Best Lick Mats for Dogs Guide
Updated: May 7
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Lick mats for dogs are marketed as a simple, cheap yet innovative idea to keep your dog entertained for hours.
These so called 'boredom busters' consist of a patterned rubber mat designed to spread your dog’s favourite treat or food on.
We put a whole variety of lick mat styles through testing to see which were the best for holding different types of food, which kept our dogs interest the longest and which were chew proof.
We compare the different designs available to you so you can decide which suits your dog most.
Admittedly we were extremely sceptical that this square of rubber could hold our dog's attention for any length of time. We were so wrong !
This Review also takes a look at the multiple benefits of lick mats for your dog and you.
Lastly we'll look at what to put on lick mats for dogs and offer some tried and tested food topping recommendations your dog will simply love.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Benefits of a Dog Lick Mat
The first thing to say is that a licking 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. lickymat
✅ Promotes calm behaviour and reduces anxiety especially in stressful times such as being left on their own or during fireworks. It is definitely less stressful leaving your dog on their own (for both parties) if your dog is busy when you leave.
✅ 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.
So as you can see, major reasons why this small square of rubber deserves a place in your dog's life.
Buying Guide for Dog Lick Mats
So where did these lick mats come from? The original LickiMat was designed in Australia by two vets primarily to improve dog's dental hygiene. Since the original launch and huge success with fantastic feedback from customers everywhere, they've been copied by a whole range of companies.
So if you head to Amazon, you will find an abundance of copies, however we are reviewing the original and best LickiMats not the copies.
The original LickiMat is available in a range of different styles with different surface textures and shapes to suit different dogs and their needs.
Our Buying Guide aims to give you an overview of the range on offer and help you decide which features will work best for your dog (because you know them best).
Features to Consider
The standard mat measures 21cm x 21cm. If you have a very large or greedy dog consider the larger 28cm x 28cm Buddy Large mat. The design helps to slow your dog's eating which in turn can aid their digestion.
The raised design differs from mat to mat. If you are planning to use runny topping such as peanut butter or yoghurt, the Soother design will work well.
Is your dog a destructive chewer or a teething puppy? Don't worry Lickimat have you covered. They've recently introduced the Tuff and the Slomo models. Virtually indestructible they should stand up well to even the most determined chewer.
We found that the deeper groove designs ( Playdate) were trickier to clean. We definitely recommend cleaning immediately after use before any remnants of food dry on.
Which Lick Mat Design is Right for my Dog ?
We've tested a bunch of different styles and put them through their paces with a whole range of food stuff - from raw dog food to kibble, yoghurt, peanut butter and fruit.
Without further ado we suggest you read on to find out which Lick Mat is the best for you and your four-legged friend.
1. LickiMat Soother
Best for runny treats
The LickiMat Soother has a slightly raised bumpy design which is perfect for combining with runny treats such as yoghurt.
This design definitely traps the food less than the other deeper grooved designs.
It's main aim is to simply encourage a repetitive licking motion to soothe your dog immediately in stressful situations.
Admittedly not the best mat for raw diets or chunkier foods.
However, if you're looking for a tool for helping to deal with separation anxiety, we thoroughly recommend the Soother mat.
2. LickiMat Playdate
Deep troughs for chunky treats
Featured throughout this article, the LickiMat Playdate has a deeper troughs to help grip and trap chunky treats such as wet food, meat or even pieces of kibble.
We found that it holds runny foods such as yoghurt and peanut butter a little bit too well.
It can be tricky to spread a small amount right across the whole surface of the mat.
Perfect for dogs on a raw or fresh diet, once filled this mat can hold your dogs attention for a really long time so great for distraction purposes.
If your main aim is to slow your dog down rather than dealing with anxiety, this is the perfect mat for you.
3. LickiMat Buddy Large & Extra Large
Best for large breeds
Ultimately, if you have a dog with a big appetite these could be an ideal solution for keeping them busy for longer.
The large LickiMat is aimed at larger dogs measuring a whopping 28cm x 28cm so considerably bigger than the standard 21cm x 21cm.
If that's still not quite big enough for your dog, then how about their newly launched rectangular X-large mat. Measuring 25.5cm x 30cm.
Both these mats will act as anti-gulp slow feeders, helping to slow your large dog down.
Ultimately this can really improve their digestion whilst the licking motion will reduce anxiety.
4. LickiMat Tuff™
Best for destructive chewers and puppies
Virtually indestructible, the new Tuff™ series is available in all three designs - Playmate Buddy and Soother (pictured below).
