What Are Dog Lick Mats? Here Are Our 6 Top Picks
If your dog hates grooming, fears loud noises or gets easily bored, our pet expert explains how you can fix these problems with dog lick mats.
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A dog lick mat could be your dog’s new best friend (next to you and his favorite toys). Maybe your dog licks your face or your feet, and you love him but would rather he lick on something else? Dogs use licking for grooming, tasting yummy treats, seeking attention and as a self-soothing behavior. Just as people feel stressed or nervous and bite their nails, dogs use licking to deal with powerful emotions, especially when they can’t control a situation—like during a visit to the veterinarian.
Licking releases brain chemicals including endorphins that make dogs feel good, so licking is incredibly rewarding. But self-targeted licking can become a bad habit that causes fur loss or skin sores. That’s where a dog lick mat works wonders.
What is a dog lick mat?
Veterinary hospitals, groomers and other pet professionals often provide a lick mat for dogs to help relieve stress. A lick mat—made of flexible plastic or silicone—has little patterned raised nubs or bristles on one side of a flat or bowl-shaped surface. The textured surface holds soft treats inside to encourage sniffing and licking. The texture not only holds the treat, but it also slows the dog’s ability to lick it out and prolongs the dog’s enjoyment. That way, Fido is focused on licking instead of stress and fear.
Besides distracting dogs during stressful situations like a nail trim or vet examination, lick mats relieve doggy boredom at home. Depending on the design, lick mats keep dogs calm during thunderstorms and other stressful times. They work as slow feeders for dogs that otherwise gulp meals. Lick mats provide mental stimulation, entertainment like a puzzle toy, aid oral health and help with crate training. What’s not to love?
What to look for when buying dog lick mats
When searching for a dog lick mat, keep the material it’s made of in mind. It must be not only safe for dogs, but also durable. Most lick mats aren’t designed to withstand chewing like indestructible dog toys, but a durable product that stands up to an errant nibble or two is essential. A quality lick mat lasts for years.
Look for designs that suit your needs. For example, some lick mats have suctions to “stick” to the side of a bathtub for use while bathing your dog. If you plan to use one for meals, choose a larger size. Since you’re dealing with food—and in my experience, it’s hard to clean out the old dried-up treat remains—look for dishwasher-safe products. The dishwasher makes cleanup easy and sterilizes the mat to prevent any dangerous spoilage.
We kept an eye out for these specific factors when choosing the best dog lick mats:
- Design and function
- Quality of materials
- Easy cleaning
- Customer reviews and satisfaction
Best overall dog lick mat
The original product designed by veterinarians, the LickiMat Classic is my go-to dog lick mat for all dogs. It works for any age from puppies to adult dogs, making it highly versatile. Since it’s made with food-grade rubber, the quality materials last for the life of your dog.
Load up the LickiMat with your dog’s favorite treats and freeze it for longer-lasting licking enjoyment. Microwave the LickiMat to increase the treats’ aroma to entice your dog to lick-lick-lick. Choose between three textured surfaces and several colors to satisfy what your dog needs, from soothing anxiety or boredom, to using as a slow feeder.
With a cost under $10, you can find the perfect fit for your dog without spending a bunch. Customer satisfaction ranks high with this product, boasting over 15,000 reader ratings averaging 4.4 out of five stars.
- The trainer’s and veterinarian’s choice
- No silicone, made with food-grade rubber
- Can freeze or microwave
- Three textures, several colors
- Inexpensive cost
- Perfect for supplements, treats or soft-flavored medications
- Difficult to clean (not dishwasher safe)
- Must supervise to prevent chewing
- Suitable for horizontal surfaces only (no suction)
Best value dog lick mat
Kilin Dog Lick Pad
For the economically minded pet parent, the Kilin Dog Lick Pad is a great option at $6.99. The BPA-free, food-grade silicone mat is safe for your pet. It provides two textures in a single mat, to offer a soothing lickable surface plus a slow-feed option. The lick pad cleans easily with soap and water or in the dishwasher.
Suction cups on the back of the pad secure it on smooth clean surfaces so the dog won’t chase it across the floor, or allows it to suction to bathtubs or walls to give pups a lick-focus while you bathe them. Within 12 hours, customer service promises to address any issues. Choose from small or large sizes and several color options. The Kilin Dog Lick Pad is dishwasher-safe or hand wash and hang dry.
