Acana Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.
The Acana product line includes the 7 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
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- Acana Paleo Formula [A]
- Acana Feast Formula [A]
- Acana Red Meat Formula [A]
- Acana Freshwater Fish Formula [A]
- Acana Free-Run Poultry Formula [A]
- Acana Puppy and Junior Formula [A]
- Acana Light and Fit Formula [M]
Acana Red Meat formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Acana Red Meat Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned beef, deboned pork, beef meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, whole green peas, pork meal, beef fat, whole green lentils, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, deboned lamb, pollock oil, lentil fiber, natural pork flavor, beef tripe, beef liver, beef kidney, pork liver, pork kidney, beef cartilage, salt, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, whole pumpkin, collard greens, carrots, whole apples, zinc proteinate, freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried pork liver, freeze-dried lamb liver, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rose hips, juniper berries, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||19%||40%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||39%||33%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is pork, another quality, raw item inclusive of water.
The third ingredient is beef meal. Beef meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh beef.
It’s important to note that the next 6 out of 8 ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
- Red lentils
- Pinto beans
- Green peas
- 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 pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The eighth ingredient is beef fat. Beef fat (or tallow) is most likely obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Although it may not sound very appetizing, beef 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 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, we note the use of pollock oil. 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 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 Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Acana Dog Food 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, Acana features an average protein content of 34% 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 55%.
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.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the multiple legumes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Acana is a grain-free dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.
Acana Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Acana. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
10/25/2019 Last Update