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An In-Depth look at Senior (Geriatric) Feeding

Having a senior dog or cat does not mean that your pet is close to the end of their life. As is true with humans, age is also a state of mind when it comes to our pets. Getting older in age does not necessarily mean that our pet is biologically old. All of this depends on factors like breed, genetics and overall health.

What to consider about your senior pet’s health

The proper nutrition and exercise is key to keeping your pet healthy, and can be a powerful tool in maintaining proper health as well as disease management and prevention. There is no perfect senior diet for pets simply because no two senior animals are alike. Becoming old is not an indicator of a change in the pet’s diet. For instance, most dogs at a certain age need a hip & joint or a skin and coat supplement to help them stay healthy and moving. Even a digestive supplement or a multivitamin can be added to promote a better working body. It all depends on the pet and their unique needs.

Common issues that senior animals face:

Low energy

Weight gain

Muscle loss

Low kidney function

Low immunity

Loss of appetite

Hair loss

Dental decay

Cataracts

Allergies 

Food Intolerances

Loss of mobility

Even if your pet has one or more of these, there is no base diet that contains all of the necessary ingredients to combat such issues. Adding the proper supplements that best suit your pet’s needs is key to have a well rounded diet for them.

What to ask yourself

How old is my pet?

The age of your pet is essential in determing whether they are a senior or not. By most standards, your pet is likely in the senior stage of their life between the ages of 7-10.

What breed is my pet?

Some breeds tend to have genetic issues. Investigating your pet’s breed (this includes mix breeds) can help you determine any supplements that might be needed to add to your pet’s diet.

What is my pet's activity level?

As pet’s become less active, they may require less protein. However, if your dog is 12 but is still quite active, reducing the protein in their diet might not be recommended.

Is my pet over/under weight?

Some pets tend to keep or lose weight once they are of senior age. Make sure your pet is close to the recommended weight according to their age and breed.

How are my pet's teeth?

Oral health is a very important part of digestion. This is especially true for domesticated pets due to their diets being dry. Knowing the condition of your pet’s oral health can also let you know what diet adjustments might suit them best.

How is my pet reacting to their diet?

Allergies and intolerances can increase with age and this can be due to a low immune system or just developments of old age. Keep an eye out for excessive scratching or itching as an indicator.

How is my pet's food intake?

Sometimes pets begin to eat less due to constipation which can easily be fixed with the addition of more fiber. When pets increase their intake of food but reduce their physical activity this can lead to obesity.

Does my pet have any illnesses?

A pet that already has a condition (diabetes, obesity, allergies, stones, etc…) might need to be fed a recommended diet that still mirrors their previous diet but contains some new adjustments.

How is my pet's skin & coat?

Loss of hair and coat condition can indicate a numerous amount of underlying issues with our pet. The skin is the largest organ in the body and needs to be well taken care of.

Make sure that your pet is up to date with their veterinarian. Ensuring that you have a clear picture of your pet’s health is essential in giving them the happiest and healthiest life possible!

Activa Custom Pet Food is the best senior formula available because supplementation can be adjusted as needed for your pet. Choose the right base, supplements and oils to guarantee that your pet will have a diet that meets every one of their unique needs!

An In-Depth look at Senior (Geriatric) Feeding2020-01-14T11:45:41-07:00

New Activa Original Formulas

Activa Original Turkey Formula

Turkey is packed full of great vitamins and nutrients! Turkey is not only low in calories but is a highly digestible protein which can make it a great choice for pets with digestive issues. With high levels of Tryptophan and Selenium, our new Original Turkey formula can also be great for immune support! 

We are so excited to announce the addition of two new formulas to our Activa Original line! Our Activa Original formulas are crafted to provide your pet with a variety of vitamins and nutrients to support a healthy lifestyle.

Activa Original Rabbit Formula

Rabbit is an excellent source of protein! As an exotic protein, Rabbit can be a great choice for pets with allergies or other food sensitivities. Rabbit is naturally high in protein which helps provide fuel for your pet’s muscular system and is also great for immune support.  Our new Original Rabbit formula is completely chicken free and made with canola oil. 

