A fun snuffle mat can keep your dog entertained during meal time. You sprinkle kibble or treats in the shag-like strips, and they sniff for all the tasty morsels.
“The fosters with our organization love using snuffle mats,” says Judy Duhr, director of Speak Rescue and Sanctuary in St. Louis, Missouri. “They work great to help with crate training, decompression, and keeping pups busy, especially on days where their outdoor activity is limited. They also help slow down dogs that eat much too fast.”
We talked to dog owners, trainers, fosters, and rescue volunteers to see what they looked for in snuffle mats and which ones were their favorite. The best snuffle mat is fun, challenging, the right size for your dog, and easy to clean.
Our overall favorite is the Stellaire Chern snuffle mat. It comes in two sizes, has lots of nooks for hiding food, and will make an excellent hunting and sniffing challenge for your dog. We also found the best snuffle mats for puppies, travel, and more.
Stellaire Chern Snuffle Mat
Lots of areas to hide treats
Rolls up and ties for storage
More expensive than most
Takes up a lot of room
This giant snuffle mat by Stellaire Chern has all kinds of nooks and crannies to hide kibble and treats. There’s a traditional snuffle mat with fleece strips on one side. The rest of the mat has pockets, flaps, and cup-like creations. Sprinkle in food, and then tuck surprises in all the little extra areas. It should take your dog quite a while to find them all.
The mat comes in two sizes, and the large one particularly takes up a lot of space, both on the floor and when you store it. But they come with a built-in tie, so you can roll it up and stash it away. It’s still very big, so make sure you have a spot in the pantry or some other roomy spot.
The mat has an anti-skid backing which helps keep it in place when your pup is foraging with passion. It’s also machine washable on a gentle, low cycle. This is Duhr’s absolute favorite, because it can keep puppies and adult dogs entertained for a long time and encourages them to use their nose to find all the hidden spots.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 23.6 x 39.4 inches (medium); 39.4 x 39.4 inches (large)︱Materials: Polar fleece and upcycled materials︱Colors: Blue, gray, pink, white
Best Activity and Snuffle Mat
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Activity Matz Garden Game Plush Dog Puzzle Mat
Snuffle mat and activity games
Rolls up for storage
Not necessarily machine washable
Not challenging for advanced dogs
This vegetable-theme mat has a snuffle area and other activities to keep your pet’s mind and nose working at meal time. First, fill the cabbage snuffle area with kibble, and then tuck some more in the pocket under the carrot and in the areas under the radish that have to be pulled open.
Nina Ottosson toys include puzzle games that are all ranked by difficulty. This mat is level two, a step above beginner level. It has a non-slip bottom and rolls up for storage. The directions specify that it is easy to clean with warm water and mild soap, but don’t specify that it’s OK in the washing machine.
Price at time of publish: $27
Dimensions: 14 x 21 1/2 inches︱Materials: Fabric and polyester︱Colors: Multiple (garden theme)
Best for Puppies
Spanomic Snail Snuffle Dog Mat
Activity toy and snuffle mat
Lots of hidden compartments
Not for aggressive chewers
Shaped like a cute snail, this snuffle toy can stay rolled up with kibble and treats inserted in the coils. Your pup can work at unrolling it and find all the treats poked in little slots along the way. More than just a mat, the snail also has a few squeakers to make it fun to play with when the food is gone. It might be fun for tossing or tugging.
There’s the original snail made out of fleece and a sturdier version with three layers: plush fabric, nylon, and cotton. The original isn’t for tough chewers, and the new version can stand up to a little more action. The snail has velcro to keep it closed and is machine washable.
Price at time of publish: $15
Dimensions: 28 x 3 inches (unrolled)︱Materials: Fleece︱Colors: Green and brown
Best Bowl/Best Travel
Pet Arena Adjustable Snuffle Mat for Dogs
Can be used as a bowl or mat
Easy to tie up and store
Material can be scratchy
This colorful creation has a built-in drawstring so you can close it up all the way for storage, open it part of the way to create a 10-inch bowl, or flatten it for a regular snuffle mat. The smaller size is great for a smaller pet or if you just want to keep kibble and treats contained as if your pup were eating out of a dish.
It’s machine washable or can be washed by hand and dries quickly. It also has a non-skid backing. With the drawstring, it’s easy to store, and it takes up a lot less room than some other options.
