A snuffle mat provides a fun and stimulating challenge for your dog’s (or cat’s) nose. The mat is made up of strips of fabric that mimic grass. First, you’ll sprinkle small, dry treats or kibble across the mat so they fall between the strips of fabric. Your pet’s job is to use his nose to sniff out his tasty rewards. This is just one way to get your dog into canine nose work.
Benefits of a snuffle mat:
Provides mental stimulation
Keeps your pet active and busy
Can help slow down fast eaters
How to make a snuffle mat
Many DIY snuffle mat projects use a rubber or plastic mat with holes, like a sink mat or a doormat. However, food crumbs and pet drool can cause the mat to get a little icky over time. We recommend using a fabric base so your snuffle mat can be machine washed.
½ yard sturdy fabric such as canvas (I found duck cloth in the remnants bin which is pretty much the same thing)
2 yards of fleece
Ruler and marker (Sharpie or fabric marker)
Tip: Check the remnants bin at your fabric store for discounted fabrics.
Cut your canvas base. This mat is 21 x 17 inches, but you can make it any size. Just remember that a larger mat will take a little longer to complete.
Cut fleece into strips. Measurements don’t need to be precise. In fact, varying sizes can add to the challenge for your pup. That said, aim for about 1 to 1.5 inches wide by 6 to 8 inches long. You’ll need around 200 strips, or more if you’re making a bigger mat. (This mat required 231 strips)
Measure and mark the canvas. Lay your canvas fabric flat and use a ruler to mark a grid of dots across the entire section, starting about 2 inches from the edge. Each adjacent dot should be 1 inch apart.
Cut holes in the canvas. At each dot, cut a small slit about ½ to ¾ inch.
Tie a knot in each strip. Make a knot in the center of each strip. This will prevent it from going through the hole in the canvas when you thread it.
Thread the strips through the canvas. Take both ends of a knotted strip and thread them through a hole in the canvas, pulling both sides until the knot is anchored at the back. Continue until all slits are occupied with strips.
That’s it! Now your finished snuffle mat is ready for playtime. Sprinkle treats or food across the mat and ruffle the fleece so they fall in between the strips, then put your pet to work.
Machine wash: When it’s time for a wash, put your snuffle mat in a zippered laundry bag or pillowcase to protect it in the washing machine, then lay it flat to air dry.
Check out the informative and fun video below to help you make the pawfect Snuffle Mat for your pup!
*Snuffle mats aren’t for every pet
*Keep in mind that if your dog tends to chew and destroy (especially items made out of fabrics), this may not be the best toy for him. Be sure to supervise play and store the snuffle mat away when not in use.
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