9 Frozen Lick Mat Recipes to Keep Your Dog Busy and Cool

The Ruly Bully participates in affiliate programs for brands we believe in, like Amazon & Chewy.  Through these programs, we may earn commissions on qualifying purchases you make on their website. This is at no additional cost to you and helps us! We only recommend items and services that we have personally used for extended periods, so you can be sure our opinions are our own. Thanks for your support! Please refer to our Privacy Policy for more information.

Lick mats are a fantastic option when it comes to providing dogs with food-based enrichment. They keep our furry friends mentally and physically engaged, all while being incredibly cost-effective and requiring minimal effort on our part. These frozen lick mat recipes can also be an excellent enrichment solution for dogs who may not be as inclined to play, as they encourage some movement and help burn off excess energy much better than the non-frozen variety.

Lick mats are typically rubber or silicone mats with textures that allow for food or treats to be worked into the mat. There are many different varieties, colors, and manufacturers, but they all share the same goal of helping to entertain your pup with food for some time. Frozen lick mat recipes allow for long-lasting entertainment and can help your pup cool down if they played too hard like our Goomba does all the time!

Image of Goomba & Prim using lick mats

Why we (& our dogs) love lick mats

We generally work from home, but there are still times when we aren’t able to interact with our dogs as much as we would like. Whether it’s due to a call, working out, or other engagements, it’s nice to have a few different options to entertain your pup that don’t require us.

A question we often hear is “Do lick mats tire dogs out?” There’s a common misconception that if your dog isn’t sprinting after a toy they can’t be tired out. Food-based enrichment is different than physical activity for your dog, working their mind and body at the same time. Depending on the season, you can make frozen lick mat recipes or use one of a variety of other recipes from our beginner’s guide to lick mats to keep your pup engaged and entertained without you.

The best part? We can adjust the frozen lick mat recipes to match what is best for our pups. Whether you have a dog who is a potato and can’t have a ton of calories or a dog with food restrictions, there’s an easy recipe for everyone!

We tailor ours to match our pups’ activity levels. Essentially, the more active they are, the more calories they are allowed to consume (in this case, on their lick mats). Depending on your food preferences, you may even have a lot of the ingredients already, such as berries, bananas, or peanut butter!

We used lick mats frequently during Goomba’s recovery from CCL surgery, too. Goomba had a lot of mobility restrictions during this period, so lick mats were one of the few of our normal enrichment options we could use that he enjoyed.

Frozen enrichment for dogs or any similar food-based enrichment such as snuffle mats or stuffed hollow bones are fantastic ways to help crate train your dog, too! Crate training is easy, and even if you don’t use it often, is a great tool to have for your pup.

Our 3 favorite lick mats for dogs

Our favorite lick mats for dogs

Most lick mats function similarly enough that there isn’t a whole lot of difference in function, but there are a few features we recommend looking for when you purchase one to use for frozen lick mat recipes. The most important is that the material is safe for your pup, so being free of BPAs is a great place to start. We also like to make sure that the mat has some version of a lip on the outside to help contain any liquids before they freeze. This will help prevent your unfrozen lick mat recipes from ending up on your kitchen floor.

As a personal preference, we like lick mats that have a lot of crevices or angles in them, since they make it more challenging for your pup. If you want to be able to put yours in the dishwasher or microwave, that’s important, as well. Our personal favorites are the LickiMat Buddy Tough and the Frisco Lick Mat. They’re both cheap and durable and work great for frozen lick mat recipes due to the crevices and lip on the sides. We also have a Messy Mutts lick mat that we’ve been using for a long time but it has seen better days.

We find that the LickiMat Buddy (basic version) tends to last a little longer as well, but the basic version doesn’t allow for dishwasher cleaning. We prefer the LickiMat Buddy Tough, as you get all the benefits of the basic version plus the ability to dishwash them. The Frisco Lick Mat does allow for dishwashing, is made of silicone, and still lasts a long time. We like (and use) all 3 consistently and any of these options are great lick mats.

If you’re looking, for a different style, we have you covered with a few other affordable options! The LickiMat Wobble is a great way to extend the duration of your lick mat, especially if you combine it with frozen lick mat recipes. It wobbles around while your pup is using it and is dishwasher-safe! The LickiMat UFO is perfect for bath time. It has suction cups and a large outside edge which keeps even the messiest pups from getting the floor dirty.

If you’re into Disney-branded items, Frisco (Chewy’s brand) also offers a host of Disney & Star Wars lick mats. Your pup won’t care, but it could be fun to have a photo of your dog licking away at Darth Vader’s face.

