Dogs love sniffing games, and what could be better than a homemade snuffle mat to keep them entertained? This easy no-sew project is perfect for any pet owner.
Snuffle mats are also great for dogs who eat too fast. This simple DIY project will help your dog slow down and enjoy his meal more. They are easy and fun to make, so why not make one today?
Follow our simple instructions on how to make a snuffle mat for your dog!
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What Is A Snuffle Mat?
A snuffle mat is a popular nose work, and brain game for dogs. It is a toy that is designed to encourage your dog to use their sense of smell to find treats that you have hidden in the fabric.
Not only is this a great way to keep your dog entertained, but it also provides them with mental stimulation and helps to slow down their eating.
There are many benefits to using a snuffle mat, and they are easy and fun to make!
What Are The Benefits Of A Snuffle Mat For Dogs?
A snuffle mat is a great way to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated. Your dog has to use their nose to sniff out the individual pieces of food or treat. They also have to figure out how to get each piece that they can smell.
Another benefit is that it can help slow down a dog that eats too fast. It does this by spreading out their food and making them work for it.
These are also easy to make and are relatively inexpensive to make for your dog. And if you decide you don’t want to make it yourself, there are plenty of options to buy on Amazon.
If you are looking for a fun and easy way to keep your dog entertained, then a snuffle mat is the perfect solution.
How Do You Make A Snuffle Mat For Dogs?
To make a snuffle mat you will need to collect the necessary materials and set aside a little time. Once the cutting is done you could even work on this while watching tv.
What Materials Do You Need To Make A Homemade Snuffle Mat?
- A dollar store dish mat (or you can buy one like this on Amazon)
- Fleece (I used about 1 1/2 yards, but it depends on how big you cut your strips)
Directions For Making A DIY Snuffle Mat
1. Cut the fabric into strips that are about 1 inch wide. You can make them as long or short as you like. The first mat I made was with strips about 8 inches long. This size was about right for Morgan (she’s a 23 poodle terrier) but was too short for Luna (a large German Shepherd).
2. Tie the strips of fabric onto the dish mat. Do this by taking one strip and feeding it through two holes from back to front and then tying a double knot in it. Do this for the whole mat.
You can make the knots as tight or loose as you like. I found that making them too loose made it more likely that the knot could come out as your dog uses the mat.
3. Once all the strips are tied, trim any fabric that is longer than you want.
4. Your snuffle mat is now ready to use!
Tips For Making A Snuffle Mat
You can use a rotary cutter with a mat instead of scissors for cutting the fleece strips. The cutting will go much faster with a rotary cutter and you will have much more even strips (though evenness doesn’t matter for this project).
I found it easier to do all of the rows going in one direction before switching to the other direction on the mat. This makes it easier to not miss any spots where you want the fleece strips.
Some sink mats will look full enough by doing just one direction.
Other types will need both directions to look full. I made multiple snuffle mats with a couple of different types of dish mats and did find that the different types needed different amounts of fleece to look full. The multicolored mat above was made with just one direction of fleece.
The maroon and gray mat below has the fleece going both directions.
If you prefer to do both directions at once, doing a few rows, or just the corner, and seeing how it looks will give you an idea if you need both directions filled or not.
Make Your Snuffle Mat Unique And Colorful
You can make your snuffle mat as colorful as you want by using as many colors as you want. Or you can use patterned fleece instead of solid fleece.
If you decide to use multiple colors you can make a pattern or put your colors on randomly.
There are many ways to make your snuffle mat unique to you and your dog.
How To Use Your New Snuffle Mat
A snuffle mat can be used for any size dog. You will just need to adjust the amount of food you put in it and the size of your mat to fit your dog.
To use the snuffle mat, simply put some food or treats in it and let your dog go at it. If you are using treats you can break them up into smaller pieces so that your dog gets more hunting out of it without having to use too many treats.
When you put the food on the mat make sure to push them down so most of them aren’t visible. And make sure to spread it out over the whole mat.
