If you ever had a dog, you know that it can be challenging to teach them proper behavior.
That’s why I love tools that do all the training for you.
A snuffle mat is a simple solution to improve your dogs’ eating behavior. In addition to that, it helps the dog exercise – and to eat slowly. All these things are important to keep your dog healthy.
To be frank, I hadn’t heard about a snuffle mat until two months ago. That was when my friend had a birthday – and I wanted to give him a snuffle mat for his dog as a birthday present.
When I buy something I haven’t heard of before, I always do an awful lot of research. So I spent probably between 8 and 12 hours just researching:
- Different types of snuffle mats
- What snuffle mats that worked best for different dog breeds
- How much you should buy for a snuffle mat
- Why buying cheap snuffle mats of non-verified websites can be harmful for your dog
- …and a lot more.
And here I am – a self-claimed expert on snuffle mats. 🙂
In this article, I will teach you everything I learned about them. And I’ve picked a handful of products that I think might interest you.
In a hurry? Here’s our top picks of Dog’s Snuffle Mats
As you can see, I bought a quite cheap alternative. It fits super well for small and medium-sized dogs.
My friend loves it as his dog eats a lot slower and is fitter than ever. 🙂
A general rule of thumb is that if a seller on Amazon claims that their snuffle mat fits for all dog sizes, they’re lying. There are two main sizes of snuffle mats: 1) for small and medium-sized dogs and 2) for large dogs.
1. GoFika Small Dogs Snuffle Mat – Our Favorite
If you need a small, tidy and super nice snuffle mat that your dog will love: go for this model by the Swedish-inspired company GoFika.
- Perfect for small dogs
- The texture and “depth” is absolutely perfect
- A wide variety of bright and nice colors
- Good reviews on Amazon
- Can be used in the washing machine day after day after day
This might very well be our favorite snuffle mat. Please note that it’s perfect for SMALL dogs. If you have a large dog, you should scroll down to look at our other recommendations.
High-quality anti-slip material
Even though many manufacturers claim that their mat is “non-slip” – they’re not. But this one is. We even tried to make a large Labrador eat from the mat – believing that the mat would be thrown all over the floor.
But it turns out that the anti-slip material is so strong that the mat keeps its position on the floor regardless of which dog that eats from it.
Trains your dog
This snuffle mat is excellent for two very clear purposes:
- To slow down the pace of your dogs’ eating.
- To make your dog more fit.
Our experience shows that it succeeds on both of these parameters.
Great customer service
We got in touch with the owner of the product through the Amazon platform before purchasing. The owner was SUPER nice and helpful, which is a big plus for us in Sustainability Matters.
If there’s one thing we like, it’s to support business owners that really care about their customers. Thumbs up.
|Size||14 x 11,8 inches|
|Suitable for…||Small dogs|
2. “PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat” – Second best option
This snuffle mat from PAW5 is an extremely popular option among Amazon shoppers.
Based on the reviews, this might very well be the most popular model in the US.
- Made from a very soft material (cotton-polyester)
- Comes at a quite high price range
- Works wonders in the washing machine
- The design is simple yet very efficient
There are loads of good reviews about this Wooly snuffle mat from PAW5. Once you see a picture of the mat, you understand why it got the name “Wooly”.
The design is so beautiful that you will have no problems constantly having it ready-for-use on the living room floor.
Machine-washable & great durability
Also, the fact that it’s machine-washable just puts the icing on the cake. Even though you put this snuffle mat in the washing machine 5 days a week, it’s not going to break.
There was one review on Amazon that pointed this out. He or she wrote that it was thrown into the washing machine once per week through “heavy cycles and high beat”. But it was still in perfect shape after a long period of time.
Anti-slip and one month guarantee
You don’t have to worry about this snuffle mat being dragged around the house by your dog. The anti-slip bottom helps to keep it in place while your dog is actively looking for food.
What happens if you buy this snuffle mat, but your dog hates it?
There is not a lot of risk related to buying this mat. The manufacturer on Amazon provides you with a 30-day guarantee. If you’re not happy: return it. Cost free.
If you also want to see someone actually filming their dog using PAW5 Snuffle Mat, this Youtube video might be exactly what you’re looking for:
|Size||18 x 12 inches|
3. “Snuffle Mat Nosework Feeding” – Large snuffle Mat with loads of interesting elements
If your dog gets bored easily, this snuffle mat called “Nosework” can be your absolute best option.
- Huge size
- Keeps your dog entertained for hours (literally)
- Several puzzles included
- Very soft and cozy (soft polar fleece material)
And yes – you can wash it in the washing machine. That was extremely important for us when we bought our snuffle mat for our quite active dog.
Our dog is so needy that he requires toys that do not “go out of fashion” very quickly. To our surprise, he is still extremely enthusiastic whenever we hide food between some of the interesting blue and white elements.
