The dog search mat

What is a digging mat? What is it used for ? What are the dog's interests? How to use it well? And where to find it?

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What is a digging mat?

A snuffle mat is specially designed to encourage dogs to use their sense of smell and search for food.

Generally made of strips of fleece or fleece attached to a plastic base pierced with holes, the search mat creates a space where you can easily hide treats for the dog. It is therefore one of the many tools that a dog owner can use to enrich his daily life and meet his needs for activity and mental expenditure.

Why use a search mat?

Using search mats can allow your dog to:

  • provide him with mental stimulation, by exercising his sense of smell,
  • meet part of his food activity needs by pushing him to seek his food,
  • make him eat more slowly, by forcing him to look for his kibble among the fringes of the carpet rather than swallowing them in a few seconds in his bowl. You can even give up the use of the bowl in favor of your digging mat to feed your animal daily.

Where can I find a search mat?

Dog search mats are generally available at pet stores, whether online or physical stores, at some veterinarians and at some canine behavioral trainers.

If you are keen on homemade, you can create your own very easily with the help of a rubber grating type entrance mat and strips of fabric, which will be enough for you to tie in each hole of the carpet.

Excavation mat: some tips for proper use

A search mat should only be used in your presence, when your dog is under your supervision. Some dogs, when they have finished looking for the food hiding inside, may try to tear the fringes of the carpet at the risk of swallowing pieces.

The mat must therefore be removed from the dog as soon as the game (or the meal if the mat replaces the bowl) is over. If your dog starts pulling on the bangs, then remember to tell him you disagree.

It is possible to slip among the fringes of your search mat dry treats of all kinds as well as pieces of vegetables or raw fruits such as carrots or apples. On the other hand, avoid any food that is too wet which could dirty your carpet or stick to the mops.

To prevent your dog from becoming overweight, you can put part of his daily food ration in the mat, rather than putting extra treats or kibble inside.

Finally, be aware that most search mats sold on the market are machine washable. They can then be washed on a gentle cycle at low heat followed by air drying on low. Before putting it in the machine, remember to shake it well and remove any bits of food that your dog may have left there.

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