Nurturing Your Dog’s Digestive Harmony by Dr Elaine Cebuliak

The Benefits of Slow Feeders and Licky Mats

As dog owners, we strive to provide our furry companions with the best care possible, ensuring their overall well-being and happiness. One often overlooked aspect of canine health is the digestive system, a crucial component of your dog’s overall health. Introducing slow feeders and licky mats can be a game-changer in promoting a healthier digestive system and enhancing your dog’s overall mental and physical well-being.

Understanding the Parasympathetic Digestive System:

The parasympathetic nervous system plays a vital role in promoting relaxation and aiding digestion in dogs. Stress and anxiety can negatively impact this system, leading to digestive issues such as bloating, indigestion, and even behavioral problems. Calm feeding techniques, combined with the use of innovative tools like slow feeders and licky mats, can help activate the parasympathetic digestive system and create a positive eating experience for your canine companion.

The Benefits of Slow Feeders:

1. Preventing Bloat and Obesity:
   Slow feeders are designed to challenge your dog’s natural foraging instincts, preventing them from consuming their meals too quickly. Rapid eating can contribute to conditions like bloat and obesity, which are harmful to your dog’s health. Slow feeders encourage a slower, more deliberate approach to eating, promoting better digestion and reducing the risk of these health issues.

2. Mental Stimulation:
   Beyond their digestive benefits, slow feeders provide mental stimulation for your dog. By requiring your pup to work for their food, these devices engage their cognitive abilities and keep them entertained, reducing stress and anxiety.

3. Enhanced Physical Health:
   The deliberate pace encouraged by slow feeders promotes better chewing, aiding in dental health. Additionally, the increased duration of the feeding process helps regulate blood sugar levels and can even contribute to weight management.

Introducing Licky Mats:

Licky mats are another innovative tool that can revolutionise your dog’s mealtime experience. These textured mats are designed to hold your dog’s favourite spreadable treats, providing an engaging and calming activity.

1. Reducing Anxiety:
   Licky mats are an excellent way to calm an anxious or stressed dog. The repetitive licking motion required to extract the treats from the mat triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

2. Extended Periods of Enjoyment:
   These mats extend the time your dog spends on a pleasurable activity, helping to distract them from external stressors. The prolonged licking also stimulates the production of saliva, which aids in digestion and overall oral health.

Calm Feeding Techniques:

1. Create a Quiet Environment:
   Designate a calm and quiet space for your dog’s meals. Avoid feeding them in high-traffic areas or places with excessive noise that could contribute to stress during mealtime.

2. Implement a Routine:
   Dogs thrive on routine, and a consistent feeding schedule can help create a sense of security. Feed your dog at the same times each day to establish a predictable routine.

3. Encourage Positive Associations:
   Use positive reinforcement techniques during mealtime, such as praising your dog for calm behaviour or offering small treats as rewards. This helps create positive associations with the act of eating.


Incorporating slow feeders and licky mats into your dog’s routine can transform mealtime into a positive, enriching experience. By promoting a calm environment and engaging their natural instincts, these tools contribute to a healthier parasympathetic digestive system, reducing the risk of digestive issues and enhancing your dog’s overall well-being. Embrace these innovative solutions to make mealtime a joyful and healthful occasion for your beloved canine companion.

Book an appointment at:

Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Dr Elaine is a highly experienced holistic vet and pioneer of Animal Wellness in Brisbane. She also assists with many charitable projects in Australia and in Bali.

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