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The Best Lick Mats to Keep Your Pup Busy : Boredom Busters

Updated: Jul 9

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Lick mats are a simple, cheap yet innovative idea to keep your dog entertained for hours. These so called 'boredom busters' consist of a patterned mat designed to spread with your dog’s favourite treat or meal.


Admittedly we were extremely sceptical that these little mats could hold our dog's attention for any length of time. We were so wrong !


We put a whole variety of lick mat styles through their paces. If you're in a rush, the photos in the gallery below are selectable or read on for our lowdown on each design.



We'll tell you best we can, which styles suit which food types, which kept our dogs interest the longest, if they're designed to calm anxious dogs and importantly how easy they were to clean. You can then decide which suits your dog most.


Lastly we'll look at what food to put on lick mats and offer some tried and tested toppings which are bound to get the paw prints of approval.


Here's your go-to guide for the best lick mats on the UK market. Hand picked by us and sure to get those tails wagging


TABLE OF CONTENTS


dog paw graphic

Buying Guide for Dog Lick Mats


Lick Mats are available in a collection of styles, surface textures and shapes to suit different dogs, their needs and their diet. Bear in mind the following points :-


Size

The standard mats measure approximately 20cm x 20cm (size of a plate). If you have a very large or greedy dog consider a deeper tray or look at the XL mats offered by some brands.


Design

The raised designs differ from mat to mat. Some work better with runny topping such as peanut butter or yoghurt. Other designs have deeper holes and ridges to hold chunkier food such as fruit pieces, kibble and raw dog food.


We'll indicate which designs suit which types of food.


Cleaning

We found that the deeper groove designs were trickier to clean. We definitely recommend cleaning immediately after use before any remnants of food dry on.


Ideally they should be dishwasher proof to take the hassle out of cleaning. We'll indicate whether each design is dishwasher proof or needs to be cleaned by hand.



dog paw graphic


Our Picks of the Best Dog Lick Mats


Lickimat Playdate in orange

1. LickiMat Playdate

 

From the original Australian lick mat company, LickiMat Playdate design has deep, even troughs to help grip and trap chunky treats such as raw dog food, fruit pieces or kibble.


Ideal for slowing down dogs on a raw or fresh diet, they have to work hard to release every last morsel. Once filled this mat can hold your dogs attention for a really long time so it's great for distraction purposes.


We found that this mat design holds runny foods such as yoghurt and peanut butter a little bit too well so it can be tricky to spread a small amount right across the whole surface of the mat.


Constructed from a softer rubber it was less stable than the SodaPup range and we found it tricker to slide into the freezer without spilling some of the toppings.


The original playdate design needs to be hand washed, although Lickimat now offer a Tuff version of most of their designs which is chew resistant and dishwasher safe.


We think that the Lickimat Playdate is a classic, great value and well designed starter lick mat.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 20cm x 20cm | Design: square troughs | Cleaning: Hand wash | Food Type : raw and chunkier foodS


REASONS TO BUY

 + Traps food well

 + Perfect for chunky pieces

 + Great value


REASONS TO AVOID

  - If you want a lick mat for soothing only

  - Hand wash only


BUYING OPTIONS


 

Lickmat Soother for anxious dogs

2. LickiMat Soother

 

The LickiMat Soother has been uniquely designed with a slightly raised bumpy design, a bit like tiny bristles all over the surface.


It's main aim is to simply encourage a repetitive licking motion to soothe your dog immediately in stressful situations. So if you're looking for a calming tool to help with separation anxiety, fireworks or thunder we thoroughly recommend the LickiMat Soother.


As a bonus, the licking action itself generates saliva that helps protect your dog's teeth and gums, and aids digestion.


Perfect for soft foods and even liquids, our testers topped it with yoghurt, banana and peanut butter. Due to the very shallow design it traps the food less than the other deeper grooved designs, so not ideal if you're looking to pair your lick mat with dry food unless you crush it as we have.


