I’m all the time in search of methods to convey extra pleasure and enrichment to my Dachshund’s life and assist maintain them from getting bored when they’re hanging out in the house.

A type of methods is with enrichment toys and meals puzzles.

We use a number of differing types however at the moment I need to share about canine lick mats.

I first began utilizing them about 4 years in the past however my curiosity and inspiration was lately renewed after I attended the Superzoo pet commerce present.

Canine lick mats have actually come a good distance because the starting. 

There are such a lot of choices out there now, together with canine lick mats of various problem.

I do know a few of you aren’t accustomed to what they’re although so let’s begin there.

Then I’ll go on to debate lick mat security, which of them we predict are the most effective, lick mat toppings, the way to clear them and extra!

What’s a Canine Lick Mat?

A canine lick mat is often a flat piece of plastic or rubber (synthetic or natural) with a raised design, ridges, or bristles on the highest.

There are some lick “mats” which are literally within the form of a bowl however use the identical idea.

You unfold meals and treats over the textured floor, thus trapping it in crevices.

When the meals or treats are smooshed into the raised design, your Dachshund just isn’t capable of seize the meals with their enamel and should use their tongue to get the meals out as a substitute.

Your Dachshund then licks the mat again and again to get it out.

Lick mats have completely different designs on high, and completely different depth of the ridges and bristles, which make the issue differ from simple to most tough.

Lick mats fall into the pet product class referred to as “canine enrichment”.

What’s Canine Enrichment and Why is it Necessary?

If you happen to’v enever heard of canine enrichment, you could be questioning what it’s and why it issues.

Briefly, canine enrichment is a mentally-focused exercise that stimulates the thoughts.

Extra usually, canine enrichment is “environmental enrichment” for animals utilized particularly to canines.

It’s typically shortened to simply “enrichment”.

Enrichment improves and enhances your canine’s psychological state by offering actions supposed to problem and train your canine’s mind and offering an outlet to your canine’s pure instincts.

Enrichment actions require downside fixing and new learing abilities.

Many individuals suppose that enrichment is optionally available. I imply, canines have survived for hundreds of years simply laying round the home, proper?

However now we all know extra about home (pet) canine habits and their wants.

Within the wild, canines reside complicated lives stuffed with stimuli and spend the vast majority of their waking time sniffing, exploring, looking, and fixing issues.

Compassionate canine house owners acknowledge this want and our responsibilty to offer these alternatives for our home canines who, most often, are uncovered to very restricted stimuli all through their regular day and should reside throughout the constraints of our world.

Zoo’s have lengthy acknowledged this want.

Based on the paper, A Veterinary Assessment of the Risks and Benefits of Environmental Enrichment,

Analysis carried out in zoos and analysis carried out in laboratory settings each show that software of enrichment methods can remedy among the issues we encounter in captive animals and may enhance well-being.

Based on Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology institute, “Enrichment retains an animal’s day attention-grabbing and is simply as important to animal welfare as diet and veterinary care.

There are 6 sorts of enrichment: social, cognitive, bodily, sensory, feeding, and toy enrichment (source).

Canine lick mats fulfill the feeding, sensory, and cognitive sorts.

What Are the Advantages of Lick Mats for Dachshunds?

Lick mats appear easy however there are a number of advantages to utilizing one to your Dachshund.

A lick mat can:

  • Decelerate consuming – lick mats may help stop your Dachshund from eating too quick by greater than double the time it takes to your canine to eat their meal
  • Assist relieve boredom – it offers them one thing to do
  • Scale back stress and nervousness – licking is soothing for canines
  • Preserve your Dachshund busy – that is helpful when you must maintain them from beneath your toes or following you round
  • Present psychological train and psychological stimulation – a Dachshund has to make use of their problem-solving abilities to future out the way to lick the mat clear
  • Present a distraction throughout disturbing occasions – disturbing occasions generally is a tub, clipping their nails, when visitors are over, and many others.
  • Promote wholesome enamel and gums by stimulating the tongue, which will increase manufacturing of useful, enzyme-containing saliva
  • Enhance unhealthy breath by scraping the tongue to cut back undigested meals particles and odor-causing micro organism

Based on WildWelfare.org, whose mission is to finish the struggling of captive wild [zoo] animals around the globe,

“Animals which have good psychological well being will have interaction with their surroundings extra, be much less aggressive, much less fearful and are extra peaceable, exploratory and relaxed with their environment.

Enrichment can help this constructive psychological welfare and encourages pure behaviours in {home] animals.”

This study demonstrated that “the presence of… meals enrichment toys… will increase the extent of exercise (train)… [and] additionally seems to end result into decrease barking frequencies.”

Observe: the researchers admit the pattern dimension may be very small, and extra analysis is required, however the outcomes are promising.

Canine enrichment toys are the right solution to activate your canine’s pure instincts to forage for meals and a lick mat is only one of those such instruments.

Are Lick Mats Secure for Canines?

