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Are grain-free foods really bad for my pet?

2019-07-19T09:36:02-06:00

In July of 2018, the FDA announced that they are researching a link between grain-free diets and DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy), a form of canine heart disease.  They released another report which provided an update this past June which reiterated that they “had begun investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods, many labeled as “grain-free,” which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals).”

It’s natural to worry when reading such information. The health of our beloved pets is of paramount importance to all of us. It’s also easy to be confused when such a statement is released. One factor to consider about the recent FDA alert is that there is still a large amount of unknown information at this time and a limited amount of information to back up their initial findings.

FDA Updated Report

This report is still in its early stages and thus far has reached no conclusion. “The FDA is continuing to investigate and gather more information in an effort to identify whether there is a specific dietary link to the development of DCM and will provide updates to the public as information develops.”

What is DCM?

According to www.vetmed.wsu.edu, Dilated Cardiomyopathy “is a disease of the heart muscle that results in weakened contractions and poor pumping ability. As the disease progresses the heart chambers become enlarged, one or more valves may leak, and signs of congestive heart failure develop. The cause of DCM is unclear in most cases, but certain breeds appear to have an inherited predisposition. Large breeds of dogs are most often affected, although DCM also occurs in some smaller breeds such as cocker spaniels. Occasionally, DCM-like heart muscle dysfunction develops secondary to an identifiable cause such as a toxin or an infection. In contrast to people, heart muscle dysfunction in dogs and cats is almost never the result of chronic coronary artery disease (“heart attacks”).”

Between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019 the FDA received 515 reports about canines and 9 reports about felines.

Product Testing

One important factor of DCM and recent testing is the link between DCM and taurine deficiency in our pets. What is taurine? Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid important in the metabolism of fats. It is important to note that the FDA has not drawn a conclusion on whether or not there is a connection between taurine deficiency and DCM.

Taurine Deficiency Link

Before July 2018, the FDA had already begun testing on grain-free products as well as products that contain grain. The items were all tested for protein, fat, moisture, crude fiber, total dietary fiber, soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, total starch, resistant starch, cystine, methionine, and taurine. The results during dry testing were similar between grain-free and grain products. The FDA is currently doing further testing.

All of the grain free diets in the Activa pet food line are either supplemented with additional taurine or naturally contain significant amounts of taurine. We are aware of the recent alert issued by the FDA regarding the occurrence of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain types of commercial dry dog food. At this point in time the exact reason this is happening is unclear however if you believe your dog is affected see your veterinarian immediately. If your dog is fine but are still concerned, additional taurine as well as carnitine, another nutrient involved in heart health, can be added to the dog’s diet via the Activa Custom pet food system in all Pet’s Barn stores using the Heart Health dog food enrichment. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you aware of any new information when it is released.

Are grain-free foods really bad for my pet?2019-07-19T09:36:02-06:00

Summer Pet Food Blues

2019-06-27T10:25:36-06:00

Have you ever noticed that during the summer months your pet food is lasting longer? Your dogs and cats seem uninterested or bored with their normal diet?

Don’t worry! This is completely normal. Pet owners everywhere agree on this and there are a few reasons for it.

In the summer, we typically are less active. Due to the higher temperatures, outdoor activity is simply limited for safety and for comfort. When this happens, appetite is decreased and therefore food consumption decreases as well.

Our pets are no different. The heat that accompanies the summer discourages our four-legged friends from playing and running for longer periods of time than they may be used to thus reducing the calories they burn.

Seeing our pet’s appetite decrease can be worrisome. But during the summer, this is something that requires a bit of patience. While it might be our first instinct to assume that our pet doesn’t like the food we are currently feeding them, the answer is not to change it immediately.

This is something you should keep an eye on. It is likely that your pet is simply not hungry. However, if eating stops completely, we recommend trying out a different protein source that might help pique their interest. Keep in mind, that if your pet has significantly decreased their eating habits but still has high levels of energy as well as proper water consumption they are perfectly fine. In the hot summer months, the most crucial part of feeding our pets is ensuring that they have cool water available at all times throughout the day. 

