People say that it’s not good to play with food, but in a dog’s world, garnishing their meals with a mix of playtime is an excellent way to feed both brains and body. Encouraging your furry companion to bring out their foraging instincts by “hunting” for their food is a mental exercise with a tasty reward.
After all, foraging for food has always been a favourite pastime of dogs, making it a primal instinct that makes eating feel entertaining. It also taps into their natural talent, which is their ability to detect scents and even follow its source. Blessed with over 300 million receptors in their snouts, exercising their nose is sure to fill their satisfaction in more ways than one.
One of the most fun, interactive toys for feeding is a snuffle mat, which looks like an average mat. However, it’s made from fleece fabric strips attached to a rubber mat with holes where you can hide some food. The colourful, curly folds challenge your pooches to sniff out their kibble and get some treats in between.
What is a Snuffle Mat?
Sparking their curiosity by engaging their sense of smell and taste in a simple dog toy like a snuffle mat promotes enrichment. This mouth-watering challenge serves as a fun stress-buster that can surprisingly promote good behaviour and nourishment all in one package.
As for its design, your imagination is the limit as the snuffle mat is available in every possible colour combination, size, and configuration.
It’s a simple yet ingenious design that provides mental stimulation in a straightforward, scented game to make eating fun for your fur baby. If you’re looking for more reasons to buy your pooch a snuffle mat, the list below explores how thinking outside of the bowl can enhance your dog’s well-being!
1. Interactive Meal-Time
While meal-times often perk up dogs, it’s a straightforward process that is often quick and boring for your pooch. Eating is a fundamental part of creating an enriching environment, but entertainment also plays a pivotal role in promoting a healthy mindset and behaviour for your furry friends.
A snuffle mat can achieve all that and more by making meal-time more interactive, which can bring more excitement into their lives. This makes eating more fun, but feeding their hunger for some action can help your pets feel like they won the hunt and had a 'real' meal.
2. Slows Eating and Aids Digestion
Dogs getting excited over their food is often a cute sight that earns plenty of coos from doting paw-parents, but wolfing it all down can compromise your dog’s health in more ways than one. On the one hand, eating fast can increase their risks of choking, but it can also trigger their gag reflex and lead to vomiting.
Eating fast can also promote bloating, which can be painful and even life-threatening to your pooch. Keep in mind that “food bloat” is different, which only refers to your dog eating plenty of snacks and is not as alarming.
Snuffle mat solves the problem by slowing them down as they snuff and snort out their food. It’s the latest fads among happy pets and for a good reason, seeing as it can do wonders in aiding their digestion.
3. Encourages Natural Instincts
Snuffling around for treats capitalises on your dog’s natural desire to hunt, track, burrow, and other actions that root from their natural instincts. Bringing out their natural instincts can do wonders for their behaviour, wherein their predatory tendencies such as stalking, chasing, smelling, grabbing, and hunting turns into a healthy, reward-based meal-time.
Snuffle mats can even ease their anxiety by becoming a form of distraction during a distressing time. For instance, you can introduce new people to your hesitant pooch by placing the snuffle mat beside the person. This diverts your dog’s attention to snuffing out the treats in excitement, which hopefully calms their fear.
4. Provides Mental Stimulation
Letting your pooch work for their food isn’t just for fun and games, but it makes them feel like they have an important job. This keeps life interesting, adding more hours to their playtime, and challenging their problem-solving skills.
This ensures that there are exciting bits in their day, allowing them to engage their desires and trigger thought. Not only does this sharpen their critical thinking, but an active mind and body enhances their quality of life and promotes longevity.
Is a Snuffle Mat Perfect For All Dogs?
A snuffle mat promotes low-impact exercise so that it can engage both young adults to senior dogs alike. However, it may not be the best choice for puppies since they love to play. They don’t have the proper training or control to eat if they’re not in the mood during meal-time. Not to mention, overzealous pups and their sharp teeth may tear the snuffle mat to shreds.
Eating can evoke various reactions from your pooches. Fast eaters can gobble it up in almost an instant, while picky ones barely touch the nth time of the week of munching on kibble. This can lead to a plethora of problems - from behavioural to digestive issues.
With that in mind, a snuffle mat is a simple interactive dog toy or feeder that can solve your meal-time worries. The colourful mat has plenty of pockets where you can hide your pooch’s favourite treats, making eating feel more exciting.
Engaging their instincts by making them “hunt” for their food gives them a sense of fulfilment, stimulating their needs on top of getting proper nourishment. This alleviates their boredom and mitigates the chances of developing destructive behaviours, all while sharpening their mind and encouraging positive reward-based playtime.
There you have it, 4 Reasons Your Dog Needs A Snuffle Mat. If you have some further suggestions or ideas, let us know in the comments below!
Barket is Australia's favourite online provider of snuffle mats for dogs, shop now!
|KEEP IN TOUCH!