This little gem of a lick mat comes in an extra large version for big breeds and as the picture shows, a Tuff Soother which is chew resistant and heavy duty.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: Classic 20cm x20cm, XL 30 x 25cm | Design: shallow | Cleaning: Hand wash only | Food Type : Soft & Runny


REASONS TO BUY

 + Ideal for anxious dogs

 + Works well with soft treats

 + Great value


REASONS TO AVOID

  - Easy to complete

  - Not ideal for chunky foods


BUYING OPTIONS


If you have an anxious dog you may be interested in our test of the Silentnight Donut Calming Bed


 
LickiMat Yoggie Pot

3. LickiMat Yoggie Pot

 

Now for something a bit different. New to the ever expanding LickiMat range is the Yoggie Pot, a long lasting rubber dog bowl to help relieve boredom and anxiety.


In a similar style to a classic Kong, the new Yoggie Pot has additional nubs on the inside edge for maximum tongue stimulation whilst a raised central star shape helps to hold food and further slow your dog.


Ideal for lining with soft, spreadable foods such as peanut butter or cream cheese plus it can be used with wet and raw dog food. Its worth noting that you can freeze the filled pot to extend use and it's microwave safe.


Our only concern is that some dogs may mistake it for a chew toy, so we'd suggest monitoring play to begin with. The LickiMat Yoggie Pot is available in a range of bright colours


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 10 x 9 cm | Design: deep | Cleaning: Hand wash only | Food Type : Soft


REASONS TO BUY

 + Ideal for anxious dogs

 + Works well with soft treats


REASONS TO AVOID

  - Pricier than basic mats

- Not ideal for dry foods


BUYING OPTIONS


 
LickiMat Splash with suction cup for dogs

4. LickiMat Splash

 

The last Lick mat to feature from the LickiMat range is the Splash. Designed to be used as a distraction whilst shampooing, the Splash has a suction cup on the reverse to stick to baths, showers, tiles and most smooth surfaces.


You could of course spread your dogs favourite treat directly on your bath or tiles, but who needs the extra cleaning ! Available in four colours.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 10 x 9 cm | Design: deep | Cleaning: Hand wash only | Food Type : Soft


REASONS TO BUY

 + Ideal for anxious dogs

 + Works well with soft treats


REASONS TO AVOID

  - Pricier than basic mats

  - Not ideal for dry foods


BUYING OPTIONS

 
SodaPup Whale lick mat

4. SodaPup Whale Lick Mat

 

Like all the beautifully designed products in the SodaPup range, the Whale Lick Mat or eMat (which stands for enrichment mat) has been created to combine functionality with a fun and interesting design.


We think that the best thing about this e-mat is the pattern. Designed with a combination of larger compartments which are perfect for trapping chunkier foods, alongside some smaller nodules which encourage a repetitive licking motion to soothe your dog in stressful situations.


The smaller, deeper 'wave' compartments make this mat harder for your dog to lick clean than some of the other designs featured in our review. Ultimately this means that the Whale eMat will keep your dog busier for longer.


This mat is dishwasher safe (top rack) although we'd recommend a quick brush immediately after use so the food doesn't get stuck in hard to reach places.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 20cm diameter | Design: deep & shallow troughs | Cleaning: Dishwasher safe | Food Type : All


REASONS TO BUY

  + Combination of compartment sizes

  + Suitable for a range of foods

  + Dishwasher & freezer safe

  + Suction cups for vertical use


REASONS TO AVOID

   - If you want a lick mat for soothing only

   - Pricier than the LickiMats featured


BUYING OPTIONS

 
Dog enrichment mat from SodaPup

6. SodaPup Jigsaw Lick Mat

 

Not convinced by the whale design ? Well SodaPup have a huge range of uniquely designed e-mats to choose from like this Jigsaw pattern.


Ideally suited to peanut butter and other soft foods such as smashed banana, wet dog food, cream cheese or yoghurt, the intricate design will keep your dog busy for a really long time.


