Updated: Dec 11, 2018
We're sure a lot of you have probably already heard of the LickiMat. It took the dog world by storm earlier this year and we've heard nothing but rave reviews. So, of course, when we were invited to review it, we were naturally very excited. Wilbur & Paisley couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about...
The lovely people at Innovative Pet Products (and Sharples) sent us a SloDog and one of their LickiMats to try out. The SloDog is a plate designed to slow down your dog's eating whereas the LickiMat is an interactive feeder perfect as a boredom buster or for mental stimulation.
The SloDog is aimed at slowing down your dog's eating, so the main idea is to put your dog's dried food in there at meal times. The LickiMat, however, is much more versatile. There are lots of great recommendations for what to put in it from sardines to yoghurt to peanut butter! As it was nearly dinner time, we decided to try out the Slow Feeder Plate first...
If you have a dog who is a fast eater and you can't find a way to slow them down then this is the ideal product for you! SloDog is the best no gulp slow feeder on the market. Most slow feeders have deep grooves, mazes or other obstructions to make it more difficult for your dog to get at their food. This can often lead to stress and frustration. The people at SloDog have a different approach. The plate provides a much bigger surface area so all of the food is in plain sight. This prevents the frustration of having to chase the food around the bowl and your dog will eat slowly without any anxiety.
"We simply designed a device that splits the meal into multi mini meals by spreading the measure into lots of small shallow pockets."
Rather than obstructing your dog's food, the SloDog naturally makes your pup slow down. Your dog basically eats one mini meal at a time and if they try to eat from two pockets together then the food just falls from their mouth.
Ever since we moved Wilbur over to Lily's Kitchen a few years back, he has always delighted in meal times. This is not something we ever thought we'd say BUT he enjoyed his meals so much that he began to swallow his food whole without crunching! We had tried slow feeders before but he still somehow managed to finish them quickly and if Paisley came anywhere near him he'd get frustrated and sometimes growl at her. When we came to try the Slow Feeder Plate we thought we'd have the same issue...
Turns out, the answer was no! As we mentioned earlier, he could see all of the food laid out for him and knew that he could get to it easily. He happily crunched along without a care in the world.
What's more, because he wasn't frustrated, he was happy about Paisley being there too...
The aim of the SloDog is relaxed no-stress feed time and it definitely delivers. We could actually hear Wilbur crunching his food for once! It took him a lot longer to eat it which is not only good for his digestion but for lots of other things too.
What are the benefits of slow eating?
If your dog ingests too much food too quickly then: *He/she may vomit *It may cause excess gas *It may cause stomach upset *They may get indigestion *They may not get all of the nutrition from their food *They could remain hungry *It may cause life-threatening gastric bloat
If your dog is a fast eater then this is definitely the product for you! You can buy yours here.
Moving on to the LickiMat! Paisley couldn't wait to get testing...
We were eager to try this out since it became the new doggy product on the scene. The question is...is it really as good as everyone says?
LickiMats are designed as a boredom buster for your dog. Simply pick one of their favourite soft treats, spread on the mat and watch as they delight in licking it for hours on end.
There are several different colours and designs for you to choose from. We were sent the LickiMat Buddy which has a cross maze design perfect for trapping chunky treats like mushy meat or fish. The creators behind LickiMat have provided lots of useful suggestions for you to try along with your mat including cream cheese, wet food and natural yoghurt. PLUS they have their very own blog with lots of delicious recipes for you to make ranging from Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake to Sardine Pâté. You can check it out for inspiration here.
We thought we'd really put the LickiMat to the test and try out several of Wilbur & Paisley's favourite treats: tuna, peanut butter, pâté and their wet food too!
First up, a well-known doggy favourite - irresistibly tasty peanut butter! Now we're sure most of you are aware of this but for the few of you who don't already know, please make sure to check the ingredients of your peanut butter before giving it to your dog. Some peanut butters use xylitol as a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can be fatal so you don't want it going anywhere near them! For further advice read here.
We used Whole Earth peanut butter which simply contains peanuts, sea salt and sustainable palm oil but there are lots of other great ones you can use including Peamutt Butter, designed exclusively for dogs and available at Pets at Home.
