If you've ever scrolled through social media, you've probably seen a lick mat. For the uninitiated, a lick mat is a small, rubber mat with ridges and nubs designed to keep your dog's attention - and saliva - in one place. While they may look strange, lick mats can actually be a great way to keep your pup occupied - but are they safe? Let's take a closer look.
Are Lick Mats Bad for Dogs?
The answer to this question is a little bit complicated. On the one hand, lick mats are made of food-grade silicone, which means that they are non-toxic and safe for your pup to chew on. However, some dogs may be allergic to silicone, so it's always a good idea to do a patch test before giving your dog free rein with a lick mat.
In addition, it's important to make sure that your dog is using the lick mat correctly. If your dog tries to swallow large pieces of the mat, he could end up choking or swallowing something that he shouldn't. For this reason, it's important to choose a lick mat that is the right size for your dog and to supervise him while he's using it.
The Pros of Lick Mats
- They can help keep dogs calm. If your dog is the type that gets anxious or stressed easily, a licking mat can provide a much-needed outlet for all that excess energy. The act of licking is very calming for dogs, so it can be a great way to help them relax in situations that would normally make them anxious.
- They're great for mental stimulation. Boredom is often the root cause of problem behaviors in dogs, so anything that helps keep their minds active and engaged is a good thing. Lick mats are perfect for this because they provide a fun challenge that encourages your dog to use their problem-solving skills.
- They can help with crate training. Crate training can be difficult, but using a lick mat can make it much easier. The key is to put the mat in the crate with your dog while they're inside. Without incorporating some form of mentally stimulating activity, crates can quickly become boring and stressful for dogs. But with a lick mat, they'll have something to keep them occupied and happy while in their crate.
The Cons of Lick Mats
- They're not chew-proof. If your dog is a heavy chewer, there's a good chance they'll destroy their lick mat within minutes (or seconds!) of getting their paws on it. Chewing on rubber mats can also be dangerous for dogs since they could easily ingest small pieces of rubber which could cause gut blockages or other problems. This is where supervision is important to make sure that your pup doesn't think that the lick mat is their next great chew toy.
- Not all dogs are interested in them. Some dogs simply aren't interested in licking mats - no matter how tasty you make them! If your dog falls into this category , there's no point in forcing them to use one. Tip: Just like any new toy or introducing your furry friend to anything new, it's best to use something like kibble or something irresistible to get them acclimated and comfortable with the mat. There are so many health benefits and ways lick mats can definitely makes things easier on you and your pup-they are definitely worth giving it a try.
- You have to supervise. It's important to always supervise your dog when they're using a lick mat - especially if they're new to it. This will ensure that they don't get too frustrated or start chewing on the mat instead of licking it.
Are Lick Mats Effective?
Lick mats can be a great way to keep your dog occupied - especially if he tends to get bored easily. Licking is a natural stress reliever for dogs, so letting them indulge in this behavior can help reduce anxiety and calm them down. In addition, the act of licking can help remove plaque from your dog's teeth and help keep his gums healthy.
Make sure to get a food-grade silicone mat and the right size for your dog. In addition, always supervise your pup while he's using the lick mat. When used correctly, lick mats can be a great way to occupy your pup, keep them out of trouble and help reduce his anxiety. If you're considering getting a lick mat for your pup, make sure to check our article on the top six lick mats for dogs. And as always, if you have any questions or concerns about using a lick mat with your dog, be sure to talk to your vet before getting started.