Then place the mat on the floor and let your dog have at it. Some dogs will get the hang of it right away and others may need a little help.
If your dog is having trouble, you can show them how to move the fleece strips to find the food. Or try putting a few pieces of food on top of the mat so they understand that there is some food to be found.
If you are using the snuffle mat for your dog’s entire meal, you may need to fill it a few times so that all the food isn’t easily and quickly found. Too much food in the mat all at once limits its effectiveness for slowing down eating.
What Do You Put In A Snuffle Mat?
You can put any dry food or treat your dog likes to eat in the snuffle mat. This could be their regular food, treats, or a combination of both.
If you are using the snuffle mat for your dog’s entire meal, make sure to put in the same amount of food as you would normally feed them at one mealtime even if you have to do it in batches.
The only food I don’t recommend putting on a snuffle mat is any type of wet food. Though your dog would love to lick wet dog food, peanut butter, or spreadable treats off of the snuffle mat, it will make a mess and be extremely difficult to clean up.
Supervise Your Dog With The Snuffle Mat
Whenever you give your dog the snuffle mat, it’s a good idea to supervise them. This way you can make sure they are using it correctly.
Some dogs may start to chew the fleece once all the food is gone which could potentially lead to intestinal issues if they swallow any fabric.
If your dog does this, it’s best to take the mat away and limit its use of it.
The snuffle mat is not a toy that can be left out for your dog to play with unsupervised.
Also, be sure to inspect the snuffle mat before each use to check for any tearing of the fleece.
If you find any fleece tearing please discontinue use and either throw it away or replace the torn pieces.
Remember the safety of your dog is the most important thing.
How To Clean DIY Fleece Snuffle Mat
Once your dog is done with the snuffle mat, give it a quick cleaning by shaking it out or brushing it off.
You can also spot clean your snuffle mat with a damp cloth if needed.
If your homemade snuffle mat gets really dirty and it’s made from a dish mat and fleece, you can toss it in the washing machine on gentle cycle and air dry it.
You can also put it in the dryer, though there is a slight risk of the fleece shrinking or being damaged if you use too high of heat.
I have washed mine and run them through the dryer on either no or low heat, but there are multiple types of fleece and some handle the dryer better than others.
My Experience Using A Snuffle Mat With Luna And Morgan
Both Luna and Morgan enjoyed their snuffle mats, though I did have to use them differently for each of them.
Luna was given her meals in the snuffle mat as a way to try to slow down her eating. She seems to think mealtime is race time. How fast can she finish the food this time?
The snuffle mat did slow her down, but since she is such a large dog, she gets a lot of kibble each meal (currently 2 1/4 cups twice a day). The dish mat size snuffle mat is way too small for a full meal for her. We had to fill the mat multiple times or use multiple mats for her.
This can be fixed by making a bigger snuffle mat with a bath mat or a floor mat, but I haven’t tried those. We decided to just use a slow feeder bowl and keep the snuffle mat for treats.
Morgan has never been given her food in the snuffle mat. She has the opposite problem as Luna, she is a slow eater. Well, I guess it’s not so much as being a slow eater as she routinely skips meals. I don’t want to slow down her kibble eating.
She does, however, get the snuffle mat with treats. Treats she inhales like there’s no tomorrow. You give her a treat and it’s gone so fast it’s like she inhaled it. The snuffle mat worked really well in slowing down her treat consumption and it makes her work her nose and brain to get them.
Both dogs approve of the snuffle mat. Or maybe it’s just the treats they approve of, but neither dog was frustrated, so I take that as an approval.
More Dog Crafts To Make
So, if you’re looking for an easy and fun project to keep your pet entertained, a snuffle mat is the perfect option.
Not only will your dog love using it, but it’s also a great way to help them eat slower and prevent digestive issues.
Do you have a snuffle mat for your dog? How do they like it? Let us know in the comments below!