• Smart Bark

LickiMat Review : The Ultimate Boredom Buster

Updated: Sep 16

Smart Bark is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more


Lick mats for dogs are marketed as a simple and cheap 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.

Cockapoo with an orange Licky mat Playdate

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 !


They are innovative, incredibly simple yet smart at the same time.


We explore the array of benefits offered by lick mats, the different design types available to you and of course we'll offer some tried and tested topping recommendations your dog will simply love.


Table of Contents

1. Benefits of Dog Lick Mats

2. Buying Guide for Dog Lick Mats

3. Features to Consider

4. Our Pick of the Best Lick Mats

5. Tempting Toppers

6 .Top Tips


1. BENEFITS OF DOG LICK MATS


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 other 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.

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 while you need to do jobs around the home. Really need to clean the bathroom or sort the laundry ?

Keep them occupied while you focus on your jobs by spreading a healthy snack on their licky 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.

Cockapoo with a Lickimat dog food mat

So as you can see, major reasons why this small square of rubber deserves a place in your dog's life.



2. 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, the LickiMat has 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.


We've provided this buying guide to give you an overview of the range on offer and help you decide which features will work best for your dog.



3. FEATURES TO CONSIDER


Size

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.


Design

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.


If you want to add solid pieces of food then consider the Playdate design with deeper holes and ridges to hold onto those morsels. The Playdate is also perfect for chunkier raw dog foods.


Cleaning

We found that the deeper groove designs were trickier to clean.


As they need to be washed by hand (they warp in the dishwasher), we recommend cleaning immediately after use before any remnants of food dry on.




4. OUR PICKS OF THE BEST LICK MATS


If you're considering buying a lick mat, here's our favourite lick mat designs and their uses.


LickiMat Soother

RELAX & REPEAT

Green dog lickimat soother to help with dog anxiety

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 aims to simply encourage a repetitive licking motion to soothe your dog immediately in stressful situations.


A wonderful tool for helping to deal with separation anxiety.



LickiMat Playdate

DEEP TROUGHS

Green dog lickimat playdate

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.


Once filled though, this mat can hold your dogs attention for a really long time so great for distraction purposes.



LickiMat Buddy Large

IDEAL FOR LARGE BREEDS

large Buddy green dog lickimat

This LickiMat is aimed at larger dogs measuring a whopping 28cm X 28cm so considerably bigger than the standard 21cm X 21cm.


Ultimately, if you have a dog with a big appetite this could be an ideal solution for keeping them busy for longer.


This mat will slow your dog down, helping their digestion whilst reducing anxiety with the continuous licking motion.


LickiMat Splash

BATHTIME FUN

Turquoise dog lickimat splash ideal for dog grooming

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.




Lickimat Bundle

COMPLETE PACKAGE

Tubes of Lickimat Sprinkles made from crushed dog biscuits.

New and upgraded, Lickimat offer a bundle including two different mat types and 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 now easy 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 personally I prefer adding them to peanut butter or yoghurt. The bundle includes two different flavoured sprinkles ( there's four to choose from).



Peanut Butter for Dogs

SUPER QUICK TOPPER

Pets Purest Peanut Butter

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.



RECOMMENDED READ

Top 10 Toxic Foods for your Dog We take a look at dog foods that are so toxic they should have a big, fat warning label on them



5. TEMPTING TOPPERS


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 acts as a 'glue' for any drier foods you want to add after such as kibble, pieces of fruit or vegetables.


If you're interested, here are some of our tried and tested winning combinations :-

Loaded Dog Lickimat with yoghurt, strawberries and crushed kibble

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 makes a meal much more appealing for your dog and it's easy to keep an eye on the calorific content.

Dog Lickimat topped with banana, peanut butter and blueberries

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. We've used dog-friendly peanut butter to hold the blueberries in place


Dog lickimat topped with mince and carrot

LickiMats are fabulously versatile. It's worth experimenting with them 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.


RECOMMENDED READ

Best Raw Dog Foods Review Thinking of switching to raw dog food ? We test and review four of the best on the UK market today.


6. TOP TIPS


All mats should be hand washed NOT placed in the dishwasher (trust me - they curl at the edges). As LickiMats are made from recyclable TPR (thermoplastic rubber), they are moulded by melting the plastic with heat, poured in a mould, left to cool and set. Dishwashers are really hot and 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 🐾