The Benefits of Lick Mats for Dogs
Lick Mats for dogs are designed to be filled with different foods and treats and can be used as a slow feeder or enrichment activity to help reduce dog anxiety, stress, and boredom. Offering a lick mat spread with delicious toppings encourages the act of licking and this releases pleasure endorphins in their brain which can help to calm a stressed or nervous dog.
The action of licking also stimulates the production of saliva and the enzymes in saliva help break down food. Slowing down your dog’s eating can also help reduce their risk of bloat and improve digestion.
Healthy topping ideas for dog lick mats:
- Wet dog food
- Plain Greek yoghurt
- Mashed banana
- Natural peanut butter (xylitol free)
- Bone broth
- Vegetable puree such as pumpkin or carrot
- Tinned sardine (in spring water with no added salt)
- Raw dog mince
- Freeze dried dog food crumbled into smaller pieces
Therapeutic Enrichment Mats by Messy Mutts
For treat portions, the Messy Mutts Silicone Therapeutic Licking Mat is the perfect size at 20cm x 20cm.
For a larger snack or meal, the Licking Bowl Mat has a central raised bowl that can hold up to 1 cup of dog food.
For a puzzle feeder challenge, the Interactive Multi-Surface Mat has three distinct surfaces: dual-ridged puzzle, bowl and textured lick areas. This deluxe enrichment mat is designed to challenge and inspire your dogs’ natural instincts while keeping them focused and engaged while eating, with the added benefit of slowing their food intake. The Interactive Multi-Surface Mat also features a structured frame to help reduce spillage when carrying and loading with your dog’s favourite foods.
All slow feeder mats by Messy Mutts are freezer and microwave safe. Keep it interesting for your dog by switching things up. Messy Mutts enrichment mats can be frozen to create a longer lasting or cooling treat or try cooking a scrambled egg on the mat in the microwave.
Are lick mats good for dogs?Yes, licking mats are a great tool for mental exercise that dog owners can utilise in several ways. Here's a key reason why dogs, and their humans, love a lick mat NZ: They help to reduce stress and anxiety and if your dog gets overwhelmed or needs some chill time then a lick mat provides a welcomed (and delicious) distraction. For many New Zealand dog owners lick mats, snuffle mats and puzzle toys are a favourite, go-to for a quick and easy dog enrichment activity.
What is the purpose of a lick mat?Lick mats and Lickimats are a great canine enrichment activity and a soothing way to reduce stress in dogs and cats.
Aside from providing your dog with mental stimulation or stress relief, lickable food mats for dogs (and lick mats for cats) can also support oral health. The grooves and soft ridges on a lick mat or Lickimat will scrape your pet’s tongue, cleaning it and removing bacteria and food particles. This ultimately helps to improve your dog's oral hygiene and freshen their breath. The licking action promotes an increased production of saliva which helps keep gums and teeth healthy.
What foods can I serve on my dog’s licking mat?Here are some simple lick mat ideas. Toppings can be as easy as filling it with your dog’s regular wet food, a raw dog food mix, or sprinkled with kibble. Dry dog kibble can also be soaked and blended into a paste for spreading. There are also lots of healthy dog-safe foods in your kitchen that can be incorporated such as mashed banana, natural unsweetened yoghurt or Kiefer, sardines (in spring water with no added salt), dog-safe peanut butter.
Are lick mats mentally stimulating?Some dogs take a LOT of effort to tire out. Using an enrichment mat helps to tire them out mentally by making them work harder for their food. If your dog is stressed, suffers separation anxiety, or is injured and recovering on crate rest, lick mats can provide important mental stimulation and enrichment for your dog to help prevent boredom. Lick Mats are perfect for dogs of any age and size and can be customised with tasty spreads to suit your dog’s dietary requirements.
Are there lick mats for cats?
Messy Mutts enrichment feeders can be used for cats and kittens, and most will enjoy the same relaxing and therapeutic benefits as dogs. Slowing the speed that you cat eats will also aid better digestion and nutrient absorption. There is also a range of Lickimats for cats available which are like the dog version but smaller in size.
Allowing your cat to eat from a flat surface such as the Messy Mutts Therapeutic Licking Mat will eliminate feline whisker fatigue that can occur when eating from a standard cat bowl as the sides of the bowl can irritate their sensitive whiskers. A flat feeding surface is also preferred by cats as it gives them all-round vision.
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