Get Your Free Pet Planner DOWNLOAD NOW!
A small commission may be earned on any purchases made via links on this page. Read our full affiliate disclosure.

Snuffle Mats For Dogs! An Activity That Can Beat The Boredom.

I have a very active dog who I seem to never be able to tire out. I am always on the search for activities or ideas to keep her mind going and activity level high to get her exhausted and beat the boredom.

I have owned dogs for over 20 years now and only recently heard of snuffle mats for dogs. I am always looking for new things for my dogs to enjoy. As a dog mom to power chewers it is not always easy to find activities and treats that are safe and engaging.

So, when I saw someone talking about them in a Facebook group and saying how much their dog loved it, I had to check it out.

What Is A Snuffle Mat?

A snuffle mat is like a weird kind of puzzle. Dogs need to work through the strands of material in the mat to get the treats and rewards you place inside. I learned that one common use for these mats is to help faster eaters learn to slow down.

It is also used to keep your dog busy as it requires they use their senses and skills to find their food.

Doggie enrichment is a large bonus for using these mats so if you have a breed of dog that likes to work, this can be a great option for entertainment.

Benefits Of A Snuffle Mat For Your Dog

Snuffle mats were designed to help bring a dogs natural foraging instincts indoors. Dogs did not always have owners around to place food in bowls for them, so foraging in grass, plants and the great outdoors was a skill they were born with.

Our modern day pooches still have this skill – but rarely use it. That is what makes a snuffle mat so great! It brings back those natural instincts your dog has to find food and have fun doing it.

1. Can Help Reduce Dog Stress

When a dog sniffs outside it naturally reduces their stress and anxiety which is why a snuffle mat is a great addition to their daily schedule. The mental stimulation these mats bring is another way 

2. Forces Fast Eaters To Slow Down

Using this mat as a training tool to help your dog eat dry food slower is another great benefit. Rescue dogs are particularly known for often eating way too fast because they might have experienced starvation in the past. Over time with the use of this mat and confirmation they will never miss a meal again you will find them eating at slower paces!

Some dog owners have stated they use this as the main feeding option in their home because their dog seems to enjoy it too!

3. Great For Mental Stimulation

Because your dog will need to use their brain and senses to find the kibble, it helps improve their mental stimulation and prevent boredom. These types of brain games can be helpful for high energy and anxiety dogs as it gives the a purpose and can help tire them out.

While many dogs will enjoy a snuffle mat, some dogs will just tell you no way. Some dog owners have stated in some reviews that their dogs just flipped the mat over to get the goods.

While that is pretty clever of them, it is clearly not how it is supposed to work. 

How To Introduce Your Dog To The Snuffle Mat

Dogs are fickle creatures and while some may take right to the mat, others may be a little fearful. 

For the first experience do not hide the treats or kibble too deep, I recommend placing them gently on top of the meet. Stay with your dog while the explore it for the first time to ensure they feel safe and are using it properly. 

Some dogs may be too rough with the mat and may require a gentle reprimand to help them understand how to use it properly. If they are starting to chew or tear at the mat, tell them “no” and encourage them to sniff to find the tasty treat. 

Patience is key here! Once the realize their nose is their friend with the mat, they will begin to use it properly and you can start to add more treats and place them deeper in the fleece strips. 

This can be used as a meal time replacement or as an occasional treat! If you currently use some kind of dog puzzle and your dog enjoys it, a snuffle mat may be something they really enjoy too.

When To Not Use A Snuffle Mat

If your dog is prone to chewing or destructing toys, this may not be the right thing for them. Snuffle mats, especially those made of felt can be destroyed fairly easily and if the fleece is chewed and ingested it can cause belly issues. 

As a pet parent you know what your dogs behaviors are – so think about their destruction and chew levels before making the investment into a snuffle mat!

The 3 Best Snuffle Mats For Dogs

There are a lot of mats out there for your dog to enjoy – but they are not all created equal. Below are the top picks I could find based on customer satisfaction across the web. I look at popular store reviews, brand mentions and forums to determine which snuffle mats are the best for your dog.

1 | PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Dog Feeding Mat

Not bright and colorful like some of its competitors and the only one not made from fleece. The PAW5 is the hands down winner of all the snuffle mats I looked at. Thousands of ratings with an average 4.5 stars makes it the top pick.

paw5 snuffle mat

Features

  • Washer and dryer friendly
  • Made with non-toxic cotton and polyester materials (many others are made of fleece which is much easier to destroy)
  • Sustainably sources and handmade by PAW5 partners in Thailand and Ghana
  • Measures approximately 18″L x 12″ W x 3″ H

Most of the other mats had a slip-proof base, but this one does not as it relies on its heavier weight to not move around. 

2 | AWOOF Snuffle Mat

Not bright and colorful like some of its competitors and the only one not made from fleece. The PAW5 is the hands down winner of all the snuffle mats I looked at. Thousands of ratings with an average 4.5 stars makes it the top pick.

Features

  • Made from oxford cloth and polar fleece
  • Measures 18″ across when fully open, 10″ across when pulled into a tighter bowl style use
  • Machine washable
  • Non-slip bottom
  • Belt adjustment at top makes storage easy and allows flexibility in how you use the mat

3 | Custom Snuffle Mat {Etsy: Lifes A Treasure Mat}

Choose your color – choose a size and you will have your own custom snuffle mat that is perfect for your home and dog. It is hand crafted – so it will take a little longer to receive than the other mats. But I love supporting small artisans and to me the wait is worth it.

Etsy snuffle mat

Features

  • 728 pieces of fabric in each 12″ x 12″ section
  • Custom sizes
  • Custom fleece colors – up to 3
  • Anti-pill fleece
  • PVC backing so mat can be rolled and stored
  • Amazing reviews with no complaints

DIY Snuffle Mat

If you are the creative type and enjoying making your own dog toys and treats, then this is the perfect item you can make yourself. It is fairly easy to make and the supplies can be pretty cheap – with some love and patience you can have your own homemade snuffle mat in no time.

Supplies

  • At least 1 yard of fleece – may be required depending on the size of your mat
  • Rubber mat with holes that will allow you to feed the fleece through
  • Scissors

Getting The Fleece Ready

Be sure to wash the fleece before you begin the cutting process. 

Cut the fleece into pieces that are about 6 inches in length and about 1 or 2 inches thick. Depending on the size of the mat you chose to go with will determine the amount of fleece pieces you will need. 

I cannot imagine needing less than about 300 pieces.

Making Your Snuffle Mat

Now you simply feed your fleece through a hole and tie in a knot at the base. Keep adding your fleece strips until the mat looks full and filled. If the hole is large you can actually add a couple of strips in each hole to ensure the mat is well filled with hiding spots.

Someday I may try making my own, but I know patience is not my thing – so for now I bring you the video below to help you create your own.

Leave a Comment

 

Pin It on Pinterest