Acana Dog Food Review | Ratings | Recalls

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Acana is a brand of biologically appropriate dog food produced by the same company that owns Orijen.

Orijen is a well-known premium brand of high protein dog food. But these formulas feature a giant price tag that many pet parents can’t justify. Acana offers the same benefits of a diet based on sustainably sourced meats at a lower cost.

I’m a vet tech who became a canine nutrition nerd when I discovered the significant impact an appropriate diet can have on your dog’s overall health.

So I researched Acana dog food to help pet parents decide if this brand is the best option for their four-legged family member.

Keep reading this Acana dog food review to learn more about this premium brand and their unique lines of award-winning canine products.

About Acana

acana logo

Acana dog food is owned by Champion Petfoods, a premium dog food manufacturer in Canada known for sustainable, biologically appropriate formulas. Champion Petfoods also owns Orijen, a popular but expensive brand of high protein dog food.

This company has won awards in the past for their innovative recipes that they produce in-house from start to finish. Acana recipes are based on the natural evolutionary diets of your dog’s carnivorous ancestors.

These biologically appropriate diets feature rich sources of raw meat and protein. The brand primarily uses fresh ingredients from local, sustainable sources.

Unlike some biologically appropriate homemade diets, these commercial dry dog foods offer complete nutrition that meets AAFCO daily nutrient profiles.

Although Acana is more affordable than Orijen, the brand is still significantly more expensive than most traditional kibble. But many dog food reviews praise Acana as one of the best pet food brands available on the market today.

Acana History

Champion Petfoods’ history began in the 1970s when a German-born Canadian engineer named Reinhard Muhlenfeld opened a small feed factory in Barrhead, Alberta. Muhlenfeld worked directly with local farmers to produce a regional product that wasn’t imported.

The company shifted its focus to pet food in 1985, eventually separating from the original Champion Feed Services in 2001. The same year, Champion Petfoods introduced the Acana brand. But rapid expansion only began after the launch of the Orijen brand in 2005.

Although similar, there are some differences between the Acana and Orijen brands. Orijen consists of 80-90% meat ingredients, while meat makes up 50-75% of Acana recipes. Acana has a slightly lower protein content but is still considered a high-protein dog food.

The Acana brand has also expanded to include formulas that feature whole grains. Although Orijen has better name-recognition, Acana is a better choice for high-quality dog food that is suitable for a wider variety of dogs. Plus, Acana offers impressive value. [1]

Where is Acana Dog Food Made?

Champion Petfoods still operates out of Parkland County, Alberta with manufacturing facilities in Alberta and Kentucky. In both locations, Champion sources ingredients locally. The company even claims that food will taste different between the two locations due to the local ingredients.

Acana dog foods also only use sustainably raised food. These biologically appropriate brands feature high percentages of meat. But all of the animal products used in these recipes come from sustainable sources.

Champion Petfoods use free-range chickens and grass-fed cattle from local farms. Formulas that contain fish only use species that are sustainably harvested. And the company actively promotes bison agriculture.

Legal Issues and Controversies

There have never been any Acana pet food recalls. The company’s in-house manufacturing and locally sourced ingredients help ensure optimal safety standards. But Champion Petfoods has experienced some legal controversies.

The 2019 FDA investigation into a potential link between certain dog foods and heart disease included Acana as one of the 16 affected brands. However, the investigation is ongoing. [2]

A March 2018 lawsuit claimed that the company failed to disclose heavy metals in their dog foods. But Champion Petfoods has dismissed the claims as meritless due to data misinterpretations. [3]

FDA testing also revealed a positive routine salmonella test on one sample of Acana dog food. The FDA issued a temporary import alert, but Champion claimed that the test must be a false positive. [4]

Ingredients Quality

dry kibble dog food

Acana dog food offers formulas with some of the highest quality ingredients used in any pet food. The company’s team of veterinary nutritionists formulated Acana recipes to meet specific nutrient requirements using only premium foods.

All Acana dog food products feature a high protein content. Biologically appropriate dog foods use animal protein as the foundation for canine nutrition. Unlike other brands, Acana does not use plant protein to boost the crude protein percentage.

Protein from animal products has a greater bioavailability for dogs. So using only premium meat as sources of protein helps ensure dogs consume all of the essential amino acids they need. Novel proteins used in Acana recipes include duck, lamb, and fish.

Acana names every animal ingredient used in their foods and avoids generic terms like meat meal. These recipes also exclude by-products in favor of deboned whole meat.

