Is the Snak Shak safe?

The Snak Shak claims to be an “edible, hideaway” for small pets, like guinea pigs. But there has been some confusion on whether or not it is safe for guinea pigs. The two biggest areas of concern are the use of sawdust and honey.

Sawdust

Sawdust should never be used for guinea pig bedding because it is breathed easily into their nose and causes respiratory issues. The Snak Shak is compressed wood. There is no danger of it being breathed into their lungs. Besides, if they were to chew on a wooden hidey, when they grind that in their strong teeth, it turns into…you guessed it: sawdust.

Side note: I have reached out to eCOTRITION to see if they will share what type of wood they use, but have not received a response. I will update this article if I hear back.

Honey

Honey is not a natural part of a guinea pig’s diet and food that contains it should be avoided. In the case of the Snak Shak, it is what holds the wood together. Similar to how molasses works in some pellets. 

Added colors

I try to avoid added colors in a guinea pig diet. It hasn’t been scientifically proven, but some believe that added colors could be a contributing factor in stone formation. 

The verdict

The Snak Shak should not be used as food or a treat, but it is safe to occasionally nibble. It’s great to use as a hay holder and should last you several years. If your guinea pigs are more interested in the Shak than the hay inside and start to actually eat it, remove the Snak Shak from their cage.

This is the conclusion I’ve come through from my own research and recommended by the world’s largest guinea pig rescue. As with anything, do your own research and make your own decision about what is best for your guinea pigs.

Make it make sense

If you decide that the Snak Shak is considered unsafe, the rest of your cage’s contents should be evaluated against the same standards. Plastic hideys, if eaten, are not safe. Oxbow pellets & vitamin C cookies, and other top brands, contain molasses. Fleece could have fluff that your guinea pig chews and consumes. Even wooden hideys don’t always disclose what type of wood it is made out of.

Learn more about guinea pigs:

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