Lick mats are usually secure for any canine.

Nevertheless, they lick mats usually are not a chew toy so that you’ll want to look at how your canine makes use of the mat to start with.

Not if your canine tries to chew it up

Generally my Dachshund Summit will chunk on the high of the mat in an try to get the meals out of it. 

Whereas it hasn’t occurred, there’s a danger that she may break off and swallow items of the “raised nubs” within the course of.

These items would usually be small however I wouldn’t need her to choke. 

It is doable that some canines could attempt to chew on the mat itself (suppose piece of pizza).

Which means they might swallow giant items that would trigger them to choke or create an intestinal blockage.

If a lick mat turns into broken, take away it out of your canine instantly and throw it away.

Perhaps not if it will increase obsessive behaviors

It’s uncommon however some canines have obsessive-compulsive tentencies.

One instance is canines that may lick one space of the ground actually for hours despite the fact that there may be nothing there.

One weblog reader mentioned her Dachshunds do that and have literlly licked a gap within the vinyl ground!

A lick mat may help some canines management that urge by offering a secure, accredited merchandise for them to lick.

A lick mat can focus their licking behavior on the mat and a very good lick session with attractive filling may help scale back the quantity of undesirable licking at different occasions.

Nevertheless it is doable that encouraging the licking may go flawed.

I’ve not heard of it taking place to any canines I do know however some readers have expressed concernt that encouraging licking with a mat may additional reinforce (enhance) the licking behavior at different occasions.

What about ingesting microscopic items of the mat?

Anone who has given their canine a Kong, or different rubber/silicone, deal with toy to lick, and has had that merchandise for over a yr, will discover that the shiny floor could begin to look extra boring.

It is because a canine’s tongue is tough and may abrate the floor type of like sand paper.

It’s completely unimaginable to get rid of any risk that repeated licking may lead to unnoticible, tiny particles of the mat being ingested.

No matter comes off the matt passes by way of their abdomen.

In case you are fearful about what your canine could be ingesting from the mat once they lick it repeatedly, particularly if they’re energy lickers, know that almost all lick mats are made out of non poisonous, food-grade supplies.

There may be little to no danger of this inflicting a difficulty.

The underside line in ragard to lick mat security

The underside line is just your canine. Watch how they use a lick mat and discontinue should you suppose it poses a danger to them.

It’s all the time greatest to examine the label fastidiously although. Actually low-cost ones made in China could include unsafe chemical compounds.

If the fabric used just isn’t said within the product itemizing, assume it’s not secure.

All respected manufacturers might be clear and record precisely what the lick mat is made out of.

Are All Canine Lick Mats the Similar?

4 years after I first found them, there are actually 100 completely different lick mats in the marketplace now.

You could be questioning how to select from all of the completely different lick mat selections. Are all of them the identical?

The reply is sure and no.

Sure, in that all of them work just about the identical means and supply related advantages.

And no in that they differ in 4 main methods:

  1. The form of the lick mat – flat spherical, flat sq., flat rectangle, bowl formed
  2. The fabric they’re made out of – meals grade silicone, non-toxic TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) materials (like Sodapup under), pure rubber (like LickiMat under), and possibly some others.
  3. The extent of problem – the extra intricate and detailed the design, the smaller the grooves, and the tighter the corners, the upper the issue
  4. Suction cups or not – lick mats with suction cups will be caught to the aspect of the bath or window 

These are the variations however how do you select which one is correct to your wants and your canine? 

Think about the choices, attempt one, and see if it really works for you and your canine.

The bodily form is essentially irrelevant, besides within the case of those formed like bowls that wobble. They add a complete completely different problem to the expertise.

Though the supplies used to make the lick mats can differ, many of the lick mats might be made out of non-toxic, pet-safe supplies in order that’s probably not a deciding issue.

Nevertheless, all the time double examine what they’re manufactured from earlier than buying. Lick mats made outdoors of the US, or different nations with excessive security requirements, or that don’t record the product supplies, are probably suspect.

Determine should you want the suction cups. Though they’re the one selection if you must stick the lick mat to the wall, window, or aspect of the bathe, the suction cups could make them unstable on flat surfaces.

So should you plan to make use of the lick mat on the ground, personally, I might not select one with suction cups.

The extent of problem might be going to be the most important resolution you’ll have to make. 

In case your canine has by no means used a lick mat, you could need to begin with the best stage.

Nevertheless, I did that with my Dachshund Summit and Gretel and it was instantly obvious that it wasn’t a problem for them so I shortly needed to improve to the medium stage lick mat.

A part of the issue stage is what you select to placed on the lick mat so shopping for a medium problem mat and placing a delicate filling in it, and never fully urgent it into the crevices, could prevent having to improve later.

I’ve a number of completely different lick mats although – various difficulties, shapes, and problem ranges – as a result of I like to change issues up and often Dachshund sit so I need to be ready for the flexibility and curiosity of varied canines.

