If you’re like me and you like to peruse Pinterest, you may have noticed Snuffle Mats popping up. They’re also popping in some pet stores and on Etsy. If you haven’t seen one yet, then I’m sure you’re very confused as to what a Snuffle Mat may be. Well, this is a Snuffle Mat!
And the confusion continues, as you now ponder what it is for. No, it is not a fluffy dog washing mitt, although it might work for that. But you were, in fact, correct in your assumption that it was for your pet. A snuffle mat is used for enrichment for your pet. You hide treats or their kibble within the mat’s fleecy tendrils, and your pet must root around to find them. I suppose I should say snuffle around to find them! For those pets that love food and tend to hover in everything in sight, a snuffle mat will slow them down, well at least a little.
I liked the look of the Snuffle Mat and wanted to try one out for my food motivated pup, but didn’t want to commit to the price point of the ones for sale, so I figured I could make that! So, if you’re feeling crafty and think your pet would like one too, follow along and let’s get making!
First, you’ll, of course, need to purchase some supplies and don’t worry there isn’t a lot. You can even make a dollar store version for around $10. It’s a good way to try one out for not too much investment, other than a bit of your time.
- Rubber Mat
- Fleece fabric in whatever colours you would like (a yard should be more than enough)
- Measuring tape or ruler
- A few hours of your time
The rubber sink mat I found at Dollar Tree. This will be the base of our mat. Fleece can either be purchased at the fabric store, or you can purchase a couple of fleece dog blankets at Dollarama. The blankets from Dollarama are of a thinner fleece, but depending on the mat you use as a base, this might work better. In the case of the mat pictured below, I made it from a placemat with small holes and three dog blankets all from Dollarama.
Once you have all your supplies ready, spread out your fleece. We are now going to cut our strips. I made my strips 1 inch by 10 inches long. Start by cutting off a piece of fleece that it is 10 inches long. Set aside the remaining fleece. Spread out your 10-inch chunk. Place your ruler over the fleece at the edge. Make small cuts every inch; these will be your guide marks for your strips. Then cut out the strips. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfectly straight, but try your best! You can also lay two 10-inch chunks over the top of one another and cut your strips two at a time if your scissors can handle it. This is the time-consuming aspect. To keep your sanity, you might want to find a friend to help with all the cutting! I ended up using 175 strips in the blue and orange Snuffle Mat.
Once you have finished cutting out all the strips, or need to take a break from cutting to maintain your sanity, take one of the pieces of fleece and fold it in half in your hand. From the bottom side of the mat, feed through the two ends of fleece through two adjacent holes. This should result in the two halves sticking through the other side of the mat, where you can then tie them together in a knot. Continue to do this will all the fleece, until your mat is nice and full. You may need to go through the holes more than once in different directions.
Once finished grab some treats and your pet and try it out! As you can see, cats love it too!
Make sure that whenever your pet is using the snuffle mat, that they are supervised. When they are finished, put the snuffle mat away. Putting puzzles toys like the snuffle mat away will add to the excitement the next time it is brought out. If your pet ever tears pieces off, take the snuffle mat to take it away immediately and do not give the mat to them again. I hope you had fun making your mat and I hope your pets will enjoy them too!
If you do make a snuffle mat take a picture and post it on your Instagram and tag us @millcreekah. We love seeing a picture of our patients.
Written by Nicki Payne, RAHT