New Activa Original Formulas2019-10-22T11:03:48-06:00

Activa Custom Cat Foods

Everyone knows that Activa Custom is loved by dogs all over, but did you know that cats love it just as much? Let’s take a closer look at our cat-specific supplements as well as all of the benefits that cats can receive from eating Activa Custom.

A cat is a naturally finicky animal, which includes their diets as well.  At times they simply won’t like the food they’ve been eating for years, which is precisely why Customized Pet Food is perfect for our finicky furry feline friends.

Activa Cat Foods

The first step in customizing your cat’s Activa is to pick which formula best suits their needs. Whether it’s our Original or Grain-Free formula, you can rest assured that your cat is receiving the very best.

Activa Original Cat

Activa Original Cat

Activa Original Cat formula was crafted with essential vitamins and nutrients to support a healthy lifestyle for your cat. Our original formula contains chicken meal as the single protein source in addition to grain ingredients like corn and rice. With a 32% protein level and 15% fat content, this diet is appropriate for all life stages and will assist your cat in living a long, healthy life.

Activa Grain Free Cat

Activa Grain Free Cat

Activa® Grain Free Cat Food Formula is formulated with your cat’s natural carnivorous instincts in mind.  With ingredients such as chicken, salmon and turkey meal, the great flavors of these proteins along with healthy vegetables such as cranberries and flaxseed will help provide the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to support overall health.  Our 100% grain-free formula keeps the focus on our nutrient-rich ingredients by eliminating all grains and helps reduce the likelihood of common grain-related allergies a pet may develop over time.

Activa Cat Specific Supplements

When we started formulating supplements, we knew that we had to create cat-specific supplements that would target common issues that face our feline family members. Whether your cat is plagued by hairballs or urinary tract problems, we’ve got them covered!
With ingredients like sodium bisulfate and DL-methionine, our Urinary Tract Health supplement helps support healthy urinary tract health by providing necessary vitamins and minerals specific for tract health.
Our Indoor Cat supplement provides a great boost to your beloved cat’s health. This supplement has been specifically formulated to provide vitamins, minerals and nutrients for indoor cats.
Hairballs are hated all around. With our Hairball supplement, your cat’s digestive tract will be supported which will help to prevent hairballs.

Activa Additional Food Supplements

While we have three cat-specific supplements, there are also a large number of our other supplements that are great for your cat’s health and needs.

Activa Custom Cat Foods2019-10-21T16:00:27-06:00

A Look Into The Pet’s Barn Biscuit Bakery

Located in El Paso, Texas our Pet’s Barn biscuit bakery is where our pet’s favorite biscuits are made.

Throughout a business day, at least  7,500 biscuits are made daily! Whether your dog likes blueberry or bacon, we have a biscuit for them!

The History

Our gourmet dog treats are just a part of what Pet’s Barn is about. The story begins more than 50 years ago, when Dean Travis’s dad was managing a feed store in El Paso. Eventually, he became the owner of the store. Today, his son Dean owns and operates 22 Pet’s Barn stores in El Paso, San Antonio, and Las Cruces.

“This is very personal,” says Dean Travis. “This was my Dad’s business, now it’s mine, and my son Eric is running our pet food plant. We make it a point to buy every ingredient from U.S. farmers and producers… and we only use high-grade ingredients that we would want our own pets to eat.”

Fresh USA Origin Ingredients

It may surprise you to find out that our gourmet biscuits are comprised of human-grade commodities. If you ever get curious, try one yourself! They are perfectly safe for pet AND human consumption. The best part of making our own gourmet dog treats is that we can ensure your pets receive them nice and fresh! Biscuits are on the Pet’s Barn shelves within days from coming out of the Pet’s Barn Bakery oven.

Meet Our Head Biscuit Baker!

Some would call our head baker, Bobby Ladday a dog’s best friend. Bobby has been the head baker for Pet’s Barn for the past 9 years.

