Most dogs have one or two beloved toys that they never want to part with, and although it’s adorable to see how protective they get over them, these toys can become stinky and gross very fast.
If your dog loves their snuffle mat, this mess can be tenfold due to the many treats they’ve sniffed out and devoured in the past.
Snuffle mats are interactive toys for dogs that use a treat to get them stimulated and engaged, and although they’re good for your pooch, they’re not always fun to clean. If you’ve ever had to wash one before you know just how full they can get with random pieces of food, dog fur, and other bits and pieces they seem to pick up along the way.
How do you wash a snuffle mat, then?
Depending on the mat and the materials it’s made out of, there are a few options for cleaning so that you prolong the life of your dog’s favorite toy. First, you can do a spot clean of the problem area, or you might need something deeper, and so a cold hand wash or gentle machine wash cycle is best.
If you’re the proud owner of a snuffle mat and a dog who loves to get theirs dirty, you’ll need to know the basics of keeping them clean. We’ll show you how to wash snuffle mat, dry it, keep it in good condition, and ensure that it’s around for many years to come for your dog to enjoy.
How to Clean a Snuffle Mat
Dog toys are notorious for being some of the grossest things in the house, and the snuffle mat is no exception.
Although they provide a lot of entertainment for your pet, they also house a lot of drool, bits of food, dirt, and anything else your dog decides to leave behind. Therefore, cleaning them needs to be a regular process, but it doesn’t always have to be a deep wash.
There are a few options for cleaning a snuffle mat, depending on the level of mess you’re dealing with.
- Use a rag and some mild detergent and water to spot clean any areas that need them, and then air dry.
- Soak the snuffle mat in clothes detergent and cold water for an hour, and then rinse out with cold water and wring excess moisture out.
- Place the snuffle mat in a washing machine according to the recommended instructions, using a delicate and cold cycle.
Depending on how often your dog sniffs out treats on their mat, you’ll need to come up with a regular cleaning schedule. Each time they use the mat, give it a shakeout over the kitchen sink to get any remaining food out. Be vigilant with this, as crumbs can easily be hidden away underneath the fabric strips.
When you’re planning to clean your snuffle mat with a deeper wash in the washing machine or with a hand wash, you’ll have to go through it with a preparatory clean. Use your hands to comb through the mat and remove any leftover food or treats, as well as other debris it might have picked up. This will ensure it gets a good clean and prevents anything from sticking to it long term.
Can They Go in the Washing Machine?
The biggest concern with washing a snuffle mat is ruining the fabric or wearing it out. Most snuffle mats are made with fleece strips, and fleece as a material doesn’t react well to heat or friction.
Therefore, any cleaning methods you do use shouldn’t be too hot or too aggressive, so ensure it’s always gentle.
However, whether or not your snuffle mat is safe for the washing machine will depend on the manufacturer. The easiest way to tell is to check the care instructions that came with the mat, and if you can’t find them, do a quick search online to see what you can find.
If you’re unable to see any clear instructions that state it’s machine washable, it’s best to err on the side of caution. For you, you’ll want to clean your snuffle mat using a cold hand wash process, being sure not to use any harsh detergents or products that have chlorine bleach in them or anything else that’s abrasive.
For snuffle mat owners that have been given the okay to machine wash, you’re in luck. Being able to throw your mat in with other towels and sheets makes caring for it so much easier. Make sure you wash on a delicate cycle and with cold water, use a gentle detergent, and avoid any fabric softeners or other additives.
Do Snuffle Mats Wear Out?
Snuffle mats were made to be enjoyed, and as long as you choose a reputable brand to make this pet product, they’ll last for many years. These mats are made with durable materials like fleece and constructed solidly so even if they’re enjoyed daily, they should keep their shape.
These mats can potentially lose bits of fabric, especially if they’ve been chewed, and this presents a choking hazard sometimes. If you notice anything coming loose, cut it from the rest of the mat so your dog doesn’t get it.
These mats are usually made with a lot of fabric strips, so having to lose one now and then won’t affect them.
How to Keep Your Mat in Top Shape
To prolong the life of your mat and make sure your dog has their favorite toy around for as long as possible, there are some things you can do to help.
Follow these tips for keeping your snuffle mat in top shape for years to come, even with regular use.
Shake out mat
Every time your dog uses the mat, shake it out over the sink or in your backyard to give it a basic clean. This will get any leftover crumbs out of the strips and keep pests from coming near it when it’s not in use.
Even if it doesn’t look like the snuffle mat is much of a mess, a closer inspection will probably prove otherwise. Have a regular cleaning schedule in place to keep it clean so you can prevent the growth of mold, funny smells, and permanent stains.
Keep stored away
Whenever your dog isn’t actively playing with their mat searching for a treat, store it away out of their reach. This mat shouldn’t be used as a bed or somewhere for them to eat their regular meals, so have a safe place to store it and only bring it out when it’s time to play.
Air in sunlight
In between cleans, you can get your snuffle mat some fresh air and natural sunlight which will keep it a lot fresher. Try to avoid having it in direct sunlight otherwise, it can fade the fabric, so a shaded spot is best.
Dry them carefully
Some snuffle mats can be placed in a tumble dryer, although this can shorten their life if done too often. To dry them effectively, place out of direct sunlight and underneath a fan or breezy window, allowing it to air dry slowly.
Keeping your dogs’ accessories and toys clean can take some effort, but it’s important if you want them to last and remain safe for your dog to use.
We’ve answered some FAQs about how to care for dog toys and other belongings, so check these out for help on how to keep everything in good order.
How Often Should I Wash My Dog’s Bed?
A dog’s bed should be cleaned as often as a human’s, and sometimes more. Aim for washing their bedding once every one to two weeks, or more as needed.
If anyone in the home has an allergy to pet hair, you’ll want to wash it more frequently, so the dander doesn’t spread around.
What Laundry Detergent is Best for Dogs?
When washing pet bedding and toys, it’s best to use a gentle detergent that’s free from fragrances and other synthetic additives in the machine.
Dogs are sensitive to some human products and they can irritate their skin, so treat them with the same care as you would baby clothing and bedding when you wash it.
How Do I Disinfect My Dog Toys?
Although you might want to give a deeper clean to your dog’s toys and disinfect them when they get dirty, the typical products used for this type of sterilization process can be dangerous to pets.
Instead, use something gentle like vinegar or baking soda to wash their toys and leave the harsh chemicals off their favorite toys.