Price at time of publish: $15
Dimensions: 19.69 inches (when open)︱Materials: Polar fleece︱Colors: Blue, green
LIVEKEY Dog Snuffle Mat
Easy to figure out
Can be attached to other mats
Plastic backing instead of fabric
For a pup that is just starting out in the world of snuffle feeding, this is a great basic mat. It doesn’t have pockets or crevices, but there’s plenty of room to bury and sprinkle food in the fleece fabric strips. It’s relatively easy to figure out and comes in three color combinations.
The mat is machine washable, or you can wash by hand. There are little hooks on the base of the mat so you can attach several together if you want a bigger surface area. As with all mats, your dog should be supervised when using this mat. Some pets have been able to gnaw off parts of the plastic backing.
Price at time of publish: $26
Dimensions: 17 x 17 inches︱Materials: Plush fabric︱Colors: Gray and white; pink, purple, and blue; yellow, blue, and purple
DogNMat Taco Snuffle Dog Toy
Lots of hiding spots
Has squeaker and crinkly spots
Smaller than most
Unroll this canine taco, and there are all sorts of hiding spots for treats and kibble. Tuck them in all the fabric cheese and greens or inside the middle section that is secured with sturdy velcro. There are crinkly spots and a squeaker, so it doubles as a toy. The mat comes gift-wrapped to look like a real taco.
There are many designs from this seller, including sushi, fortune cookies, and a picnic spread. They can all be customized with your pet’s name and can be machine washed and tumble dried. They have closures to roll them up when not in use.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 12 inches︱Materials: Fabric︱Colors: Multi
Paw5 Snuffle Mat
Upcycled and ethically sourced materials, particularly organic cotton
Curly pieces that hide food well
More expensive than most
Smaller than many
Handmade from organic cotton, this mat is different from most, because it has curled shag strips that can make it even more challenging to find treats. Just bury them in the mat, including in the curled folds, or sprinkle them on the surface. The mat is machine washable and durable.
The Paw 5 Snuffle Mat is made in Ghana with ethically sourced materials, and the company supports factories that promise equality for women. The materials are made from pre-consumer fabric left over from the industrial textile industry. The mat is a little smaller and a little more expensive than most.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimensions: 12 x 18 inches︱Materials: Organic cotton blend︱Colors: Gray
Our overall favorite is the Stellaire Chern Snuffle Mat. It’s a huge mat with all sorts of areas to hide kibble and treats. For a smaller mat with extra-fun activities, we like the vegetable-themed Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Activity Matz Garden Game.
What to Look for in a Snuffle Mat
Because snuffle mats are filled with food and dog slobber, it’s important that you wash them often.
“First and foremost when choosing a snuffle mat, it needs to be machine washable,” Duhr told The Spruce Pets.
It’s best to wash as the label suggests, which is usually warm water on a gentle cycle. Check to see whether the mat has to be air dried or can be placed in the dryer.
In addition to the traditional snuffle part that looks like fleece grass, some mats have added challenges like pockets and flaps where you can hide more food. Dogs can learn very quickly how to root treats out of the normal mat, which is when you can bury the food into the strips instead of just sprinkling it on top.
“I look for ones that will keep the pups entertained the longest; so, those with different textures and activities,” Duhr said. “Some come with toys that are inserted in pockets.”
If you have a large dog, you don’t necessarily need a large mat. And vice versa with a small pet. Larger mats typically take longer for pups to find food, so they can keep your dog occupied longer. However, they can be harder to store. Smaller mats might take less time, but they are easier to store and can be used for travel.
“It’s a bonus if it is easy to take along on trips,” Duhr said.
What is a snuffle mat?
A snuffle mat is a pad with strips of fleece or other material, where you can bury your dog’s kibble or some treats. A dog has to use its nose to forage for the food. Some snuffle mats also have additional pockets or flaps where you can hide more food to make it more challenging.
Are snuffle mats good for dogs?
Yes. Snuffle mats keep dogs and puppies engaged and keep them from gulping down their dinner. Trainers and vets often recommend snuffle mats as an enrichment activity and to slow down pets at mealtime.
“If you have a pet that is known to swallow or shred things that they shouldn’t, I recommend supervising your pup to make sure that’s not the case,” Duhr says.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets
For this roundup, Mary Jo DiLonardo talked to dog trainers, owners, fosters, and rescue volunteers about what they look for when choosing a snuffle mat and which are their favorites. She also tested several and looked at online reviews. They were evaluated on how fun and challenging they were, how easy they were to clean, size, materials, price, and extra features.
Mary Jo has been writing about pets and animals for several decades. She has a rescue dog and has fostered more than 50 dogs and puppies. They almost all exclusively eat their meals in snuffle mats or puzzle toys. She is always trying different products to keep the dogs in her care entertained, healthy, and safe.