The Coolest Dog Product You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
You know how much we love enrichment at Wagging Tails. And while we can make sure your dog gets plenty of it at The Resort, we know that sometimes it can be a struggle at home, especially after a long day. That’s why we love sharing fun and easy ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated. This week, we wanted to look at one of our favorite household go-tos: lick mats.
Lick mats go by several names, including LickiMats®. They come in numerous designs, ranging from flat surfaces that suction to the floor or wall to bowl shapes that wobble. But, no matter which brand or style you choose, they all share the same general concept – textured rubber designed for licking. And all you have to do is smear something on top, such as:
- Peanut butter (make sure it’s xylitol-free)
- Wet dog food
- Canned fish, like tuna, sardines, or salmon
- Pureed vegetables, like carrots, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes
- Bone broth
Now, we know what you’re thinking… “We have a Kong! Why do we need something for our dog to lick?” It turns out, there are several benefits that make lick mats a great addition to your dog’s enrichment toolbox. And they’re safe for dogs of all ages and ability levels, even seniors with bad teeth and reduced mobility.
Calms & Soothes
To start, licking is actually a self-soothing activity for dogs. Each time they lick, it secretes endorphins, which calms and soothes them. Not only is a lick mat a great way to redirect a dog from bad licking habits, but you can use it to calm them during stressful situations, like thunderstorms or being left home alone.
Helps Beat the Boredom!
Just like a frozen Kong, you can use lick mats as a fun and stimulating activity to keep your dog mentally engaged. Whether you choose a “wobble” lick mat, one with small chambers, or a classic, flat texture, you can spread the delicious goodness on the surface and pop it in the freezer to make the licking last even longer.
Does your dog scarf down their food? A lick mat can slow them down, reducing their risk of bloat and improving digestion. Plus, licking triggers saliva production, which helps break down food.
Makes Grooming Easier
Does your dog hate baths? Nail trims? Brushing? All of the above? Get a lick mat with suction cups on the back! Smear their favorite treat on top (peanut butter, anyone?) and stick it to the bathtub, wall, or other nearby surfaces. Now you have two free hands to get to work while they’re busy licking.
Supports Good Oral Health
You may brush your dog’s teeth, but what about their tongue? Lick mats take care of that for you by gently scraping their tongue, removing food particles and bacteria at the same time! Plus, the increased saliva production helps keep their teeth and gums healthy. For added benefits, spread your dog’s lick mat with doggy toothpaste and give it to them after dinner!
The best part? Lick mats are usually dishwasher safe, which makes cleanup a snap.