or licking, such as the Pupsicle. More often than not, my dog will finish the Pupsicle and immediately take a nap.
Now, this is primarily anecdotal from my experience as a trainer and the experiences of many trainers out there. There needs to be more studies done on the positive effects of licking specifically, but it does appear to have a calming effect on dogs.
However, don’t expect it to be a miracle worker. It likely won’t cure all of your dog’s behavioral challenges. And it's not the be-all and end-all when it comes to enrichment. It’s important to incorporate other forms of mental exercise in your dog’s life.
Dogs will also likely not use the Pupsicle if they’re too excited or anxious. My dog doesn’t particularly love it when new people come over. It’s not something I would expect him to be able to lay down with and lick during that initial burst of anxiety he feels at the presence of these people. (That’s a time for behavioral modification or management.) Instead, it’s a toy to use when he only needs a little help calming down, but isn’t overly stressed.
Mental enrichment aside—the Pupsicle also acts as a great babysitter for your dog. If you have an important Zoom meeting or simply want time to enjoy a cup of tea in the morning without your dog around, you can give them the Pupsicle and expect they’ll be distracted for 15 or so minutes.
Woof claims that the Pupsicle will last twenty to forty minutes. In my experience, the number is closer to fifteen. Maybe twenty. Now, I’ve only tested this with my own dog—and he's a dedicated, focused licker. Your experience may vary. That all said, fifteen to twenty minutes is longer lasting than many other enrichment toys out there. And, as I said, my dog frequently passes out after using it, which keeps him busy for an even longer duration.
Another benefit—specifically compared to similar toys on the market—is that you can freeze four treats ahead of time with the treat tray. This means I almost always have one ready to go. Of course, if you’re organized, you can have frozen Kongs and lick mats in your freezer at all times, but this is rarely the case for me. I tend to forget to prep and freeze them after use. And I don't like to keep multiple in rotation as they take up too much freezer space, which is not the case for the treat tray.
Yet another asset of the Pupsicle—see why I gave it so many stars?—is that you can easily adapt it for whatever diet your dog is on. I exclusively use it with bone broth, as it’s a low calorie option.
Finally, I need to mention that the Pupsicle is easy to clean. Easier than Kongs and lick mats, though I will still continue to use those as well as they all provide subtly different experiences. The Pupsicle is also dishwasher safe.
As far as the messy factor during use, it’s not terrible. I still prefer to set it down on a towel, instead of letting my dog lick it right on the carpet (and he will carry it to a carpeted area if I set it down on the linoleum). This is because it can roll and move, potentially dripping, depending on how your dog uses it. A few times my dog has also not completely finished it. When this happens, it becomes as messy and sticky as you’d expect with melted bone broth—hence the towel.
What Dogs Should Use the Woof Pupsicle?
Rambunctious puppies, rebellious teenage dogs, calmer seniors, and all dogs in between will likely get something out of the Pupsicle. As I said above, it provides important mental stimulation and a calming effect. Both are necessary for dogs of all ages and breeds.
Reactive or anxious dogs may also particularly enjoy the calming effect of the Pupsicle.
That all said, not every dog will like the Pupsicle. Just as humans have varying hobbies and preferences, so do dogs. But don’t give up if your dog doesn’t appear to immediately take to it. I encourage you to play with the recipes you use to find one that tickles your dog’s fancy. You can also use food your dog likes to help them learn to like healthier options.
Initially, my dog did not particularly like the bone broth. I did as Woof suggested and put a dab of peanut butter on the top. After doing this a few times, he started to enjoy the bone broth in and of itself.
The Woof Pupsicle may not be the best choice if your dog is a big chewer. I could see them destroying it after only a couple of uses. My dog is not a destructive chewer, so I cannot speak to this directly.
Woof has a Power Chewer model that they claim is designed specifically for those dogs who, well, power chew. I have not used this model and cannot say whether it works as advertised.
Overall, I recommend the Woof Pupsicle for nearly every dog parent out there. As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to provide our dogs with the proper amount of mental exercise. Luckily, products like the Woof Pupsicle exist, allowing us to give our dogs that mental enrichment they need with, frankly, not much work on our end.
BUY THE STARTER PACK (includes treat tray and one pack of Pops)