Our third product was the now world-famous LickiMat®. By now, the third generation OH Bowl®s were being designed with an increasing focus on oral hygiene, and we were keenly looking at other applications to improve oral hygiene and well-being. Our vets kept talking about how much cats soothe themselves by constant licking, and we noticed Rubi, our Great Dane, coming back from Doggie Hotel with blisters on her feet from excessive licking caused by separation anxiety. We put 2 and 2 together and started to test whether dogs could be tempted into licking something else to reduce their anxiety and couldn’t go past peanut butter and yogurt for dogs and tuna oil for cats. A regular bowl wouldn’t work, as it would take no time to empty, so our wonderful chief designer did her magic and we started with a few prototypes and they were all successful from the get go!
As we started our product testing with friends and family, we started getting feedback that the best time to use a LickiMat® was just before leaving home. This way the dog (the original testing was mainly with dogs) was kept busy whilst the owner left but more importantly in some ways, the owner felt less anxious leaving the dog behind knowing it was having a healthy treat and would be busy for quite a while. By magic, we discovered that a less anxious dog means a less anxious parent or owner! This was definitely a lightbulb moment.
We focussed on the mission to train the pet’s brain that your leaving home was a time for fun and pleasure, not stress and unhappiness. For the pet - and the owner!
As more friends started trying the LickiMat® we started getting feedback that cats were enjoying not just their treats but also their meals on the LickiMat® - no whisker stress with an easy to clean surface. It turned out that cats loved the LickiMat® just as much as dogs!