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Real User Experiences: Does the Lickin Layers Puzzle Toy by Nina Ottosson and Outward Hound Deliver?

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In a previous blog post I wrote about how much I loved licki mats. In a different blog post you might have seen that several of Nina Ottossons puzzle toys are on my list of favorite puzzle toys. So, it probably comes as no surprise that when I saw that Nina Ottosson had released a new puzzle-ized licki mat, I knew I HAD to get my paws on it.

I excitedly headed online, searched for Lickin Layers, tried to order it, and (im)patiently waited weeks and weeks for it to arrive. It was so popular that it was pretty much immediately on back order. Earlier this week it finally arrived. If you don’t like spoilers, skip ahead………. I am already in LOVE with it!

What is Lickin Layers by Nina Ottosson?

It is a dog toy that could be considered a puzzle toy, a slow feed bowl, or a hybrid of the two. It consists of three flat layers that are stacked on top of each other. Each layer is attached to a center point that allows them to spin in horizontal circles.

The layers are circular with a triangular piece missing from each one (like a piece of pizza). The piece of missing pizza from each layer allows your dog to spin the layers and sample food from the layers below.

Each layer has a different pattern in it that you can fill will canned dog food, kibble, peanut butter, or other spreadable and edible things your dog loves.

Why does my dog need a Lickin Layers by Nina Ottosson?

Because it’s awesome! If that does not convince you, there are some important and practical reasons why your dog may benefit from this puzzle toy.

Puzzle toys are a form of enrichment that can improve your dog’s quality of life. Enrichment consists of activities that your dog enjoys and come naturally to them. They allow your dog to perform species specific behaviors in an appropriate setting. Which in turn has many benefits for you and your dog:


      • Promotes behavioral diversity

      • Decreases the frequency of abnormal behavior

      • Keeps your dog out of trouble

      • Increases dogs’ ability to manage challenges and develop their problem-solving skills

      • Promotes the positive use of the environment

      • Gives your dog an outlet for their energy

      • Your dog can keep themselves busy without you needing to entertain them

      • They are fun for your dog!

    How would I use a Lickin Layers by Nina Ottosson?

    Using the Licking Layers toy is overall pretty simple. Just put something into it that your dog likes, and that fits into the grooves. I recommend something lickable whenever possible!

    If your dog has never eaten from a puzzle toy or can be a little nervous around new things I recommend taking it a little slow at first. Start by placing one of your dog’s favorite treats on the green layer and help them get it. Progressively make it more challenging each time they are successful, until they are comfortable eating out of it, and know how to spin it to get other food.

    As you can see in the two pictures below, Lickin Layers works with both wet/canned food and dry food/kibble.

    When would I use a Lickin Layers by Nina Ottosson?

    There are many practical times that you can give your dog the lickin layers puzzle toy.


        • At meal times you can feed your dog out of Lickin Layers instead of their bowl. This helps them get some extra physical and mental stimulation during their day. My dog, Dustin, only eats 1/4 cup of kibble at each meal and I felt like it was sufficient for making Licking Layers work by spacing it out on all three layers.

        • If you have determined that it is safe to do so, you can give your dog Lickin Layers when you leave them home alone so they have something to do.

        • When your dog is bored and looking for something to do Lickin Layers is a great solution.

        • If you have an important meeting or phone call coming up where you cannot be disturbed, proactively give your dog Lickin Layers. This gives them something to do while you’re busy.

        • Sometimes the weather prohibits appropriate outside exercise. Lickin Layers can be used as a supplement and help your dog release some of that pent-up energy inside.

      Pros of Lickin Layers:


          • Easy enough, almost any dog can do it

          • The spinning layers add a nice challenge when compared to a regular licki mat, while not becoming so difficult that it creates a lot of frustration for the dogs

          • Can be used with soft food or kibble

          • Easy to take apart and clean. I was worried about this one! But the designed thought ahead and you can just squeeze together the base to release the layers and clean them. This picture demonstrates the mechanism for easily separating the layers.

          • Appropriate for dogs of all ages and sizes

          • Fits a lot of food, and different types of food, which allows it to have many practical uses.

        Cons of Lickin Layers:


            • Does not come in multiple sizes

            • At $24.99 it feels a little expensive

            • I don’t believe it can go in the dishwasher


          I award Lickin Layers 5 stars. It is a puzzle toy that can improve the quality of life of dogs of all ages, sizes, and breed. And I also really like the practical applications it has for making dog owner’s lives easier too.






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