Dog sniffing food inside snuffle mat

The Best Dog Snuffle Mat Australia - In Depth Review

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

SCHITEC Snuffle Mat for Dogs

  • Made with soft but fairly durable fleece
  • Non-slip bottom helps the mat stay in place
  • Adjustable size
  • Machine-washable
  • Easy to pack up for storage
  • Collapsible water bowl included as an extra

Your dog gobbles down food way too fast? Or maybe they are just bored at home? Or maybe you want to foster their foraging instinct? In any case, the snuffle mat might just be the perfect toy. The idea is so simple, but so effective that we can’t help but admire its geniality.

Snuffle mats are easy to make by yourself, but if you don’t have a bunch of fleece lying around, it’s probably easier to buy a new one.

Today's Snuffle Mat Australia guide helps you find the best products on the market.


What Is A Snuffle Mat?

For those who haven’t heard about it, let’s get the biggest question out of the way first. What exactly is a snuffle mat? Well, according to RSPCA “a snuffle mat is a toy that gives your dog (or cat!) the opportunity to sniff out hidden treats, or even just her dinner. Your pet’s natural foraging instincts will kick in so it’s a great way to keep her brain and nose occupied.” (1)

Well, if you haven’t seen a snuffle mat yet, this still doesn’t explain it. A snuffle mat is basically a mat equipped with lots of layers of fabric (they can be arranged in any way you like) in order to hide food from your dog. This way, your canine companion can have fun while searching for treats inside the mat, or even a whole meal.


The Benefits of Snuffle Mats

But what exactly is the point of making it difficult for your dog to find their food? Well, there are a couple of different reasons you might want to choose to do so:

Fostering The Foraging Instinct

All dogs have the ancient foraging instinct - they like to rely on their sense of smell a lot and they enjoy sniffing out food, it’s in their nature. This is why many canines will enjoy the challenge of searching for food. More often than not, it can be very beneficial for them, providing mental stimulation and a release of excess energy.

Helping Slow Down Fast Eaters

One of the cases where a snuffle mat can help your dog’s health is with canines that simply eat too fast:

“Most dogs love to eat, but problems can arise when dogs wolf down (no pun intended) their food. Fast eaters tend to swallow more air than do slow eaters, which is a risk factor for a potentially fatal condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), especially in large and giant breeds of dogs. Research in people has also pointed to a link between fast eating and obesity and type 2 diabetes.” - Jennifer Coates, DVM for PetMD

Now, of course, if your dog is gobbling down food you should first consider if there is an underlying reason, such as the dog simply being too hungry (3). However, some dogs are simply crazy about food, in that case, a snuffle mat is the perfect choice.

Getting Rid Of Excess Energy

Snuffle mats are also great for dogs that have too much energy. Some canines seem to need stimulation 24 hours per day, others not so much, but boredom can always be dangerous for dogs. Over time, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and destructive behaviour. Using snuffle mats is a great way to combat all that by offering mental and physical stimulation and all that indoors.


What to Look for in a Snuffle Mat

We’ve covered all the reasons why snuffle mats are great, but how do you choose the best one? Here is what you need to consider:

Material

The material it is made of is probably the most important feature of a snuffle mat. Since your dog will be digging around it (often with their nose) you want the material to be soft. This is why fleece is often used to construct snuffle mats. The downside of fleece is that it’s really easy to tear apart. Some manufacturers offer materials like polyester fabric that are sturdier but still quite soft.

Size

Always make sure to check the size before buying a snuffle mat online. Sometimes they can appear larger than they are in photos. Snuffle mats don’t necessarily need to be very large, but they need to be large enough for your dog for the game to make sense.

Design

Snuffle mats are commonly made with lots of fleece strips arranged on a mat. However, sometimes they also come in various interesting designs. Some snuffle mats will include pockets and hiding places in various shapes to keep your dog guessing. Which one will work best? It really depends on your pooch’s personality.


Best Snuffle Mat Australia 2021: Our Top Picks

Below you’ll find the best snuffle mats available in Australia!

What sets this product apart from the rest?