How to make a frozen lick mat for your dog

How to make frozen lick mats for dogs

Frozen lick mat recipes are easy and quick to make, besides waiting for the food to freeze. If the food is not liquid to start, you’ll mash, blend, or otherwise make it closer to a paste. If the mixture is still too solid, combine it with another food or water to help make it easier to work around the mat. We find that a silicone spatula works best for this.

A blender makes this entire process quick, but even if you don’t have one (we don’t generally use ours), it’s quick and easy. We’ll point out which recipes need water or other ingredients to make them easy to work into the mat.

We recommend moving the lick mat to the freezer on a cutting board or another rigid surface for any of our frozen lick mat recipes. This will reduce your risk of spilling until the lick mat freezes.

How long to freeze a lick mat varies, but we recommend 2 hours as a starting point. Most frozen lick mat recipes will freeze within this time.

Our favorite frozen lick mat recipes for dogs

Here are some of our favorite frozen lick mat recipes that our dogs love! Most of these will be relatively cheap and lower calorie, but we’ll point out the ones that aren’t!

Applesauce

Frozen lick mat recipes - Applesauce

One of our favorite frozen dog lick mat ideas is to use applesauce. Grab an unsweetened, low-sugar applesauce and make a 1:1 mixture with water. For us, we used 1/4 cup of water and applesauce for our LickiMat Buddy, since it’s a little smaller than some other mats. Pour the mixture over the mat, spread by tilting the mat or using a spatula/knife, then place in the freezer! This one is fun for pups who love apples.

This recipe freezes relatively quickly and is extremely cheap. It’s also a lower-calorie recipe as long as your applesauce isn’t sweetened. Make sure to keep an eye out for xylitol or other alternative sugars as they are extremely toxic to dogs!

Peanut Butter & “Jelly”

Frozen lick mat recipes - Peanut butter & berry

Disclaimer: we’re using berries, not jelly. Grab a no-sugar (or low-sugar) peanut butter and make a 1:8 mixture with water. We used approximately 1 tbsp of peanut butter for every 1/2 cup of water. We recommend mixing this one in a blender or with a mixer, but it’s still possible without one. Toss in a handful of blueberries or strawberries and then blend it well. Alternatively, you can place some mashed berries on the mat once the peanut butter mixture is poured onto it. We used frozen berries, because we had them on hand at home, and it turned out great!

This recipe is a hit with our pups since it uses peanut butter. It’s also a bit more calories due to the peanut butter, but you can always use less if your pup is on a calorie-restricted diet. As with the applesauce, make sure to keep an eye out for alternative sugars as some can be extremely toxic to dogs!

If you’re looking for ways to help your dog be more active, especially in the winter months, check out our favorite indoor exercise for dogs. Even our little potato, Prim, runs around the house willingly and it’s a great way to make your life a little easier, too.

Sweet potato

Frozen lick mat recipes - sweet potato mix

One of our dogs’ favorite healthy snacks is sweet potatoes, which are conveniently a great option to put on a lick mat! All you’ll need to do is combine cooked sweet potato with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. You can bake, microwave, or otherwise cook the sweet potato for this recipe. We typically wash and poke some holes in a sweet potato and microwave it for 6-8 minutes to “bake” it. Once you have the cooked sweet potato, combine a small portion (less than 2 ounces – or the amount that fits into the palm of your hand) with water until it becomes a slurry. This is a bit easier with a blender, but still possible without one.

This recipe is good for calorie-restricted dogs or dogs with sensitive stomachs since sweet potato typically doesn’t upset the stomach. Our pups love sweet potatoes so much, that they come running when they hear us cutting anything on a cutting board, in case it might be sweet potatoes for them!

Banana

Using bananas for frozen lick mat recipes can be a bit hit or miss, depending on your dog. For us, Prim loves them, but Goomba will not touch them. If your dog likes bananas, this is a perfect recipe for a summer day. It’s sweet, easy to combine, and cheap. Combine half a banana with 1/4 cup of water and mash or blend it. Pour the banana/water mixture over the lick mat and spread it by tilting or using a spatula/knife.

Frozen lick mat recipes - Banana mix

This is a recipe that can get higher calories quickly, but it’s easy to scale down the amount of banana if you need to. If you want, combining banana with peanut butter can get your dog pretty excited, but is extremely calorie-dense unless you dilute it. Prim loves the combination, but we don’t use it too often so she doesn’t get too heavy.

Chicken Broth

Frozen lick mat recipes - Chicken broth mix

A chicken broth and water mixture is perfect if you’re looking for low-calorie frozen lick mat recipes! The only issue here is the sodium, so try to use the lowest sodium broth you can find. We find that a 1:1 mixture is good for a lick mat, but it’s easy to adjust if you want less sodium. A tiny amount of broth adds a good bit of flavor to entice our pups!

