Licking Mats: Give Your Pup, and Yourself, A Break

By Sarah Smith

by ELYSIAN Magazine

A few weeks ago, I went to my best friend Cissy’s house to go over some paint samples for her kitchen – but as usual, I was hesitant. While I love him to death, her black Labrador Renfro can be a bit of a handful. 

Renfro loves people and gets excited when guests come over, continually jumping on them. His other favorite pastime is to grab food, bags, and basically anything else he can find off the counters. 

I am always on high alert when I visit, but on this particular day something was different. When I approach the back door, normally Renfro jumps at the door in delight, getting ready to bombard me the moment my foot breaches the kitchen floor. But this day, Renfro was nowhere to be found. 

I gave Cissy and puzzled look and asked where he was. She replied, “Oh, he’s just hanging out in the den.” I had to go and see for myself why this usually rambunctious pup was not following his established modus operandi. I turned the corner, and he was lying down immersed and engaged in something blue on the floor – licking away and paying no mind to his friend who just walked in the room. 

We walked back in the kitchen and started looking at the paint samples… in peace. Before I left, I asked Cissy what the blue thing on the floor was that kept Renfro occupied my entire visit. When she told me, I immediately went out and bought two for my rescue pups, Riker and Rory.

For those pet owners who haven’t heard about a licking mat… Get ready to jump in your car or online to make the absolute best purchase for you and your pooch!

What is a licking mat, and what are its benefits? A licking mat is made out of silicon or textured rubber. This small, square-shaped wonder has grooves that engage the dog into licking to retrieve whatever yummy treat, food or custom recipe is smeared onto the mat. The benefits of a lick mat are not just to tame or occupy your pup; it also provides mental stimulation, can slow down fast eaters, be used as a reward and ultimately gives you a break.

So, what kind of stuff do dogs like licking off of the mat and how does it not get everywhere? Here are some of the top lick mat favorites for even the most discerning furbabys’ palate:

  • Smeared Peanut Butter. It’s as simple as that. Pop it in the freezer, let it sit, and then pull it out whenever you need it.
  • Smashed bananas. Take a fork and smash to a lumpy, yet thin consistency. You can even add some yogurt. Pop it in the freezer and let your doggo have a healthy, fruity snack.

There are many more recipes out there. You can get as elaborate as you want!

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