Guide to Snuffle Mats For Dogs & Puppies: Benefits, How to Use, Cleaning and More | Pupford
November 13th, 2023
Filed under Pet Parenting
When it comes to our dogs, we always look for “best of both world” tools. Ones that help our dogs maintain good health, while having fun. If we can pair that with a way to keep our dogs self-entertained, even better! That’s why there’s one tool in particular that we really love: the snuffle mat for dogs. It offers mental and physical benefits for your dog without having to leave the house -- or even the room!
Since we often get questions about snuffle mats, we put together a guide to help you understand the basics, and how to get the most out of your snuffle mat.
In this guide, we’re going to cover all things snuffle mats, including:
- What are snuffle mats for dogs?
- Why you should use a snuffle mat
- How to use a snuffle mat
- DIY options
- Where to buy a snuffle mat
- Tips and tricks for your snuffle mat
Since we have a lot to cover today, we’ll get right into it now!
GUIDE TO SNUFFLE MAT FOR DOGS
Before we dive into the full guide, here's a quick video of a Snuffle Mat in use! ⤵️
WHAT IS A SNUFFLE MAT?
This design is intentional. The small individual strips mimic grass or other terrains that dogs would forage through, while creating flaps and folds to hide food and treats. Since it’s a soft material, your dog can easily sniff around and smell anything hidden within the mat.
Snuffle mats encourage dogs to use their nose and problem-solving skills to navigate the fabric and find the goodies. Your dog gets to run with their natural instincts while staying in the comfort of their own home -- win win!
Some other names you might see for snuffle mats are foraging mat, sniff mat, sniff pad, sniffing pad, sniffing mat, or treat rug!
SNUFFLE MAT BENEFITS - ARE THEY GOOD FOR DOGS?
We love snuffle mats for so many reasons. Here are some of the main benefits of using a snuffle mat for your dog:
- Dogs get to keep their sharp, which is their most important sense
- Nose work also helps relieve stress and actually triggers pleasure centers in your dog’s brain
- is better for digestion
- Food and treats! Fun!
And let’s be real, we love things that benefit our dogs AND ourselves. Another reason snuffle mats are great is that they have a few benefits that dog parents can enjoy:
- Snuffle mats are a great way to get in , which is important on it’s own but also in situations like or where traditional exercise is limited -- or when you are sick or injured yourself
- It keeps your dog occupied for a while which is great when you can’t be actively engage with but
- Redirect problem behaviors to something positive
- They are inexpensive, easy to use, and easy to clean
Snuffle mats really are easy to use and provide a host of benefits for you and your dog.
More on how to use and clean a puppy snuffle mat in the next section!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOW TO USE A SNUFFLE MAT, EVEN FOR MEALS
One of the best things about snuffle mats is how easy they are to use.
Snuffle mats work best with or kibble. Some prefer to use the snuffle mat as a means to give an entire meal, while others use treats for something extra. Either is fine, just be sure to be mindful of calorie intake if using treats.
Either way, this is the best way to use a snuffle mat! ⏬
- You'll simply place the pieces of food or treats deep into the folds of the fabric. That way your dog has to really work to earn their food and it will engage them for longer.
- Ask your dog to sit, stay, and wait while you place the mat on the floor for an added layer of obedience training!
- Release your pup to forage in the snuffle mat and find the food!
It's really that easy. Just lay it out, fill it with food or treats and let your pup use their nose for mental enrichment.
Some pup parents have ditched the bowl completely and only give their pup meals in a snuffle mat. 🐶
HOW TO WASH AND CLEAN A SNUFFLE MAT
For health and safety, you’ll want to make sure the snuffle mat is clean before its first use and between uses.
You can wash most snuffle mats in the washing machine on a gentle cycle or by hand with dish soap -- just be sure to let it air dry.
Between washings, we'd recommend shaking out the snuffle mat once your pup is done using it. That way you can ensure no treats are left in there for critters like mice and ants.
DIY OPTIONS - HOW TO MAKE A SNUFFLE MAT
What you’ll need: A rubber sink mat, a yard and a half of fleece, scissors
- Cut your fleece into strips. You’ll want to make sure your fleece is thin enough to be cut easily with scissors. A good guide is half an inch wide by six inches long, but feel free to vary the length and width for added fun for your dog. You’ll need quite a few strips, but there’s no need to stress over making them perfect
- Once you have your strips, push one end through one of the holes in the rubber mat, and the other end through the hole next to it. Flip the mat over and tie the ends in a knot
- For the next strip, weave one end through the second hole you used for the first strip and the other end through the third hole
- Once you’ve completed that pattern horizontally across the rows, repeat it vertically down the columns. So the next strip would have one end pushed through the first hole in the first row, and the other end pushed through the first hole in the second row
- Repeat this process until a full criss-cross pattern fills the mat
- Flip the mat over and make sure there are no bare spots and that all strips are secure
Your DIY snuffle mat is now ready to use!
WHERE TO BUY A SNUFFLE MAT
If DIY is not your thing, or you’d just prefer to buy a premade one, there are plenty of options for you.
With fast and easy shipping, secure checkout, and your order being backed by the Pupford promise, we know your pup will be happy with a snuffle mat from us.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR YOUR SNUFFLE MAT
We want your dog to enjoy their snuffle mat as much as possible. By following these tips they’ll be able to have fun, stay safe, and enjoy!
- Use for full meal feeding. While you certainly can use a snuffle mat for some extra treats, feel free to use it to give your pup a full meal. They’ll eat more slowly and stay occupied for a good amount of time.
- Use for highly efficient mental training. Some trainers estimate that 15 minutes of nosework on the snuffle mat burns as many calories as a 60 minute walk! Mental exercise is just as important of an activity as physical exercise.
- Wash regularly to reduce bacteria. Shake out the mat or run your hands through it to remove pieces of food or treats before putting it in the washing machine.
- Supervise your dog. You’ll want to make sure they don’t rip off and chew the fleece pieces or flip the mat over and rip the bottom.
RECAP OF SNUFFLE MATS FOR DOGS AND PUPPIES
Snuffle Mats have become increasingly popular due to the ease of use and powerful benefits your dog receives! Giving meals in a snuffle mat is also an effective way to slow down your pup's eating, which is helpful for reducing bloat.
Has your dog used a snuffle mat before? We want to hear all about their experience in the comments below. And if you have any pictures or videos of your dog snuffling away, be sure to tag us on Instagram!
PLUS, right now you can get a snuffle mat PLUS free shipping and a FREE 2oz bag of Freeze Dried Training Treats (that's over 225 treats for free!).