What is a snuffle mat? Are they a good enrichment toy for dogs?

dog using a snuffle mat

What is a snuffle mat?

A Snuffle Mat is an interactive feeding mat and scent game in which you can hide your dog or cat’s favourite treats. Made with strategically placed strips of upcycled felt, this creative enrichment game will help provide stimulation and will keep your dog entertained.

Interactive enrichment activities help to keep our pets’ minds active by initiating the sniffing and foraging centres of the brain in the same way daily crosswords and puzzles help to keep our minds fluid.

The purpose of enrichment is to create an activity and add complexity to make the activity pleasing and enjoyable for the mind.

Do snuffle mats actually work?

Yes! Snuffle mats tire dogs out as much as physical play because when your dog is vigilantly using their sense of smell to sniff, they are also using substantial amounts of energy to focus.

They say that 20 minutes of snuffling is the same amount of stimulation as in one hour of running around. Think of a snuffle mat as a mental treadmill for your pet!

snuffle mat collection
Image courtesy of Pluto & Ally Treatery

What are the benefits of a snuffle mat?

Snuffle mats are ideal for dogs and cats of any size and breed. Providing frequent mental stimulation with the use of enrichment activities is a fantastic way to meet your pet’s cognitive needs. There are many benefits to using snuffle mats including:

  • Alleviating stress and separation anxiety.
  • Creating mental stimulation for seniors or dog’s recovering from surgery.
  • Occupying your pet on days when walking may not be an option.
  • Providing mental stimulation to puppies and kittens.
  • Encouraging slower eating habits.
  • Encouraging fussy dogs to eat by making mealtimes a fun game.

How do you use a snuffle mat?

Sprinkle, scatter and hide your pet’s treats or meal throughout the soft ruffles and hidden layers on the mat and let your pup sniff them out. Your dog or cat will use their incredible sense of smell to sniff out and snuffle for their hidden treats, providing mental and physical stimulation and satisfying their natural instincts.

If your dog starts pulling at the material, redirect the behaviour and help in showing them how to use a snuffle mat the correct way. We suggest that you put your snuffle mat away when your pet has finished snuffling to discourage any rough play or damage to the mat.

directions on how to use a snuffle mat
Image courtesy of Pluto & Ally Treatery

What should you put in a snuffle mat?

As a snuffle mat is made using upcycled felt fabric, you can use any dry treat or food. We highly recommend superior quality treats that are of high value to your pet. Another option is using a Meal Enricher for added difficulty as the small bits will keep them entertained for hours. Pluto & Ally Treatery have a full range of treats that are suitable for snuffle mats.

Due to the snuffle mats being made of material, we do not recommend the use of wet or raw food as it can make cleaning the mat challenging.

dog treats
Image courtesy of Pluto & Ally Treatery

How do you clean a snuffle mat?

Prior to washing your snuffle mat, shake it outside to make sure your pet hasn’t left any treats unfound. It is as simple as running your mat through a warm wash on the “delicates” low heat setting of your washing machine.

For added protection, you can secure the snuffle mat in a laundry bag. Make sure you remove the mat before the tumble dry. We recommend that you wash your snuffle mat often to avoid any bacteria build-up.

dog looking at the camera sitting on a snuffle mat
Image courtesy of Pluto & Ally Treatery

Every day I’m snufflin'!

Snuffle mats are fantastic tools to keep in your pet’s enrichment toolbox. So next time your dog is hyperactive or bored, it is the perfect opportunity to get out their snuffle mat and direct their attention to a calm enriching activity. Just watch how excited they get whenever their snuffle mat gets taken out!  

Pluto & Ally Treatery have a full range of snuffle mats and enrichment toys available, check them out at www.plutoandallytreatery.com.au

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