Welcome to this easy and budget-friendly DIY Dollar Tree Snuffle Mat tutorial. Snuffle mats (sometimes called a sniff mat) are amazing and I can’t believe I went so long without one. If you don’t want to shell out the money (mine was under $10) to buy one, why not make your own? Grab your materials, turn on your favorite show, and let’s get to making!
What is a snuffle mat?
A snuffle mat comes in many different shapes, sizes, and materials. This engaging and mentally stimulating toy is a fantastic way to provide enrichment for your dog.
Snuffle mats are typically a rubber/plastic/silicone mat that has many fabric strips attached to it. The dog owner then “hides” small treats within the fabric strips. The goal is for your dog to use their sense of smell to search for the yummy treats.
What are the Benefits of a Snuffle Mat?
- Mental Stimulation: Snuffle mats provide mental stimulation for dogs by engaging their sense of smell. Dogs have an incredible olfactory sense, and using a snuffle mat can challenge their brains and keep them entertained. They are great enrichment toys.
- Slow Feeding: These mats are often used as slow-feeders, promoting a slower pace of eating. This can be beneficial for dogs prone to gulping down their food, as it prevents digestive issues and helps with weight management.
- Encourages Natural Foraging: Dogs have a natural instinct to forage for food. Snuffle mats mimic the act of searching for food in grass or foliage, allowing dogs to engage in a behavior that is both enjoyable and instinctual.
- Reduces Boredom and Anxiety: Interactive toys like snuffle mats can help alleviate boredom and anxiety in dogs. The mental challenge of finding treats or kibble in the mat can be a calming and satisfying activity for dogs.
- Physical Exercise: While snuffle mats primarily focus on mental stimulation, the act of sniffing and searching for treats can also provide a degree of physical activity, especially for senior dogs or those with mobility issues.
- Suitable for All Ages: Snuffle mats are suitable for dogs of all ages, from puppies to senior dogs. They can be adapted to accommodate different levels of difficulty, making them versatile for various skill levels. They are wonderful for a small dog, large dog, and every size dog in-between.
- Positive Reinforcement: Using a snuffle mat for training purposes can reinforce positive behaviors. Associating the mat with rewards creates a positive experience for the dog and strengthens the bond between the dog and its owner.
Now that we have talked a little bit about this amazing “toy,” let’s get started on making our easy diy snuffle mat. Follow our step-by-step guide using materials all sourced from Dollar Tree, and watch your furry friend enjoy a great sensory experience. The best part? I made this for under $10!
Materials Needed for your Own Snuffle Mat:
Like I stated above, I sourced all of this at the Dollar Tree in their craft aisle. If you want to keep this project just as inexpensive, be sure to check out your local dollar store.
- 4 Fabric rolls/pieces of fleece from Dollar Tree (I know I only have 3 in the photo below, but I ran out and needed an extra so get 4). If you are not planning to buy your materials at the dollar store, then you can go to a fabric store and get a yard of fabric for this craft project.
- Rotary cutter from Dollar Tree
- Sink mat/plastic sink mat from Dollar Tree (Yes, the kind you put in the kitchen sink)
- Tulle from Dollar Tree (this is completely optional. It adds a fun texture and different color to the mat but it’s not necessary).
- Cutting mat (I already had a giant cutting mat from when I make my homemade dog bandanas but if you don’t already own one, Dollar Tree has the small green one, like the one in this picture).
- A great way to make this even more budget-friendly is to use old t-shirts for your strips of fabric for this diy project. If you’re anything like me, I am a t-shirt hoarder so I have plenty I could have used to make this homemade toy.
- If you have a large dog and want an extra large snuffle mat, use a zip tie to connect two sink mats together. Follow all the same steps but do this before starting any of the steps below.
Let’s Get Started Creating your DIY Dollar Tree Snuffle Mat!
If you prefer to watch these steps in video form, here is the tutorial. If you would prefer the step-by-step text instructions, continue scrolling.
Step 1: Prepare Your Materials: Gather all the materials listed above, ensuring you have enough fleece strips, a rubber sink mat, tulle, and a rotary cutter/fabric scissors.
Step 2: Cut Fleece into 1-inch strips: Lay your piece of fleece flat on the cutting mat. Using your sharp pair of scissors or a rotary cutter (be careful!), cut the fleece rolls into 1-inch strips.
**These DO NOT have to be perfect. Don’t stress if your strips are not perfectly 1-inch. You won’t be able to notice once they are attached to the sink mat.
Step 3: Attach a fleece strip to the sink mat by weaving a fabric strip between two adjacent holes. Each end of a fleece strip should be facing upward.
Step 4: Double Knot the Fleece: Thread each fleece strip through the holes and double-knot similar to tying a shoe lace. Make sure to make it a tight knot. This ensures the fabric strips stay in place during play.
** Repeat this process until you cover the entire sink mat. Yes, the entire mat. This will take you awhile but like I said above, turn on your favorite show or podcast and time will fly by.
Step 5: Add the Tulle: Integrate tulle pieces among the fleece strips for a different sensory experience. This adds variety and complexity to the sniffing challenge. Again, this step is optional. Find places within the mat, you would like to include these pieces and tie them alongside your fleece strips. Use you favorite colors to add some variety.
Step 6: Now, that your mat is completely covered, it is time to hide your piece of food (high-value treats) among the strips.
Step 7: Present to Your Dog: Once your DIY dog snuffle mat is complete, introduce it to your dog. Watch as they explore, sniff, and enjoy the mental and physical stimulation it provides.
DIY Snuffle Mat Dollar Tree Craft- FAQs
1. How do I wash my homemade snuffle mat?
Due to the nature of this being a homemade item, I would HIGHLY recommend hand-washing your mat and not using the washing machine.
2. What if my dog loses interest in the snuffle mat?
Keep the activity engaging by changing the types of treats or adjusting the difficulty level. You can also rotate the use of different enrichment toys, such as a fun frozen kong, to keep your dog’s interest.
3. Are snuffle mats safe for my dog?
When used appropriately and under supervision, snuffle mats are generally safe for dogs. However, it’s important to choose a mat suitable for your dog’s size and supervise them to prevent chewing or ingesting non-food items.
What Snuffle Mats Do You Recommend if I Don’t Want to Make My Own?
So, I realize you landed on a DIY snuffle mat Dollar Tree Craft tutorial and probably are interested in making your own homemade version. Just in case you decide against it, here are some top rated snuffle mats you can purchase.
- This snuffle mat has great reviews and contains many different sections for a fun challenge for your dog.
- If you want a more budget-friendly option, this snuffle mat is a top choice.
I hope you enjoyed making this fun and easy dollar tree craft. The snuffle mat really is the ultimate dog enrichment activity. I hope you found this tutorial easy to follow and feel free to share your creations with me! Happy sniffing pups!