Let’s face facts here, feeding time for dogs can be a very messy affair. Whilst your pooch is digging into their food, a lot of it can end up outside the bowl. Dog food and water are not good news for a sensitive floor surface and a waterproof dog mat is a great way to protect it. To help you find the best food mat for your dog, we’ve tested and reviewed dozens of options and come up with list of the 10 best dog food mats around. Check it out to find the mat that will best suit your four-legged friend.
Best Dog Food Mat Buying Guide & FAQ
Why Your Pet Needs a Dog Food Mat
Feeding your dog in the same place every mealtime helps them to establish a routine. It is best to reserve a quiet spot that is just for them to prevent them becoming territorial about food. Water must be available at the feeding station and water bowls must be continually topped up.
This is potentially a very messy situation! Even if your pooch is a neat eater (many of them are not) there will inevitably be accidents where the water bowl is tipped, and contents spilled all over the floor. Some floor surfaces, such as laminate and wooden floors, will not stand up well to constant exposure to water and moist food. You are likely to end up with a marked and stained surface that may even warp or twist.
A dog bowl mat will provide a barrier between the mess and your floor surface.
Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Dog Mat
There is plenty of variety amongst the dog feeding mats on the market. When you are starting out it can be baffling so here are some key features that you may want your choice of mat to have.
- Robust and waterproof material
The dog bowl mat must form a waterproof barrier between the food and the floor, so it needs to be made of a material such as silicone or rubber. If it is made of fabric, check that it has a waterproof backing. The safety of the material is crucial so only choose mats made from food grade material to ensure that they will not cause harm if your pooch chews or licks it. A non-slippery material will stop bowls from skidding off the mat and stop the waterproof dog mat from sliding across your floor.
- Easy to clean after use
The mat is going to need regular cleaning to keep it looking and smelling good. It must be easy to wipe down or rinse off at the sink. For a deeper clean that requires less effort on your part, you may prefer to pop it in the dishwasher or washing machine. It is important to note that not all mats are suitable for this, so check the manufacturers recommendations for cleaning.
- Appropriate size
This will depend on the size of your pooch. The idea is for both the food and the water bowl to fit on the mat at the same time and allow space for comfortable feeding. The larger your dog, the larger mat that will be needed to contain the spillages and slops.
- Colour and design choice
Dog placemats come in a variety of shapes but the most popular are rectangular or bone shaped. To add some more interest, they may be embossed with paw or bone shapes which also stop bowls from slipping off. Raised edges add rigidity and stop water leaking off the side. Rectangular mats fit snugly against walls. Colour is a personal choice, some owners prefer bright, vibrant colours whilst others prefer a plain grey or black.
Types of Dog Food Mat Available
Dog feeding mats are available in range of different designs and materials. Here are the most common:
- Plastic feeding trays
These are rigid flat surfaces that do not bend when you pick them up so it’s easy to carry them to the sink even if a lot of water has been spilled. They have high lips of over an inch around all of the edges of a dog food tray. They cannot be folded or bent over and usually are not dishwasher proof. However, they are both light weight and durable.
- Silicone feeding mats
Silicone is a useful material for pet feeding mats because it is totally safe and non-allergic. By choosing an FDA approved food-grade silicone you know it will not harm your pet if it is chewed or licked. Silicone mats are often flexible which helps with cleaning and they are dishwasher safe.
However, they will bend if you try to pick them up and this can lead to the contents being tipped over the floor which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place! There is usually a small lip around the edge of a about a quarter of an inch.
- Non-slip feeding mats
A dog bowl mat needs to prevent feeding bowls from skidding off them and needs to stay still during feeding times. A silicone or a rubber dog mat will stay in place. Some mats have ridges or bumps on the upper surface and these are great for keeping bowls in situ.
- Fabric feeding mats
Fabric feeding mats need to be rubber backed if they are going to successfully stop moisture from reaching the floor. Some dog placemats are made from micro fibres which are super absorbent and will soak up nearly a whole bowl of water. The advantage of these mats is that they can be cleaned in a washing machine on a cold wash. There is also a huge choice of attractive patterns and colours.
- Personalised feeding mats
For that personal touch, you are able to add your pooch’s name to some plastic placemats just in case anyone was in any doubt who it belonged to! They are available in a variety of different designs and colours and are made from a range of materials.
Q: How can I keep my pet’s feeding area clean?
A: Dirty bowls and dog placemats can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and moulds that can hurt your pet and even make you ill. Microorganisms thrive in moist conditions so try to clean up spillages as soon as possible with a paper towel.
After every meal, the feeding bowl should be removed and food debris cleared away. Food bowls can be cleaned out with a designated sponge and warm water with a mild detergent. Dish washing is another good option. Don’t forget the water bowl! These are often just topped up but that will not remove food debris and pathogens. Once a day, empty it out completely and give it a good clean.
Q: How often should I clean my dog’s food mat?
A: Dog food mats can become stained and mouldy if they are not cleaned regularly. After every meal time, the mat will need to be wiped down with a damp cloth and all food debris needs to be removed. This will help to prevent staining, smells and bacterial build up. It will also help to deter insects and pests from the feeding area. Then, once every few days, lift the mat and give it a deep clean. This could be in a dishwasher or washing machine if the material is suitable or it could be a good soak in mild detergent in your sink. Thoroughly dry the mat before you place it back down on the floor to prevent damage to the floor surface.
Q: What size mat should I get for my dog?
A: Many plastic placemats are available in at least two sizes. The size of mat you need is usually dictated by the size of bowls that you use. It makes sense for both the water and food bowls to be placed on the same mat. There needs to be enough space to prevent them knocking into each other. If the bowls hang over the edge of the mat, spillages will not be caught inside the lip and will end up on the floor. Some dogs are very messy eaters and will need a lot of space around the bowl.
Bear in mind that bowls need to be large enough to allow your dog to comfortably open and close their mouth to eat. As your puppy grows you are going to need a bigger bowl and hence a bigger mat. A Great Dane is going to need a bigger mat than a miniature poodle! Ideally, you don’t want the mat to protrude into a walkway in your house where it could be a trip hazard.