The moderate to high-fat content of Acana recipes contain an impressive profile of essential fatty acids. Most traditional kibble have high concentrations of omega-6. But the wild-caught fish used in Acana dog food offers a concentrated source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Most Acana formulas used whole fruits and vegetables to boost fiber content while keeping carbohydrate levels low. Grain-inclusive formulas use whole grains that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Acana Dog Food Brand Lines

Acana emphasizes quality over quantity. This company offers fewer product lines than other dog food brands. But all Acana formulas provide the same level of premium quality nutrition.

Always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

Acana Heritage

Acana Heritage

Acana Heritage is the brand’s most popular product line of basic grain-free formulas.  These Acana dry dog food recipes use multiple sources of high-quality animal protein to provide a nutrient-dense and biologically appropriate diet.

This product line includes recipes based on red meat and poultry. The classic formulas are suitable for most adult dogs. And the product range even includes a puppy formula that offers specialized nutrition for growing dogs.

The grain-free recipes replace refined grains with whole vegetables like lentils and peas. These veggies are excellent alternative sources of carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables also act as natural sources of vitamins and minerals.

Biologically appropriate diets have a high meat content, but wholesome produce helps balance out the nutrient content of these formulas. Plus, healthy fat sources offer omega fatty acids to support coat health.

Freeze-dried meat coats the kibble to offer some of the benefits of raw nutrition with the convenience of a commercial dry dog food.

Acana Regionals

Acana Regionals

Acana Regionals product line takes inspiration from wild environments to provide balanced nutrition from sustainable sources. This dog food range includes recipes designed to replicate the diet of your dog’s ancestors who lived in specific regions.

Flavors in this line-up include Wild Atlantic, Meadowland, Grasslands, and Appalachian Ranch. All of the animal proteins used in each flavor come from the same environment. These formulas have a slightly higher protein content than the heritage line with more animal ingredients.

Animal ingredients make up 70% of the recipe while fruits and veggies contribute the other 30%. The whole produce used in these formulas includes pumpkin, butternut squash, and pears.

All of these grain-free formulas also exclude corn, soy, and wheat. The natural ingredients make this brand an excellent choice for sensitive dogs. But the multiple protein sources may not be ideal for pups with food allergies.

Like Acana Heritage products, Acana Regional pet foods also feature a coating of freeze-dried raw meat to boost nutrients. Acana dog food reviews frequently cite the benefits of raw ingredients as a reason for switching to the brand.

Additional vitamins and minerals help balance the formula to offer a complete canine diet. A 100 Million CFU/lb culture of canine probiotics enhances nutrient absorption to ensure that your dog utilizes his food efficiently.

Acana Singles

Acana Singles

Acana Singles formulas are limited ingredient diets designed for sensitive dogs with food intolerances or allergies. All of the recipes in this product line use a single source of animal protein to offer a high protein formula that limits exposure to potential allergens.

Acana eliminates most of the ingredients that trigger adverse food reactions in all of their recipes. But the multiple animal protein sources used in other recipes can be problematic for dogs with allergies. These pet foods use a simpler recipe to eliminate food intolerances.

To compensate for limited ingredients, additional fortification with vitamins and minerals ensures that the dog foods in this product line meet nutrient requirements for most dogs. Like other Acana lines, Acana singles also use probiotics to enhance nutrient absorption.

The Acana Singles range features both grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas. Grain-inclusive formulas use wholesome grains as fiber-rich ingredients, eliminating legumes and potatoes. Whole grains used in these recipes include oat groats and whole sorghum.

Some sensitive dogs may have grain allergies. But many dogs can safely eat whole grains. Plus, the grain-based ingredients used in Singles recipes are gluten-free.

Many Acana dog food review samples from pet parents share success in managing sensitive dogs with this dog food.

Acana Dog Food Recalls

Acana has never been subject to any pet food recalls. The FDA did get a positive salmonella test in January 2011. But Champion Petfoods argued that the test was a false positive. [4]

The company routinely performs salmonella testing and never had a positive result. No recall appeared as a result of the incident.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. [5]

Our Verdict

This Acana dog food review demonstrates that Acana offers some of the highest quality dog food formulas available on the market.

I recommend Acana dog food for pups who thrive on high protein diets. Dog owners who can afford to invest in an expensive but sustainable food made from local ingredients often notice improvements in the overall health of their dogs on Acana.

But, these formulas have a high caloric content that might not be suitable for sedentary dogs. And if your dog has heart health risks, you should only consider Acana recipes that include wholesome grains.

Talk to your veterinarian today to determine if premium Acana dog food is worth the investment for your furry best friend.

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Caroline Cochran is a former veterinary technician who is passionate about helping fellow dog lovers learn about canine nutrition. Her best friend is a rescued Great Pyrenees named Syrah, who is also very enthusiastic about dog food.

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