Is buying a ready made snuffle mat worth the expense?
Short answer is no.
We want to keep an enriched environment and introduce fun activities for our dogs. We have some wildly different breeds and we felt that some might like snuffle mats more than others. We wanted to have something that would be novel and exciting, but last longer than five seconds unlike a plush squeaky toys. We bought a fairly inexpensive snuffle mat. We repurposed an old rag rug. We also tried an old towel.
High Hopes for the Snuffle Mat
The snuffle mat has a grip to the bottom, and different ways to hide the treats. I thought it was capable of holding up if the activity was closely supervised. I liked how the felt "grass" could flip either way. I loved how it was machine washable, but even a machine wash would cause wear.
Repurposing Rag Rugs
If you know me, you know I love an opportunity to reduce, reuse and upcycle. Our new rag rugs are inexpensive when we buy them. We use them as a cushiony bedding material for indoor enclosures. They usually end up as a toy being chewed on and roughed up. Once the rugs have cloth sticking out of the rug all over, it would be a perfect snuffle mat. We could tie up treats and kibble for the dogs to separate the cloth. We could hide treats between the layers of fabric. After the snuffle mat is toast and too worn for use, we don't have to feel bad because its life has already seen two usages.
This is also the more cost effective choice compared to the purchased snuffle mat.
The similarly economic choice is just to roll up kibble and treats in a towel and tie it in a knot. Although the set up would be the easiest, I did not think this option would be durable enough for my dogs. A single knot and some fabric being the only barriers did not seem like it would be a fun enough activity.
There is no good reason to go out and buy a snuffle mat if you are not afraid of giving up your old towels. The towel and rag rug were both great options. The dogs were interested for just over twenty minutes. The wear on the towel and rag rug was not significantly more than the purchased snuffle mat. I don't see a good enough reason to pay for snuffle mats.