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Are Lick Mats Good for Dogs?

For today’s busy pup parents, a lick mat can be a real lifesaver. These simple devices help keep dogs entertained, distracted, and occupied while you attend to other tasks. But are lick mats good for dogs? Let’s take a closer look.

Lick mats are safe for your furry best pal to chew and lick on. They can also help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, which makes them a great choice for dental health. Lick mats can even help slow down fast eaters and prevent stress-related behaviors such as destructive chewing.

So, are lick mats good for dogs? The answer is definitely yes. They come with many benefits for your dog, and for you. These versatile mats can provide hours of fun and enrichment for your pup, while supporting their physical and mental wellbeing.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your dog entertained and stimulated, a lick mat is a great option. Let’s take a closer look at the upsides of lick mats for dogs and explore them in a little more detail.

A dog looking at a lick mat

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What Is a Lick Mat?

The theory behind lick mats is that licking is a calming, self-soothing, and beneficial behavior for dogs. That’s because when dogs lick something, it releases endorphins in their brain which have a naturally pleasurable effect.

The Science Behind Why Licking Is Good for Dogs

Licking has been shown to have a positive social effect on dogs. One study published in Science Direct found that dogs often lick themselves as a way to show empathy and understanding toward their human buddies.

So, licking is an extremely useful practice for dogs because it brings them into the present moment and helps them to stay calm and focused, as well as allowing them to express their emotions.

You can almost think of licking as like meditation for dogs – humans have yoga mats, and pups have lick mats!

What Are Lick Mats Made From?

Lick mats are typically made from food-grade silicone or rubber, which are perfectly safe for your pup to chew on. The nubs and bumps on the mat help to clean your dog’s teeth and massage their gums, which can reduce tartar buildup and promote healthy oral hygiene.

Many lick mats also have suction cups on them to help keep them in place, so your pup can really get stuck in and enjoy their licking session!

How to Spot a High-Quality Lick Mat

Getting the best lick mat possible is important. So, when choosing one for your pup, make sure to go for a lick mat made from high-quality, food-grade silicone or rubber.

The higher quality the material, the more durable the mat – sometimes also called a lick pad – will be, and the less likely it is to breed and encourage bacteria. The suction cups that help keep it stationary will have a firmer grip too.

It’s also important to choose a lick mat with the right texture and feel – a higher concentration of nubs and bumps means more cleaning power for your pup’s teeth. And a softer mat will be more comfortable for them to lick on.

What Are the Benefits of Dog Lick Mats?

A lick mat is a very versatile tool, and the best lick mat can help with many different aspects of your pup’s life. For example, if your dog has a habit of gulping down their food too quickly, a lick mat can help slow them down.

And if your pup is feeling frazzled, stressed, or overwhelmed, dog lick mats have been proven to reduce their heart rate – so a lick mat could be an easy and effective way to turn an anxious dog back into a happy one.

There are other health benefits too. If your dog is hyperactive and has a lot of energy, a lick mat is a fantastic way to focus their physical enthusiasm and curtail any obsessive or destructive tendencies that may be damaging to their lifestyle (or your household!).

Not only that, but in terms of cleanup, the best lick mats are dishwasher safe, meaning less mess and fuss for you after each use.

A dog with its mouth open

Why Is a Lick Mat Good for Your Dog’s Mouth, Teeth, and Gums?

The nubs and bumps on a lick mat help to clean your pup’s teeth and massage their gums, which can reduce tartar buildup and promote healthy oral hygiene. Cleaning your dog’s teeth can sometimes be tricky and challenging to get right on your own, so a lick mat is a simple and satisfying way to have your furry best pal do it all by themselves.

The best lick mats will help get the job done by stimulating the production of saliva. This helps to flush away harmful bacteria and debris, making sure your pup’s teeth are super clean – without you having to lift a finger!

In addition, the act of licking itself is good for your dog’s oral health because it helps to remove food particles and plaque from their teeth, and a suction cup lick mat will stay firmly in place, so your pup doesn’t do any damage to themselves. Put simply, getting your furry best pal their own dog lick mat is a great investment. And the right kind of lick pad can do wonders for their hygiene!

Do Lick Mats Help Dogs With Anxiety?

If your dog seems anxious, calm them with a lick mat. Dog lick mats have been shown to lower heart rates in stressed dogs, making them happier overall.

The licking motion is very calming and soothing for dogs and can help to ease any negative feelings they may have. For example, they could be feeling overwhelmed, or struggling with separation anxiety.

A lick mat calms a dog down by providing them with a physical outlet for their anxieties and can help to prevent any destructive or obsessive behaviors that may arise from their feelings of stress. This works in three ways:

Firstly, licking releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical, into your dog’s brain, helping them to just feel better in general. Secondly, licking is already an activity dogs love. Tasting stuff is one of the main components of licking, and dogs can’t get enough of tasting anything and everything!

