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Snuffle Mats for Dogs

Snuffle Mats for Dogs

3 min read

Dogs love to sniff and explore the world around them – and it is fascinating to watch them figuring stuff out! It can be great to encourage this behaviour as it is a great form of canine enrichment and also allows them an outlet for their natural sniffing and foraging instincts. A great way to do this is using a snuffle mat – which can be as simple or as challenging as you like.

Read on to find out how they might benefit your dog!

What is a snuffle mat? 

A snuffle mat is designed to encourage dogs to sniff and forage, in order to give them an opportunity to that natural – and often under-estimated - doggy sense of smell. Most dogs love to use snuffle mats because it give them a fantastic enrichment opportunity and lets them use their noses to hunt for food and encourage their natural instincts.

How do dogs snuffle mats work?

Snuffle mats for dogs are usually made up of fleece strips attached to a plastic base with holes in it. This allows for spaces where dog treats can be easily hidden. As they’re hidden, they encourage the dog to really use their noses to ‘hunt’ and forage for the treats. More advanced mats can have pockets and other hiding places built in so as to be more challenging for ‘snuffle mat experts’.

Are snuffle mats good for dogs? 

Snuffle mats for dogs are excellent activities for the majority of dogs. They provide an enrichment opportunity that uses their bodies and brains – combined with their natural scenting and foraging behaviours. They can also improve behaviour There are a few ways they benefit dogs, so read on for more information.

What are the benefits of snuffle mats for dogs?

Snuffle mats for dogs are the perfect way to provide physical and mental enrichment while utilising natural foraging behaviour. They’re perfect for dogs of all ages! They can help to slow down fast eaters, given them an opportunity to use their sense of smell, reduce anxiety and use up some canine energy.

We’ve gone into more detail on their benefits below – take a look! 

Gives them an opportunity to use their amazing sense of smell

Your dog's sense of smell is highly important because it’s one of the main ways that they discover the world! With a snuffle mat, the treats are hidden so it encourages your dog to use their sense of smell to find out where the treats are. Not only does this give them an opportunity to use their sense of smell to find food it’s enriching for them too!

Helps reduce anxiety 

Dogs need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, or they can become restless or even develop problem behaviours. As we mentioned before, when they are playing with a snuffle mat, their natural foraging instincts help them find the treats – which in turn, doesn’t just give  them a yummy food reward but the success also stimulates the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, which in turn helps to boost their mood and reduce anxiety.

Gives an alternative behaviour for dogs that are getting over excited or bouncy

For dogs who can get over excited, start jumping up and even grabbing at clothes, a snuffle mat is an excellent way to take their focus off of ‘up’ and bring it down. Plus the act of successful foraging and the release of dopamine can improve mood and behaviour.

Burns energy

Often brainwork is more tiring than physical exercise and a session with a snuffle mat, can often use as much canine energy as a walk – and improve their mood at the same time. For dogs who get really fizzy on walks and end up even more hyper afterwards, a snuffle mat can be a good alternative on occasions.

Slows down eating to avoid stomach pain and bloating

Some of our dogs are fast eaters, which can cause issues like regurgitation, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and bloating. Because snuffle mats can increase the length of time it takes them to eat, it can reduce these risks.

Are there any risks with snuffle mats for dogs? 

Snuffle mats are not indestructible and can be chewed and bits of fabric can be pulled off and eater. As such, they should always be used with supervision.

  • It can be great fun to watch your dog playing with a snuffle mat but don’t get too carried away.  Keep a track of how much they eat, as you could easily end up overfeeding them.

  • As soon as your dog has found all the treats or bits of food, lift the mat off of the floor so they don’t get frustrated hunting for treats that aren’t there.

How do I use a snuffle mat for the first time?

Snuffle mats for dogs are simple to use but  the first time you introduce one to your dog, you might have to give them some clues or a helping hand.

Let your dog watch and put a few dog treats on top of the snuffle mat, loosely in the fleece where they can see them.

Then let them go and eat the treats. Next time, now they know treats are there, hide them a little way under a few bits of fleece – then let them sniff them out. If they struggle to find them, you can help and point to them.

This should be all they need to get the hang of the snuffle mat!

How often should you wash a snuffle mat for dogs?

Your snuffle mat is bound to get a bit slobbery whilst your pup is searching for those treats. They might also start to smell of dog treats! To keep it hygienic and clean for your dog, wash it once every two weeks, or as often if necessary. Having a spare that you can use while one is in the wash can be really helpful.

Now that you know all about snuffle mats for dogs, we hope that you see how beneficial they can be for your dog’s enrichment and enjoyment! Next, check out some other great dog toys for your pup to use!