Bobby makes thousands of fresh, delicious biscuits every day and is passionate about bringing the very best treats to dogs all over! Although, if Bobby had to choose, he’d recommend our Blueberry, Maple or Mint biscuits!

The Life of a Fresh Baked Biscuit

Our head biscuit baker Bobby carefully weighs out every ingredient according to our top secret biscuit recipes.  Once mixes all of the flours, scrumptious flavors and other ingredients Bobby places all ingredients into our industrial mixer and starts mixing.

Once the ingredients have bonded to become a dough, they are placed in our biscuit creation machine.  This machine is where the magic happens.  The dough will be wrapped around the biscuit dough mold, that securely holds in it place until it is ready to be pressed into one of our many biscuit shapes.

At the flip of a switch, the conveyor belt will start to turn and the dough will start to be pressed into a rotary mold of the biscuit shape we are making.  These rotary molding shapes each cost up to $6,000 to have manufactured, and are created specifically for our very own machine.

 

Once the biscuits are pressed onto the mold, they stick onto the conveyor belt which will meet up with our baking tray at the bottom of the belt.  Each tray will travel down a series of rollers until they are placed onto our baking racks ready for the oven.

Each size of biscuit is baked at a specific temperature and time to ensure the are perfect every time.  Once finished, we allow our biscuits to dry and cool for 24 hours to make sure all moisture is gone from our biscuits.  This step will help prevent mold and allows us to have a longer shelf life without adding preservatives.

After a strict quality control check, our biscuits are stored in our refrigerated biscuit storage room ready to be sent out to our retail stores within a week of being baked.

Fun Facts!

Our dog biscuit baking equipment was once used to make dog biscuits for Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Dean Travis stopped into a boutique dog biscuit shop while attending a conference in Orlando, where he started chatting with the owner. She was baking dog biscuit products for Disney World… but was ready to get out of the business.

With a handshake, and within a few days her commercial baking gear was on a truck headed to El Paso and Pet’s Barn was producing its first Gourmet Dog Biscuits.

A Look Into The Pet’s Barn Biscuit Bakery2019-09-25T14:03:05-06:00

A Deeper Dive Into Rotational Feeding 

We have all heard it before. “Don’t ever switch your pet’s food!” “This is a diet for life.” “Stick to this food and don’t look back!” Unfortunately, this is a common myth that we have been told over and over again. In this blog posting, we are going to explore rotational feeding and the benefits that can accompany this method.

What is Rotational Feeding?

Essentially, rotational feeding is about introducing diversity into your pet’s diet. This means that you don’t stick to the same food for every single meal. For instance, one of the most common methods is to change the protein source (chicken, duck, lamb, etc..) of your pet’s food.

What are the cons to feeding the same diet every day?

One of the biggest cons to feeding the exact same food constantly is that the risk for food sensitivity and/or allergy increases. Food sensitivities can be responsible for a vast amount of ailments in our furry loved ones. When a pet has a food sensitivity, this can manifest in the form of eye discharge, raw paws from excessive licking, overall dry and itchy skin and an upset digestive system. Essentially, the longer you feed a specific diet to your pet the more likely they are to develop an allergy or sensitivity to one or more of the ingredients in that diet.

What are the benefits of rotational feeding? 

In reference to what was mentioned above, perhaps the largest benefit is that rotational feeding will condition your pet to be able to handle multiple proteins. Not only will your pet be accustomed to a much more diverse meal plan, but their risk of food sensitivity and allergy significantly decreases.
In addition, you are making mealtime for your pets much more enjoyable! Think about it in terms of humans. If we ate turkey every single day, we would eventually grow to be extremely tired of turkey. By feeding different protein sources, you are strengthening the GI Tract of your pet while giving them a delicious variety

How do I begin rotational feeding? 

Starting your pet has never been easier, especially with our full Activa Pet Food lines. Keeping foods that are similar in their formula but that offer multiple protein sources makes the process much more streamlined. We would recommend a gradual 4-step transition plan. 