Be aware that we wouldn't recommend this lick mat for chunky or dried foods as the compartments are simply too small.


SodaPup also offer different patterns such as honeycomb, flowers even love hearts.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 20 x 20cm | Design: deep, small compartments | Cleaning: Dishwasher safe | Food Type : Soft


REASONS TO BUY

  + Lots of small compartments

  + Range of fun designs

  + Dishwasher & freezer safe


REASONS TO AVOID

   - If you want a lick mat for soothing only

   - Pricier than the LickiMats featured


BUYING OPTIONS


 
SodaPup Mandala eTray in purple

7. SodaPup Mandala Enrichment Tray

 

With it's much deeper compartments, the Mandala eTray combines the benefits of lick mats with the benefits of slow feeder bowls.


The design offers compartments in a range of depths and sizes to encourage your dog to forage for their food.


In testing, we found that the SodaPup e-trays were deep enough to feed kibble as well as a whole range of supplements, fruit, wet foods as you can separate them in different compartments for less mess.

Dog with Mandala eTray from Sodapup

It's worth noting that this design doesn't include the softer raised bumpy design which offers extra tongue stimulation like the LickiMat soother, however it does offer tiny pockets to encourage repetitive licking.


If you have a greedy guzzler, the Mandala eTray makes an excellent slow feeding bowl, so you could opt to feed your dog complete meals from this eTray.


We adore this popular combination of lick mat and slow feeder. Whilst SodaPup have a host of eTray designs, we found the Mandala easy to fill and easy to clean.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 20cm diameter | Design: varying trough depths | Cleaning: Dishwasher Safe | Food Type : All


REASONS TO BUY

 + Slow Feeder/ Lick Mat combination

 + Large individual chambers

 + Dishwasher proof

 + Freezer safe


REASONS TO AVOID

  - More expensive option

 - Doesn't have soothing bumps


BUYING OPTIONS

 
Buddy & Lola dual lick mat for dogs

8. Buddy & Lola Dual Licky Mat

 

We love the flexibility that this dog lick mat from Buddy & lola offers (better known for their natural range of health supplements). The dual design combines both food trapping compartments and soothing nodules. This means that it works well for anxious dogs and those that need distracting whilst working equally well for greedy guzzlers that need to slow down.

We think this combination is great for smaller dogs but as it's a 2-in-1 solution, it may not provide enough surface area for larger breeds.


Oh and there's the suction caps on the reverse, so you could stick it to your bath or shower door to help keep your pup distracted during bathing.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 21 x 21cm | Design: shallow | Cleaning: Hand wash only | Food Type : Soft & Runny


REASONS TO BUY

+ Ideal for small to medium dogs

+ Works well with soft treats

+ Great value


REASONS TO AVOID

- Easy to complete

- Not ideal for large breeds


BUYING OPTIONS



 

Pets Purest peanut butter and lick mat bundle

4. Pets Purest Lick Mat Bundle

 

Pets Purest offer a great value lick mat and peanut butter bundle.


The cute lick mat measures 19cm x 19cm, with deep ridges so can trap a variety of food from smooth peanut butter to more chunky fruit, veg and raw dog food.


What's more it's made from 100% recycled materials so we think that ticks the eco-friendly boxes.


You can opt to just buy their lick mat, but it's the peanut butter bundle that caught our eye. Pets Purest peanut butter has been formulated for dogs with 100% peanuts, no sugar, salt or xylitol (which is toxic to dogs).


Ultimately buying the lick mat & peanut butter bundle offers a significant saving on buying the products individually.


SPECIFICATIONS : Size: 19cm x 19cm | Design: Raised pattern | Cleaning: Dishwasher safe | Food Type : All


REASONS TO BUY

+ Quick to use

+ Works well with a range of food

+ Bundle savings


REASONS TO AVOID

- If your dog doesn't like peanut butter

  - May not be big enough for large breeds


BUYING OPTIONS


For 10% OFF their entire range, enter discount code WELCOME10 at checkout




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FAQ'S


What can I put on my dogs licky mat ?


