What is the Best Snuffle Mat for Dogs - DogGear

What is the Best Snuffle Mat for Dogs

The happiest dogs are the ones who get plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and have fun with their pet owners. Of course, the treats and chew toys they get to enjoy occasionally also play a big role in their happiness. A toy almost every dog enjoys is a snuffle treat mat. No matter if your dog is large or small, young or old, a snuffle treat mat provides them with a fun way to search for treats while being active and keeping their mind stimulated. If you’re looking for a great new way to entertain your dog, then a snuffle treat mat is the way to go.

1. What Exactly Is A Snuffle Mat?

The best snuffle mat is made from a rubber sink mat or an anti-fatigue mat that has holes in it. Strips of fleece material are then woven through the holes so they stick out a few inches. The idea is for you to hide bits of food or treats in the unused holes in the snuffle mat, and your dog has to search through the strips of fleece to find them. It’s a simple enough way to entertain your dog while giving them treats, and many pet owners are surprised at how much their dog loves the thrill of the hunt.

2. Why Your Dog Will Love A Snuffle Mat

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and use it to navigate through life. A snuffle mat for dogs is designed to make them use their sense of smell to find the rewards waiting for them within the dozens of strips of fleece. The treats within the snuffle mat won’t be visible, so it’s always fun to watch them use their nose to discover where the treat is located. 

Pet owners can use a snuffle treat mat to their advantage as well. It’s a great tool to incorporate in obedience training since dogs love them so much. When they respond well to your commands, allow them to play with their snuffle mat until they find all of their treats and then put it out of sight. Many dogs get so excited when they see the snuffle mat get taken out that they’ll be more likely to obey commands.

3. Benefits Of A Snuffle Mat For Dogs

A snuffle mat for dogs offers several benefits other than giving your dog a fun way to eat their treats. If your dog eats their regular food very quickly and you’ve been trying to figure out how to make them eat more slowly, then a snuffle mat may be your answer. On the same hand, dogs with digestive issues sometimes need to eat more slowly and a snuffle mat can do the trick. You could put the equivalent of their normal portion size of food inside the snuffle mat and it may take them several more minutes to eat the same amount of food. Some pet owners also spread out their meals throughout the day using a snuffle mat instead of putting food directly in a bowl.

Another great benefit of a snuffle mat for dogs is the mental stimulation it provides. Many dogs love thinking, hunting, and using their senses to find a reward and feel a great sense of accomplishment when doing so. Mental stimulation is just as good for a dog’s health as it is for a human’s health, and a snuffle treat mat can keep dogs stimulated for several minutes at a time while also keeping them entertained in the process.

Energetic dogs sometimes have to go on long walks or be extremely active in other ways to get their energy out. If there are days when you are simply unable to help your dog release their energy, then it’s time to bring out the snuffle mat. Sniffing out treats in the mat may not seem like an intense activity, but it burns quite a few calories while they are playing with it. Plus, the sense of accomplishment dogs feel afterward can calm them down some since they will have a feeling of satisfaction.

Some dogs need a little extra obedience training if they don’t listen or respond to your commands very well. Every dog is different, but many times using a snuffle treat mat is an effective way to enhance obedience training. Dogs usually get excited when they see their owner get out the snuffle mat, so it’s the perfect opportunity to teach them to be patient. Commands like sitting, laying down, and staying are commonly taught by using a snuffle mat as a reward. Just be sure to use words and commands they can become familiar with and recognize so they can apply them to other situations as well.

4. Characteristics Of The Best Snuffle Mat

While a snuffle treat mat is a simple toy for dogs to play with, different versions of it can make a difference in how engaged your dog is with it. Some of the characteristics to look for include:

  • Size – You want to find a snuffle mat that is large enough to keep your dog entertained for several minutes, but not too large where it’s hard to find a place to store it. You also don’t want one that’s so small your dog loses interest or finds all of their treats quickly. Snuffle mats range in size and can be anywhere from about 12”x12” to around 36”x48” or larger.
  • Fleece Quality – Dogs sometimes get very intense when searching for their treats in a snuffle mat. This includes biting and tugging at the strips sometimes, so it’s important to find a snuffle mat with good quality fleece. Otherwise, you may end up having to repair it frequently or have a mess in your house when your dog plays with it.
  • Weight – If a snuffle treat mat is too light, your dog may end up flipping it over too much and can frustrate them. The rubber mat itself should be thick enough to make it hard for your dog to move around the house. The idea is for your dog to stay in one place and be entertained by sniffing around in the mat rather than dragging it all over the house.
  • Washable – Having a machine washable snuffle mat is a huge benefit for pet owners. You will find that snuffle mats get dirty and smelly after just a couple of uses, so the ability to throw it in the washing machine is very convenient. It’s particularly important to get a washable snuffle mat if your dog is known to slobber when they are engaged in an activity or eating food.

5. Always Watch Your Dog When They Play With Their Snuffle Mat

While snuffle mats for dogs are generally safe and effective for keeping them stimulated and engaged, it’s always important to monitor them while they are playing with it. The fleece strips can come loose over time as the snuffle mat gets wet from slobber, or simply from the pulling and tugging that your dog does on them. If you notice any of the strips coming loose or becoming frayed, consider removing or replacing them right away so your dog doesn’t accidentally swallow them. 

Your dog will love it if you would cheer them on as they hunt for treats in their snuffle mat as well. They will be much more likely to stay engaged longer and have a more enjoyable time knowing you are there watching and supporting them on their hunt. Snuffle mats are great for dogs in many ways and can help strengthen the relationship between them and their owner.

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