A lick mat for dogs, also known as a lick pad, is a rubber mat with food grade silicone with grooves and ridges that you can spread food or treats onto for your dog to enjoy. But why should you consider adding a lick mat to your canine companion’s routine? Honestly, there are a long list of reasons.
1. A Lick Mat for Dogs’ Mental Stimulation
Lick mats for dogs serve as excellent tools for promoting mental stimulation and helping maintain normal emotional balance. These mats are designed with various textures and patterns that require a degree of mental effort and focus from dogs as they work to lick out the treats or food spread into the grooves. This process of “foraging” for food is a natural behavior for dogs and encourages problem-solving skills, helping to keep their minds sharp and protecting your pet’s health.
This mental workout can also lead to a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, providing pet owners with another method for positive reinforcement. The slow and methodical licking required by these mats can have a calming effect, reducing hyperactivity and promoting relaxation. In essence, lick mats are not just a source of tasty treats but also a form of brain exercise, enriching your dog’s mental wellbeing.
2. A Lick Mat for Dogs Promotes Calm Behavior
Lick mats for dogs are excellent tools that dog owners can use to provide help for restless animals. The act of licking, by nature, has a soothing effect on dogs; it stimulates the release of endorphins, often called ‘feel-good’ hormones, which help dogs relax. Lick mats take advantage of this natural mechanism by encouraging prolonged periods of focused licking. The mats can be loaded with various treats or foods, which the dogs then spend time licking away, creating a repetitive and soothing activity that supports normal emotional balance.
This can be especially beneficial in potentially stressful situations, such as during thunderstorms, fireworks, vet visits, or grooming sessions. The use of a lick mat can also help distract dogs who may otherwise engage in destructive behavior when bored. Overall, lick mats offer a simple yet effective way to help promote calm and composed behavior in dogs.
3. Slows Down Eating With A Treat Dispensing Mat
Lick mats are an excellent tool for promoting slower eating habits in dogs. The unique design of these mats, featuring various grooves and patterns, encourages dogs to lick the food or treats spread into the crevices. This process significantly slows down the rate of consumption compared to traditional eating from a bowl.
Slower eating can promote your pet’s health and overall well-being. It can help prevent choking, reduce the risk of health problems, and support healthy digestion, as the dog produces more saliva during the prolonged licking, which assists in the digestive process. Additionally, slower eating can lead to a feeling of fullness with less food consumed, which can be beneficial for dogs on a weight management plan.
4. Dog Lick Mats Enhance Oral Hygiene
Lick mats can significantly contribute to enhancing a dog’s dental health. The act of licking treats off the mat’s textured surface stimulates saliva production, which can have beneficial effects on oral hygiene. Saliva naturally contains enzymes that help break down food particles and protect against plaque buildup. The licking action also mechanically cleans the tongue and can help remove bacteria from the teeth, promoting overall oral hygiene.
Although lick mats are not a substitute for regular teeth brushing or professional dental cleanings, they can serve as a supplementary tool in maintaining your dog’s oral health. The mat’s texture helps to scrape off loose plaque and food particles from your dog’s tongue, teeth, and gums. Using a lick mat regularly could, therefore, be part of an overall strategy for maintaining good dental health for your pet.
5. Lick Mat for Dogs: Easy to Clean
One of the appealing features of lick mats for dogs is that they are typically easy to clean. Most lick mats are made from food grade silicone or rubber, materials that are known for their durability and resistance to stains and odors. After your dog has finished using the lick mat, you can simply rinse it under warm water to remove any leftover food particles.
For a more thorough clean, many lick mats are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze. Additionally, the non-porous materials used in these mats prevent the absorption of food and bacteria, further simplifying the cleaning process and ensuring a hygienic feeding tool for your dog. However, it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific cleaning guidelines to maintain the longevity of the mat.
6. Dog Lick Mats Are Great for Hot Days
Lick mats for dogs are incredibly versatile, and one of their popular uses is as a cooling treat dispenser during hot days. You can spread a dog-safe treat on the mat, like yogurt or bone broth, and then freeze it. The textured surface of the lick mat allows the frozen treat to last longer, providing your dog with a refreshing and engaging activity.
