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Acana Wholesome Grains Dog Food Review (Dry)

Karan French

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Karan French
Karan French

Karan French

Senior Researcher

Karan is a senior researcher at the Dog Food Advisor, working closely with our in-house pet nutritionist, Laura Ward, to give pet parents all the information they need to find the best food for their dog.

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Updated: June 10, 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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Our Verdict

Rating:
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Acana Wholesome Grains dry dog food is made up of 10 recipes which each receive the Dog Food Advisor’s rating, 5 stars.

All Wholesome Grains recipes list a quality named meat as the first ingredient and use oat groats, whole sorghum, and whole millet as primary grains — all considered nutritionally beneficial.

Pros
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Premium ingredients
  • Responsibly sourced ingredients
Cons
  • Expensive

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

Product line Rating AAFCO
Acana Wholesome Grains, Puppy Recipe 5 A
Acana Wholesome Grains, Puppy Sea & Farm Recipe 5 A
Acana Wholesome Grains, Large Breed Puppy Recipe 5 A
Acana Wholesome Grains, Small Breed Recipe 5 M
Acana Wholesome Grains, Large Breed Adult Recipe 5 M
Acana Wholesome Grains, Free-Run Poultry & Grains Recipe 5 A
Acana Wholesome Grains, Red Meat & Grains Recipe 5 A
Acana Wholesome Grains, Lamb & Pumpkin Recipe, Limited Ingredient Diet 5 A
Acana Wholesome Grains, Duck & Pumpkin Recipe, Limited Ingredient Diet 5 A
Acana Wholesome Grains, Sea to Stream Fish & Grains Recipe 5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Acana Wholesome Grains, Puppy Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Acana Wholesome Grains, Puppy Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

31.8%

Protein

21.6%

Fat

38.6%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken meal, oat groats, whole sorghum, whole millet, chicken fat, whole oats, chicken liver, catfish meal, ground miscanthus grass, eggs, turkey, fish oil, natural chicken flavor, chicken heart, turkey giblets (liver, heart, gizzard), whole butternut squash, whole pumpkin, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, taurine, dried kelp, mixed tocopherols (preservative), zinc proteinate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin A acetate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, dried chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, 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 28% 19% NA
Dry Matter Basis 32% 22% 39%
Calorie Weighted Basis 26% 43% 31%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”. 1.

Chicken is naturally rich in the 10 essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

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

The third ingredient is oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The fourth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The fifth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is whole oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The ninth ingredient is catfish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

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 the product.

However, this recipe has four notable exceptions.

First taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

Probiotics are live yeasts and good bacteria that live in your body and are good for your digestive system. You can take probiotics as supplements or get them through food.

Here the details of the added vitamin sources are listed, used to balance the recipe against AAFCO guidelines.

In addition, this food includes 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 Wholesome Grains, Puppy Recipe recipe looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31.8%, a fat level of 21.6% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 38.6%.

As a group, the brand features a protein content of 31.4% and a mean fat level of 19.1%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41.5% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 61%.

This means Acana Wholesome Grains dry product range contains above-average protein, below-average carbohydrate, above-average fat, when compared to typical type of food dry dog food.

Acana Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Acana through June 2024.

No recalls noted.

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

Our Rating of Acana Dog Food

ACANA uses responsibly sourced high-quality ingredients in every recipe and contains no man-made chemicals or preservatives. The recipes rely on meat and vegetables for nutritional value and are supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

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Highly Recommended

About

Acana is a pet food brand owned by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian company. It was founded in 1985 by Canadian entrepreneur Reinhard Mühlenfeld. Originally a tiny operation serving local Alberta farmers, it is now Canada’s largest pet food manufacturer.

Sources

1, 2: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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