Just like a yoga mat; this snuffle mat can be stored away by rolling it together and using a string to minimize the size of it.
It’s as easy as that. I just wish that all similar models on the market came with such a smart solution for storage.
Some customers report on poor durability
Personally, we have had zero problems at all with the durability of this snuffle mat. I want to make that clear straight away.
On the flipside, we can see that certain reviews on Amazon suggest that the mat can be broken by dogs who are natural chewers.
Big size (or medium?)
Are you living in a small 1-bedroom apartment with your dog?
In that case: this snuffle mat might be a bit big for you. With a size of 39,4 * 39,4 inches – it takes up an awful lot of space. Make sure that you only buy this one if you have a large dog. Alternatively, it can also be used if several small dogs want to enjoy an active meal at the same time.
It’s worth mentioning that this snuffle mat comes in two different sizes. The “medium size” is about 70 % of what the big one is.
Look below for exact measurements.
|Size Large||39,4 x 39,4 inches|
|Size Medium||23,6 x 39,4 inches|
|Material||Soft Polar Fleece|
Why buy a Snuffle Mat for your dog?
There are several reasons why buying a snuffle mat for your dog would be a good idea.
Nose work and Stress Release
Dog’s sense of smell is used to explore the world they are in. With the help of a snuffle mat, it’s easy for them to sniff treats or food – and nothing is more exciting than exploring while eating.
At least for a dog. Humans would hate to “fight for their food” in this way. I guess you can relate.
For dogs who are easily getting stressed or overly energetic, a snuffle mat will blow away their stress, hyperactivity, and anxiety.
Slow Eating and Brain Activity
Simply hiding food inside the snuffle mat will bring the longest feeding time ever!
When you encourage your dogs to find the treats, try to use phrases, such as “go find it” meaning “hunt for things. The idea of tracking hidden food can stimulate the dogs’ brain activity for staying curious even longer.
Real test: How slow does a dog eat with and without a snuffle mat?
After buying the snuffle mat for my friends’ dog, I wanted to do an experiment. Over the span of two days, I was allowed to feed the dog a total of four times.
Two times hiding the food in a snuffle mat. And two times in his bowl.
How long did it take the dog to finish eating all the food?
These are the results:
|Snuffle mat #1||2 minutes 39 seconds|
|Bowl #1||37 seconds|
|Snuffle mat #2||1 minute 55 seconds|
|Bowl #2||38 seconds|
Please note that it was the exact same type of food, the exact same amount of food – and that the first experiment was done the first day the dog was introduced to the snuffle mat.
In other words: yes. A dog will eat significantly slower using a snuffle mat.
Bonding Time and Great Fun
Repetition of Hide and Seek training to make you and your dog interact more actively. It’s a perfect replacement for a boring mealtime. You can always reward them when they do a good job and be a part of their fun.
Start to hide your treats in the snuffle mat instead of hand feeding your dog. That would not only make it a fun game, but it also keeps the brain and body of the dog active
Top Brands of Snuffle Mats
PAWS products combine mental stimulation and environmental enrichment to support then the overall well-being of dogs. By turning an everyday activity into rewarding challenges PAW5 gives busy pet parents a simple way to engage their dogs mentally and physically every day.
This is a company that is dedicated to maximizing the time of smelling activity with countless hiding spots on the mat, large snuffle body plus five treat puzzles. No matter the sizes of the dogs, they all love the brain challenges smell matty offers.
Snuffle Mat Pricing
- $30 and above
Not many products in this price range but mats are fairly large. If you have a big dog and really looking for more complicated puzzles, it can be a good choice to invest this amount of money.
However, none of my recommended products cost more than 30 $. After looking into this market for many hours, my conclusion is that you can easily find a snuffle mat for any type of dog breed for less than 30 dollars.
- Between $20-$30
This is the price range where you can find most products. New looks keep coming out. Some are designed to fold and carry easily others are just made creatively. But always remember to choose polar fleece material over felt cloth as it’s more durable and soft.
If you go over 20 USD, you can also find snuffle mats that have been made to look like football fields, car racing tracks, etc. I wouldn’t personally have one of these in my house, but I guess it would be cool if you got some kids at home.
- Between $10-$20
The snuffle mats in this price segment are usually small and mostly designed for puppies or any other small pets such as bunnies, foxes, and piggies. If you have a small dog, you should probably aim to pay less than 20 $.
If you have a large dog and just want to try out the concept, you can buy a small snuffle mat, to begin with – and upgrade later. There are loads of great snuffle mats on Amazon that doesn’t cost more than 20 USD.
Don’t buy snuffle mats from online platforms that you don’t know anything about.
There are certain snuffle mats that can be bought from Alibaba that doesn’t cost more than 10 USD. However, it will take you at least 2 months to get them shipped to the US or Europe. In addition to that, these non-verified products from Asia can contain chemicals that can seriously harm your dog.
