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Mental Stimulation for Your Furry Friend: The Magic of Lick Mats

Keeping our pups mentally stimulated is just as important as their physical exercise. Even the most active dogs need activities that challenge their minds and keep them engaged. Enter the lick mat – a new favorite among pet parents! Not only are these mats easy to use, they also provide a fun and mentally stimulating treat for your dog. Let’s learn more about lick mats and see how they can make your dog's life even happier.

Lick mats with fruit, yogurt, and peanut butter

What is a Lick Mat, Anyway? 

A lick mat is a silicone mat designed with suction cups or a non-skid bottom to stay put on flat surfaces like floors and walls. These mats come in various patterns and depths. The more intricate the pattern, the longer your dog will spend licking it.

Lick mats are perfect for spreadable treats like peanut butter, plain yogurt, wet dog food, pureed fruits and veggies, or any soft goodies your pup loves.

Here are a couple great options from Amazon:

These have larger compartments for bigger pieces of food such as treats or veggie chunks -

These have smaller compartments which are best for spreadable foods such as the ones listed below -

Note: both of these options come with a handy spatula and a cleaning brush!

Why Are Lick Mats Awesome for Dogs?

Lick mats are a great tool for providing mental stimulation, especially for high-energy dogs. Even if your pup gets plenty of physical exercise, they still need to work their brains. Mental stimulation can tire them out just as much, if not more, than physical activities. Many pet parents find their dogs are more exhausted after a session with a lick mat than after a long walk or zoomie session!

Dog licking a lick mat

Here are some benefits of lick mats:

  • Helps to Reduces Anxiety: Lick mats can help soothe anxious dogs by giving them a task to focus on, releasing excess energy and reducing stress. They can be especially helpful during nail trims, baths, thunderstorms, and fireworks, or any other stressful situations.

  • Keeps Dogs Busy: If your dog craves constant attention or experiences separation anxiety, a lick mat can keep them occupied and prevent boredom-induced destructive behavior.

  • Tires Dogs Out: Using a lick mat requires your dog to think and work to get their treat, which can be more tiring than physical exercise alone.

Tasty Treat Ideas for Lick Mats

Variety is the spice of life, even for dogs! Peanut butter is a common go to, but mixing it up can keep things exciting for your pup.

Yogurt, berries, and melon

  • Sweet Treats: Try honey, applesauce, or oatmeal for a healthy, sweet treat. Greek yogurt with fruit is a good choice as well. You can also puree different fruits such as apples, berries, bananas, melon, etc. to make them spreadable.

  • Savory Snacks: Plain mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, vegetable chunks or pureed vegetables, raw or lightly cooked ground meat, homemade bone broth, and soft dog treats or canned food can be great options. Remember to avoid seasoning with any human foods.

*Be sure to check ingredients in store bought items to avoid anything harmful like xylitol.

Pro Tip: Try freezing your lick mat creations to make them last longer. Plus you can always have some on hand when needed!

Book a Dog Adventure Walk for Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Keeping Lick Mats Clean

Cleaning your dog's lick mat is a breeze since they're typically made of silicone. Here’s how to keep them fresh:

  1. Hand Wash: Use warm water and dish soap to remove food debris. A small brush can help with tricky spots.

  2. Dishwasher: Some lick mats are dishwasher-safe, but always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Pro Tip: Whether you choose to hand wash or put them in the dishwasher, it is always recommended to clean the lick mat soon after use to prevent food from hardening and making it tougher to clean later. If you can’t wash it right away, try soaking it in warm soapy water to help loosen debris.

Why You Should Try a Lick Mat Today

Lick mats are a simple yet effective way to provide your dog with much-needed mental stimulation. They can help reduce anxiety, prevent boredom, and tire out even the most energetic pups.  They are not a cure-all for anxiety or behavioral issues, but they can be a great addition to your dog’s daily routine.

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