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Dog Lick Mat: 5 Surprising Uses and Benefits

belgian malinois licking dog lick mat

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As a professional dog trainer, I’ve seen the wonders that simple tools can work for our beloved pets.

Among these tools, the dog lick mat stands out for its versatility and numerous benefits for dogs and cats.

In this post, we’ll jump into the typical uses and advantages of dog lick mats, providing practical tips on incorporating them into your dog’s routine.

5 Dog Lick Mat Uses and Benefits

Dog lick mats are not just another pet accessory; they are a great way to enrich and train your dog to improve their well-being. Let’s explore how they can be effectively used.

Enrichment

Whether you have a large dog or a small dog, their mind is always eager for engagement, and a lick mat is a great outlet for their boundless energy. You give your dog a task-demanding focus and determination by smearing a tasty treat on the texture-rich mat. This activity is excellent for mental stimulation, keeping their brain active and satisfied – especially on days when you need to stay indoors. It’s a simple yet effective way to channel their energy positively.

Training

Training with a lick mat can take many forms. The lick mat is invaluable, whether it’s socialization training with new people and pets or teaching your dog to stay in place. For instance, place the mat at your dog’s designated spot during a stay exercise. It will encourage them to remain there, associating the place with positive rewards.

This tool is also incredibly useful in reinforcing good behavior in various training scenarios, especially crate training. Giving your dog a yummy snack during crate exercises can speed up the process.

Vet Appointments

Visits to the vet can be stressful for dogs. However, a lick mat can be a game-changer. By bringing a familiar and enjoyable object like a lick mat, you help keep your dog occupied while they associate vet visits with positive experiences. While they’re busy licking away their favorite treat, the vet can conduct exams and vaccinations with minimal stress for your pet. Over time, this builds a positive association with the vet and their staff.

Grooming

Grooming sessions, much like vet visits, can be anxiety-inducing for dogs. Using a lick mat during grooming can significantly ease their stress. It’s especially effective during bathing, nail trimming, and brushing. This awesome and unique slow feeder often helps distract and encourage dogs to stay calm, making grooming sessions a bit more enjoyable. Many lick mats have a suction cup and can easily attach to flat surfaces – perfect for the bathtub!

Easing Anxiety

Lick mats can be a soothing tool for dogs struggling with anxiety. It’s beneficial for managing behaviors like whining, barking, pacing, and getting overly worked up. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety or gets nervous during outings, introducing a lick mat can redirect their focus onto something rewarding, thus easing their anxiety and gradually building confidence.

What Do You Put in a Dog Lick Mat?

The beauty of a lick mat is in its versatility. You can spread various treats onto the silicone mat. The key is to find what your dog loves and use it to keep them engaged. Here are some ideas for your lick mat spread:

  • Pumpkin
  • Canned dog food
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Sweet Potato
  • Mashed Banana
  • Crushed Blueberries
  • Peanut Butter 

How Often Should You Give Your Dog a Lick Mat?

It’s perfectly safe to use a lick mat daily. If your dog’s diet includes canned or spreadable food, you can use it for every meal, offering a more enriching experience than a regular dog bowl. For dogs not using it as a meal replacement, once a day as a treat is fine, as this is similar to giving them a stuffed kong or bully stick as a midday snack.

Conclusion

Incorporating a dog lick mat into your pet’s routine offers numerous benefits, from mental stimulation to easing anxiety.

As a tool for training, grooming, and vet visits, it’s unmatched in its simplicity and effectiveness.

Remember, the key to successful use is consistency and choosing the proper treats that your dog loves. With these tips, you and your dog can enjoy a lick mat’s full range of benefits.

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