The process of your dog licking the cold surface not only cools your dog down but also helps keep them hydrated. Plus, the long-lasting nature of the frozen treat can keep your dog occupied for an extended period of time, making the lick mat a great tool for mental stimulation as well. On a hot summer day, a frozen lick mat can be a fun and beneficial way to help your furry friend beat the heat.
7. Lick Mats Fit Big Dogs And Small Dogs
Lick mats for dogs are designed with a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and textures to cater to the needs of all dogs, regardless of their breed or size. Some mats are smaller and simpler, perfect for smaller dogs or puppies, while others are larger with more complex textures to keep larger dogs engaged for longer periods. You can find lick mats in fun shapes like bones or paws, and others with intricate patterns to hold the treats in a way that requires more effort to lick clean.
This variety not only ensures that there’s a suitable mat for every dog, but it also allows owners to choose a mat that best suits their dog’s eating habits, size, and preferences. Whether you have a teacup breed or a large dog, there’s a lick mat designed to keep them entertained, stimulated, and content.
8. Dog Licks Mats Are Good For Dogs and Puppies of All Ages
Lick mats are an incredibly versatile tool, making them suitable for dogs of all ages. For puppies, lick mats can be an excellent way to introduce them to new flavors and textures, as well as a tool for teething relief when frozen. Puppies can also learn to associate the lick mat with positive experiences, making it useful for crate training or other potentially stressful situations. For adult dogs, lick mats provide mental stimulation and can help alleviate boredom, which can deter destructive behaviors.
For senior dogs, lick mats can serve as a gentle way to exercise their cognitive and motor skills. Additionally, if a senior dog has lost some appetite, a lick mat can encourage eating by making mealtime more interesting. Regardless of your dog’s age, a lick mat can offer an engaging activity that stimulates their mind and contributes positively to their overall wellbeing.
9. Lick Mats for Dogs Can Promote Weight Management
Lick mats can play a pivotal role in managing your furry friend’s weight. The unique design of these mats, which includes various grooves and textures, encourages dogs to eat slower by licking the food or treats spread on the mat. Slowing down the rate of consumption can have several benefits related to weight management. Eating slowly can give the body more time to register fullness, reducing the amount of food required to satisfy hunger, and thus helping control portion sizes.
Also, by providing mental stimulation and occupying the dog for a longer time, lick mats can also serve as a low-energy-consuming activity that prevents quick calorie intake, further supporting weight control. Lick mats can also be used with a variety of low-calorie, nutritious spreads, allowing pet owners to provide a satisfying treat without contributing excessively to daily calorie intake. In essence, lick mats offer a fun and effective way to help support proper weight management.
10. Dog Lick Mats to Promote Hydration
Lick mats can contribute positively to promoting hydration in dogs. As a dog licks the mat to retrieve the treat spread over it, the process stimulates saliva production. This increased salivation can create a natural thirst response, encouraging dogs to drink more water following their lick mat session. This can be particularly beneficial for dogs that may not naturally drink enough water throughout the day. You can increase this hydrating effect by spreading wet or hydrating foods onto the mat.
For example, you can use low-sodium broths or water-infused purees, which not only add to the flavor and enjoyment but also directly contribute to the dog’s water intake. During hot days, a frozen treat on the mat can further help with hydration and cooling down. Therefore, lick mats are not just for feeding and entertainment but can also be a strategic tool to promote your dog’s hydration levels.
11. Using the Lick Mat for Dogs To Add Variety to Your Dog’s Diet
Lick mats can be used with a variety of foods, allowing you to get creative while ensuring your dog is getting a healthy and enjoyable treat. Here are some options of what you can add to your food grade silicone mat:
- Wet dog food: Easily spreadable, canned dog food can make for a great lick mat treat and can also be frozen for an extended dog licking session.
- Dry dog food: The dry dog food will get caught in the grooves, helping them slow down their eating.
- Peanut butter: A favorite among many dogs, ensure it’s xylitol-free, as xylitol is harmful to dogs.
