Dog owners today understand the importance of keeping their dog stimulated.

Whether you have a range of the latest toys or keep their brains active with mental games, there are loads of things you can do to keep them busy and prevent destructive behavior that comes from boredom.

One of a pooch’s favorite things to do is sniff, whether it’s another dog at the park or while they’re looking for their next meal.

A snuffle mat is the best way to let them explore these natural instincts while keeping them mentally and physically stimulated, and they’re a must-have for dog breeds of all kinds.

What’s the difference between a DIY snuffle mat and a brand name one?

Snuffle mats can be made at home, albeit with a lot more effort and perhaps not as much quality, but it’s still a great DIY project to try. A brand name snuffle mat is relatively affordable depending on the brand you buy, but if your dog is the type to tear through them quickly, you might prefer making them yourself.

Whether you plan on buying one ready-made or are looking to buy your own, your dog will be grateful. A snuffle mat lets them utilize their instincts for searching, hunting, and sniffing, and gives them a challenge and a new experience to enjoy each day.

No matter the approach you take, you can feel good about giving your dog something that’ll entertain them for hours.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the snuffle mat comparison, we got you covered:

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Making Your Own Snuffle Mat

difference between diy and branded snuffle mats

If you’re considering making your own snuffle mat for your dog, you’ll need to know a little more about how it’s done.

As far as DIY projects go, it’s relatively easy to do and requires only a few materials and tools. However, it can take a couple of hours to tie all of the pieces of fabric to the mat, which is what puts some people off.

The key to making a durable snuffle mat is in the fabric you choose. You’ll need something with stretchy but hard-wearing fabric so your dog can let loose on it. There’ll be a lot of sniffing, biting, and drooling over the mat, so you must build it tough enough to withstand all of this on a daily basis.

The materials for this project cost around $30, depending on the size of the rubber mat you choose and how cheaply you can source fabric. When compared with the cost of buying a snuffle mat outright, it’s only slightly cheaper, so it depends on you whether you want to undertake the project for something satisfying and fun to do for your dog.

Are DIY Snuffle Mats Safe for Dogs?

Although it can save money and give you something to do with your spare time, there are dangers involved with giving your dog a homemade snuffle mat.

For these reasons, owners might feel peace of mind purchasing one that’s been tested and has a quality guarantee, as it can alleviate some of these worries.

Making your own snuffle mat increases the risk of your dog being able to rip off the strips of fabric, which can be a choking hazard. As dogs get excited with these types of activities and will be focused on finding the food hidden inside, there’s a good chance they can excitedly rip off and swallow a chunk of fabric, which could be a choking hazard.

If you do plan on making your own DIY snuffle mat, you should always supervise your dog when they’re using it. Stay close by while they explore their mat and if you see any strips of fabric coming loose or falling off, stop them playing for a while and inspect the mat to make sure everything is still in order.

The Differences Between Store Bought and DIY Mats

The general premise of a snuffle mat is the same whether you choose a DIY one or buy one from the store.

The purpose of these accessories is to give your dog somewhere safe and comfortable to follow their instincts with sniffing and searching, and stimulate their brain, so both offer that.

To decide which one is better for you and your pooch, we’ve weighed up the pros and cons of both options. Check out which ways they differ to see which one is best for you by weighing up the best and worst of what they have to offer.

Pros of DIY Snuffle Mats

  • Saves money

Making your own snuffle mat costs around $30 for all of the materials, depending on where you source them from. This saves costs compared to buying them, especially if you bulk but materials to make more in the future.

  • Satisfying

There’s nothing more satisfying than finishing a DIY project at home. Not only will you get a lot of satisfaction making something yourself, but when you see how much enjoyment your dog gets out of it, even better.

  • Keeps kids occupied

If you have kids at home, this is a fun DIY project you can get them involved in. Once the strips have been cut, there’s nothing dangerous involved in making a snuffle mat and it’ll keep them occupied for at least an hour.

  • Ongoing supply

With the knowledge of how to make a snuffle mat and some leftover materials, you’ll have a never-ending supply for your pet. If they tear through one or you want to make one for a friend, you’ll know how to do it easily.

  • Fixing is easy

If just one strand of fabric comes loose from your snuffle mat, you can repair it as you go to keep it in good condition. By replacing the material as needed with some spare strips that you keep handy, you’ll get a lot more use out of a DIY snuffle mat than a store-bought one.