How Do I Feed My Pets In The Summer?

Pet Summer Feeding Tips

It is generally not recommended to significantly reduce the amount you feed your pets during the summer. But also keep in mind that lighter, fresher meals that reduce fat proteins may be helpful when trying to encourage eating. In terms of Activa Custom Pet Food, we would recommend lowering the percentage of oils you enhance their food with and trying out less fatty protein sources like our Duck and Rabbit formulas.

Another trick that is successful for many is changing mealtime. When it’s hot out, we don’t want to eat a big meal in the afternoon when temperatures are at their highest and neither do our pets. Try feeding them during cooler times in the day such as the early morning or later in the evening.

Ensure that there is a cool and plentiful supply of water for your pets throughout the day. It is of paramount importance that our pets are properly hydrated!

Summer Pet Food Blues2019-06-27T10:25:36-06:00

What Makes Activa Dog Food Special?

2019-02-21T12:54:12-06:00

For over a decade, we have been manufacturing and producing Activa Pet Food in El Paso, Texas. Within that decade, we have worked vigorously to refine and provide the highest quality of pet food. So the big question is what makes Activa Pet Food so special? Below we have outlined a few different things that set us apart from other competitors. It is our highest priority to craft an excellent pet food that your pets and wallets will love!

Made in Texas!

All Activa pet foods are made right here in Texas using ingredients sourced in the United States. Many foods make their food in the USA but their ingredients come from plants all across the globe. So even if they are made here, the meat, fat or vitamins could have come from any country, including China. China being the focus of many food recalls over the past few years.

Fresher Foods

Being locally produced also has it benefits. The less time a dog food spends in a warehouse or truck the better. Activa is made every week and is shipped to the stores on a weekly basis. A fresher food means fewer breakdowns of nutrients, allowing your dog to get all of the health benefits from all ingredients in the food.

Since dogs are attracted to food by smell and not taste, having fresher food makes it more appealing to dogs. Dogs are more likely to eat Activa food because it has spent less time in distribution, losing nutrients and becoming stale. 

The Food

Activa Original Formulas

More Info

Activa No Corn Formulas

More Info

Activa Grain Free Formulas

More Info
Both 4.5lb & 15lb bags are always offered at a buy 2 get 1 free deal!
For customers who purchase our 15LB size bags – we have our POP (proof of purchase) rewards program! With every 15LB bag PURCHASED, customers receive one POP. For instance, customers receive two POP’s when they take advantage of our Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal because they only paid for 2 bags.
6 POPS = 1 FREE BAG OF ACTIVA!

Independently Owned

Since we are independently owned we are able to have superior quality control to ensure that all ingredients are of the highest quality. 

Because we get the food direct from our plant with no middle man, the savings are passed on to the customer. These savings allow us to offer the Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal every day of the week as well as our POP (proof of purchase) Refer-A-Paw programs.

The Activa Satisfaction Guarantee

We are so confident your pet will love their food we offer an Activa® satisfaction guarantee. If for whatever reason you or your pet is not completely satisfied with our food we ask you to bring the unused portion back to the store within 30 days and we will work to find the food that is perfect for your pet.

What Makes Activa Dog Food Special?2019-02-21T12:54:12-06:00

We Love Activa Custom!

2018-09-21T13:33:34-06:00

We love Activa Custom! We buy the no corn bags at Pet’s Barn and have always had a great experience customizing our dogs (& CAT) food. We enjoy having the option to mix up different proteins and flavors so our pets don’t get bored with their food. Seriously, it’s been a life saver. 👍

The picture is of our dog Elsa. She personally enjoys the Activa no corn rabbit protein with bacon flavor. We add in the hip and joint/ allergy supplements and coconut oil enrichment.

