One thing most dogs have in common is their love of food! They may be guilty of begging at the table, watching us cook, and getting uncontrollably exhilarated at meal times. If your dog gets as excited about food as mine does, you’ll be happy to introduce a new way for your furry friend to enjoy treats and meals: the snuffle mat.
Acting as an interactive toy, a brain game, and a great tool for improving eating habits, the snuffle mat is magnificently multipurpose. Read on to learn all about this unique product and how it can improve your dog’s life!
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What is a snuffle mat for dogs?
A snuffle mat can be as simple as a rubber mat with fleece strips or other soft fabric tied into holes in the mat. With the fleece strips free to move around slightly on top of the mat, treats and dry kibble can be hidden under the flaps and curls of the fabric. This gives your dog the opportunity to use one of their most powerful assets: their nose.
Once food has been hidden in the snuffle mat, your dog can use their nose and their brain to figure out where the food is and how to get it. Working both as a large interactive toy and an alternative to traditional feeding methods, the snuffle mat is versatile and fun for both you and your pet.
These strange looking pet products can be made at home with simple household materials. A rubber sink mat, a pair of scissors, and some extra fleece could get you a rudimentary version of a snuffle mat! The pet supply world is a wide one, and you can also purchase more complex and durable snuffle mats online and from pet retailers. These mats might be made out of similar materials, or they might use cloth or other soft fabrics as a base to make the mat more machine washable.
Are snuffle mats good for dogs?
Supporting your dog’s natural instincts in a safe and controlled environment is always a good thing. The desire to hunt and forage for food is in your dog’s DNA. Though the days of tracking down their prey in the wilderness are over, there are still other ways to fulfill their natural instincts to forage. This is where the snuffle mat comes in.
Turning treats and meal times into a fun brain exercise for your dog gives them a rewarding outlet for their energy. Allowing our canine companions to act on their instincts and use their senses can even improve their brain health and help to boost their confidence!
Trading out the traditional bowl for a snuffle mat at meal times can also prevent some serious health issues, especially if your dog is prone to eating too quickly. When dogs eat too quickly and don’t take the time to chew, they’re at risk of choking, discomfort, and the serious medical condition called bloat, which can be lethal. The snuffle mat is not only a toy, but also a healthy feeding tool that makes your dog slow down while eating, which could potentially save their life.
ALSO READ: Why Your Dog Needs a Snuffle Mat
What is the best type of snuffle mat?
One of this product’s great qualities is that all dogs can use it. Dogs of any size, age, or breed are sure to get use out of a snuffle mat. With this said, there are different kinds of snuffle mats that might best suit your needs.
If your dog is extra slobbery, it might be a good idea to prioritize washability so you can throw the mat into the washing machine as frequently as you need to. If your brilliant buddy has already mastered the classical snuffle mat set up, there are more advanced types of mats that have different “games” for your dog to play with. If your dog needs an extra challenge, you can find snuffle mats with special patterns, deeper folds in the fabric, and even some with features like bells and crinkly materials so that your dog gets more stimulation.
Choosing the right mat will come down to personal preference, but it helps to keep washability, difficulty level, and preferred fabric in mind. It never hurts to do a little research before making a purchase!
If your dog is desperate to let out some natural foraging instincts or needs help learning how to eat more slowly, it’s time to invest in a snuffle mat. You and your dog are sure to have fun figuring out this new toy together, and you’ll appreciate how easy it is to clean!
Look into the different kinds of snuffle mats today to give your best friend’s brain a boost and change meal times forever.