Cons of DIY Snuffle Mats

scissors and fabric for snuffle mat
  • Not as durable

Making your own snuffle mat might be easy but it’s likely not going to be as strong as one that’s purchased from a reputable brand. You’ll probably have to replace them more frequently and will have no company to offer you returns should anything go wrong.

  • Time-consuming

Making just one standard size mat can take up to two hours because you have to tie each piece of fabric separately onto the rubber mat’s holes. Compared to the click of a button to purchase one online, it’s a lot more time-consuming.

  • Tedious work

These mats are made by tying individual pieces of fabric through holes on a rubber mat, and once you’ve done a few, you’ll likely be bored by it. Unless you have help from someone else for this project, you’ll probably need a break halfway through because it’s tedious and repetitive work.

  • Harder to clean

A DIY snuffle mat can’t be thrown in the wash whenever it gets dirty because it’s not as hardy, and if you know how messy dogs can be, you’ll understand why this is so important. A handmade mat like this could only be spot cleaned as needed and it can lessen its life expectancy significantly.

Pros of Brand Snuffle Mats

durability of branded snuffle mates
  • Higher quality

Ther quality of a snuffle mat purchased from a reputable brand will be outstanding and immediately obvious when compared to one you make yourself. Since you want a dog to be able to go crazy with their mat and play with toys that are certified as safe, you don’t want to be worrying about whether or not it’ll last.

  • More challenging for dogs

A machine-made snuffle mat features deeper crevices and more layers, which provides an extra challenge for your pooch. This means longer spent searching for their treats and better mental and physical stimulation.

  • Satisfaction guarantee

Buying from a reputable brand, even online, gives you a guarantee of quality. Most brands have a satisfaction guarantee or warranty period that covers their snuffle mats and promises they’ll last with the regular wear and tear a dog brings, with many offering free returns in some cases.

  • Machine washable

Most of the popular brands of snuffle mats make their accessories so they can be washed in a machine. Compared to a homemade mat that can only be hand washed or spot washed, this makes it a lot easier to care for.

Cons of Brand Snuffle Mats

dog with his favorite snuffle mat
  • Can be expensive

For a quality brand of snuffle mat, you might pay between $50 and $70 just for one mat. Unless you can purchase them during a sale or get a discount for buying more than one, the costs can add up over the years. This is especially true if you have a dog that tears through them fairly quickly.

  • Replacement is harder

If your mat breaks suddenly and you’re not able to mend it yourself, you’ll have to put an order in online and wait for it to be shipped. Unless express shipping is available and affordable, you could be waiting weeks for a replacement which leads to a bored and destructive pooch.

Which Approach is Best?

With so many great and affordable options out there for a well-made snuffle mat, it seems that the easier option is just to buy one.

They’re made out of quality materials, tested and approved by customers and dogs before you, and now priced so well that they’re easily within the reach of most dog owners.

However, making a DIY snuffle mat can be a fun experiment and give you a lot of satisfaction when you see how much joy it brings your pet. If you’re looking for a project to do with your kids or you’re someone who likes the chance to tackle these kinds of projects for enjoyment, making your own snuffle mat would be a satisfying project.

Whichever option you choose, you can feel good knowing that you’re doing the best for your dog. You’ll be keeping them stimulated, allowing them to follow their natural instincts in a safe way, and preventing your home from being damaged by a destructive and bored canine.

Snuffle mats are just one of the ways you can keep your dog entertained. A happy dog leads to a happy home, and with regular mental and physical stimulation you’ll be guaranteed a satisfied pooch.

Check out some other FAQs about dog behavior and happiness to see how you can help your pet.

Why Do Dogs Like Snuffle Mats?

dogs love snuffle mats

Dogs rely on their sense of smell to get them through the day, and it’s their favorite way to explore the world around them.

By hiding small treats and food inside these snuffle mats, you’re allowing them to use their favorite sense to investigate, exercising their brain, and will be rewarded with something tasty when they finally get to it.

What Colors Can Dogs See?

If you’re making a snuffle mat for your dog and want to be sure they’ll see it correctly, you can choose fabric in colors that they can visualize.

Compared to humans, dogs have two types of cones in their eyes that can identify color combinations, which are blue and yellow, so choose something with those primary colors when making a mat.

What is a Dog Lick Mat?

A lick mat is a tool used to keep dogs engaged and happy and it provides them with something to do. These rubber mats have dog-friendly treats applied to them, like peanut butter, and then the dog works to lick it off.

There are small bumps, cracks, and crevices through the surface of the mat that makes the task harder than usual and keeps them occupied and lets them rely on their instincts to find the treats.