Ideally you should apply a wet food first such as peanut butter (dog friendly), yoghurt or cream cheese. Spread this over the mat so it can work its way into all the nooks and crannies. It can then act as a 'glue' for any drier foods you want to add such as kibble, pieces of fruit or vegetables.


Here are some of our tried and tested winning combinations :-


Yoghurt, Kibble and Fruit

Dog Lickimat with yoghurt, strawberries and crushed kibble

Yoghurt is a great base to help hold larger pieces of fruit and biscuit in place.


Dry kibble or a handful of dry training treats make an ideal topping.


They can be added whole or broken into crumbs and sprinkled over the yoghurt.


If you have a fussy dog, the scents from a little yoghurt or peanut butter with the texture of the smashed kibble can make a meal much more appealing.


Peanut Butter & Banana

Dog Licky mat topped with banana, peanut butter and blueberries

The LickiMat Playdate with its square pockets is ideal for trapping chunkier foods such as raw dog food, a few blueberries, chunky pieces of banana or even pieces of chicken.


If you have a greedy guzzler, we've found that mashed banana spread first, sticks to smaller fruit and vegetable pieces.


This gives your pup more time to savour the taste rather than simply inhaling them straight from a bowl.


It's also a really easy way to add dried supplements to your dog's diet.


Wet & Dry Food

SodaPup lick mat with peanut butter and yoghurt toppings

What's on our mat ? 💭


🐳 Greek Yoghurt


Dog friendly & natural


Turkey with sweet potato & vegetables



Hydration drink for dogs


🐳 Blueberries

A superfood rich in antioxidants


Raw Egg, Leafy Greens & Kibble

Dog lickimat topped with mince and carrot

What's on our tray ? 💭


🥚 Egg

🍗 Forthglade Cold Pressed Dry

🍓 Strawberry

🍃 Spinach

🐳 Furr Boost - Hydration Drink for Dogs

Natural plaque & tartar remover

🦴 Buddy & Lola - Super Tummy Daily Chew

🍗 Forthglade Complete Grain Free -

Turkey with sweet potato & vegetables

🦴 Fetch Club Shop - Lamb strips




What are the Benefits of a Dog Lick Mat ?


The first thing to say is that a lick mat for dogs is one of the cheapest dog enrichment options on the market and you get so many benefits for very little investment it's definitely worth adding one to your dog box.


On a basic level, it's simply a fun (and very tasty) game for your dog as they work around the mat to seek out every last titbit with their tongue. But there are a host of hidden advantages for you and your dog :-


✅ Enhances your dog’s mental state as the mat design challenges and exercise your dog's brain.

✅ Promotes calm behaviour and reduces anxiety especially in stressful times such as being left on their own or during fireworks.

✅ Repetitive licking has been proven to soothe your dog as the motion gradually releases a calming hormone into their body.

An incredibly useful distraction for puppies while you need to do jobs around the home. Really need to clean the bathroom or sort the laundry ? What you need my friend is a lick mat.

✅ Have you got a fussy eater? Interestingly, some fussy dogs don't like eating their food from a bowl. Sensitive dogs prefer shallow bowls or plates, which enable them to keep an eye on their environment whilst eating.

✅ Stimulating saliva production which can help clean their tongue, teeth and gums keeping plaque at bay.

So as you can see, major reasons why a licky mat deserves a place in your dog's life.



dog paw graphic


Here at Smart Bark, we take product reviews seriously! We partner with various pet brands to receive products, but we only review items that meet our high standards and that we believe will be valuable to our readers.

Our canine reviewer, Freddie, lent a paw (or rather, a tongue) in researching, testing, and modeling for this article!


Thanks for stopping by! We're hope you found our guide to - The Best Lick Mats to Keep Your Pup Busy: Boredom Busters helpful.



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