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How to Use a Snuffle Mat for Dogs

If you’re reading this post, it’s possible you’re acquainted with the idea of snuffle mats or you’re snuffle-mat-curious. You may have heard about the idea in passing, but you’re unsure what—if you’ll pardon the pun—it entails.

You know that the word ‘snuffle’ must mean it’s got something to do with dogs. But what are they snuffling? And how does it benefit them?

We’ve got all the answers and more. To find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about snuffle mats, you’ll just have to keep reading!

What are snuffle mats?

Snuffle mats are enrichment tools for dogs that provide stimulation both mental and physical. They are made from a plastic sink mat with holes, as well as many layers of ruffled fabric. This may sound like a silly invention—until you realise that those many strands of fabric provide the perfect hiding place for kibble (or whatever other dry food you’d like to feed your dog)! They usually look pretty, too, but that’s a convenient aesthetic bonus.

How do you use a snuffle mat for dogs?

It’s easy! Simply place stray pieces of kibble beneath each cloth stand of the snuffle mat. If kibble is not a part of your dog’s diet, this will also work with other dry food or treats. Why not try it with canine-friendly, dehydrated jerky, or perhaps some air-dried dog food?

Image: Stylish Hound

Why use a snuffle mat?

Snuggle mats can sound like an odd idea until you learn they’re steeped in a particular peda-dog-y. Or, at least, they exist with the intention to strengthen canine instincts and mental reflexes, as well as to facilitate a form of physical activity.

Put a dog in a domestic environment with his dinner on a literal silver platter and, although you are providing him with a loving home, you are cutting him off from his wolf-like instincts. Dogs are designed to sniff out and chase their next meal. With up to 300 million nasal olfactory receptors—that’s compared to humans’ mere six million—noses are to dogs what eyes are to us.

The philosophy behind the snuffle mat is to let your dog get back in touch with their base instincts. Let them locate and detect the segments of kibble by sniffing the snuffle mat, burying their noses between the strands of cloth. Using their strongest sense of all, your dog will have a wonderful time locating their treats. This activity will sharpen their mental faculties and also provide something of an incidental bodily workout.

Are there any hidden perks?

Absolutely—for humans and hounds alike. For hounds, snuffle mats are a form of slow feeding. This means that, rather than woofing down their silver-laden dog food, hounds will slow digestion with the delay that comes between hunting down each morsel. This will make for better nutrient absorption and better awareness of their own satiety cues.

It’s also a cozy place to rest! Image: Stylish Hound

For humans, snuffle mats make for occupied dogs, meaning you’ll have a moment to yourself. Maybe you’re needing to buy yourself half an hour for an important Zoom meeting, or maybe you just haven’t the energy right now. In any case, a snuffle mat will entertain your dog for the next little while, potentially expending canine energy. Revel as you may in this hidden perk, always ensure that you supervise your dog throughout playtime, lest they mouth the mat or—worse—pee all over it.

Are you sold yet?

You should be! If not, perhaps you’re more of a lick mat person. Lick mats are a similar distraction tool, but rather than tapping into the foraging instinct, they slow digestion using textured grooves. Lick mats are great alternatives—or additions—to snuffle mats because they rely on wet, smooshy food rather than dried segments. It all comes down to your preferences.

Image: Stylish Hound

In any case, we hope we have given you some doggy food for thought. Snuffle mats are easy to use and they do doggies a world of good. If you ‘felt’ sold on snuffle mats, do your dog and yourself a favour and ‘fetch’ yours now. This is the best way to turn snack time into a game.

Originally posted 2022-02-04 02:14:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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