We Found A Lick Mat That Solved So Many Of Our Pets' Eating Problems
And it works on cats and dogs! 🐶😸
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Mealtime is supposed to be a nice, relaxing break for your pet (and you). But if your BFF could easily win gold in speed-eating, then that break lasts all of 2.5 seconds.
And that speed-eating can cause lots of health issues — like vomiting, bloating and choking.
That’s why we couldn’t wait to try out the IQ Treat Mat from Hyper Pets. Designed for both dogs and cats, this mat is not only supposed to slow your pet down while he eats, but it’ll also keep him calm, too.
And when we tested this lick mat on our own pets, we were blown away by how well it actually got our pets to eat more slowly and generally chill out when there was food in the room.
Read on to find out why we decided to award our Paw of Approval to the IQ Treat Mat — and why it’s a must-have if your pet needs to learn to enjoy his meals.
What Is The IQ Treat Mat?
The IQ Treat Mat is a lick mat from Hyper Pets that’s made to act as a slow feeder that calms pets down as they lap up their wet food or spreadable treats.
Every IQ Treat Mat is divided into four quadrants that are supposed to slow down your pet’s eating and make him feel all zen, but the mats are available in a few different models designed for different additional purposes:
- Reward: This orange lick mat is the standard style, and is also available in a large size.
- Calm: This green lick mat is made to relieve anxiety since it’s designed for the most licking.
- Entertain: This gray lick mat has larger spaces to accommodate food and treats with different consistencies.
The IQ Treat Mats are designed to slow down your pet’s eating to help with his digestion and ease his anxiety, but also keep him from getting bored since he has to work for his food a little bit.
According to the company, the ridges on these mats are also supposed to clean your pet’s teeth and freshen up his breath as well.
In addition to meal time, you can use the IQ Treat Mats to distract your BFF at the vet, keep him busy when you can’t or simply to give him a tasty treat.
They’re freezer-safe for pets who enjoy frozen snacks, and OK to use in the top rack of your dishwasher to make cleanup nice and simple.
We picked five pets with eating issues to test out the IQ Treat Mat, to see if it would really solve their problems with boredom, anxiety and speed-eating.
So … Did It Calm Our Pets And Slow Them Down?
Yes and YES!
We saw dramatic improvements in our judges’ eating habits after introducing the Reward and Calm IQ Treat Mats.
These lick mats had even our quickest eaters taking their time to enjoy their food, instead of gobbling it up at record speed.
“It made eating more of a challenge and slowed my cats down, but that's exactly what it's for and what I wanted it to do. While Faye would probably rather just inhale her wet food in one bite, this is definitely healthier for her.” — Taylor N.
“Both of the dogs love food, and I am always figuring out how to make food last longer for them. These lick mats definitely allow a small amount of calories to go a long way.” — Erica G.
“When I put spreads on half the Hyper Pet IQ Treat Mat and froze it, it kept Baby entertained for 25 minutes. It's usually so hard to get him to do anything for that long, so that was great to see.” — Jazmine O.
Taking all that time to lick away at their meals really mellowed our pets out.
“While I didn't use these mats specifically for helping with anxiety, using these mats during mealtime definitely calmed Miele down, held her attention and seemed to provide a way for her to expend the energy she would usually expend by repeatedly walking away from her meals to climb and play.” — Lauren H.
“This calmed Missy down quite a bit in the morning. The lick mats did seem to calm her down for longer than a standard chew. This is definitely an improvement.” — Erica G.
“Baby was extremely entertained while using the lick mat, and noticeably calmer and satisfied after using it.” — Jazmine O.
Since the IQ Treat Mats forced our pets to repeatedly and slowly lap up their meals, they kept our judges occupied throughout dinner.
“Even though I was using regular wet food and not treats, Miele was drawn to it immediately, without me having to direct her attention to it. She was definitely less distracted and less willing to step away from her food than usual.” — Lauren H.
“Princess was just incredibly happy when she saw the lick mats coming in while on bed rest. It definitely helped her fight off boredom in between naps.” — Erica G.
“Baby wasn't bored one bit whenever this mat was out.” — Jazmine O.
What Pets Loved: They’re Exciting To Eat Off!
The IQ Treat Mat made mealtime so fun for our dog and cat judges, and it seemed like licking their food off these mats made them extra happy.
“Miele seems to really enjoy eating her meals off these mats! I can't know for sure, but the patterns and grooves on the surface of the mats seemed to be really stimulating for her.” — Lauren H.
“Both Missy and Princess Pea get visibly excited when they see the mats come out of the freezer. They paw and stand up before sitting nicely for the lick mat time. The continual licking seems to visibly lift both of the pups’ moods.” — Erica G.
