Acana Heritage Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Acana Heritage Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Acana Heritage product line includes 7 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.

Use links below to compare price and package sizes at Amazon.

Acana Heritage Red Meat formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Acana Heritage Red Meat Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

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, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, zinc proteinate, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, 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 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 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.

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

The next two ingredients include beans and peas, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

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

The seventh ingredient 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.

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

  • Red lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Green peas
  • Green lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • 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.

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 three 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, 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 Heritage Dog Food
The Bottom Line

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

As a group, the brand 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%.

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.

Bottom line?

Acana Heritage 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.

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

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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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

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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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Notes and Updates

04/26/2018 Last Update

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