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Acana Dog Food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: June 4, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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Which Acana Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

Rating:
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Acana dry product range is made up of six recipes which each receive the Dog Food Advisor’s rating, 4.5 stars.

The table below shows each recipe in this range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profileGrowth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Acana Red Meat Recipe 4.5 A
Acana Freshwater Fish Blend 4.5 A
Acana Free-Run Poultry Recipe 4.5 A
Acana Puppy Recipe 4.5 A
Acana Rescue Care for Adopted Dogs Recipe 4.5 A
Acana Light and Fit Recipe 4.5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Acana Free-Run Poultry Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Acana Free-Run Poultry Formula

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

33%

Protein

19.3%

Fat

39.7%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, whole green peas, chicken liver, chicken fat, catfish meal, whole chickpeas, whole green lentils, whole yellow peas, lentil fiber, turkey giblets (liver, heart, gizzard), eggs, fish oil, natural chicken flavor, chicken heart, pea starch, salt, dried kelp, whole pumpkin, mixed tocopherols (preservative), zinc proteinate, calcium pantothenate, collard greens, whole apples, whole pears, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin, folic acid, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, copper proteinate, dried chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla, althea root, rose hips, juniper berries, citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 29% 17% NA
Dry Matter Basis 33% 19% 40%
Calorie Weighted Basis 28% 39% 33%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 second ingredient is turkey, another quality, raw item inclusive of water.

The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

It’s important to note that the next 6 out of 10 ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Green peas
  • Red lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Green lentils
  • 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 seventh ingredient in this food is chicken liver, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is catfish 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 Champion Petfoods product.

With 4 notable exceptions

First, we find 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.

Next, fish 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, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Acana Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 40%.

As a group, Acana features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Which means this Acana product line contains…

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 multiple legumes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Champion Petfoods Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Champion Petfoods through July 2024.

No recalls noted.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

Our Rating of Acana Dry Dog Food

Acana is a grain-free dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include so much plant-based protein in its recipe. Otherwise, we would have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.

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Highly Recommended

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor does not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

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