Simply dollop a spoonful on to the mat and spread across the surface. Finally, pop it on the floor for your pup to enjoy! It's a great way to calm down those energetic pups plus it makes a small tasty treat last a lot longer.
Wilbur and Paisley delighted in licking the peanut butter from the LickiMat. It creates a tasty, fun game for your pups to enjoy as they have to seek out every last bite with their tongue. If you want to make it that little bit more difficult then we'd also recommend using crunchy peanut butter. It's not as easy to spread but it's just that little bit harder to get out!
Next up, we tried Wilbur & Paisley's wet food. They love a little bit of fresh meat to go with their dried food and we just love Pooch & Mutt: both for their recipes and their ethics - especially their new recyclable packaging. We gave the Chicken, Pumpkin & Pea recipe a go on the mat and it worked really well. It was easy to spread and the perfect portion too!
It went down a treat and definitely made meal times a lot longer. So whether you feed your dog wet or dried food, you have two great options to choose from: the LickiMat and the SloDog! You can even place it in the freezer to slow down feeding further or as a nice refreshing treat on a hot summer's day.
Another ideal treat for the LickiMat is the new pâté from JR Pet Products. A lot of you will already know about this wonderful business but if you don't then let us tell you all about it! All of their products are natural, healthy and tasty. Wilbur & Paisley have a special love for their pure sticks - 100% meaty goodness! The pâté was launched earlier this year and the pups had yet to try it. Made from 100% fresh meat, all of the pâtés are grain and gluten free and work as a treat, for training or as a complete food. You can buy yours here.
As it's semi-solid, you can either chop it up in to chunks to feed as a treat or meal or you can spread it into your LickiMat. We definitely had wagging tails all round when this was put in front of the pups!
Last but not least, we gave Wilbur's all-time favourite a try: tuna! You can buy this either in spring water or oil but make sure to drain it before use.
Before I became a vegetarian, I often had tuna sandwiches for my lunch. Wilbur would always give the can a clean out for me so I knew it was going to go down a treat. But was it compatible with the LickiMat?
Surprisingly, it worked really well with the mat! One full tin of tuna fit perfectly across the whole thing mashed up...
Although it looks easy for Wilbur & Paisley to get at, it wasn't. Once they had eaten the top layer of tuna, Wilbur then spent hours licking the remnants out.
We can 100% see why the LickiMat has become the new go-to dog product on the market. It's designed to keep boredom at bay but that's not all it does! It is the ideal product to leave your pets at home alone with when you go to work (do supervise them with the mat beforehand just to ensure they don't chew on it). It is recommended by vets and animal behaviourists and is suitable for dogs, puppies and cats too.
The LickiMat also has many other wonderful properties. They are a great way to calm your pet during or before stressful periods such as: a trip to the vet, new visitors to the home, thunderstorms and fireworks. During our review period, there happened to be an unusually heavy thunderstorm. Wilbur & Paisley were very stressed and barking constantly until we whipped out the pâté and the mat and they got to licking...
Other great properties of the mat include: *It helps to promote fresh breath by scraping off bacteria from the tongue *It helps clean tongue, teeth and gums *It stimulates saliva production which can aid digestion *It's a medical free way to promote calm behaviour *Repetitive licking is soothing and releases a calming hormone in the body *Licking enhances the sense of taste
Our verdict? It definitely lived up to the hype! The LickiMat is the perfect way to keep your pets entertained. Whether you need it to prevent boredom, to calm them down or just as a treat - the LickiMat is the answer to all of your problems. It definitely deserves the attention it's getting! Just like the Kong Classic - it is a must-have item for all dog owners and at such affordable prices from just £4.45 with FREE delivery there's really no reason not to get one!
We hope you enjoyed our blog as much as Wilbur & Paisley enjoyed testing it out for you all! Whether you've already got a LickiMat or SloDog, or are now planning to get one - we'd love to see your pups with them so send us a picture here.
If you have a pet-related business and have a product you'd like us to review then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to work with you!
With thanks to Sharples & Innovative Pet Products for sending us out these amazing products to try.
Love, nose licks & waggy tails,
From the WildPaws team x