It’s no secret that dogs need enrichment.
Daily play, including both mental and physical stimulation, is what keeps our puppies happy… Not to mention, keep them out of mischief.
A great way to give your dog enrichment is through their daily food allowance–especially if they wolf down their food within seconds of your putting it down!
One of my favourite ways to do that with Hugo is to use his Lickimat.
In this guide, I’ll share exactly what Lickimats are, and the toppings you can use to make your playtime even more delicious!
What are Lickimats?
Before we dive in with our Lickimat toppings, let’s iron-out what Lickimats actually are.
Lickimats are pieces of plastic with holes, dents, and grooves that you place your dog’s food (or treats!) on top of.
Your pup then licks around the mat to grab their food using their tongue.
Lickimats come in all shapes and sizes, but the best part is that they’re one of the cheapest dog enrichment toys you could get. You can purchase lick mats off Amazon for as little as £3, and the Lickimat toppings we’ll discuss can be picked up on your weekly food shop.
Lickimats are also a great way to help your puppy get used to their new crate.
Simply pop one of our delicious toppings on top, and leave it in your dog’s crate for five minutes while you leave the room.
Doing this will help your new puppy see their crate as a fun and exciting place, while also making them less likely to howl, cry, or bark for attention that brings you back in the room.
What to put on a Lickimat
Ordered your first Lickimat? You’ll want to top your plastic plate with a selection of delicious toppings that will encourage your dog to use the mat.
Here are some recipe ideas for your dog’s Lickimat:
Click the links above to jump to a specific topping, or continue scrolling to read all of our best Lickimat recipes.
1. Peanut butter 🥜
If you’re looking to give your pup a nutty snack, rub a teaspoon of peanut butter into his Lickimat.
Peanut butter is safe for most dogs to eat. In fact, it’s a great healthy treat–peanut butter can be a superb source of healthy fats, vitamins, and well-needed protein for dogs of all ages.
However, it’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t overdo it with the peanut butter. It’s best to choose an organic, homemade, unsalted, or dog-specific mixture.
Just like humans can become unhealthy if they eat too much, giving your dog a large serving of peanut butter can result in health problems like diabetes or pancreatitis. Try to limit their intake by treating your dog to a peanut butter-filled Lickimat once a week.
2. Cream cheese 🧀
Dogs are allowed low-fat cheeses, including cream cheese, which also makes a rare treat for your puppy’s Lickimat time.
Simply grab a dollop of cheese, spread it across your mat, and allow your pup to get to work!
Following on from the cheese theme, you could top your Lickimat with Kong squirty cheese. This mixture is specifically made for dogs, and although it should also only be given in small quantities, it’s a great cheese alternative for puppies with sensitive tummies.
3. Banana 🍌
Bananas make fantastic treats for dogs.
Not only are they high in vitamins B6 and C, but bananas also contain potassium–which is why some vets specifically recommend this fruit as a healthy dog treat.
I add bananas to Hugo’s Lickimat by taking 3-5 slices and squishing them into each hole.
…But just like any other Lickimat topping we’ve shared here, be sure that your puppy only has access to bananas every so often. Bananas contain lots of sugar, so feeding your dog too many bananas could do more harm than good.
4. Sweet potato 🥔
Are you cooking a batch of sweet potatoes to have with your dinner? Take a few out of your pan and use them to top your dog’s Lickimat with.
Dogs can eat cooked sweet potatoes, as nutritionist Kathleen Standafer Lopez explains:
“Because sweet potatoes are a whole food, they are less likely to cause an immune response or damage to the digestive tract. This is why they are a popular source of carbohydrate in commercial dog foods.”
If you’re introducing your puppy to sweet potato for the first time, start by spreading a small amount (maybe 2-3 cubes) onto their Lickimat. You want to make sure they like the flavour before coating their mat in potato!
5. Honey 🍯
Honey has lots of great benefits for dogs.
It’s been reported to contain antimicrobial and antifungal properties, reduce inflammation, soothe stomach ulcers and sore throats.
Plus, some experts argue that introducing small amounts of honey into your dog’s diet can help build up their tolerance to pollen–which could make them less prone to allergies as an adult dog.
But because honey is mainly sugar, be strict with how many times you use this Lickimat idea. You don’t want your dog’s teeth to rot or decay because they’re eating too much!
6. Natural yoghurt 🍦
Dogs that aren’t lactose intolerant can have small amounts of natural yoghurt spread over their Lickimat.
Natural yoghurts are high in protein and calcium, while also being full to the brim with probiotics that boost your dog’s immune system and help support digestion.
Plus, they make a long-lasting treat if they’re frozen. It takes your pup much longer to lick it up.
The best part? You can pick up this topping in your local food shop.
7. Frozen vegetables 🥕
You might already feed your dog vegetables as part of their diet.
Why not take their daily allowance and add some frozen veg into their Lickimat for them to enjoy biting out? Some ideas include:
- Green beans
(When Hugo was younger, I’d get bags of frozen vegetables and freeze them into ice cubes. It’s a great, versatile thing to have in your freezer whatever puppy you have!)
How to clean your dog’s Lickimat
Has your dog left a few bits of your Lickimat topping in the mat itself? If you accidentally leave it too long before cleaning, it’ll go hard.
You can clean your Lickimat by soaking it in warm water (without washing up liquid). Then, after about 10 minutes, take an old toothbrush and start to scrub the mat.
The old food will come off easily, and your Lickimat will look as good as new!
Which of these Lickimat recipes is your dog’s favourite?
There you have it!
These are the Lickimat recipes that my pup, Hugo, enjoys to eat the most–but I’d love to find out which topping goes down well for your dog.
Drop a comment below to let me know!