Best snuffle mats for dogs 2024: keep your pooch stimulated

A dog plays with the best snuffle mats for dogs.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best snuffle mats for dogs deliver an excellent way to keep your canine companion stimulated, and entertained. These toys are perfect for hiding the best dog treats, or bits of kibble for them to find, letting them work their brain out without constant attention.

Snuffle mats come in a range of designs, and challenge levels, so it's easy to find a mat that fits your dog's demeanor and ability level. These toys allow you to hide bits of food rather than just filling their bowl. From there, your dog will need to use their nose to sniff out the snacks you've hidden for them. It's an easy way to add more enrichment to your dog's life, keeping them occupied for minutes or hours, as they track down every bit of food you've dropped for them.

But, as with almost any item on the market these days, snuffle mats are being designed and rolled out in their hundreds, so with that many to choose from, how do you know which mat is right for your pooch? You'll be relieved to hear that unlike the best dog beds which you might invest in only to find out they're not big enough or comfortable enough, you really can't go wrong with snuffle mats. 

As we mentioned, snuffle mats do come in all sorts of different designs, ranging from basic models that are best suited to puppies or those who have never used a snuffle mat before, all the way up to intricate patterns that offer tons of hiding spots for food and treats. We recommend you start with a basic snuffle mat and once your dog has mastered that, feel free to move up to something a little more complicated to make things more challenging.

Before we point out our picks for the best snuffle mats for dogs, we've got some tips from Dr. Rebecca Macmillan. 

The best snuffle mats for dogs 2024

How to choose the best snuffle mats for dogs

A dog sniffs at one of the best snuffle mats for dogs.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to choosing the right snuffle mat for your dog, there are a number of factors that you should take into consideration. From picking the right size and materials, to the level of difficulty, you want an option that is right for your dog, and your budget. Our expert Dr. Macmillan says this:

"Snuffle mats are a type of enrichment toy that helps dogs work their noses as they forage for treats. Most snuffle mats feature strips of fabric attached to a plastic base or mat, on which owners can hide small treats or kibbles. They are an excellent way of providing mental stimulation and encouraging natural behaviors. A good snuffle mat will get your dog’s brain working, as well as help them exercise their sense of smell. Snuffle mats are great for most dogs, but particularly those that are high-energy or prone to anxiety and boredom."

rebecca macmillan
Dr. Rebecca MacMillan

Rebecca MacMillan is a companion animal vet who has always had a passion for writing and client communication. Since her graduation from the Royal Veterinary College in 2009 she has gained a wealth of experience in first opinion small animal practice, in both clinical and managerial roles. She currently works in the South West and deals with a variety of routine and emergency appointments, but particularly enjoys medicine cases. She has recently gained her postgraduate certificate in small animal medicine!

Is this mat challenging enough for your dog?

Probably the top consideration will be how much of a challenge your chosen snuffle mat provides. All dogs are different, some are smarter than others, so if a snuffle mat has too many challenges your dog might get frustrated rather than stimulated. 

You can start out simple and see how that works. Or make a judgment call and choose the challenge level you think is a good fit – no one knows your dog better than you. 

Which size snuffle mat is right for your dog?

Size does matter, but most snuffle mats are suitable for most dogs. Smaller mats can provide a real challenge for large breeds with large snouts, while a large mat can have lots of small challenges – it depends on what works best for your pet pooch.

What should you look for in a snuffle mat?

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You should pick a good-quality product where the fabric is securely attached to the base. Choosing a snuffle mat that features different textures and pockets will provide your dog with variety which will help to keep their interest. 

A mat that is machine washable is a must (drool and treats can get messy!) and select one with a non-slip base if you plan on using it on hard flooring. Just make sure that you inspect the toy regularly for signs of wear and tear, removing it if it becomes damaged.

What kind of materials should a snuffle mat be made from?

What material the mat is made from is also something to check. All will be made from a non-toxic, dog-safe medium – if not, don’t even consider it. But you might want to think about mats made from upcycled or recycled material – this is more environmentally friendly and saves on waste. We all know dogs like to chew, so think about how durable is the material is.

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator and long-time journalist with more than 20 years in the industry. He has written for numerous titles covering tech to pets, with his latest faithful hound always by his side. When not walking his dog, or discussing who’s best - cats or dogs? Loud guitars, AFC Bournemouth, Photoshop, and trying to save the world take up the rest of this time.

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