Acana Heritage Dog Food | USA (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

The Acana Heritage product line includes three 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.

  • Acana Heritage Heritage Meats [A]
  • Acana Heritage Freshwater Fish [A]
  • Acana Heritage Free-Run Poultry [A]

Acana Heritage Heritage Meats was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Acana Heritage Heritage Meats

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

Ingredients: Deboned beef, deboned pork, beef meal, whole green peas, red lentils, pinto beans, pork meal, beef fat, chickpeas, green lentils, whole yellow peas, deboned lamb, herring oil, sun-cured alfalfa, natural pork flavor, beef tripe, beef liver, beef kidney, pork liver, pork kidney, pork cartilage, lamb tripe, lamb liver, lamb kidney, dried kelp, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, carrots, apples, pears, freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried pork liver, freeze-dried lamb liver, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rose hips, juniper berries, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, 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 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 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 green peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

The sixth ingredient lists pinto beans, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

However, peas, lentils 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 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.

The ninth ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual 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 four notable exceptions

First, we find 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 actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, we also note the inclusion of 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.

In addition, 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 (USA)
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Acana Heritage (USA) 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 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.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the various legumes and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Acana Heritage (USA) is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats and meat meals 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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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.

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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.

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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

  • Renee Barone

    I too have been switching food around. I would love to put Maggie on a total raw diet but as far as we can tell raw beef gives her diarrhea. She can have a few bites but when I give her beef bones with meat and marrow that’s when it seems to happen. She eats raw chicken with no issues. I purchased Acana Appalacian ranch and she did very well on it. This next purchase will be the Regional ranch because of being $20 cheaper a bag. I’m weaning her from Solid Gold which I think is a great food it just has a lot of protein and she’s a year and a 1/2 old. I still top her food with raw chicken. I’m trying to do what’s best but it’s so hard to figure this stuff out. I was worried about all the peas and starchs like potatoes in pet food also rice on a regular basis.

  • Holl_socc

    You didn’t see the comments I saw before they were edited.

  • Holl_socc

    And how dare you shame me and say you feel bad for my pets when I obviously care for mine very well or I wouldn’t be feeding them what I feed. We still feed Acana and have had no issues!

  • Holl_socc

    She said herself that she wasn’t sure what was causing the issues. Wouldn’t you want to be 100% sure it was the food before you go bashing a product? There are many reasons a dog could have loose stools.

  • LoveFurBabies

    Welcome to the land of free speech! If a pet parent has any sort of feeling that a certain food is contributing to their pets well being, they have every right to share their concerns with others regardless of whether or not it makes a company look bad! How dare you cause a pet parent to question their intuition! Shame on you and I feel bad for any pets that you own.

  • RayK

    Been trying all kinds of kibble to find the one my GSD likes and Acana is the one he loves. Bigger kibble and he loves it. Seems to be sitting OK with him although he isn’t food sensitive. Some of these comments are a real concern to me and I’ll be watching Ranger closely.

  • Christina Lyons

    According to the ingredients list for this formula on the Acana website it does not list the sun cured alfalfa. It has lentil fiber in its place.

    Deboned beef, deboned pork, beef meal, whole green peas, red lentils, pinto beans, pork meal, beef fat, chickpeas, green lentils, whole yellow peas, deboned lamb, herring oil, lentil fiber, natural pork flavor, beef tripe, beef liver, beef kidney, pork liver, pork kidney, pork cartilage, lamb tripe, lamb liver, lamb kidney, dried kelp, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, carrots, apples, pears, freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried pork liver, freeze-dried lamb liver, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rose hips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product. SUPPLEMENTS: Zinc chelate. Vitamin E (preservative).

  • Sandra Forst

    I had my pugs on Solid Gold for years, but now that they’re seniors my vet suggested lower protein. I switched to Acana and it is lower priced and they love it. I have fed both the beef and the free range chicken with no problems whatsoever. I love this brand. My dogs get the equivalent of 1/2 cup per day and their coats and weights are great, although my black pug’s coat was shinier on the beef than it is on the chicken blend…I just lost one last month at 17 years old and my other three are 16, 12 and 10 years old…

  • Greg Sarkissian

    Hi Loki – I’m sorry to hear that. That’s crazy that Acana is not addressing any of this! I have my dogs on Fromm Grain Free now and they are doing great.

  • Loki

    This exact same thing happened to my dog (OES). 4 days in ER. We thought we were going to lose him.
    On boiled chicken/rice now & doing much better. I need to find a new food to transition him to.

  • Buddy Bollinger

    The metric system

  • Diane

    As you see below Deborah is having problems with her great danes and is looking for another brand.

  • Diane

    I edited it as I was unable to remove it. I am sure other dogs may do well on the food and as you know all dogs are different. Some foods just do not agree with all dogs.

  • Holl_socc

    Love this brand!

  • Holl_socc

    Please think about removing your comments about it making your dog sick. I think many have probably shyed away from this food after reading that. It’s not fair to this company. Unless you know for a fact that it’s a certain food, I wouldn’t put negative reviews up. I really hope your dog will be ok!