  • Made with soft but fairly durable fleece
  • Non-slip bottom helps the mat stay in place
  • Adjustable size
  • Machine-washable
  • Easy to pack up for storage
  • Collapsible water bowl included as an extra

This snuffle mat from Schitec features a classic design. If it’s the first snuffle mat you are getting for your puppy, we definitely recommend this one. It is well made and fairly affordable, which makes it the perfect snuffle mat to test out your dog’s preferences.

This Schitec snuffle mat is made from multiple layers of fleece. Fleece is the most common material used for snuffle mats because it’s soft enough not to irritate the dog and fluffy enough to make the sniffing game interesting. It’s also washable and dries quickly. The quick-drying feature is quite important because a snuffle mat has so many layers. If it would have been made of cotton, for example, it would take a seriously long amount of time to dry your mat.

This mat features a circular flower-like design. The diameter of the mat, when spread out, is 35 centimetres. This is large enough to keep any dog amused while eating, but it might still be a bit small for larger dogs.

This mat includes a string that goes around the edge which allows you to tighten up the sides, making the search game a bit more interesting. When you pull the rope completely, it allows you to pack up the mat for storage or portability.

Overall, it’s a great product, especially for the price.

Verified Review - 8/08/2021
Dog Love It
"Dogs love it, even the older one who is too cool for most toys. Wish it don’t come with the collapsible bowl just because I don’t need it and felt wasteful."

Pros

Cons

  • Made with soft but fairly durable fleece
  • Might be too small for larger canines
  • Non-slip bottom helps the mat stay in place
  • Not indestructible
  • Adjustable size
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  • Machine-washable
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  • Easy to pack up for storage
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  • Collapsible water bowl included as an extra
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  • More durable than competitors
  • Easy to fill
  • Easy cleaning
  • Perfect for keeping dogs engaged

The Wooly Snuffle Mat from PAW5 features a design that’s slightly different from most competitors. Namely, they have used a material for their Wooly that is stronger than the fleece which is commonly used.

The stronger material greatly increases durability, making this snuffle mat perfect for pet parents whose canines tend to chew right through the fleece mats. Just like any good snuffle mat, this one is machine-washable. The only downside is that it takes a bit longer to dry - but nothing unreasonable.

The Wooly Snuffle Mat is shaped like a rectangle which is 30 centimetres wide and 45 centimetres long. For smaller breeds, this will present a whole world to explore while searching for kibble. For larger breeds, this mat will seem more like a toy - but a very interesting one at that.

Verified Review - 13/06/2021
Happy Dog
"I use for my dogs dry food as she tends to leave it in the bowl. She is always happy to see the mat, eats everything and keeps her entertained."

Pros

Cons

  • More durable than competitors
  • Fairly small
  • Easy to fill
  • List Element
  • Easy cleaning
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  • Perfect for keeping dogs engaged
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#3: Best Extra Large Snuffle Mat: STELLAIRE CHERN Snuffle Mat

  • Extra large size available
  • Interesting design
  • Machine-washable
  • Folds up easily for storage
  • Made with polar fleece to prevent irritation

The Stellaire Chern Snuffle Mat is one of the most popular products in this category on Amazon. There must be a reason for that, right? Well, there is.

What sets this mat apart from others is, first of all, the size. The Stelarrie Chern Snuffle Mat comes in 4 different sizes, the largest one measuring 1 metre x 1 metre This is great for larger breeds as the standard-sized snuffle mats can seem like tiny toys to them, to be honest.

The mat is made from soft polar fleece to prevent irritation. It features a variety of different textures and shapes to keep the dog amused. One half is filled with the standard fleece strips you see on most snuffle mats, while the other side features pockets in different shapes which the dog can explore. It’s a real challenge any dog will love!