This is one of the cheapest and easiest lick mats on this list. We use an organic low-sodium option is usually around $2 at Walmart and you can get a bunch of lick mats from one container. Word of caution: make sure that the broth you purchase doesn’t have any ingredients in it that may be dangerous for dogs!

We find that the broth helps with some other less exciting foods, if you need a little extra flavor to keep your pup interested in a lick mat.

Pumpkin pie

Frozen lick mat recipes - Pumpkin pie

As you could guess, this is one of the higher-calorie frozen lick mat recipes. We call it pumpkin pie, but it contains pumpkin puree and cream cheese. Goomba can be a bit picky with fruits and vegetables, but this is by far his favorite. It’s easy to make and perfect for fall days!

All you have to do is take some pumpkin puree (the only ingredient should be pumpkin) and mix it with a small amount of cream cheese. We used 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, less than 1 tbsp of cream cheese, and a little water to help everything mix better. If you’re having difficulty mixing it due to the cream cheese, let the cream cheese warm up a little and it will be much easier to stir in.

Pour the mixture into a lick mat and spread it by tilting the mat or smearing it with a spatula/knife. This is one of our most used frozen lick mat recipes and one of our pups’ favorites! We generally provide these higher-calorie lick mats to our pups after they use our homemade flirt pole (one of Prim’s favorite activities) or otherwise burn a lot of energy.

Berry blast

Frozen lick mat recipes - Berry Blast

This is one of our favorite frozen lick mat recipes because it smells (and looks) like a berry popsicle! This works best for pups who like berries or similar fruit, so make sure your pup likes whatever type of berry you’re using before making a lick mat. We used strawberries and blueberries since Prim loves both! Goomba has no interest in berries at all, so your success will vary depending on your dog’s personal preference.

We used 3 strawberries, a handful of blueberries, and 1/2 cup of water. This recipe is easier in a blender and looks like some smoothies humans eat after it’s blended! Any dog-safe berries work perfectly for this recipe! It’s a lower-calorie recipe, but higher in sugar due to the berries. It’s always fun to watch Prim work on frozen lick mat recipes like this one!

Wet dog food

Frozen lick mat recipes - Wet dog food

Wet dog foods can make a fantastic base for frozen lick mat recipes, especially if you dilute it with water. This is a great option if you have a pup on an ingredient- or calorie-restricted diet since you can use the food they would normally get. This was Goomba’s second favorite recipe on this list, after the pumpkin pie one!

Typically, we recommend adding some extra water to help spread the wet food around and working it into the mat with a silicone spatula. Once you’ve spread it out, plop it in the freezer to solidify. Both of our pups love wet food, so they’re always extra motivated for frozen lick mat recipes like this one.

This is one of our favorite recommendations for pups on a calorie-restricted diet since you’re using their normal food. Using a lick mat instead of a bowl makes their mealtime double as an enrichment activity.

Dog food slurry

Frozen lick mat recipes - Dog food slurry

If you have a food-motivated dog, a simple frozen lick mat recipe you can try is mixing dog food and water. For us, Prim is more than content with this recipe and it helps keep her from gaining too much weight. All you’ll have to do for this one is soak some kibble in water so that it gets enlarged and soft, then pour the water and kibble mixture onto your mat. You can hold back some water if there is too much left after soaking. We recommend breaking up the kibble with a fork or spatula to spread it out better.

This recipe may seem a little boring, but it is a great option for pups on a diet. Give them some of their daily kibble on a mat and they will think they’re getting extra treats!

Full disclaimer: Goomba doesn’t like this recipe and waits for something better to come along, but Prim loves it!

Conclusion

Lick mats are a fantastic way to keep your dog entertained, even if you have a dog who doesn’t like to play. Our favorite lick mats are the LickiMat Buddy Tough, due to the price, design, and ability to wash them in a dishwasher! The Frisco Lick Mats are a great option if you prefer Chewy, want 2 mats, or prefer themed lick mats. Both are great, and we use all of the options we have regularly.

We love using lick mats, especially with frozen lick mat recipes, anytime our pups could use entertained or cooled off. Goomba’s favorite is pumpkin pie while Primmie loves peanut butter & “jelly”!

What are your favorite frozen lick mat recipes? Do you have others that we didn’t list? Our pups would love to try them out! Share photos of your favorite frozen lick mat recipes (and dogs!) with us on Instagram by tagging @therulybully.

Have fun!

    Lincoln Schaefer

    Hi, I’m Lincoln!  I’m the owner & primary writer here at The Ruly Bully!  My wife and I have two dogs, Goomba & Prim, and a host of other critters in our home.  Feel free to send a message!  We love to hear your stories, too.

    Recent Posts