  • Diane

    Yes I am sure today I will be making chicken and rice another difficult decision to make because he is allergic to both but for upset stomachs that is what the vet recommends also. Thank you so much!

  • Shea

    You’re welcome. Sadie had a sample of Lamb and Lentil but didn’t like it either. Their other flavors are great though. Anyway, I don’t know much about Koha food. Yes that sounds like a good idea to help eliminate what’s causing the diarrhea. Have you tried just giving some boiled chicken and rice? I give this to the dogs if they have tumny upsets. Hope your pup gets well soon!

  • Diane

    Thank you Shea! He definitely needs a LID. He cannot have chicken, chicken fat, potatoes, peas, chickpeas. So that is why I bought the Koha. I was wondering if the Acana could be too rich for them as they are two small yorkies. I will give both of these foods one last try and see if I see any difference in him but if he vomits today or has diarrhea I will have to take him to the vet. Thank God he is drinking water!

  • Diane

    Yes I did transition slowly. My dogs did not like the Fromm I had bought the lamb and lentil and they just turned their nose up to it. I honestly think it is the wet food this time because they had not had any Acana in two days. The smell was so bad and he was so sick over night its been awful. I will try today just giving him a little of the Acana and no wet and see if that helps him. Thank you for your help.

  • Shea

    Sadie just had the one bag of Acana Heritage Meats. She seemed to like it okay and did well on it but didn’t like the large kibble pieces. I rotate Sadie so much on different brands that it doesnt bother her much but i do transition between brands. I wrote you on another post about transitioning slowly. Just mix a small amount with the old brand and keep giving more of the new brand within a few days. If it doesn’t work out, maybe this food might be too rich. It might not be the Koha since your dog was doing well on it for awhile. I would try taking it back to the pet store and exchanging if the diarrhea continues. You dog might need LID foods only.

  • Shea

    Sadie didn’t have trouble on Acana at all. This food was fine for her but it was her pickiness that stopped me from getting it again. She’s a small dog and she likes smaller kibble too and that’s why we changed back to Fromm. Anyway, did you transition your dog to this food slowly mixing in with the old food? Sometimes that can make your dog have an upset tummy. I would try again and give small amounts mixed with your old food. Adding pumpkin helps too. If it doesn’t work out, see if you can exchange it for something else at your pet store.

  • Diane

    Thank you Holl for your input. I am beginning to think it is the Koha wet food as that is all he has had for the past few days. I didn’t give him the Acana Heritage Meat. My poor dog is so sick right now I may have to take him to the vet today. I am not sure if he is allergic to peas and pea protein but I am going to try the Acana today later on and see how he does on it. I have several friends that use this food and have had no issues either. Thanks again for letting me know you have had no issues with the food.

  • Holl_socc

    I truly don’t think it’s the acana. I know so many who feed this with absolutely no issues including myself and my mother. As you can see, there is only one controversial ingredient. All dogs are different but I really don’t see how this food could cause an issue like that. Any recent vaccines?

  • Holl_socc

    We were feeding my pup a completely raw diet from the time he was 8weeks old until about 14 weeks. We switched because o felt like I was dealing with too much raw meat and cross contamination was a concern. The Acana Heritage meats was the closest to a raw diet I could find. Multiple proteins, organs, tripe,etc. We had absolutely no issues going from the raw to this kibble. Not even a drop of diarrhea.

  • Holl_socc

    No issues with it for us. We went from a raw meat diet to Acana heritage meats without even a hint of diarrhea.

  • Holl_socc

    Diane, I went from raw to the red bag of Acana with no issues.

  • Diane

    Are you feeding Sadie the Acana Heritage Meats? I got that too and was wondering since they changed the formula if your dog is having any problems such as severe diarrhea. Thanks for your help

  • Diane

    When I opened the Heritage Meats it did not smell bad either and my dogs seem to like it right out of the bowl. Now one has diarrhea really bad but I stopped the dry and continued with the Koha wet LID and am not sure what is causing it

  • Diane

    How is your dog doing on the Acana Heritage Meat? I am not sure if this is giving my dog awful diarrhea or if it is the wet food Koha that he just started about two weeks ago. Its really bad also. I am not sure which one to stop. Any suggestions? Thank you

  • Diane

    And also they do have a problem with yeast!!!!!

  • Diane

    Hi Greg! Thank you. I did buy the Fromm before and they really didn’t eat it. So I tried this Acana and am very upset and unhappy. I can try the Fromm again and see if they eat it. They are very sensitive to foods and need grain free and potato free.

  • Greg Sarkissian

    Hi Diane – my dogs love Fromm. If your dog has sensitivity to yeast, I’d recommend the Fromm Lamb & Lentil as it’s the only Fromm food without potatoes in it (which can cause yeast in some dogs).