- Affordable price
- Food-grade silicone for safety
- Two textures for multiple uses
- Two sizes and different colors available
- Suction backing for vertical placements
- 4,200 ratings on Amazon and a 4.4-star average
- Reviewers note the suction doesn’t hold well
Best splurge dog lick mat
Neater Pets Neat-Lik
Sloppy eaters benefit from this all-in-one slow-feeder that contains any messes. The Neat-Lik dog lick mat comes contained inside a tray to keep floors clean. The tray prevents chew-aholic dogs from targeting the lick mat or carrying it around the house.
You can shop the mat in a pack of one or two, and you can choose to include the tray for each option, too. The two-mat and tray combination is a great deal at under $20. Made of food-safe and nontoxic rubber, the lick mat is top-shelf dishwasher-safe—but wash on the lower heat setting to prevent the mat from bending.
- Premium pick, but still an inexpensive price
- Optional tray contains mess
- Dishwasher safe in the top rack
- Food-safe rubber composition
- Options for one or two mats, with or without tray
- The weight keeps it in place
- Two color options
- 500 ratings on Amazon and a 4.5-star average
- Can get wet and smelly between rubber mat and tray
Best dog lick mat on Amazon
From the same company that created the LickiMat comes the Wobble, which offers the same LickiMat concept in a bowl format. The brilliant design makes this a functional bowl, but with all the benefits of a slow feeder and lick target.
Made from food-grade recycled rubber, the “wobble” of the bowl design adds another dimension that slows eating, prevents food gulping and bloat and keeps dogs focused on the self-soothing activity. This version is microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. Turn it inside-out for increased ease of cleaning.
- Excellent choice on Amazon
- Made from recycled food-safe rubber
- Bowl shape adds extra challenge
- Best for non-chewers
- Microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe
- Comes in four colors
- 4,600 Amazon ratings and a 4.5-star average
- Some reviewers complained of a strong rubber odor
- Supervise to prevent chewing
Best dog lick mat for puppies
Aquapaw Slow Treater
The unique three-wing design of the Aquapaw Slow Treater, which made a splash on Shark Tank, makes it a standout in the shower or for suction cup attachment to any vertical surface. Use this dog lick mat for dogs of any age or size, but the small size is perfect for puppies, who benefit from the chew-resistant FDA-grade silicone. You can use it in the freezer and it’s dishwasher-safe.
- Small size great for toy breeds or puppies
- Recommended by Fear Free Pets behavioral professionals
- FDA-grade silicone material
- Freezer- and dishwasher-safe
- Chew resistant
- Suction holds it in place
- Works well for grooming, including baths
- 4,500 Amazon ratings and a 4.4-star average
- Some reviewers complain of difficulty cleaning
- Suction doesn’t last long, may need resetting
- Supervise, or strong chewers can destroy
Best dog lick mat for larger dogs
Frisco Silicone Treat Lick Mat
You get two Frisco Silicone Treat Lick Mats for under $6 each at Chewy. Sized approximately 8″x8″ (one square, the other a hexagon), they’re a great option for medium to large dogs.
The nonskid mats work well in a crate, on the floor or even in a car during rides to keep dogs soothed. Different textures offer options for use with wet or dry food or treats. They’re freezer-, microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Reviewers note the texture offers just enough of a challenge for big dogs, so they must work to lick out the treat.
- Large size is perfect for medium and large dogs
- Very inexpensive
- Made of food-safe silicone
- Comes in a pack of two
- Freezer- and microwave-safe
- Top rack dishwasher-safe
- Hard to clean
- Easy to chew up—requires supervision
Are licking mats good for dogs?
Yes. They’re especially helpful for shy or fearful dogs prone to anxiety, but also benefit confident canines as a special long-lasting treat dispenser.
What can I put on my dog’s lick mat?
You can put nearly anything smearable on the dog’s lick mat that won’t upset his digestion. Common choices that get dog tails wagging include:
- Almond or peanut butter (nothing with xylitol)
- Aerosol cheese whiz
- Canned dog food
- Canned cat food
- Fish paste (sardines or tuna in a blender)
- Baby food (pureed meat or sweet vegetables like carrots or sweet potato)
Can I leave my dog alone with a lick mat?
No, as a pet behavior expert I don’t recommend it. Most lick mats won’t stand up to teeth, and once dogs lick out all the treats, they may chew. Besides destroying the lick mat, dogs easily swallow small plastic pieces that could cause indigestion—at best— or blockage requiring surgery at worst.
Is a lick mat mental stimulation?
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