Snuffle mat being made

How to make a snuffle mat

Dogs have an impressive sense of smell and can sniff out their favourite treats in no time.

Depending on how many treats you have hidden, a snuffle mat can keep your dog focussed on a task for quite some time, helping to satisfy their curious minds and engage their natural instinct to sniff. They're especially useful for playful pups who need to stay stimulated on a hot summer's day.


Treats should be given in moderation and alongside a well-balanced diet. Always check with your vet if your dog has any special dietary requirements.

What you'll need:

  • A rubber mat with holes – a doormat or bath mat works well
  • Clean fleece fabric
  • Scissors (ideally fabric scissors)

Putting together a snuffle mat

  1. Cut your fabric into strips of one inch wide and six to eight inches in length
  2. Take a strip of fabric and thread it through a hole in your mat. Tie a knot to secure the fabric to the mat.
  3. Repeat until you've covered all the holes with strips of fabric

How to train your dog to use a snuffle mat

So you’ve got your snuffle mat ready to go. Now, how do you encourage your dog to use it?

Follow these simple steps to train your dog on how to use their new toy.

  1. Place your snuffle mat on the floor. Let your dog have a sniff and explore if they wish.
  2. Get your dog's favourite dry treats and place a couple on top of the fabric. Allow your dog to take them – this will help them get used to eating from the snuffle mat.
  3. Once your dog associates the mat with treats, you can start hiding them deeper under the fabric. Your dog will use their heightened sense of smell to sniff out the treats.

If you feed your dog dry food, you can hide some or all of their food in the snuffle mat. This will make meal times much more interesting.


You should always monitor your dog when they are using their mat to ensure that they do not start to chew the fleece strips or the rubber mat. After a few uses, the snuffle mat may begin to smell like food – it's a good idea to wash the fabric strips and wipe down the rubber so that you're dog does not try to eat them.

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• 23 January 2024

Next review

• 22 January 2027

Claire crouching next to her white staffie dog
Approved by
Claire Stallard

Animal Behaviourist ABTC-CAB