Sunday, October 5, 2014

Product Review: All Living Things Cookie Treats

Long-time readers know we've reviewed some bad products and given them 1-star reviews. Sometimes, we don't realize right away that it's a bad product, and other times, it's pretty obvious upfront that we're dealing with a bad product. In the past, the humans have purchased some products that they suspected might be bad a few times just to give us something to review. In retrospect, this seems like a waste of that money stuff that they care so much about, so we came up with a new idea: Why not just have our humans take pictures of suspected bad products at the pet store, which we can then research further to determine if they're actually bad? This way, the humans save their money for stuff we can actually use and appreciate, and we're not supporting companies who put out bad guinea pig products. (If our initial hunch turns out to be wrong and there's nothing wrong with them, we can always get them later on.)

Our first suspected bad product that we're going to use this method on is: All Living Things Cookie Treats. These treats are designed to look like human junk food, and come in at least two varieties that we saw:

I can see why the humans thought we probably couldn't eat these.
I wonder if those things have little fortunes inside. Since they're a suspected-bad product, we'll probably never find out.
Let's take a look at what's in these things:
Ingredient list #1.
Ingredient list #2.
Here are the ingredients listed in these things, along with our notes where applicable:
  • Added color (FD&C) - Guinea pigs should not eat artificial colors.
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Corn starch - The diet expert at and Guinea Lynx state that: "Corn products (including corn bran, corn germ, corn gluten, ground corn, etc. There is no legal definition of 'corn' alone in animal feed, so it may be any combination of products. Corn is not a normal feed for cavies, may contribute to allergies, and can be high in fat and certain sugars/starch depending on the product. Additionally, some corn is contaminated with deadly aflatoxin which can cause liver failure and death.)"
  • Dried Egg Powder - Guinea pigs are herbivores and shouldn't be fed egg.
  • Maltodextrin
  • Mixed Tocopherols (preservative) - We suspected at first that all the preservatives in this things were probably bad, although they might not be as bad as we initially thought. The diet expert at says: "Not all preservatives are bad. The bad preservatives are ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT and there is one other one I can't think of offhand at the moment. These are the potentially cancer causing preservatives that need to be avoided. The others are not harmful and thus ok."
  • Oatmeal - We've read some concerns that too much oatmeal could swell in the digestive tract and cause blockages, although we've also heard that some vets have recommended oatmeal. Oatmeal might be fine in small dosages, although we'd like to see more information before making a recommendation one way or the other.
  • Palm Oil - Not only is this high in fat, but it may have negative environmental impacts
  • Peanut Butter - Guinea pigs should not be given processed foods like this, especially those high in fat.
  • Potassium sorbate (preservative) - There are some health concerns associated with this preservative.
  • Salt - According to the diet expert, "Too much salt or minerals in a pigs diet only cause problems later on down the road."
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Sodium Erythorbate (a preservative) - See previous note on preservatives.
  • Soy Flour
  • Sucrose - Sucrose is sugar, and guinea pigs shouldn't have too much sugar
  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
As we suspected, All Living Things Cookie Treats are full of bad and questionable ingredients, so it gets 1/5 stars.


  1. In Sweden oatmeal is actually recommended for guinea pigs that need to put on weight, but it should swell in water overnight. Since it is hard to find good quality pellets here humans often feed oats or barley instead, although we have heard that too much grains make guinea pigs fat.We by far prefer our Oxbow pellets though. If you would like to find out how piggies live in Scandinavia, check out our blog! Best regards your huge fans, the three little piggies (that's our Swedish blog name)

    1. I'm glad to see that we have fans all over the globe! I noticed that the title of your blog seems to be very similar to the word for "guinea pig" in Icelandic ("naggrís", which means "gnawing pig"). Does "Tresmågrisar" mean "three gnawing pigs"? :-)

      Thanks for the information on oatmeal. We checked out your blog, and it's pretty cool! We may borrow an idea or two for future posts if you don't mind. :-)

    2. The Swedish word for guinea pig is actually "marsvin" which comes from the German "meerschweinchen" which litterally means "small seapig". The names is derived from the fact that guinea pigs were first sent from overseas (South America), coming in shiploads to Europe. Originally they were meant for food but Europeans never really got into eating guinea pigs (luckily!) and started keeping them as pets instead.

      We would be honoured if you got some ideas from our blod, more piggie owners need to get information on how to care for their pets! but please link to our blog if you get an idea from us :)

      Also we have seen that you sometimes have guest posts on your blog. If you would like us to write a guest post for you we would be more than happy to! We would be very interested in writing about what it is like to live as a guinea pig in Sweden.

      Best regards from Lakrits, Vanilj and Kola (by the way our names mean Liquorice, Vanilla and Toffee)

    3. We'll definitely link to your blog if we use one of your ideas. Also, we think the idea of a guest post about guinea pigs in Sweden is a great idea! We previously had a guest post from Palestine, which was a fascinating read. (I hope we'll learn if guinea pigs can eat lingonberries from your guest post. They look so red and tasty!) Just email us with your guest post at when you get a chance to write it.

  2. We got sent a couple of those before we started to read your blog. our human put one in our cage, but we didn't care. Our human persisted. We nibbled, but that was it. Then she gave up and they're currently deep in the house somewhere. (or in the deep trash)
    Ashley & Wendy
    P.S. Our owner was about two weeks into the guinea pig owner experience, so she didn't realize that they were bad.

    1. Your owner shouldn't feel bad, then. Nobody starts out knowing everything there is to know about guinea pigs. The ones who we think are really at fault are the manufacturers who make these bad products, and the pet stores who are willing to stock them. Oxbow has an an advisory board "of leading exotic veterinarians, research scientists, animal nutritionists and veterinary technicians", and this shows in the quality of their products. You generally don't find those kinds of unhealthy ingredients in Oxbow products. However, if you're a new guinea pig owner and you walk into the pet store, how are you supposed to know that Oxbow is a better brand than All Living Things? We think it would be great if the same process that Oxbow uses to determine what does and doesn't belong in their products was also used to determine what does and does not belong in the guinea pig aisle of the pet store.