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licky mats for dogs

Licky Mats for Dogs - A Calming Distraction Tool for Dogs

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


Have you noticed your beloved pooch getting anxious lately? Maybe they're sprinting behind you or chewing up your favourite (and expensive) pair of shoes?
A dog licking a matt filled with treats


Lick mat for dogs!

Have you noticed your beloved pooch getting anxious lately? 

Maybe the little fluff ball is sprinting behind you or chewing up your favourite (and expensive) pair of shoes?

Or maybe the pup isn't anxious at all, and you are simply looking for an easy way to help your chunky baby eat more slowly and not gobble it all down in a rush? 

Whatever the case, if you have searched for these problems, you have probably noticed others talking about ‘dog lick mats’ a lot and wondered, well, what the heck is that?

Here is our guide to licking mats for dogs to help you understand what they are, the benefits of lick mats to our fluffy pals, and how to use them.

So without further ado, let's get started!

What are lick mats for dogs?

a dog with his licky mat

A dog lick mat commonly called a Lickimat, or slow feeder is a flat mat designed for our canines to lick their food or treats out of. 

Their rubber surfaces are usually coated with obstacles, grooves, brittles, and textures to encourage repetitive licking.  

Many also have suction cups on the bottom to hold them to the floor on flat surfaces.

They are best used with soft foods or a soft tasty treat. Runny treats like those which come in tubes also work well. 

The textured design allows you to spread wet dog food into the tiny cracks, locking it into patterns and making it difficult for the pup to grab and gobble the food at once.

The canine uses their tongue to lick all the deliciousness out of the rubber mat, resulting in slower eating. 

This is perfect if your doggo is an aggressive chewer or rapid gobbler of their pet food.

Eating too fast can cause sickness or vomiting and these stressful times might make you think your pet is more ill than they actually are. 

Your pup could simply need a lick mat, some good soft dog food, and let them enjoy their long-lasting treat at a slower pace!

But that's not all of it! A dog licking mat offers a whole lot more benefits, and we will explore them all.

Are lick mats safe for dogs?

a dog and some licky mats

Being caring pet owners, we can sometimes be sceptical about what we get for our canines. And there is nothing wrong with that!

So are lick mats safe for dogs? Yes!

Lick mats are usually made with non-toxic natural rubbers and thus are safe for canines to lick on.

Using a dog lick mat promotes the act of licking, which is excellent at releasing pleasure endorphins (happiness hormone) in your canine's brain. 

These endorphins help our fidos calm down in anxious situations. Lickimats have some other benefits as well. Such as:

Keeping our canines busy

Think about all of the days you have been really busy doing your chores, working, and running errands. 

Your cute companion longs for your attention, but you can't obviously be with him 24/7.

One of the most common and most significant benefits of a dog lick mat is that you can keep your pups busy while you can't entertain them.

 This is especially useful for playful puppies who are always on your face with their adorable puppy eyes asking for more attention!

Simply put some delicious wet treats on a lick pad and let the canine enjoy themselves, this works as a great distraction tool at least for a little while. 

It's a great enrichment activity that helps our pups stay busy and helps digestive health through slower eating thanks to these anti-gulp slow feeders.

Alleviate anxiety

According to a report published by the medical news today, more than 70% of canines suffer from anxiety. Yep, we agree that's a lot of fidos!

It's more than common for our loyal companions to feel anxious during stressful situations, including veterinary trips, fireworks, grooming, and nail trimming. 

Lick mats can provide a great deal in coping with separation anxiety by distracting the pooch towards something more entertaining. 

The dog becomes so focused on getting every little bit of food off the lick mat that he forgets to notice what's going on so they are a real anxiety reliever.

Supports oral hygiene

As dogs continue the act of licking, their mouth increases the production of saliva .This has numerous health advantages , such as cleaning your pup's teeth and gums.

A dog's saliva is also great for keeping cavities at bay. The more saliva your dog produces, the less is the chance of getting cavities.

Licking also helps with the stinky puppy breath. It removes the bacteria from your pup's tongue, which means fresher breath and germ-free smooches!

Improves digestion

A dog licking the floor

If your dog likes to gobble up all the food at once, he's likely to get uncomfortable and throw up all over the place. 

Canines that eat a bit too quickly also gulp down a lot of air, making their stomach expand. It's a painful condition and causes discomfort, not to mention the stress it causes to pet parents.

Luckily, lick mats can slow down speed eaters. These mats lock the food in them, and the dog has to spend more energy to eat all of it.

Weight control

Another major problem with speed eating is that it can cause your canine to consume more calories than required, resulting in some excessive pounds.

One of the benefits of a dog lick mat is that it slows down the eating process, so the fido feels more satisfied sooner. 

Lick mats also help you manage the weight by cutting down portion sizes. Your fido will spend more time licking up without realising it's half of the peanut butter he usually gets!

It makes training a breeze.

Quick rewards are one of the best advantages of a licking mat for dogs. You can use a lick mat to offer your puppy's favourite treat as a reward for being a good boy.

What can I put in my dog's lick mat?

A dog licking its own nose

There are many food items you can smear across a lickimat. 

Let's begin with the most common dog food, kibble or dry dog food. Depending on the type of mat, you can put the kibble as a whole or mush it down in the patterns. 

You can also use your pup's favourite wet food or raw food and spread it across the mat.

Other food options include dog-friendly natural peanut butter, gelatinous bone broth, mashed banana, pure pumpkin puree, plain Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, veggie purees, coconut oil, minced meat, yoghurt, berries, canned fish, oats, and more.

If you are after a long enrichment time, consider freezing the mat before usage.

Do lick mats help dogs with anxiety?

According to some latest research, rapid licking helps a dog calm his anxious nerves. It also reduces destructive tendencies by providing mental stimulation and keeping our pets occupied and entertained for a good chunk of span.

How do you use a dog's lick mat?

  • Turn your dog mat upside down so you can see the holes and textured surfaces.

  • Stir the dog food, peanut butter, cheese, or any other treat of your dog's choice and spread a little of it on the mat. You can also use vegetables.

  • Offer the mat to your dog and encourage licking.

  • Once your dog is done, clean any excess dirt or fluff off the mat.

  • Continue to enjoy your pups slow eating feeder.

How long do lick mats last?

Lick mats keep our pets occupied for quite some time. However, if you are planning to use them for a long while, consider freezing the mat with treats in it first. Most dog lick mats are Silicon-made, chew-resistant, and indestructible, meaning they will last quite a bit.

Final thoughts

Well, that's all for today. We hope we have answered all of your queries. Lick mats are not only some fancy mats to offer a few treats every once in a while; they can actually help with a wide variety of issues and provide good mental stimulation.

Looking for other pet products such as natural dog chews, or some helpful tips for new puppy owners? How to stop a puppy biting and puppy toilet training for some truly hand holding guides to help you on your pet journey.

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Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

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