Verified Review - 7/04/2021
Difficult To Wash/Dry
"My pup really likes it. He normally eats his kibble too quickly and starts puking, this is a great way to hide his kibble and make him eat more slowly. I wash it once a week but the problem is that after the washing cycle, 90% of the water remains in the felt material. I have to air dry it because so much was is retained. Luckily I have a very sunny balcony that dries it within 24 hours if I squeeze most of the water out"

Pros

Cons

  • Extra large size available
  • A bit pricey
  • Interesting design
  • Could be more durable
  • Machine-washable
  • Expensive delivery to Australia
  • Folds up easily for storage

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  • Made with polar fleece to prevent irritation
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#4: Extra Durable Snuffle Mat: LAMTWEK Snuffle Mat for Dogs

  • Designed to last
  • Easy to fill
  • Machine-washable
  • Includes suction cups for extra stability
  • A thick edge guard keeps the kibble inside the mat

The main feature of this snuffle mat from LAMTWEK is durability. This mat is not made from fleece strips thrown together like most other mats. Instead, it’s made with thick ‘hairs’ made from soft polyester.

The ‘hairs’ are around 5 centimetres long which allows you to hide the food quite well. The material used and the texture is soft enough not to cause irritation for the dog, but also more resistant to wear and tear than regular fleece. In addition to this, there is a wide edge guard to keep the food from falling out. The mat is 43 centimetres wide and 53 centimetres long, which is enough to entertain the canines who are on the larger side as well as the smaller ones.

This snuffle mat has a non-slip backing to help keep it in place. However, in case this is not enough, you’ll be glad to learn that this one also comes with 2 suction cups that you can use to keep the mat firmly attached to the floor. The suction cups work best with tiles or other smooth surfaces, though.

Verified Review - 26/07/2021
Sniff And Snack
"Nice product, our dog really seems to like it. Slightly smaller than expected. Not washed it yet so can’t comment on how it looks after being washed. We haven’t used the suction cups yet because our dog doesn’t really move it around. Our dog has only used it on three occasions so can’t really comment on its durability either."

Pros

Cons

  • Designed to last
  • More expensive than other options
  • Easy to fill
  • The suction cups only work on smooth floors
  • Machine-washable
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  • Includes suction cups for extra stability
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  • A thick edge guard keeps the kibble inside the mat
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#5: Portable Snuffle Mat: Kingtree Snuffle Mat for Dog

  • Easy to use
  • Packs up small
  • Easy to clean
  • Non-slip backing
  • Good value for money

This snuffle mat from Kingtreed is another classic snuffle mat with a useful drawstring along the edges. The mat features simply everything you would expect from a snuffle mat. It’s made from fleece which is known to be the best option.

The pieces of fleece are securely attached to the backing which is non-slip on the bottom side.

Verified Review - 10/03/2021
Awesome Mental Stimulation Mat For The Dog
"Great mat to keep my dog busy and mentally stimulated, love the draw string and being able make it either flat or like a bowl."

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to use
  • Fairly small
  • Packs up small
  • List Element
  • Easy to clean
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  • Non-slip backing
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  • Good value for money
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#6: Best For Small Dogs: IFOYO Dog Feeding Mat Small

  • Three cute designs to choose from
  • A variety of hiding places keeps the dog interested
  • Made with soft fleece to prevent irritation
  • Easy cleaning

This snuffle mat from IFOYO is another adorable creation. There are 3 designs available, all of them in bright colours. What we love the most about this snuffle mat is that each of the 3 versions offers different obstacles and pockets where you can hide food. This is guaranteed to keep even the most clever pooches interested for quite a while.

For an extra challenge, consider getting all 3 different mats that IFOYO offers and spreading the food throughout, this will stimulate their foraging instinct.

All of the parts of this mat are made from soft and fluffy fleece which is generally the best option for snuffle mats. The only downside of this snuffle mat is that it doesn’t come with a very sturdy backing, which means it can be chewed apart quite quickly. For this reason, it’s probably the best choice for smaller dogs and not for power chewers.

Verified Review - 1/02/2021
Cute But Not Super Durable
"Our 5kg dog does like this snuffle mat, but we've only used it a few times and it's already suffering from the dog pulling on the felt to get at the treats with her teeth and paws. It's picking up dirt and it's not easy to shake out. Probably better for a non-chewy dog and carpeted floors as it slides around."