If your dog is a chewer, the Tuff range could be the answer you're looking for.
The new design sees the softer rubber mat sit in a rigid, durable polypropylene outer shell. They are welder together so won't come apart.
We loved that you can throw these in the dishwasher and they don't warp.
The thoughtful addition of four non-slip rubber feet on the back, keep the mat in one place and stop it sliding around your kitchen floor.
Even though it's tough, Lickmat suggest that you always supervise your dog especially when you introduce the Lickimat.
Slightly more expensive than the standard range, the Tuff range are still excellent value for money.
5. LickiMat Slomo™
Best Combination Mat
The newly designed Slomo™ adds a further degree of flexibility to the LickiMat range.
Like the Tuff™ series, the Slomo™ range is designed with chewers in mind.
It's also dishwasher safe for those of you who hate hand washing or are just short on time.
The Slomo™ combines some deeper grooves which are perfect for chunkier foods with the smoother surface for pastes and runny treats.
This could be the perfect first Lickimat if you can't decide which of the designs to choose.
6. LickiMat Splash
Best for bathtime distraction
Designed for your bathing and grooming nightmares.
If your dog hates the shower or bath, this bowl will help distract them and reduce any associated anxiety.
The bowl shape incorporates a suction plate to stick on to hard surfaces.
Yes, you could simply smear peanut butter on the bath itself, but trust me, it's a real pain to clean off.
7. Lickimat Bundle
Best value bundle
New and upgraded, Lickimat offer a great value bundle including two different mat styles ( Buddy & Soother) alongside two packs of Sprinkles.
The Sprinkles are made with fresh, hand-baked dog biscuits which have been crumbled to dust.
The packaging has been redesigned and is now easier to simply shake a dusting of dog biscuits on the mat or alternatively spoon them on.
They make a quick and very easy topper to use on their own or if you prefer, adding them to peanut butter or yoghurt. The bundle includes two different flavoured sprinkles ( there's four to choose from).
Ultimately, if you are unsure which mat to choose, this is an ideal starter pack with everything you need for a hassle free introduction to lick mats.
8. Peanut Butter for Dogs
Best for speedy, healthy topping
Lastly we must mention peanut butter. Traditional peanut butter can contain xylitol which is very dangerous for dogs to eat.
Pets Purest peanut butter is made specifically for dogs with all natural ingredients and no xylitol.
It makes a very simple and quick topper for a licking mat if you need to calm your four-legged friend quickly.
You might also be interested in ....
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So what can you put on a lickmat for dogs?
The truth is that there are no firm rules about what foodstuffs you can add to a LickiMat, but from experience there are some simple guidelines to follow.
Ideally you should apply a wet food first such as peanut butter (dog friendly), yoghurt or cream cheese. Spread this over the mat with a spoon or spatula so it can work it's way into all the nooks and crannies on the patterned surface.
It can then act as a 'glue' for any drier foods you want to add such as kibble, pieces of fruit or vegetables.
If you're interested, here are some of our tried and tested winning combinations :-
Yoghurt, Kibble and Fruit
Here we've used yoghurt as a base to help hold strawberry pieces 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, a little yoghurt or peanut butter with smashed kibble can make a meal much more appealing.
Peanut Butter & Banana
If you have a greedy guzzler, fruits such as mashed banana can be spread over the surface to give your pooch more time to savour the taste rather than simply inhaling them!
The LickiMat Playdate with it's square pockets is ideal for trapping chunkier foods such as a few blueberries or chunky pieces of banana.
Meat and Carrot
LickiMats work equally well as a base for spreading raw meat and fish.
Lickimats can be used with dogs on raw diets as well as wet or dried kibble. Here, ProDog Raw has been used as a base with strips of carrots as a topper.
In the summer you can even freeze the mat to refresh and cool your dog in the hot weather.
Thinking of switching to raw ? We test and review four of the best complete raw foods on the UK market today.
6. TOP TIPS
✅ Unless you buy a Tuff or Slomo mat make sure you hand wash your mat. Due to the high temperature, dishwashers can make the plastic warp.
✅ When introducing a lick mat for the first time, it's advisable to keep a watchful eye on your dog just in case they attempt to chew it! If you have a destructive chewer, a dog lick mat may not be suitable unless you monitor how the mat is used.
Thanks for dropping by and reading our LickiMat Review : The Ultimate Boredom Buster - Freddie loved helping to research, test and photograph this article 🐾