When and How I Use Lick Mats for My Dachshunds

There are a number of conditions after I may give my Dachshunds a mat with meals to lick.

These embody:

  • Use as a sluggish feeder at mealtime – this solely works with uncooked or canned pet food
  • To occupy Summit lengthy sufficient for her to let me trim her nails – she likes the meals greater than she dislikes having her nails lower
  • When I’m cooking and don’t need my canines beneath foot – that is safer for each of us
  • As a distraction when now we have strangers (visitor) over – they’ll’t bark and soar on them if they’re occupied with the lick mat
  • Once I must tire them out however can’t get out for a stroll or hike – psychological stimulation can tire a canine out greater than bodily train
  • Once I’m working from dwelling – typically I actually need to concentrate on a challenge

Hopefully my record offers you some concepts and examples of when and the way you may need to use a canine lick mat to your Dachshund.

I give Summit and Gretel the lick mat for about 10-Quarter-hour at a time.

Even when the entire meals just isn’t gone from the floor, I take it away from them so their tongue doesn’t turn into sore and the licking doesn’t turn into obsessive.

Greatest Lick Mats for Dachshunds

Disclosure: A number of the hyperlinks on this article are affiliate links (Amazon Affiliate or different packages we take part in). As an affiliate, I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.

The most effective lick mats for Dachshunds aren’t too huge. 

There isn’t any want for “wasted house” and it’s tempting to place an excessive amount of meals (energy) on a big lick mat floor. 

Most Dachshunds are decided and relentless relating to meals, and are knowledgeable lickers, so you could need to select a medium problem to laborious problem mat design.

Listed below are what I feel are the most effective lick mats for Dachshunds:

Straightforward Problem Lick Mats

Medium Problem Lick Mats

Most Difficult Lick Mats

SodaPup is a veterinarian-owned firm that makes their merchandise within the USA.

LickiMat® is an Australian cmpany that developed lick mats, with the assistance of two veterinarians.

Lick Mat Topping Concepts

What you placed on a lick mat to your Dachshund doesn’t should be fancy. Nevertheless, it should match a pair standards.

It have to be:

  1. Spreadable or pourable
  2. One thing that your canine actually enjoys consuming

Some fast lick mat filling concepts are:

  • Peanut butter (xylitol free)
  • Spreadable cheese (with out spices or seasonings)
  • Plain cottage cheese
  • Canned pet food
  • Uncooked pet food
  • Plain greek yogurt
  • Canned pumpkin (unsweetened)
  • Canned candy potato (unsweetened)
  • Pureed veggies (no salt or spices)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Mashed banana
  • Eggs (uncooked or positioned on the mat after which microwaved)

You may as well put a number of of those substances on the lick mat collectively, both on completely different components of it or blended collectively.

To extend the issue of any mat, you may unfold the deal with or meals on the lick mat after which freeze it.

Observe: Most canine lick mats are microwave or freezer secure however you should definitely examine the label first.

To make it extra attention-grabbing, you may as well sprinkle issues on high of the bottom deal with or meals like unsweetened coconut, dried liver flakes, or crushed freeze dried blueberries.

If you happen to’re in search of extra artistic lick mat concepts, this Peanut Butter, Banana, Coconut Kong Stuffing may also work as a lick mat unfold and this dog friendly smoothie recipe will be poured on the lick mat after which frozen.

There are different lick mat recipes for canines on the market too like this fall likimat recipe.

The best way to Clear a Canine Lick Mat

Most canine lick mats are dishwasher secure, though it’s greatest to examine first.

Nevertheless, in my expertise, nothing will get them as clear as a very good quaint hand scrubbing.

First, I soak the lick mat in heat, soapy water for a minimum of 5 minutes.

Then I take advantage of a forceful stream of water from the tap directed to the crevices on the mat to flush out many of the residue (it helps should you additionally bend the mat as you do it).

Lastly, I put some cleaning soap on a scrub brush and take away the cussed items of meals nonetheless caught on it.

Make sure you scrub off the again of the mat too!

Last Ideas

There are a lot of makes use of for canine lick mats.

Utilizing one may help you handle your Dachshund’s habits, assist them “cooperate” throughout grooming, assist them  eat slower, and may present psychological stimulation that tires them out.

Lick mats are usually secure to make use of with any canine but it surely’s essential to all the time supervise your canine whereas they’re consuming off of it, a minimum of the primary few occasions till what to anticipate.

The largest hazard with a lick mat is that your canine will chew a chunk off and swallow it, inflicting an intestinal blockage.

If a mat turns into damaged, or considerably chewed up, throw it away. 

I may also add that lick mats needs to be used as a software in a holistic life-enrichment technique.

They shouldn’t be the only means you present your canine psychological stimulation.

If used correctly, lick mats are an effective way to counterpoint your canine’s life and make it extra attention-grabbing.

There are many benefits of lick mats for Dachshunds and other small dogs. Find out how they might help you manage your Dachshund's behavior, enrich their life plus which ones I recommend.

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