FashionUnited.uk has written an article about five common hazardous chemicals that can be found in clothing and dog accessories from China.
Key features – what’s important to think of when shopping for snuffle mats?
Does it keep my dog fit?
10 minutes of snuffling has proven to equal the same training results as 1 hour of running. Imagine that!
If you’re laying on the sofa and it’s raining outside, you can just take a quick 5 minutes to walk in the backyard with your dog – and feed him/her the dinner in a snuffle mat instead.
It does not only feed your dog but at the same time keeps it entertained and fit.
Is it easy to clean?
You won’t have any problems “hiding” food in the mat. My biggest worry was to clean it. What happens if there’s food stuck from like…two years ago? Is that going to be disgusting for the dog?
Well – it turns out that they’re quite easy to clean. Some of them can even go straight in the washing machine, which makes it even easier.
Does it stimulate my dog?
This snuffle mat feeds both their belly and their brain. Snuffle mats are designed to help the dogs’ ability to search for food, which is a real brain teaser.
Some of the easiest snuffle mats that I found on Amazon were so small and without a lot of “fluff”. Therefore, it wouldn’t at all be a challenge for the dog to locate the food.
Is my snuffle mat environmentally friendly?
On this website, I aim to only recommend products that somewhat can be proven to be good for our planet. There are a couple of reasons why buying a snuffle mat is good for the environment
1. Reduces food waste.
This is a big one. Have you ever seen what your dog leaves after it’s finished eating? Quite a lot.
With a snuffle mat, you can almost guarantee that the dog isn’t leaving anything behind.
2. Consists of eco-friendly material
The one I bought (which I deemed “my favorite”) is a snuffle mat that is made out of eco-friendly fabrits. That’s important to me.
You should never buy some cheap-made snuffle mat that comes directly from the manufacturer in South East Asia. That will give you some serious problems.
Several hiding spots in one snuffle mat
If your dog is smart and learns quickly, you could buy a snuffle mat with several different hiding spots.
That helps you to give your dog a bit of variety in their daily life. Also, we see that the snuffle mats with multiple hiding spots are quite expensive.
A few of them have a design that can be adjusted in order to adjust the difficulty level for the dog. If you believe that your dog will progress with time, this might be a good option.
Easy to store?
Please note that some snuffle mats are super easy to store. Some of them are also very portable.
Not so much.
The first snuffle mat I bought was a nightmare. It was heavy and almost impossible to fold. As a result of that, it was constantly laying on my living room floor. Not only was it quite ugly, but my dog started to use it as a sleeping mat.
In other words: buy a model that can be easy to roll up so it’s easy to store. Some of the most expensive models also come with a string so that you can wrap them – just like a yoga mat.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions
Yes, they can. CADHR (Calgary Humane Society) has published a full scientific report about how snuffle mat can work for us two-legged creatures as well.
Also, they have published a video on Youtube that explains more about the experiment.
Super cool! Is this something you would consider? 😉 Write a comment below!
I would strongly advise you to look at Amazon when buying dog products.
Not only do they have the worlds’ best product range, but you also know that there are quite strict quality controls on Amazon. If a product is dangerous or gets bad ratings from consumers, it’s going to be banned.
Believe me: I know. I used to sell products on Amazon myself for many years.
Even though it only costs between 10-30 $, there is always someone who wants to make a product on their own.
That also includes snuffle mats.
I personally haven’t been involved in such a project, but I would strongly recommend you to look into Youtube videos. There are loads of good videos on snuffle mat DIY – and this is possibly the best one that I’ve found so far.
If you buy the mat from a certified online store or a physical store: yes. They are safe.
However, snuffle mats of bad quality can be easily broken and your dog might be in danger of choking on some of the materials if they come off the mat.
You won’t regret the decision to buy a snuffle mat for your dog. I can almost guarantee you that. Even though I don’t have a dog myself, I could see the joy in my friends’ face when he finally understood that his dog will start to “work for his food”.
Your dog will love you. And you will (most likely) never struggle with cleaning after your dog again.
All-in-all, I guess we can conclude that the snuffle mat can help you with a wide range of problems:
- Food waste
- Eating in a more patient and clean way
- Helps with different training purposes
- Making your dog a slow-eater
…and those are all very good things for something that costs less than 19 USD. 🙂
A snuffle mat is a very good way to keep your dog busy and release some extra energy. Your dog will do that by developing its natural foraging skills.
In order to find the best snuffle mat for dogs, you would have to go for durability. Dogs do not take care of their stuff like humans do. Also, finding one that is easy to clean is very important. Personally, I love the ones that you can wash in a washing machine.
At the end of many articles, I have a section where I suggest other articles that you might want to read. If you’ve already reached this point without bouncing my website, I would love you to stay a little bit longer.
Can you promise me that? 🙂