Acana Classics | Canada (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Acana Classics Dog Food (Canada) receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Acana Classics product line includes 3 dry dog foods.

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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Acana Classics Wild Coast [A]
  • Acana Classics Classic Red [A]
  • Acana Classics Prairie Poultry [A]

Acana Classics Classic Red recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Acana Classics Classic Red

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 40%

Ingredients: Lamb meat meal (23%), steel-cut oats (22%), fresh angus beef (5%), fresh Yorkshire pork (5%), lamb fat (5%), whole red lentils, whole green peas, whole green lentils, raw grass-fed lamb (4%), whole oats, fresh beef liver (2%), pork meat meal (2%), herring oil (2%), fresh pork liver (2%), whole garbanzo beans, whole yellow peas, sun-cured alfalfa, lentil fiber, fresh beef tripe (1%), dried brown kelp, fresh pumpkin, fresh butternut squash, fresh parsnips, fresh green kale, fresh spinach, fresh carrots, fresh red delicious apples, fresh bartlett pears, freeze-dried beef liver (0.1%), fresh cranberries, fresh blueberries, chicory root, turmeric root, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rosehips, vitamin D3, vitamin E, choline chloride, zinc chelate, vitamin B5

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.7%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis29%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%19%40%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%39%33%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 39% | Carbs = 33%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The third ingredient is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef contains up to 73% 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 fourth ingredient is pork, another quality raw item inclusive of moisture.

The fifth ingredient is lamb fat. Lamb fat is obtained from rendering lamb, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

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

It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Red lentils
  • Green peas
  • Green lentils
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Yellow peas

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The next ingredient is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains up to 73% 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 ninth ingredient lists additional oats.

The tenth ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component. Although it is a quality item, raw organ meat contains up to 73% 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.

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 find 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.

Next, this recipe includes sun-cured 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.

In addition, 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.

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

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 Classics Dog Food (Canada)
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Acana Classics 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 33%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 40%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils, peas, garbanzo beans and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Acana Classics (Canada) is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

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.

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Notes and Updates

10/16/2017 Last Update