Pros

Cons

  • Three cute designs to choose from
  • Not the most durable
  • A variety of hiding places keeps the dog interested
  • List Element
  • Made with soft fleece to prevent irritation
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  • Easy cleaning

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  • Clever and functional design
  • 6 different colour schemes available
  • Non-slip backing
  • Easy to clean

This snuffle mat from Lemonda simply wins this list in the category of cuteness. This mat looks just like an adorable flower. Plus, there are 6 different colour schemes available to match your decor. You’ll love having it in your home. 

On the other hand, the Lemonda Snuffle Mat is not just pretty, but also functional. The flower is not made of the usual tiny strips of fleece, but rather circular petals that fold up in many layers. This kind of design poses a bit of an extra challenge for the dog while also being harder to destroy. As a result, this mat might also last longer than some other options.

Verified Review - 19/03/2021
Great Product, Great Quality, Great Price!
"My dogs love this snuffle mat. It's great value, great quality and it works for about 5-10 minutes. Lots of fun for dogs and it's cute to watch!"

Pros

Cons

  • Clever and functional design
  • Most dogs find the food fairly quickly
  • 6 different colour schemes available
  • List Element
  • Non-slip backing
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  • Easy to clean
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#8: Best Snuffle-Toy: iKiKin Pet Snuffle Pineapple

  • Compact but offers plenty of space for hiding kibble
  • Easy to clean
  • Compact and portable

Our final pick is not technically a snuffle mat, but rather a snuffle-pineapple. This pineapple performs the exact same function as a snuffle mat.

However, instead of laying the mat out on the floor, you can fill this pineapple with food. Hiding the food might be a bit more time-consuming with this fun, but searching for it will probably be extremely fun for the dog. As a plus, you can easily take this pineapple with you wherever you go to keep your canine companion entertained.

The pineapple is made with a mix of oxford fabric and fleece filled with soft polyester filling. The oxford fabric is used to make the toy more durable and not overly easy to chew through, but the outer layers are made of fleece to prevent irritation. The pineapple offers a variety of hiding places for kibble all over its surface. It’s also machine-washable which is frankly a must-have when it comes to toys that come in contact with dog food.

The only downside is that this pineapple is fairly easy to chew through, so if your dog is of the kind that likes murdering plush toys, this might not be the right choice after all.

Pros

Cons

  • Compact but offers plenty of space for hiding kibble
  • Easy to tear apart
  • Easy to clean
  • List Element
  • Compact and portable
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Final Verdict

Want a quick recommendation for your new snuffle mat? We love the SCHITEC Snuffle Mat for Dogs for its simple but effective design.

However, if your canine loves destroying things and chews right through fleece, the PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat offers a solution that’s a bit tougher.

FAQ

What is the right way to use a snuffle mat?

There is no one way to use a snuffle mat! You can hide a couple of your pooch’s favourite treats in there, or you can serve the whole dinner that way. Experiment and see what works for you and your canine companion.

Can I make my own snuffle mat?

Yes. If you are crafty and have some fleece fabric lying around, all you need to do is let your imagination run wild. For the best results, you’ll want to use a plastic or rubber mat as a firm base and then simply weave fleece strips through it.

Are snuffle mats good for senior dogs?

Yes, snuffle mats are a great way to keep seniors entertained. While some seniors are not keen on vigorous outdoor exercise anymore, a snuffle mat can provide just enough stimulation to keep them amused and happy.

References
  1. RSPCA. March 19, 2020. “DIY dog enrichment projects for you and the kids”. Retrieved August 17, 2021. https://www.rspcansw.org.au/blog/animal-care-information/diy-dog-enrichment-projects/
  2. Coates, Jennifer. August 13, 2015. “How to Get Dogs to Eat Slower”. PetMD. Retrieved August 17, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/august/how-get-dogs-eat-slower-33018
  3. PetMD Editorial. January 28, 2020. “Controlling Your Pet’s Eating Behavior”. Retrieved august 17, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_controlling_pets_eating_behavior
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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