Today’s guest writer is Maggie Marton, writer and dog wrangler at Oh My Dog! She is writing about how to make your own snuffle mat, and why your dog will love it!
A dog’s nose boasts a strength 10,000 to 100,000 times our own. When we walk our pups, we witness their noses in action and can only imagine the information they’re gathering as they sniff each fire hydrant, mailbox, and blade of grass.
We’ve all heard the adage, “A tired dog is a good dog.” Using a dog’s strength–his nose–to tire him out indoors exercises his instincts and helps tucker him out. Sniffing enriches a dog, helping him to feel happier and calmer. So, how to harness his “sniffer” indoors?
A snuffle mat!
This specific puzzle toy exercises a dog’s instinct for sniffing and his natural predisposition for foraging. Plus, they’re super easy and affordable to make!
HOW TO MAKE A DOG ‘SNUFFLE MAT’
What is a snuffle mat?
Snuffle mats are a type of puzzle toy typically comprised of strips of fabric adhered to a mat. You bury treats or pieces of food within the fabric strips so your dog has to forage with his nose–snuffling–to find the pieces. It’s an enriching game, or a great way to slow down a too-fast eater.
Snuffle mats are commercially available, and the range in quality and price. However, the simplicity of the puzzle means it’s super easy to DIY. Plus, with a few variations we share below, you might not even have to spend any money to make your own!
How to DIY a snuffle mat
You can approach this several different ways:
- First, purchase a mat that has holes in in, like an outdoor rain mat or a rubber sink mat. Both types are readily available at home improvement stores, big box retailers, and sometimes even dollar discount stores.
- Then, cut up an old blanket, old T-shirts, fleece, or remnant fabrics available at steep discounts at fabric stores.
- Trim the fabric into inch-wide strips of varying lengths.
- Slip each strip down through one hole and up through the neighboring hole. Tie a tight knot.
- Continue to fill the entire mat, making sure to secure each strip tightly.
Another option is to upcycle or reuse a mat you already have. For instance, when we switched out our bathroom towels, the fluffy bath mat was a perfect candidate for a snuffle mat. If you have similar mats and don’t want to purchase something new to make this DIY, simply use a sharp tool to poke holes and follow the instructions above.
Then, fill the fabric with treats or food, and let your dog snuffle away! We recommend putting at least a few of the treats above the fabric strips the first time your dog tries the mat so ensure a win. If he gets frustrated, it won’t be fun for anyone, so help him out the first time, then make it more difficult!
Give the gift of enrichment
Because this is so easy and inexpensive to make–and each mat takes only a matter of minutes–consider whipping up a few to donate to the dogs at your local shelter this holiday season! You’ll bring some good cheer to pups who are waiting for their forever family!
Hey Shelter and Rescue Operators, and Organizations, ask us how playing DOGTV in your facility will help to calm dogs and alleviate their stress while they’re waiting for their forever homes. Also, grab your free fourteen day trial of DOGTV to play at the shelter.