- Cream cheese: Another easily spreadable option that dogs usually love.
- Yogurt: Plain, unsweetened yogurt can be a healthy option. Freeze it to provide your dog yogurt as a refreshing treat on hot days.
- Pumpkin puree: Excellent for dogs’ digestion; ensure it’s plain pumpkin puree without any added sugars or spices.
- Mashed bananas: A sweet and healthy treat that can be used alone or mixed with some organic xylitol-free peanut butter.
- Low-sodium broth: Chicken, beef, or vegetable broths can add flavor and can be frozen to make a long-lasting treat.
- Ground beef: Portion a small amount of ground beef and add it to the lick mat.
- Cottage cheese: A source of protein and calcium, and can be easily spread on the mat.
- Cooked sweet potato: Mashed sweet potato is highly nutritious and usually well-loved by most dogs.
Always remember to use these treats as part of a balanced diet and not to exceed 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake with treat foods. Also, be sure to introduce new foods gradually to observe how your dog’s body reacts.
Try Dog Lick Mats with Earth Buddy CBD Tinctures & Functional Mushrooms
Using a lick mat for administering CBD tinctures to dogs can be a beneficial approach for both the pet and the owner. Earth Buddy’s full spectrum hemp tinctures come in oil form, which can be easily spread across the textured surface of a lick mat. This allows the dog to slowly lick up the CBD oil while also enjoying a tasty treat, ensuring that they consume the full dose over a period of time.
This method can make the process of administering CBD less stressful and more enjoyable for the dog. The act of licking can also help the CBD oil be absorbed more effectively through the mucous membranes in the mouth. Additionally, using a lick mat for this purpose can create a positive association with taking the tincture, making it a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for your dog and easier for you to administer.
Mushroom capsules or Mushroom Powders may sometimes be difficult to administer to picky dogs, so incorporating them into your dog’s food is an easy way to sneak them in. Functional mushrooms for dogs can promote beneficial gut microbial activity. Dogs with separation stress can often be attributed to underlying health issues like upset tummies, so supplementing functional mushrooms for dogs on lick mats with other yummy ingredients is a fun and soothing way to promote relaxation.
Can Dogs Be Left Alone With Licking Mats?
While lick mats are designed to provide a safe and stimulating activity for your dog, leaving your dog alone with a lick mat requires careful consideration. The spread used on the mat should be safe for your dog to consume without supervision. It should be non-toxic and free of any ingredients that your dog may be allergic to.
The main concern with leaving your dog unsupervised with the lick mat is, while most lick mats are designed to be highly durable, some dogs may attempt to chew or tear the mat. This is especially true if they’re aggressive chewers. However, if your dog doesn’t tend to chew, you may be able to leave them unsupervised if necessary.
To ensure your dog’s safety, it’s recommended to monitor your dog’s interaction with the lick mat until you’re confident they will not try to chew or swallow pieces of it. It’s also important to note that cleaning is essential after each use to avoid bacteria growth on the mat. However, if your dog licks the mat after it’s been cleaned, that could cause bacteria to grow.
How to Place Licking Mats
When preparing a lick mat for your dog, you’ll want to ensure that it’s securely placed to prevent it from sliding around while your dog is trying to enjoy their treat. Choose a quiet and comfortable area in your home that your dog is accustomed to. The kitchen floor or any area with hard flooring is often the best choice, as it’s easier to clean up any mess afterwards.
After spreading the desired treat on the treat dispensing mat, place it directly on the floor. Some lick mats come with numerous suction cups on the bottom to help them stick to hard, smooth surfaces. If yours has this feature, press down firmly to secure it in place. Other lick mats may not have this feature. In this case, you can place the mat in a shallow dish or tray to help keep it steady and collect any spillage.
Make sure the mat is far enough away from any walls or furniture that might sustain damage from stray licks or smeared food. Once the mat is properly placed, invite your dog over and allow them to enjoy their treat, monitoring the first few uses to make sure they’re interacting with the mat safely.
For more tips and tricks on how to mix CBD for dogs or functional mushroom powders into dog food, check out our Earth Buddy YouTube channel!
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