Dog lick mats are becoming more and more popular for their many benefits and they are used for both dogs and cats. You can find some with original patterns that are visually beautiful, colorful, and useful for the well-being of small and large dogs.
What Is a Dog Lick Mat?
Every type of mat has its textures and patterns to help contain food, so your dog has to lick every little hole in the mat.
Lick mats are ribbed, often made of heat-resistant rubber or food-grade silicone, and can sometimes be made of rigid plastic.
In addition, the licking mat prevents your dog from taking his food with his teeth. He, therefore, has no choice but to use his tongue, which takes much longer for him to eat everything. Unlike his bowl, your dog will have to concentrate on licking, instead of gulping everything!
What Are Dog Lick Mats Used For?
Licking mats are enrichment tools and can be used for many purposes. They are made to meet your pet’s instinctual needs since lucking is a natural behavior that is used for different situations throughout their life.
For example, puppies need to discover and explore different textures by licking. Also, the dog that licks his muzzle or lips wants to communicate that he is in a situation that makes him uncomfortable.
The lick mat can be used as :
- Treat dispenser
- Food Bowl
- Meal Prep Area
- Training Aid
- Distributor of medication or supplement
What Are The Benefits of the Lick Mat?
Encouraging your dog to use a lick mat allows him to release endorphins that will help him calm down in situations that can be a little more stressful.
The benefits of the licking mat:
- Aids digestion
- Cleans tongue, teeth, and gums
- Helps to relax
- Improves oral hygiene
- Increase the duration of meals
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Stimulates the brain and body
When to Use a Dog Licking Mat?
Use a licking mat when your dog has too much energy, is stressed or anxious, devours his bowl too quickly, or is bored. It is also used to redirect his attention when he has unwanted behavior such as biting, barking at the window, digging in the garden, and destroying your objects or furniture.
A lick mat is a wonderful tool for distracting your dog and you have any ways to use it as a positive reinforcement to create positive associations.
For example, there are lick mats that you can stick to the wall so that your dog is focused on his mat when he takes a bath. Your dog will be busy licking his mat instead of moving around and trying to get out of the bath.
Lick mats can help those with a tendency to lick their paws or their carpet, as this can mean a dog is stressed, depressed or exhausted. They can help dogs that suffer from separation anxiety by giving them a tasty mat when you’re about to leave.
It’s also a great tool for puppies or shelter dogs that have a lot of energy, to give you a little break and keep your dog busy when you can’t watch him.
You can also use it if you can’t walk your dog for reasons like:
- Rain or a thunderstorm
- A wound
- A joint problem
Of course, the licking mat will never replace a good walk. But it can be a good way to troubleshoot and spend his energy in case of a problem.
Which Dog Lick Mat Should I Choose?
You can find a multitude of lick mats with different formats, patterns, and levels of difficulty that will occupy your dog from 2 to 30 minutes.
Lick mats that are deeper and less spaced are often more difficult to lick, so your pet will need to spend more time licking them.
Thus, the different models are made to adapt to different treats and foods that have different consistencies such as liquid foods.
Some mats have suction cups to prevent them from slipping, but also to hand them on the wall or a window.
Also, you can buy a licking mat with a spatula that will help you spread the food easily, but you can also take a utensil you already own.
Lick mats are a great way to provide interactive feeding to your pet. You can also combine it with an interactive bowl, a sniffing mat, and a treat-dispensing ball, like a Kong.
The more options you give him, the more you can exercise his brain and keep him from getting bored.
How to Use a Dog Lick Mat?
To occupy your dog as long as possible, spread his food on the licking mat and freeze it. Thus, it will take longer for your dog to eat everything.
If your dog is impatient with the idea of eating, ask him to sit or lie down, give him his lick mat when he has calmed down, and remove it when he is finished. This will prevent your dog from chewing on his mat if he tends to get too excited.
Finally, watch your dog the first time he uses it to make sure he doesn’t chew on it or ingest bits of his lick mat.
Where to Buy Dog Lick Mats?
The most popular brands are LickiMat and SodaPup. They make high-quality licking mats for dogs and cats that are durable and safe. In addition, they have a whole range of different mats, which are very creative and can be put in the freezer and the dishwasher.
You can get them on Amazon, pet stores, Walmart, Canadian Tire, or online retail stores like Zarabull. Make sure they are made of silicone or food-grade rubber before buying from a lesser-known brand.
Similarly, you can create your lick mat with muffing tins. You can also create some from a tool or toilet paper rolls, it’s just a matter of being creative!
What Ingredients Can I Put on a Dog Licking Mat?
The lick mats are perfect for people who feed their animals on raw food (BARF) diet and for canned food as well. You can also puree fruits or vegetables to spread them easily on the licking mat.
Here are some examples of ingredients you can use on a lick mat:
|Peanut butter (without xylitol)
|Cooked sweet potato
If you use dairy products, be careful that they are sugar-free and not to add too much since dogs often have difficulty digesting lactose. In addition, avoid putting a large amount of new food on your dog since they have a sensitive digestive system and this can cause diarrhea or vomiting.
Foods toxic to dogs:
- Raw potato
- Stones (apricot, cherry, pear)
- Seeds (apple, pomegranate)
***If you have any doubt, the first thing to do is to consult a veterinarian***