Step 1

25% New Food

Step 2

50% New Food

Step 3

75% New Food

Step 4

100% New Food
Changing your pet’s diet is not dangerous like the many myths we have heard. You just want to make sure that you do it safely. Drastic and sudden changes in our pet’s diet can cause upset stomachs and issues like vomiting and diarrhea.

Now finally, you may be asking, how often should I be changing their protein source? That is completely up to you and also based on your pet. One of the more common timelines is to change their food every 3-4 months. However, we do have many customers that will feed their pet’s different protein sources for every meal. Rotational feeding is becoming more and more popular, and the science behind it is only growing. We recommend trying it out and we are certain that your pet’s body, appetite and taste buds will thank you for it!

A Deeper Dive Into Rotational Feeding 2019-08-23T13:49:42-06:00

Are grain-free foods really bad for my pet?

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

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 sets Activa Custom Pet Food apart from the competition?

So the big question is why….

  • Why should you try out our one-of-a-kind pet food process?
  • Why would it benefit my pet?
  • Why should I spend more $ on customizing?
  • Why can’t you customize other pet foods?

You have asked a bunch of questions, and we’ve heard each and every one of them.

We wanted to answer the most important question first, why should I customize my pet’s food?

Truly One-Of-A-Kind! 

Activa Custom is the only food on the market that can be tailored to meet your pet’s needs. For instance, if your pet struggles with digestion and has dull coat, we’ve got supplements for that. Is your cat struggling with hairballs? There’s a supplement for that.

Picky pet? We’ve got you covered!

With the addition of supplements, oils and flavor the palatability of the food is heightened. All of our supplements contain dried chicken liver which your pets will LOVE. A lot of customers have asked us why they can’t customize another brand of dog food. Simply put, our customization process was designed specifically for Activa. Also, we legally cannot tamper or alter the formulations of other pet food brands. Activa is made and manufactured by us, so we are able to add supplements, oils and flavoring to ensure that we are providing the best pet food!

Your wallet will thank us!

The cherry on top of Activa Custom Pet Food is that the customization process is FREE! You can select two supplements, multiple oils and one flavor at no additional cost.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Activa Pet Foods are 100% satisfaction guaranteed. We are so certain that your pets will love it that if they don’t, we will give you your money back!

So how does the process work?

The first step in our revolutionary, patented Activa Custom Pet Food process is selecting your base. If you have a dog, you can choose between our Original, No Corn, Grain-Free, Grain-Free High Protein or Grain-Free No Potato lines. If you have a cat, you can pick between our Original or Grain-Free High Protein formula.
Then, you start selecting your supplements, oils and flavor! This is the most important step in the process and what sets Activa Custom Pet Food apart from anything on the market. If you’re not sure what to choose, don’t worry! Our locations have certified barkistas to walk you through the process. After a brief consultation, we can make recommendations that will be a perfect match for your furry family member.

The next step in this process, is where we add in all of your selections!

After that, we all sit back and enjoy watching your completely unique blend of pet food mixed together.

Finally, all of the food gets placed back into our resealable bags and you are ready to take it home!

But don’t take our word for it…check out our Activa All-Star’s favorite blends!

Bell

What does Bell love?

Bell’s custom blend of Activa Custom is Grain Free Rabbit with the Hip & Joint and Skin & Coat supplements along with coconut oil and bacon flavoring!

Roz

Learn More About Roz

Roz’s custom blend of Activa Custom is Grain Free NP Oceanfish & Salmon with the Hip & Joint, Digestive and Veggie Blend supplements along with coconut oil and bacon or salmon flavoring!

Marlo

What does Marlo love?

Marlo’s custom blend of Activa Custom is Grain Free NP Chicken with the Hip & Joint supplement along with coconut oil and bacon flavoring!

Maximus

Learn More About Maximus

Maximus’s custom blend of Activa Custom is Original Chicken with the Bully Breed and Growth supplements along with grilled bacon flavoring!

What sets Activa Custom Pet Food apart from the competition?2019-04-02T10:21:27-06:00

What Makes Activa Dog Food Special?

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?2019-02-21T12:54:12-07:00

We Love Activa Custom!

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