  • Diane

    I am getting rid of this Acana and I will too buy Fromm or just cook for my dogs. They got sick and diarrhea from the Acana and I didn’t know it was made at a Champion plant in the USA. Not good!

  • Diane

    I am stopping it.

  • Diane

    I am having that problem now with very loose stools and I didn’t know they were made at a Champion facility. I believe those facilities had problems if I am not mistaken. I will stop this food now

  • kelemvor

    Because they changed the formulas when they moved to the new plant in the US. Took out a lot of the Meal so it has less nutrient dense ingredients. Compare the first 5 or 10 ingredients and you’ll see a difference.

  • Katelyn

    I’d like to know too.

  • Anh Ho

    My dog had really bad skin allergies. She would scratch and cry because she was so uncomfortable. It took me 5 years of trying different foods to finally figure out what she was allergic to. Getting frustrated, i decided to feed her only fish and no grain. I started feeding her the Acana pacifica regional dog food and it made a huge difference immediately. She was no longer itchy and she was a lot more energy. This product really helped my dog with her skin! Her skin is about 90% well and her energy level has increased!

  • Greg Sarkissian

    I recently started to transition to Acana Heritage from Orijen because my bulldog was getting gassy from the high protein content. It’s been two weeks of slow transition and as we ge got to higher ratio or Acana to Orijen, my other dog, Shar Pei, started acting sickly until yesterday when she started convulsing and throwing up. I’m reading on here that there are other dogs experiencing the same symptoms… I’m discontinuing immediately and going back to Fromm, which the dogs loved and gave them no issues

  • kelemvor

    How does the Heritage line compare to the Regionals line? We’ve always used the Orange Regionals type (was Prairie, now Meadowland). Tonight I noticed the Heritage Meats in the same stack and am just wondering how they compare. The Heritage Meats was about $8 less for the 25lb package which peaked my interest.

  • Sheperd44

    We have been feeding this to our German Shepherd since we got her at 9 months old. She is very active running/walking at least 2 miles up to 5 miles a day. She is very trim. We rotate bags between the 3. She has never had an issue with her eating the food, nor had any issues with disgusting it. Her stools are firm.
    At least 1 time a week we add something to the food; bacon, gravy, baby food…. Just as something different and as a treat.
    I would highly recommend this brand.

  • Shea

    I think it smells great like fresh fruit and veggies. No fishy smell at all from the bag I just got.

  • Shea

    Sadie is doing really well on this food. I transitioned her from Merrick grain free to the Heritage Meats in about 4 days. She just didn’t want to eat the Merrick anymore. Anyway, no problems with her stomach and she seems to like it so far. This is probably the freshest kibble she’s ever had. I love that it has whole food ingredients and isn’t outsourced. Its a great food that hopefully will work out for Sadie.

  • Deborah Cowden

    I have been feeding my Great Danes Acana Canada for years, but when I switched to Acana USA problems started. 3 of my 6 Danes have very loose stools, and another is vomiting 2-3 times a month a few hours after eating.
    They are also pooping way too much, so they are not utilizing the food properly. Since each 25 lb bag = 2 meals per dog, I can no longer afford Acana Canada, so I must look for another brand.

  • malrescueSATX

    Can anyone tell me why the USA product is 4.5 stars and the Canada product is 5 stars?

  • Shea

    Oh no! I just bought this today. Sadie had tried a sample of the Appalachian Ranch and I thought the Red Meats has about the same ingredients. We haven’t opened it yet. I think the Appalachian Ranch smells really good though.

  • Kimberley Vaughn

    Yes!! It smells FISHY!!

  • Kimberley Vaughn

    It smells FISHY and there’s no fish in it!!

  • Daniel Faranight

    I was feeding my dog Acana Canada and have switched to Acana USA when they started offering it. I haven’t had any issues nor noticed any changes (either positive or negative). I do notice the kibble seems a lot fresher (i.e. less dry, if that’s possible with kibble) than the Canadian version.

  • Krista

    Has anyone had any luck with this brand? I wanted to add this to my dogs rotation. Right now I’m trying the Orijen USA brand. Hoping it works! I’m trying new brands after I figured out the brand I was using was only 3 stars. Anyone have any good recommendations? (Rated 4-5 stars)

  • Missy

    I recently switched to Acana Fresh Water Fish because my dog wasn’t doing as well as I hoped on 6 fish. The mackerel didn’t sit right with him digestion wise and his stool was always on the soft side. So far the fresh water fish has been going over well. It took about a week for him to adjust to it though so always be sure to mix it in with your previous food!

  • DinaKouveliotes

    Yes I am using now. My dog cannot manage the protein in Orijen and Acana changed regionals and increased protein with legumes so I figured I’d give this a try. My German Shepherd enjoys the food and I certainly will keep in her rotation of foods. I just put my face almost in the bag of food I have and it doesn’t have a strong odor.

  • Katelyn

    Has anyone tried Heritage Meats from the USA and noticed it smells really bad. I’m not usually sensitive to smell but I hold my breathe when I open the container to put it in the bowl.