Acana Regionals Grain-Free (Dry)

Share

Rating: ★★★★★

Acana Regionals Dog Food gets the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Acana Regionals product line includes four dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Acana Pacifica
  • Acana Grasslands
  • Acana Wild Prairie
  • Acana Ranchlands

Acana Grasslands was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Acana Grasslands

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 34% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 39%

Ingredients: Boneless lamb, lamb meal, duck meal, whitefish meal (wild-caught Alaskan cod, pollock and haddock), whole peas, red lentils, field beans, whole potato, boneless duck, whole eggs, boneless walleye, duck fat, herring oil, lamb liver, herring meal, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fibre, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach greens, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis31%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis34%19%39%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%39%33%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The third ingredient includes duck meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fourth ingredient is whitefish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The next two ingredients are peas and red lentils. Peas and lentils are quality sources of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas and lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient includes field beans, another fiber rich item with nutritional qualities similar to peas and lentils.

The eighth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The next ingredient is whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

After eggs, we find walleye, a freshwater fish native to the northern region of the United States and much of Canada.

The next ingredient is duck fat. Duck fat is obtained from rendering duck, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Duck fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, duck fat is actually a quality ingredient.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With five notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of dried alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

In addition, this recipe contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Next, we note the inclusion of herring oil. Herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Acana Regionals Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Acana Regionals looks like an above-average dry dog food.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 34%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 39%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas, lentils, field beans and dried alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Acana Regionals is a grain-free plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of various named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

07/18/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Dog_Obsessed

    Those are great foods, and your dog is adorable! At first I thought you literately meant wolf, until I saw the picture. :P

  • emilioaponte

    My little female wolf,Tequila, 13 years old- 3 1/2 pounds eats Orijen Regional Red, Acana Ranchlands, Acana Grasslands. Despite her 13 years she still a dangerous little wolf. I used to feed her Merrick and Blue, but the last 6 years she only eats Orijen and Acana.

  • DogFoodie

    I think there are a lot of great American made pet foods; to name just a few brands: Dr. Tim’s; Annamaet; WellPet; and Nature’s Variety.

  • Melinda

    Thanks, everyone. This info is most helfpful. Appears the American based (Merrick and Blue Buff) foods have less quality control, yet the ingredients are good. So many things to consider. Thanks again.

  • DogFoodie

    I agree. I wouldn’t feed Merrick myself either. Personally, I feel the company is shady.

  • DogFoodie

    I agree. I wouldn’t feed Merrick myself either. Personally, I feel the company is shady.

    Oops, meant to reply to Hater & Holly’s Mom.

  • Hater & Molly’s Mom

    The ingredients in Merrick look very good on paper. I would never trust feeding it. They have had way too many quality control issues.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Melissa has an answer below, but I just wanted to say that while Orijen, Merrick, and Acana are great foods, I wouldn’t recommend trying Blue Buffalo. They have had some quality control and mislabeling issues recently. This isn’t marked in the review because the reviews are only based off of ingredients and nutritional analysis, because that is what stays most consistent.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Melinda..I rotate 4 and 5 star foods with raw dehydrated etc. I personally do not worry about any one food’s carb content because I figure with the rotation it balances out eventually.

  • Melinda

    Hi,

    My GSD , 18 month old pup is currently eating Orijen. She also enjoyed Arcana grain free regionals, and Merrick grain free for awhile. Haven’t yet tried Blue Wilderness. I love this site but sometimes too much info is confusing. All of these are 5 star grain free, which is what I want. Other than taste, what are the differences? What is a healthy carb % for a dog with normal exercise? I don’t know what to do with all the numbers. I’ve heard from some that one brand should be used all the time. Others tell me variety is the spice of life. I’ not looking for answers to all of these but would love to hear from you. Thanks.. Melinda

  • Bucky Eads

    Hi Sharron, I am sure you have probably got your feeding routine under control for your dogs now, but in case you have not, here is what I do with my five. It works out fine for them. I feed twice a day, every 12 hours: 6AM and 6PM. They are ready for it too! Mine range in size from a 65 lb. senior lab to a 12 lb. Jack Russell terrier mix. I use the same scoop for all but for my lab, she gets a level scoop then the two JRT mixes split a scoop, with a little more going towards my larger one, the less going to the little girl. My terrier/peke and mini heeler split a scoop. Works out great for all. Once you get a good routine down for your dogs, it will be fine :) I also have two feral cat colonies on the same schedule. They are always sitting and waiting :)

  • tadbubs

    Excellent advice. Thanks BC