Are Snuffle Mats Good for Dogs? - DogGear

Are Snuffle Mats Good for Dogs?

Dogs need stimulation occasionally to avoid getting too bored throughout the day. Going for walks or doing some obedience training are great ways to get your pet up and moving and help them to better understand the human language. Sometimes you won’t be able to do those things for various reasons, but you still want your dog to be active so they won’t fall into a sedentary lifestyle. This is where a snuffle treat mat enters the picture to provide your dog with a fun and tasty activity that will surely get their blood flow moving. A snuffle mat for dogs is great to have around the house or to take with you on trips, as your dog may prefer it over their favorite chew toys you usually give to them.

1. What Is A Snuffle Mat?

A snuffle mat for dogs is simply a rubber mat with holes and contains strips of fleece knotted through the holes. It’s simple enough to make on your own if you have the materials, or you can find them widely available at any pet store. When you first look at a snuffle mat, you may not know exactly what makes it so attractive for dogs since it’s just a bunch of fleece strips. However, the idea of a snuffle mat for dogs is to hide bits of food or treats within the fleece strips and allow them to use their sense of smell to find them. Dogs love burying their heads into a snuffle mat because of the soft fleece and because they know there’s a reward or two hiding for them somewhere within it.

2. Dogs Love To Explore With Their Sense Of Smell

Dogs rely on their sense of smell more than any other sense. They use their nose to learn more about people, to hunt for animals and critters, to find bits of food that have fallen on the ground, and much more. It’s easy to see why a snuffle treat mat is so attractive to them and why they get excited when they see their human pull it out. Not only do they love the feeling of burying their noses in the soft fleece, but they are extra motivated to do so knowing there will be a tasty treat waiting for them to find. There aren’t too many more things a dog loves than being able to use their strongest sense and being rewarded for their efforts.

3. Use A Snuffle Mat For Obedience Training

It’s easy to overuse a snuffle mat for dogs when you see how much they enjoy it. However, the best snuffle mat can be a great tool to use for obedience training, so it may be a good idea to only use it for a few minutes each day and then put it away where it’s out of sight. Otherwise, if you always have it laying around the house, with or without treats, then it will eventually be nothing special for them and you won’t have as much success using it as a training tool. 

We ask our dogs to listen and cooperate with us often, so they deserve a reward from time-to-time. For example, use the snuffle mat full of treats as a reward for sitting, laying down, staying, speaking, or any other commands you are attempting to teach them. Use the same terms when it’s time for them to go after their treats or leave them alone, such as, “okay go” and “leave it.” These same commands will stick with them and they can apply them to other situations even when they aren’t playing with their snuffle treat mat. 

4. Make Dinner Fun With A Snuffle Mat

Most dogs get fed the same food once or twice a day. Even if they enjoy eating their food, the same daily routine can get boring after a while and they may skip meals occasionally because they simply aren’t excited about their food. The best snuffle mat can make dinner fun for them if you hide some of their food in it. The thrill of the hunt is exciting for dogs and makes their food seem like it tastes much better than just eating out of their normal bowl. Mix in some bites of their favorite treats to keep them engaged with the snuffle mat and dinner can turn into a fun activity for them.

Another great use for a snuffle mat for dogs is to slow them down if they eat their food too quickly out of their bowl. They are forced to eat more slowly when bits and pieces of food are hiding in their snuffle mat. You could split up their normal meal and put half of the food in the snuffle mat and the other half in their bowl. Or you could help them spread out their meals throughout the day by only feeding them using the snuffle mat two or three times a day.

5. Give Your Dog Some Entertainment If They Are Bored

As mentioned previously, you want to avoid overusing a snuffle treat mat so your dog is always excited when they see it. Whether your dog is bored at the house, is impatient waiting for the groomer, or simply needs entertainment while traveling, a snuffle mat for dogs can be a welcome distraction for them. Some dogs will get more excited than others when they see the snuffle mat and work extra hard to find their treats as quickly as possible, so the amount of entertainment may only be a few minutes. Those few minutes are still very exciting for your dog and can help them relax afterward once they feel a sense of accomplishment finding all of their treats.

6. Snuffle Mats Can Help Your Dog Burn Calories

The best snuffle mat may seem like a simple toy for your dog to play with, but it’s surprising at how many calories your dog can burn just by sniffing out their treats. Using a snuffle mat shouldn’t be a substitute for taking your dog for a walk regularly, but it is a great way to supplement some of their exercises and help them burn calories throughout the day. And it’s especially useful for high-energy dogs since they can burn some of their energy by searching for their treats.

7. Always Supervise Your Dog Playing With A Snuffle Mat

Some dogs will only use their snuffle mat to find their treats and then leave it alone. Others enjoy chewing on the fleece after they’ve completed their hard work. Whichever category your dog fits in, it’s important to supervise them while they are playing with their snuffle treat mat. One reason is that they enjoy being cheered on and will feel more satisfied with their accomplishment if you’re there watching them the whole time. Another reason is that the fleece strands can come loose. Keep an eye out for any loose strands and secure them or remove them so your dog won’t chew on them and present a choking hazard.

Part of dog ownership is keeping your pet entertained and engaged in different activities. A snuffle mat for dogs can do exactly that, and you can also enjoy watching them hunt for their treats. Participate in the fun by cheering them on while they are hunting and it will turn into an activity you both look forward to every day.

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