Thirdly, like a baby sucking on a dummy, licking is a self-soothing mechanism for your pup, with the act automatically helping to calm them down and de-escalate their nervous system if it’s firing on too many cylinders.

What Can I Put on a Lick Mat?

Lick mats are more than just an easy way to keep your dog happy, healthy, and calm. They can also be used to make sure your pup is busy and occupied throughout the day – and looking forward to those tasty lick mat recipes and treats!

There are many things you can do to make your dog’s lick mat a central part of their day. Let’s take a look at some of them.

A person chopping vegetables

What Are Some of the Best Lick Mat Recipes?

Lick mat recipes and combos are great way to add variety to your dog’s diet. You can put either dry dog food or wet food onto a lick mat. Simply crumble dry food, pour on wet ingredients, or mash up fruits and veggies.

Try some of these blend and mixture ideas to liven up their mealtimes!

  1. Liver and cheese
  2. Pumpkin and peanut butter
  3. Banana and honey
  4. Sweet potato and yogurt
  5. Carrot and almond butter
  6. Salmon and dill
  7. Beef and broccoli
  8. Chicken and turmeric
  9. Lamb and mint

What Else Can You Put on a Lick Mat?

There are all kinds of things you can put on a lick mat for your dog, from oils and supplements to their favorite treats and toys.

Here’s a few other ideas for things to entice your pup to have a good ol’ tongue wag and get the most out of their lick mat:

  • Oils and supplements. You can add a few drops of CBD oil or fish oil to your dog’s lick mat to help with any issues they may be having, such as joint pain, anxiety, or digestive problems.
  • Treats and toys. You can also put your dog’s favorite treats on their lick mat to make it even more exciting for them. Try using small pieces of meat or cheese, or even some diced fruit or vegetables. You could also put their favorite toy on the mat, such as a soft plush toy or a Kong toy filled with treats.
  • Water and ice. You can also add water or ice to your dog’s lick mat. This can be especially refreshing on hot days, or if your pup is teething and needs some relief. Simply wet the mat down with water or place some ice cubes in a Ziplock bag and place it on the mat for your pup to lick.
  • Homemade lickable concoctions. Finally, you can also make your own homemade lickable concoctions for your dog. Simply mix together some wet food, dry food, and water (or even just use pureed fruits and vegetables) and pour it onto the mat.

You can also add in some of your dog’s favorite flavors, such as peanut butter, honey, or yogurt, to make it even more irresistible!

Can I Leave My Dog Alone With a Lick Mat?

No. It’s best to supervise your dog when they’re using their lick mat and take it away when they’re done. Left unsupervised, your pup may become destructive and chew on the mat instead of licking it. This can be dangerous, as ingesting large chunks of the mat can cause gastrointestinal blockage and other health problems.

It’s also important to check your dog’s lick mat regularly for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any tears or holes in the mat, dispose of it immediately and replace it with a new one.

A picture of a dog and cleaning products

How Do You Clean a Lick Mat?

Cleaning a lick mat is important to keep it safe for your dog, and for you! Lick mats get a lot of daily use and are vulnerable to germs and bacteria. In fact, they can become something of a breeding ground if not properly maintained. Thankfully, there are several ways you can keep your lick mat thoroughly clean. Let’s take a closer look at how to keep your pup’s lick mat sparkling and safe for use:

  1. The easiest way to clean a lick mat is to simply put it in the dishwasher. Most mats are top rack dishwasher safe. Just make sure to use hot water and a sanitizing cycle if possible.
  2. It’s perfectly fine to clean your lick mat by hand using hot water and soap. Just scrub it down with a brush or sponge and rinse it well. Be sure to reach all the parts of the mat, including the all-important suction cups.
  3. Using a vinegar solution to clean your lick mat is a pretty easy DIY way to get it germ free. Simply mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and scrub the mat down. Rinse it well afterwards.

Once you’ve cleaned your lick mat, just be sure to dry it completely before using it again.

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Lick Mat?

Ideally, you should clean your dog’s lick mat after every use. This will help to prevent the build-up of bacteria and keep it safe for your pup.

If you’re short on time, just give it a quick rinse with hot water after each use and then let it air dry. You can also pop it in the dishwasher on a regular basis, just use hot water and a sanitizing cycle if possible.

At the very least, you should aim to clean your lick mat once a week using one of the methods listed above. This schedule will keep it free of germs and bacteria and will mean that it’s always ready for your furry best pal to use without any issues. To be on the safe side, get your dog a brand-new lick mat every 6-12 months.


A lick mat is a great way to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated and can even help to soothe them during periods of stress. Lick mats are perfectly safe for dogs to use, and they have numerous oral and mental health benefits, but it’s important to clean them regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria.

You should aim to clean your lick mat at least once a week and replace it around twice a year. Follow the tips in this article and you’ll be able to find the perfect lick mat for your pup to enjoy and use for a long time to come. Happy licking!