Acana Heritage Dog Food (Canada) receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Acana Heritage product line includes nine dry recipes.
Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.
The following is a list of Canadian recipes available at the time of this review.
- Acana Heritage Senior Dog
- Acana Heritage Light and Fit
- Acana Heritage Sport and Agility
- Acana Heritage Puppy and Junior
- Acana Heritage Adult Large Breed
- Acana Heritage Adult Small Breed
- Acana Heritage Puppy Small Breed
- Acana Heritage Puppy Large Breed
- Acana Heritage Cobb Chicken and Greens (4.5 stars)
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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||35%||19%||38%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||39%||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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.
Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.
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.
We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.
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.
We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.
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.
However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.
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
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