Benefits of Dog Lick Mats
Updated: May 19
What are Lick Mats? Lick mats are flat mats that are made from silicon or rubber with patterned groves and ridges. To use a dog lick mat, spread edible items on it and place it on the floor for your dog. The groves and ridges in the lick mat makes it tricky for a dog to pick up the food to chew and encourages them to lick the mat.
What Food to use with a lick mat?
Things that you can spread or squash usually work well in lick mats. Some good examples that can be used with lick mats are:
Dog Peanut Butter (don't use regular peanut butter because it contains xylitol)
Unsweetened pumpkin, sweet potato, or carrot puree Mashed over ripe bananas Unsweetened apple sauce
Squashed strawberries and/or blueberries Canned tuna or salmon
During the summer months freezing the lick mat with food can enhance the licking experience.
There are a host of benefits of a lick mat: Better Digestion By slowing down the eating process, the food is easier to digest by your dogs stomach. The licking action encourages the production of saliva in your dog's mouth which helps to break down the food. This slow down also helps to reduce bloat which can be uncomfortable for the dog.
Good Oral Health The grooves and ridges of the lick mat can help clean your dog's tongue by removing built-up bacteria and particles which in turn can reduce bad breath. Also, as licking stimulates saliva production; saliva helps keep a dog’s teeth and gum’s healthy by protecting against cavities. A lick mat doesn’t remove the need for proper teeth cleaning, but can help keep their overall oral health in good shape alongside regular doggy tooth brushing.
Licking is a pleasant experience for a dog. It helps release “happy hormones” into their system (endorphins) and can help calm and soothe your dog. Therefore, you can use the lick mat in situations that you know might cause stress, for example, bath or grooming time. Fill the lick mat with their favorite food and let them lick away whilst the potentially anxiety-inducing event or activity occurs.
Lick mats can keep a dog occupied and entertained for times when you can't play with them. This helps relieve boredom. A bored dog is prone to unwanted destructive behavior so giving them an alternative is beneficial.
Mental Stimulation We all know that physical exercise is important for both humans as well as dogs, but mental exercise is also a vital part of a complete healthy regiment. Lick mats provide mental stimulation by challenging your dog to find ways to lick the food from all of the ridges and grooves in the lick mat.
Help Control Weight
Eating too fast can result in over eating. Lick mats help to slow down the eating process. By slowing down the eating process, they can feel full sooner. Owners can also use the lick mat for portion control to help with their dog's weight issues.
Used as a Training Tool
Dog's love lick mats. Thus, they can be used as a training tool and be used to reward good behavior for positive re-enforcement.
Note: It is important to wash / clean your lick mat after each use either in the dishwasher or with soap and water according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will avoid bacteria growing on the lick mat and infecting your dog.