Traditionally foragers, dogs are hardwired to locate and hunt food using their noses. Did you know that a dog can have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in the nose? Compare that to human noses, which only have about six million. If a dog is built to follow its nose, it only follows that a snuffle mat can provide ideal levels of stimulation. Snuffle mats tap into canine instincts, sharpening the minds and reflexes of dogs of all fitness levels.
When we give dogs their food on a literal silver platter, we remove the ‘chase’, potentially stunting our dogs’ mental reflexes. However, if we scatter pieces of kibble throughout snuffle mats—hiding segments beneath each loose strand of cloth—this encourages dogs to forage and use their mental faculties. This educational game for your pooch doubles as a place to rest. Snuffle mats are something your dog can literally eat (from), breathe (from), and sleep (on).
It’s a real safe bet
Not all toys are safe for all dogs. Some toys are not built to withstand the force of more excitable dogs, and could consequently cause a choking hazard. Some toys do not suit specific dogs, and some toys are not recommended for any dogs at all—plush toys, for example. It’s unlikely, however, that you will go wrong with a snuffle mat. It is essentially a large toy free of small parts and hazards.
It’s a good place to rest
This mat will not only keep your dog entertained, but it will also double as a place to rest. After all that foraging, your dog will surely be craving a well-earnt snooze. A mat is always a nice aesthetic addition to any room, even if it is blatantly made for doggies. You could even choose a colour to complement your room’s aesthetic.
It almost looks like a flower or a mandela. It could be the splash of colour you’re after! Image: Stylish Hound
It slows down digestion
The snuffle mat is like a progressive dinner for dogs, meaning they won’t be woofing down their grub in one go. This is due to the process of having to locate each segment of kibble scattered throughout the mat. This dog-friendly version of an Easter egg hunt will consequently slow down digestion—a benefit for all creatures great and small. This is one of the few times we would encourage someone to play with their food.
It provides physical health benefits
We’re not saying by any means that there is any substitute for a dog’s daily walk. Think of the snuffle mat as providing a bonus workout opportunity for your dog. Dogs require a lot of mental and physical stimulation, and we can’t always be available to provide that. A snuffle mat will provide this stimulation without the immediate need for human intervention. Plus, it will not take up too much space. It’s a compact workout station to keep pups out of trouble for a while.
It simulates the outdoors
If you live in an apartment block or don’t have immediate access to the outdoors, a snuffle mat can be the perfect item to keep your dog occupied until their next walk. Its surface is a multitude of layered cloths, each with the capacity to store hidden treasures. The texture should emulate grass or an outdoor setting. If your dog doesn’t have immediate access to the outdoors, please note that this toy is no substitute for the real thing. Outdoor exposure and walkies are essential to a dog’s health.
It helps reduce anxiety
As aforementioned, dogs require physical and mental stimulation, lest they become bored and anxious. A snuffle mat allows them to indulge their natural foraging and sniffer-dog instincts in a safe environment. This eliminates boredom, providing a release for anxious or tense feelings. The run-on effect of this is that they will feel more relaxed and content, lessening the urge to act out of frustration or boredom. Plus, once dogs locate their hidden food, it will feel more like a reward. By ‘earning their happy ending’, dogs will feel a sense of satisfaction and pleasure directly counteractive to feelings of anxiety or tension.
It’s great for the formative years
A snuffle mat can be especially beneficial for puppies. It’s essentially an educational game that helps pups to tap into their instincts early in life. This early intervention helps to keep their minds active and sharpen their cognition during their formative years. This is the same reasoning behind starting a child on a musical instrument during their formative years. It forges neural pathways that provide a sturdy foundation for intellectual development later in life.
Snuffle mats have everything: physical and mental stimulation; outdoor simulation; relief from anxiety; safety, rest, and appeal to a dog’s natural instincts. Best of all, they require minimal human interaction, allowing for a more ‘hands-off’ form of playtime. This toy is an all-encompassing tool and a great investment in your dog’s health and wellbeing. You should go ‘fetch’ one today!