May 25, 2021 5 min read
A relatively new concept within the dog toy world, Lickimats have gained widespread popularity as they are now recognised as one of the most leading anti-anxiety tools for dogs and cats.
Not only are slow feeders recognised for their positive physiological benefits and physical effects in dogs and cats, the process of slow feeding in animals in general is a significant and positive concept.
Particularly in horses, slow feeding helps to prevent ulcers and promote overall excellent gastric health. Horses are meant to graze on food throughout the day because if they don’t, their stomach acid will act on the walls of their stomach if there is no food present.
But what about dogs? What are the benefits of lickimats and slow feeders for dogs?
Before we get to this, let’s find out exactly what slow feeders and lickimats are in order to reveal their benefits.
Slow feeders come in different forms like bowls, mats or trays, which are mainly developed to slow down the eating process, very beneficial for dogs who like to inhale their food! And the licking action is what soothes and calms your dog.
Originating in Australia, Lickimats on the other hand are a mat form of slow feeders, well known in the dog community which are available in various colours and variants. Lickimats are made from non-toxic food grade thermoplastic rubber which is essentially a mat with grooves and ridges that catches food when you spread your dog’s favourite treat and pastes over it. It challenges your dog to lick in order to get the reward that has been spread onto.
It’s primary benefit is quite obvious, it slows down the eating process so your dog is less likely to choke on their food. However, there are a lot more advantages that come with these slow feeders both mentally and physically for dogs, let’s have a look...
✔️ First and Foremost, It’s Fun! - What dog wouldn’t like a new way to eat their treats? Lickimats are great boredom busters that can keep your dog entertained even for hours at times. They provide mental and physical stimulation which is very entertaining and satisfying for dogs and the licking action even enhances the sense of taste of the treats.
✔️ Reduces Stress & Anxiety - The licking action induces endorphins in the body, the ‘happy’ chemical which has proven to reduce stress and anxiety in dogs. It’s designed to promote calm behaviour by stimulating your pet’s tongue, especially for dogs who are particularly anxious.
✔️ Excellent Distraction- Lickimats are particularly good at distracing your dog during an activity they don’t like. Pet groomers and veterinarians are known for using lickimats to keep pets busy and distracted during grooming and vet aid. There is even a model called the Lickimat Splash which is designed to keep your dog distracted during bathing.
✔️ Improves Oral Health- Not only do Lickimats promote fresh breath by scraping away bacteria and undigested food particles from the tongue but they also stimulate saliva production which can aid digestion. As it contains enzymes like amylase, lickimats also help to clean your dog’s tongue, teeth and gums.
✔️ Makes Treats Last Longer- All dogs are guilty of inhaling their treats at times but Lickimats are designed to encourage longer eating sessions which provides longer stimulated fun for your dog and helps to avoid overeating because of the reduced calorie intake.
✔️ Helps With Separation Anxiety - Lickimats are especially beneficial now when pet owners are out and about more since the lockdown was lifted. Separation anxiety has become a major concern for dog owners since we have gone back to the office but Lickimats keeps dogs busy and can even prevent extreme distress and anxiety when you’re not around.
✔️ Prevents Air Getting Trapped - The problem with eager eaters is that when they engulf their food, they also often ingest air (aerophagia) as well. The major problem with this is that air in the stomach can cause it to swell and bloat. When your dog is playing and running around with air in their stomach, they are at a higher risk for their stomach flipping - GDV (gastric dilatation and volvulus). However, because Lickimats promote slow eating, they prevent this life threatening condition.
✔️ Experiment with Healthy Treats - Lickimats are a great way to experiment and discover what flavours and different types of treats your dog enjoys. The classic Lickimat Smoother is particularly good with this because you can spread pastes or treats on each corner of the square mat and watch which corner your dog goes for!
✔️ Freezer Friendly - Just in time for summer, you can freeze Lickimats and make it into a cooling treat challenge that your dog can enjoy on hot summer days. It does both! Entertains your pet and keeps them cool and hydrated which avoids heat exhaustion.
Suitable for puppies, small and medium-sized dogs, the Lickimat Soother is a classic and ideal for liquid type treats like yogurt or gravy because of the small bristles which are great for catching the liquid. It’s particularly a favourite for experimenting with treats because you can place different flavours on each four on the corners and observe which treat your dog goes for.
The perfect product for stress free grooming and bathing, the Lickimat Splash is specially designed to help ease those unwanted baths and grooming sessions. With a suction cup for wall mounting, the suction cap allows the Lickimat Splash to stick to hard surfaces like tiles, glass and laminates.
With a joint pattern surface, the Lickimat SloMo is specially designed to be a combination of wet and dry feeder, ideal for both dogs and cats. It allows you to serve raw, wet, dry, freeze dried, liquid food and all other manner of healthy dog treats without creating a mess.
Made from Thermoplastic rubber, the Junior Licking Plate is freezable so you can fill with snacks then freeze for a fresh surprise. 15cm in diameter, the Junior Licking Plate is designed for puppies and cats and can be filled with pastes, wet food or dairy products, particularly good for crate training and calming puppies.
There are lots of Lickimat toppings to choose from. You use any soft dog food that is easily placed on the lickimat as well as wet or raw food if your dog is on a raw food diet.
Here are some of our top favourites;
Not only are they affordable but lickimats provide a wide range of benefits for your dog. They really do make a difference especially for fast eaters who like to devour their treats in seconds!
Recommended for both dogs and cats, Lickimats are an efficient aid in helping to slow down your pet’s worrying chewing tendencies as well as helping to calm their behaviour and ease any anxiety and stress they feel.
Does your dog or cat have a Lickimat? If so, let us know in the comments how they benefit your pet.
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