Acana Heritage Dog Food | Canada (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Acana Heritage Dog Food (Canada) receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Acana Heritage product line includes nine dry recipes.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Acana Heritage Senior Dog [U]
  • Acana Heritage Light and Fit [U]
  • Acana Heritage Sport and Agility [U]
  • Acana Heritage Puppy and Junior [U]
  • Acana Heritage Adult Large Breed [U]
  • Acana Heritage Adult Small Breed [U]
  • Acana Heritage Puppy Small Breed [U]
  • Acana Heritage Puppy Large Breed [U]
  • Acana Heritage Cobb Chicken and Greens (4.5 stars) [U]

Acana Heritage Adult Small Breed was selected to represent others in the line for this review.

Acana Heritage Adult Small Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 35% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Fresh chicken meat (12%), chicken meal (12%), turkey meal (12%), red lentils, whole green peas, field beans, chicken fat (5%), fresh chicken giblets (liver, heart, kidney) (4%), herring meal (4%), fresh whole eggs (4%), fresh whole flounder (4%), herring oil (2%), sun-cured alfalfa (2%), green lentils (2%), whole yellow peas, pea fiber, fresh chicken cartilage (1%), dried brown kelp, fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole butternut squash, fresh whole parsnips, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh mustard greens, fresh turnip greens, fresh whole carrots, fresh red delicious apples, fresh bartlett pears, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, fresh whole cranberries, fresh whole blueberries, chicory root, turmeric, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rose hips, Enterococcus faecium, supplements: zinc chelate, vitamin E (preservative)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.7%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis31%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis35%19%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%39%31%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 39% | Carbs = 31%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fourth ingredient includes red lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

The fifth ingredient includes green peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

The sixth ingredient includes beans, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

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

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

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

The eighth ingredient includes giblets (liver, heart, kidney), the edible by-products of poultry slaughter. This item can include the gizzard, brain, lungs, kidneys, heart, spleen, liver, ovaries and other visceral organs.

Though the thought of eating an animal’s internal organs probably wouldn’t appeal to most humans, these grisly-sounding ingredients can all be considered a natural part of an authentic ancestral diet.

Giblets are an acceptable (although less costly) meat ingredient.

The ninth ingredient is herring 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

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 six notable exceptions

First, we find 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, we note the use of green lentils and yellow peas. Both are quality sources of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

Next, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

Additionally, this food includes chicory root. Chicory 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.

And lastly, this food contains one chelated mineral, a mineral that has been chemically attached to protein. This makes it easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Acana Heritage Dog Food (Canada)
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Acana Heritage (Canada) looks like an above-average dry product.

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 35%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

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 effect of the lentils, peas, beans and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Acana Heritage (Canada) is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of chicken and turkey meals 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.

Those looking for a grain-free version of the same brand may wish to visit our review of Acana Grain Free dry dog food.

Acana Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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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.

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

04/26/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Raider4Life

    I’ve eaten a lot of dog food. Gawd, they’re all pretty bad.

  • Diane

    I am done with this food

  • Diane

    I didn’t know Champion was involved with this food. My dogs have diarrhea from the Heritage Meats I am returning it an will never give it to them again

  • Cathy Koh

    I can read a little bit of traditional Chinese so it’s not a problem for me. No offense

  • Cathy Koh

    Nice to know your dog is doing great on Acana! Mine too but we use regionals

  • sharron

    hi – had to take lexee to the vet today due to the same issues when she was on orijen, constant licking, scooting etc – my vet told me to put her back on RC

  • Jessica

    There is a a bag of dry dog food from Acana for small breed

  • sharron

    finally i have Lexee eating the Acana Small Breed – no wet mixed in

  • tosetti18

    Still feeding Farmina and couldn’t be more impressed!

  • Pete

    I never blindly pour dog food into my dogs bowls. Our French Mastiffs get measured amounts of this and raw so its easy to see any foreign objects. Anything too small to see would probably pass straight through a dog. Only issue could be if it was sharp like glass but if I found an 8 inch piece of plastic I wouldn’t be too concerned my dog might eat it. But it is near impossible to guarantee to keep everything clean and clear from foreign objects especially when ingredient’s come from so many suppliers. You can only do your best and sometimes your best isn’t good enough.

  • Dareen

    hi, I was giving my Coton de Tulear Orijen puppy food but his stool was always too loose so I changed gradually to Acana Heritage for puppies and juniors and his stool got better but his eyes started tearing and it is getting worse *I only give him dry food and nothing else. I guess this food is not good for small Bichon breeds.

  • Karen Carlton-Shields

    Good afternoon – we have been buying the Acana Sport & Agility in South Africa for our 4 beagles for a few years now, based on the excellent review on this site. Recently however we have noticed that oats is now included as the second ingredient on the packaging, so clearly the recipe has changed. How would this impact on the rating for this product?

  • tosetti18

    wow that’s tuff, but I’m sure there is something out there. good luck

  • theBCnut

    He’s sensitive to all bird ingredients, all grains, tomato, flax, and alfalfa, which means more than 99.9% of all dog foods are off limits to him. Acana Singles Pork and Butternut Squash was the only kibble that I have found that he doesn’t react to, that is until they changed the formula at their Kentucky plant. Now he can’t even have that. I have a lead on another food that might work, but I haven’t finished checking it out yet. He does well on a homemade diet, but I’m not always home and the family needs something easy to feed him.

  • tosetti18

    Not sure what your dog is allergic to, but farmina has another line of food called “Pumpkin” it doesn’t have potato in it & its cheaper then the other grain free formula. Its only available so far via farmina.com/us but they offer free shipping over $49!

  • tosetti18

    Absolutely! Just clarifying that I’m not crazy and that they are full of B.S.

