On Your Marks, Get Set, Go! Making Your Own Snuffle Mat

DYI snuffle mat

Does your dog love sniffing? A snuffle mat is ideally suited to playful scent work. Find out here how you can quite easily make one yourself.

Concentration, please! DIY snuffle mat for super sniffers

Excited tail wagging and a purposeful, expectant look at your dog toy corner says it all: “I know exactly where you've hidden my treats again” is probably what the dog thinks to himself when he aims for his snuffle mat and urges you to play with it.

This situation speaks for itself: There's a good reason why homemade snuffle mats are popular DIY must-haves for pets.

A snuffle mat consists of many overlapping and tightly knotted pieces of fabric between which you hide little treats. Your dog then has to try to sniff them out in the fabric maze and dig them out of the mat with its paws, nose and snout.

Bye bye boredom: Why is a snuffle mat sensible?

Dogs want to be stimulated both mentally and physically. But sometimes varied activity for dogs isn't so straightforward between work, home and the weather.

We all know this too well: Especially in autumn and winter when it gets dark outside earlier and everywhere is wet and cold, walks end up being a bit shorter.

So we look for an alternative - intelligence and scent games, which require some nasal skills and concentration. The advantages are that you can do them everywhere, don't need much space and your dog is challenged in a varied way away from forests, meadows and the like.

Your dog's grey matter runs at full speed when it spends a long time sniffing. This isn't just good stimulation, but trains your dog's sense of smell in a playful manner too. As well, it satisfies its innate needs – with a guaranteed fun factor!

By the way: A DIY snuffle mat isn't just suitable for indoors during bad weather. Your furry friend can also use it to occupy itself in a cool spot in summer when it's sometimes too hot for long walks.

For which dogs is a snuffle mat suitable?

In principle, a snuffle mat is suitable for all dog breeds that enjoy scent work – even for puppies.

You should just always adapt the size of the mat as well as the duration of the game in order to not overwhelm your pet.

A snuffle mat is very beneficial with dogs that are gluttonous or bolt their food too. It allows you to playfully feed your dog a large proportion of its daily intake of dry food in the snuffle mat. The extensive searching involved makes it easier to control the quantity and speed of food consumption.

Making your own snuffle mat – Anyone can do it, promise!

First of all, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You don't have to be a sewing pro to make a snuffle mat. The best thing is that you probably already have most materials at home and can make a start right away.

What you need:

  • Two to three blankets or fabric remnants
  • A rubber mat with holes (e.g. a sink liner)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
DYI dog snuffle mat

What to do:

  1. Preparation: Cut the blankets or fabric remnants into equally sized strips (approx. 3-5cm wide and approx. 30cm long)
  2. Lots of knots: Tie the individual strips of material between the holes in the mat. You're best off tying double knots so that the strips don't come loose easily during full-on sniffing. Tie strips to the mat until it is nice and thick.

As unique as your pet

With a bit of practice and different coloured fabrics, you can also make playful coloured patterns. If you're using a mat that can be cut as the base, you can even try your hand at cool mat shapes like flowers or hearts.

And now: on your marks, get set, go!

Your dog probably won't need instructions – its nose will tell it what to do.

To bear in mind: Don't leave your dog unsupervised with any toys. This is particularly the case if your dog is renowned for rough play and likes to take apart a few bits. There may also be the danger of swallowing with the snuffle mat if your dog tears out individual pieces of fabric by tearing at it too wildly.

Conclusion: Love at first sniff

OK, so this may sound a bit cheesy, but you dog's look will say time and again: more, more, more! It will find snuffling for treats great fun and a good mental workout too thanks to full concentration and putting the nose to good use – a great alternative in bad weather.

Also the DIY snuffle mat may sometimes be used for other purposes too. For instance, as a cuddly pillow or a dog mat that is far too small to sleep on.

Tip: Homemade snuffle mats for dogs also make great DIY gifts for dog owners and their canine companions.

Good luck recreating your own snuffle mats!

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