We Love Activa Custom!2018-09-21T13:33:34-06:00

Runny MESS

2019-02-06T15:27:13-06:00

Our little babies had digestive problems until we gave them No Corn / Digestive health / Large Breed. Thanks Petsbarn family..:) Testing

Runny MESS2019-02-06T15:27:13-06:00

Lifesaver

2018-08-03T09:32:42-06:00

At 2 years old Miley became very ill. They found scar tissue in her small intestine. They put her on prescribed dog food and basically said she would not improve without surgery. She hated the prescribed dog food so getting her to eat anything was a struggle. We were in town visiting and ran out of dog food so I purchased the Activa Duck meal. Both our corgis loved it! Happy to say they still love it and Miley is doing amazing. We never did the surgery and she is thriving.

Lifesaver2018-08-03T09:32:42-06:00

A messy situation

2018-07-16T08:03:52-06:00

Our 3 year old boxer Dio has suffered from what the veterinarian thinks is Colitis. Since he was a 1 year old pup, we have been woken up at least twice a month by “messy surprises” all over our house, as well as constant gas from our puppy. Then we noticed our poor Dio, who was weighing a steady 80 pounds, was starting to lose weight and have his rib cage poke thru, no matter how many cups of food we fed him.

We tried all types of food, from the original Purina, to the Pro Plan, and finally we found our way to Pet’s Barn. We tried Appetito, which worked well for a few months, but Dio’s Colitis came back with a vengeance. We started to realize his body was adjusting to the new food and no longer worked for him. We felt like there was nothing we could do for Dio, but we couldn’t give up. Being on a budget, but also wanting to help Dio, we went back to Pet’s Barn to inquire about a brand the vet recommended. It was rather pricey, but we decided we had to at least try it for the sake of Dio’s stomach. After speaking to one of the sales associates, we were informed that we should try the Activia Custom Blend before investing in the vet’s recommendation. We bought 3 bags, and customized it with the digestive probiotic as well as coconut oil.

We have been thru 7 bags since our journey and are proud to say Dio is looking healthier than ever, with no accidents! All our dogs love the new food, and we are so happy we could find something affordable that actually helps Dio.

A messy situation2018-07-16T08:03:52-06:00

Harper’s Journey

2018-07-11T14:54:00-06:00

I adopted my Chihuahua/Dachshund mix, Harper, almost two years ago. When I adopted Harper she was timid and shy but more importantly her coat was dull and she was underweight and was constantly sneezing. I immediately put Harper on Activa Grain Free formulas with the skin/coat and allergy supplements. In addition to those supplements, I also added coconut oil and grilled chicken flavoring. Harper immediately loved the food and seemed to eat with much more enthusiasm!
But the best part of all was that after just a month or so, I noticed a huge difference in her. Harper is now at a healthy weight and has a beautiful coat. Her shedding has decreased and she rarely sneezes.
Activa Custom pet food has been a miracle for my dog and I recommend it to everyone that I know! Since introducing this food, Harper now has the ability to be the fun, playful dog that she was meant to be without any of her previous setbacks. She will be on this food for life!

Harper’s Journey2018-07-11T14:54:00-06:00

My 3 Legged mutt

2018-07-11T14:50:00-06:00

Quasi is a unique dog he has 3 legs and due to his condition we always had to get him Glucosamine pills and treats. He is on his senior stage and he started to be less active due to his joints hurting. I started customizing his dog food with the senior supplement and the Hip and Joint, some coconut oils and his favorite bacon flavor. After a couple of weeks on the food he became more active and hi is back to running in the park and playing with his brothers and sisters. Customizing the food has helped him get a better quality of life and our Vet is happy with his progress.

My 3 Legged mutt2018-07-11T14:50:00-06:00

Benji’s Food Journey

2018-07-11T14:32:18-06:00

I had such a hard time finding Benjamin a food that he not only loved but that was good for him. He has arthritis and is an older dog so he is set in his ways. When we found the Enhancement Machine it was amazing not only can I add vegetables and glucosamine to his diet he loves eating it! The bacon flavor is his favorite! Thank you Pet’s Barn!

Benji’s Food Journey2018-07-11T14:32:18-06:00