  • theBCnut

    I agree! I hope you got that my comment was sarcasm, since teleportation is fiction.

  • theBCnut

    I wish my allergy dog could eat Farmina.

  • tosetti18

    Officially switched to Farmina’s natural and delicious. I couldn’t be happier. Its a much better quality food made in Italy. Goodbye to Champion for many reasons. Don’t care for the new formulas or smaller bags/Pricing and their lack of responsibility.

  • sharron

    thanks a bunch!!!

  • theBCnut

    You can change every meal if you like. Or after every bag. I change my dog’s dry every few days, but their raw portion is different every meal.

  • sharron

    i have all the acana formulas that lexee is eating without any issues – wondering how often can i change from one formula to the next…thanks

  • tosetti18

    The plastic was covered in a dried substance. It clearly went through some sort of processing. The fact that they can’t take responsibility leaves a bad taste. If this was an isolated incident its one thing. But its not. Others have reported finding foreign objects aswell. Not very pleased with them.

  • theBCnut

    I emailed them recently about a specific problem and they sent me back a generic email about how the changes in their formulation were all improvements and please email again if I had any other concerns. Why would I email again if they never touched on my first concern.

    Oh and of course, someone must have teleported the piece of plastic into the sealed bag. It couldn’t have happened at their plant.

  • tosetti18

    Acana sent a coupon to replace the food. They did have me send in the plastic piece for investigation. They just wrote back to me today…They had no out of ordinary incidents on paperwork from the day the batch was made. They couldn’t figure out what it was or where it came from. and assure me that they have safety measures in place to prevent foreign objects from getting into the food. Well then wtf happened in my case. I call B.S. I think I’m going to give timberwolf horizons a try for now. Will wait to see if champion can pull it together or if more incidents like mine occur. Time Will Tell.

  • tosetti18

    Called acana today. I expressed my concerns and they are sending a coupon to replace the food and are also sending a prepaid envelope for me to send them the plastic so they can do an investigation as to what happened. Guess we will see whats to come from them in the future. I still remain skeptical for now. This was my second bag of food from the Kentucky plant. The first one was the chicken formula.

  • theBCnut

    It looks like their new factory is coming to pieces.

  • laura tosetti

    Yes I did, Still waiting for a response. I will update as to what they say. I’m so disappointed I really put my trust into champion.

  • Cannoli

    That’s sad to hear. Have you contacted Orijen?

  • laura tosetti

    Beware of Acana Heritage. Just found an 8″ Piece of Plastic in the food! What else is getting into the food???? I have always trusted champion pet food for my dog and cat. I am so disappointed. being that mine is not an isolated incident I think acana need to think about a recall. Have our pets been eating plastic?

  • laura tosetti

    I just found an 8″ piece of plastic in my heritage freshwater fish formula! Think acana needs to do a recall!!!!

  • Janice Davidson

    Diamond has a very bad rep and I think I read there’s a class action law suit against them as well….http://www.diamondpetfoodssettlement.com/

  • Muldypup

    Any source on that, or just conjecture from distributors/vendors? Because as far as I’m aware, the new “Heritage” line that is listed here is the Canadian-exclusive (just as the old formulas were, which were also NEVER available stateside), and the US version of “Heritage”, which is currently available, is only the 3 SKUs provided in the link I posted earlier.

  • Cookie

    The old is great but I think it’s wonderful that they’re using that great agriculture around Kentucky. The best in the US from what I’ve studied (and that’s hard to admit as someone from Washington state!) They’re employing a lot of locals as well as keeping to a regional view and I think it’s awesome!

  • Cookie

    I think the confusion is just that it’s not officially available everywhere YET.

  • Cookie

    I’m not sure where you read that but they’re definitely gonna be available in the US (I work in pet store retail in WA)

  • ch2856
  • sandy

    TOTW is Taste of the Wild, a Diamond Pet Food brand.

  • Jay

    Reginald, what brand is TOTW?

  • Taunia A

    Glad someone else caught that…what do you feed??

  • Reginald Allen

    Yes! I’ve returned all bags. I am going to give TOTW a try. My dog was doing great on the Acana sweet potato Burbank,sadly it has been discontinued

  • Jay

    I just bought my first bag of Acana Heritage and found plastic pieces in the kibble. Has anyone else come across this? I usually buy Orijen but wanted to give my girl a switch.

  • Jack

    I can’t speak for these formulas but I will be trying out the new Heritage formulas for the US. Got trial bags of all three flavors. The protein, fat, and carb percentage is right where I want it to be. I’ve never been unhappy with the results of Acana products so fingers crossed this food works out.

  • dad

    Oh, also the 25lb bag cost me $54….

  • dad

    I have been using Acana Heritage Meat. It has been available for a few weeks. I switched cold turkey and no issues. There are no chicken ingredients, not even chicken fat. Palability is incredible.

  • Alex Woodman

    The King of Splitters is back in action. No less than 6 forms of legumes. There is a sucker born every minute…..

  • Mustafa Bin Amar

    Thanks a lot for this update..

    http://dogshoponnet.com/

  • Muldypup

    If I’m understanding this right, none of the above formulas will be made in the new Dogstar/Kentucky plant and will not be available in the US. The stateside version of the product can be found here: http://acana.com/our-foods/heritage/?lang=usa

  • All of Champion’s foods list the actual percentage of every ingredient, in all languages except English (okay, until it gets down to the teeny tiny numbers).

    There’s some weird legal reason they can’t do it in English, though maybe you can in the US and you’ll start seeing it as Kentucky starts shipping out their food.

    Also, alfalfa is a legume as well. Just to pick a little nit.

  • malrescueSATX

    Love Acana. Have total faith that it’s of the greatest quality, but loved the old and don’t like change that much.