Are you looking for a fun, easy, and affordable holiday DIY for your dog? Try making a DIY Holiday Snuffle Mat! A snuffle mat is a great enrichment toy that can turn mealtime into a challenging and rewarding mental game for your dog. This one gets a holiday twist with fun red and black buffalo plaid fleece.
I’m all about canine enrichment activities and aim to feed my dogs one meal a day “beyond the bowl”. I made one snuffle mat earlier this year for the Stella & Chewy’s blog and have been feeding Lucy meals on it a few times a week. With the holiday season upon us, I decided to make a second snuffle mat for Burt using a fleece blanket I made last Christmas.
In this post I’ll show you how to make a DIY Holiday snuffle mat for dogs, how to use a snuffle mat and at the end, I’ll share some ideas for making a washable snuffle mat.
DIY Snuffle Mat Materials
How much fleece do you need for this project? It really depends on the size of your snuffle mat base and how dense you want to make it. For this one, I cut up the entire 72″ x 60″ blanket which ended up being about 150 strips.
How long does it take to make a snuffle mat by hand? It took me about 2 hours to make this special Holiday snuffle mat for my dog Burt. It’s easy to make while you’re watching TV or listening to the Wear Wag Repeat podcast!
Creating Your Fleece and Cardboard Snuffle Mat
Step 1: Prepare the Cardboard base
Prepare your cardboard base by cutting slits all over in a grid pattern. The slits should be about 2 inches apart. Go back over the slits with a screwdriver to make the holes bigger and easier to poke your fleece strips through
Step 2: Cut Your Fleece Strips
Cut your fleece in even strips about 2 inches wide and 12-14 inches long. Cut as many strips as you’ll need to fill the board. For this special holiday snuffle mat, I used about 150 strips and made it really dense!
Step 3: Assemble Your Snuffle Mat
The final step is to poke the fleece strips through all your holes and knot them on the front. I used my screwdriver to poke each end through.
Start by doing all the fleece strips in vertical rows on your board. Then go back and do the horizontal rows. When you’re done it should look like squares on the back of the board. Since I had extra fleece strips leftover, I also wrapped them around the outside edges of my cardboard base. This is totally optional, but gives your DIY snuffle mat a nice finished look!
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How to Use a Snuffle Mat for Dogs
With this DIY snuffle mat, you can use any dry dog food (we use Stella & Chewy’s Rawa Coated Kibble) or treats (these ones from Jiminy’s would be good). Since it has a cardboard base, you don’t want it to get wet. So this mat isn’t good for any wet dog foods.
To use the snuffle mat, just sprinkle your dog’s food or a few of their favorite treats among the fleece strips. Then place the mat on the floor and encourage them to search for every last crumb!
A snuffle mat like this is great for dogs to eat too fast because it will take them at least a few minutes to search for all their food.
Snuffle mats are also great enrichment tools because they encourage your dog to use their sense of smell, problem-solving skills, and hold their attention span for longer. When my dogs eat their meal from a snuffle mat, they’re wagging their tails the whole time! It makes me so happy to see them really enjoying their meal and a fun toy that I made by hand!
How do you make a washable snuffle mat?
If you’d like to make a washable snuffle mat all you need to change is the base. You can use a rubbery sink mat like this one. Or you could use a microfiber towel or a square of thick fleece as a fabric base.
No matter what kind of snuffle mat you make, it’s a good idea to shake it out after your dog is done using it and let it air dry in a well-ventilated area. Even if you use dry food like I do, your dog will probably slobber all over it! I set our snuffle mats out in the sun whenever I can to freshen them up.
I’m excited to have this post included in a holiday round up with other pet bloggers! Check out the other posts in this Pet Blogger Roundup:
The Pets Digest: Keep Your Dog + Cat Safe During the Holidays
Vet After Hours: Tips to Reduce Your Dog’s Stress this Christmas
Spoiled Hounds: What to Consider Before Getting a Puppy for Christmas
Go Dog Nashville: Make a Reverse Advent Calendar for Your Dog
Canine Compilation: Best Holiday Gifts for Dogs and Dog Moms
The Emerald Hound – Holiday Gift Tag Printable
Love this project and looking for more DIYs for your dog? Check out these posts:
Canine Enrichment Doggy Cannoli Recipe
DIY Busy Box Enrichment Dog Toy
Dog Bone Christmas Stocking Pattern
DIY Dog Snowglobe Gift Idea
How to Get Your Dog Portrait Holiday Ready
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