What’s a Licking Mat? Why Your Dog Could Benefit From It
Have you heard about licking mats? It’s a fairly new pet category that was invented in Australia a few years ago. The idea originated with veterinarians who were looking for ways to improve oral hygiene in dogs. The vets knew that more saliva in a pet’s mouth leads to healthier teeth and gums. And, just like your dentist may encourage you to brush your tongue, they knew that scraping the tongue reduces food and bacteria in pet’s mouths too. From those basic principles, the lick mat was developed. It is simply a piece of rubber with ridges and grooves that make your pet eat more slowly. When using a lick mat, your pet is forced to lick his food instead of gulping it down and this is what results in better oral health and digestion. Because dogs like to lick, it’s a natural way to give them food and treats.
Beyond the oral health benefits of a licking mat, there are other reasons why this might be a good investment:
- Because licking produces endorphins in dogs, the mat can be used to distract and calm your pet during stressful times like grooming, during storms, while travelling or to reduce separation anxiety. In fact, lick mats are now recognized as an excellent anti-anxiety tool.
- If your dog is suffering from boredom, a lick mat is excellent enrichment.
- The lick mat’s main purpose is to slow down eating and that helps reduce bloating.
- They work for cats too! Cats also like to lick and it too, is a natural way for them to reduce stress.
How do you use a lick mat?
- Most mats come with suction cups, or are made with non-slip material, and can be placed on non-porous surfaces to avoid them moving around.
- Simply spread some wet food or a wet treat like peanut butter onto the mat, then watch your pet savor the experience.
- When your pet has finished, throw the mat into the dishwasher so it’s ready for next time (read all manufacturers’ instructions).
- Use the mat regularly especially if you’re trying to control bad breath. Some pet parents notice better breath after just a few days.
Are you interested in trying a lick mat for your pet? View our selection of mats and slow feeders here.