What Parents Loved: It Keeps Their Pets Busy!
Our pet parents love showering their BFFs in attention, but they just can’t do it all the time. That’s why it was so exciting to see the IQ Treat Mat really capture our judges’ attention.
“To my surprise, each time I spread her wet food on one of these mats and set it out for her, Miele showed immediate interest and began licking right away. She was very engaged while eating and noticeably less distracted and more calm.” — Lauren H.
“I also loved that you only needed to put a small amount of food on the mats in order for the dogs to work at it for quite some time. The mats keep Missy and Princess Pea occupied for at least 20 minutes.” — Erica G.
“It gave me a break from playing endless games of fetch to entertain Baby.” — Jazmine O.
Our pet parents were also impressed with the high quality of the mats, and noticed they held up well after lots of meals and a ton of licking.
“Baby can be a little rough when he gets into a playful mood, and even his licks will get aggressive. But the mat has held up so far, which is better than other toys and treat dispensers we've tried.” — Jazmine O.
“After a week of daily use, they look as brand-new as the day I unboxed them.” — Lauren H.
Plus, the IQ Treat Mat is extremely easy to clean, whether you’re using the dishwasher or cleaning it by hand.
“I was so happy to find that they're also super easy to wash by hand, since I don't have a dishwasher. The material of the mats is a flexible rubber that was very easy to clean despite the intricate raised patterns on the surface of it. Any residual food in the grooves of the mats slipped right off with warm water and soap.” — Lauren H.
“I thought it was easy to use and clean, so it isn't a burden to use the treat mats instead of a regular food bowl.” — Taylor N.
“They have been in the dishwasher with no issues.” — Erica G.
The quadrant design was a big hit with our pet parents, and they loved the cute colors the mats came in.
“The design of the lick mats themself are quite spectacular. The quadrants are helpful if I'm trying to eyeball calories.” — Erica G.
“I really like that the mats are lightweight and that they're compact but large enough to be divided into four quadrants for easy portioning.” — Lauren H.
“I think the colors and designs of the mats are cute.” — Taylor N.
One human tester was relieved the IQ Treat Mat didn’t smell bad, unlike some similar products.
“There was also no rubbery smell to them upon opening, which I know can be a problem sometimes with rubber or plastic products like these.” — Lauren H.
Each IQ Treat Mat only costs $7.95, which our pet parents thought was an amazing price for a lick mat that helped with speed-eating, anxiety and boredom.
The main issue our pet parents noticed is that the IQ Treat Mat isn’t the greatest at staying put while their pets are licking away, since it’s not as heavy as a traditional bowl.
“The mat tends to move around the floor when Baby is licking spreads off of it. I give it to him in the kitchen since that's the designated ‘treat zone,’ but he sometimes winds up partially in the living room.” — Jazmine O.
“They tend to slide around a tiny bit on the floor. If you have an especially aggressive eater, you'd probably need to reinforce it somehow to stop it from slipping or being flipped over.” — Lauren H.
“The mats don't stick very well to the floor, leaving my dogs chasing them around. Missy always got a bit frustrated when the mat would slip away from her, but I think it's good for her to problem solve.” — Erica G.
And while our human judges were impressed with how the IQ Treat Mat was holding up after so much use, some of our pet parents worried that their pets could destroy it if they really tried to.
“If my dogs wanted to, they could definitely tear the mats up with little effort. It would be difficult to leave the lick mat in a kennel or crate with a dog who loves to chew.” — Erica G.
“I do wish that the material was a bit sturdier, maybe more like a plastic instead of rubber. Though I always supervised the cats while they ate off of it, Faye was pretty quickly able to bite through and try eating the product. While most cats probably wouldn't try to eat the mat, if you happen to have a crazy cat like Faye who will eat anything she can get her mouth on, definitely beware of that.” — Taylor N.
And if your pet’s favorite food is a bit chunkier, it might be best to go for the Entertain design, which has bigger spaces to accommodate foods with different textures.
Despite these issues, all of our human judges would gladly recommend the IQ Treat Mat to other pet parents — but if your pet’s a heavy chewer, you should definitely take that into consideration before buying.
Our Takeaway: It Solves So Many Problems!
Whether your pet struggles with anxiety, boredom, speed-eating or all three, the IQ Treat Mats for dogs and cats have got you covered.
We’re so impressed that they were able to slow down our pets during mealtime and actually calm them down in the process.
The Dodo may receive complimentary samples to test in our Paw of Approval program, but all our opinions are 100 percent our own. We only publish endorsements of products we (and our dogs and cats) absolutely love! You can find out more about our testing process here.
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