Top Five Snuffle Mats for Dogs in 2021
Updated: May 3, 2021
Does your dog like to sniff and eat? Mine too! In fact, almost all dogs do. That is why Snuffle Mats are such a great toy for almost all dogs.
What are Snuffle Mats for dogs?
Snuffle Mats are flat mats covered in strips of fabric, pockets, flaps or soft tufts of fabric. You can hide treats or kibble all over the mat, wedging bits between strips and hiding pieces in the pockets so your dog can sniff them out and work a bit for his dinner.
Are Snuffle Mats good for dogs?
Yes! Most dogs find Snuffle Mats very entertaining. They are great for encouraging your dog to use his nose and are a perfect first step if you are thinking of doing any type of nose work with your pooch. They are also great for dogs who are on limited exercise due to surgery or health issues, making them the perfect gift for new puppy owners who will soon be neutering or spaying their furry friends.
How do Snuffle Mats work?
Snuffle Mats take advantage of your dog's urge to use his nose to sniff out exciting things and learn about his world. This doesn't come naturally to all dogs, especially if they haven't had to work for their food before, or aren't particularly excited about their food. The first time you give your dog a Snuffle Mat, make it easy. Don't bury the treats too deeply in the flaps; instead, lightly scatter most of the treats, and then take a few really high value treats and dig those down deeper in the folds, or hide them in the more difficult areas. This will give your dog the chance to learn about the Snuffle Mat and win at the sniffing game. No one likes to play games that they can't win.
Can Snuffle Mats be washed?
Snuffle Mats can and should be periodically cleaned. Most of them say on the description that they are machine washable; however, many commenters noted that the thicker mats soak up a ton of water and don't always do great in the washing machine.
Five Snuffle Mats to satisfy all your snuffling needs.
Best Basic Snuffle Mat
4.5 stars; 2280 ratings; $39.50; 12" x 18"
I like PAWS5 Snuffle Mat because the rolled fabric makes is the most like actually grass for sniffing. The fibers are long and shaggy like an unkempt lawn – every dog’s dream. Some of the older reviews sited problems with the fibers, but all of those were from 2019 and earlier. Recent reviews seems fairly consistent. One user stated that she filled it with 2 cups of food and her dog immediately shook it and covered the house with dog food. So maybe start with less and see if your dog goes for the shake method.
Most Special Features
4.5 stars; 160 ratings; $59.95; 27.5" x 27.5"
This is by far the most expensive mat, but also it has the most unique features. I cannot resist the spring loaded kibble globe. It does not have as many reviews as some mats, but most are very favorable. At least one dog was afraid of the globe, and for some the pockets were just too difficult. Like the PAWS5 mat, some dogs just picked it up and shook it around, but overall buyers seemed pleased and only one or two felt it was not worth the higher price tag.
Soft and Stable
4.5 stars; 222 ratings; $29.95; 17'' x 21''
Some of the pictures online had me fooled into thinking this Snuffle Mat was much larger than it is. That aside, I like the us of chenille over felt and according to reviews it is the softest of the mats which is great for dogs that are sensitive. The pile is relatively low as well which should help make it a little easier for dogs that are not used to really digging their noses in to find treasure. Some users noted that it should be a supervised activity as the mat doesn’t hold up to aggressive ripping and tearing. It has suction cups to hold it in place and while those worked great for some people, others complained they were not strong enough.
4.5 stars; 229 ratings; $26.99; 17’’×17’’
This is the simplest and the cheapest on this list, but it still gets the job done. Very colorful and dense with lots a ability to hold treats and your dog’s attention. Negative reviews focused on the price and how easy it would be to make it or get it at the dollar store. Personally, I don’t have the time or patience to make a mat like this, and I don’t know that it would end up being much cheaper to make when you consider time, materials and effort. As far as the dollar store, they may have rugs that look similar, but I doubt they have the stiffness provided by the plastic back which makes is a mat and not just something to toss around. I also really like that these can be linked together, so if you did want a really big mat you could get a few and make it any size or shape that you like. I do think LiveKey is missing an opportunity though by not having linkable mats with other snuffling tasks like pockets or large flaps or toys.
Best For Gifting and New Puppies
4.5 stars; 58 ratings; $32.99; dimensions not listed
While it doesn’t have many reviews, they are all very positive. Lots for pup to do, and it’s absolutely adorable as well. This is my pick as a best new puppy gift. Give your new pup owning friend the gift of a break from their puppy. A Snuffle Mat is perfect because eventually their dog will need a spay or neuter and this mat is excellent entertainment for a dog in recovery. And let’s be honest, you don’t want to give a puppy gift that looks like a piece of your bathroom rug, even if it is a great snuffle mat.