Acana is a premium pet food brand. They put a heavy focus on their ingredients and on producing food that imitates a pets natural evolutionary diet. In addition to this, they source all of their meat, eggs, and fish from sustainable sources and local suppliers.
Acana has an equally well-known sister brand called Orijen. Orijen produces very similar products to Acana, but Orijen’s tend to contain an even higher proportion of meat and fish ingredients and this results in higher proportions of Protein and Fat. Check out our detailed look at our Orijen Review Page.
Acana and Orijen are both produced exclusively by Champion Pet Foods. Champion Pet Foods is based out of Canada and was Founded in 1985 by Reinhard Muhlenfeld. Acana and Orijen pet foods are available for purchase in 70+ countries. Recently there has been significant interest from Nestle to acquire Champion Pet Foods which has concerned some fans of the brand.
One of Acana’s primary selling points is that it does not outsource any of its production. This ensures they can maintain high standards of safety and production quality.
Acana ingredients are sustainably and ethically sourced as well as being GMO-free. Consumer awareness and interest in sustainable and ethical farming are increasing, and Acana comfortably puts itself as one of the leaders at this in the pet food space.
All of Acana’s meat ingredients are suitable for human consumption which can not be said for a lot of pet food brands. While this can be seen as somewhat vague, it does ensure a minimum standard in the ingredients used in their products as low-quality ingredients would not be suitable for human consumption.
Acana Product Range
Acana has a moderately sized range of dog food. This includes three dry food ranges and a range of freeze-dried dog treats.
The three dry food ranges are Heritage, Regionals, and Singles.
The Heritage range is Acana’s original range and it has recently been rebranded and revamped. It now includes seven recipes with a large variety of ingredients spread amongst them.
The Regionals Range is a geographically themed range with recipes that focus on areas and environments of the United States. An example of this could be the Appalachian mountain range. These recipes contain common and standard ingredients alongside a large range and variety of vegetables.
The Singles range is a limited ingredient range and as a consequence, the recipes only contain a single source of meat or fish. This meat or fish ingredient is then combined with a moderately sized range of vegetable ingredients.
Acana’s cat food range is very small and consists of a single product range. This product range is also named regionals and mirrors the dog food range. It uses a variety of common meat and fish ingredients alongside common vegetables like legumes.
While Acana’s dog food products do not contain extremely high levels of protein like some other brands, they do provide great overall nutrition. While protein is essential, fat and a modest proportion of carbohydrates are just as important.
Some could argue that Acana’s nutrition could be improved upon. However, a further improvement would only benefit a small subsection of dogs. Dogs who are very active or extremely active would be the ones to benefit from any increase. This is as these dogs need additional protein and fat beyond standard requirements.
Acana’s cat food range also provides good nutrition. However, the proportion of carbohydrates present is still above what we would consider suitable for cats, and their reviews are scored lower due to this. Despite this, the proportion of protein and fat is still very satisfactory and far above the average cat food.
Acana products contain a vast variety of high-quality meat and fish ingredients. In addition to these ingredients, they use legumes and other vegetables to provide carbohydrates in their dog food.
Many consider these to be superior to grain ingredients. However, these same vegetables are used in their cat food recipes where they are less desirable. Below is a selection of some of the high-quality ingredients used in Acana products.
- Wild Boar
Ingredients like Goat, Rabbit and Wild Boar are noteworthy due to their rarity in the vast majority of pet food brand’s products. While these meat ingredients may not provide notably superior nutrition, they can certainly provide pets with some added variety in their diet.
In addition, some of these meats contain more unique and varied levels of minerals and vitamins that may be less reliably found in common ingredients like Chicken or Beef. For more information on less common meat ingredients check our Best Dog Food With Rabbit and Best Dog Food With Venison articles.
Acana also uses small portions of organ meat like Liver and Heart. These organ meats can be a very dense source of certain vitamins and minerals that are not found in high proportions in traditional meat cuts.
Instead, Acana only uses whole vegetable ingredients like Peas, Chickpeas, and Lentils. These are generally considered some of the better vegetable ingredients for dogs. However, they are not ideal for cats who should have a very minimal intake of plant matter.
A notable ingredient used in Acana recipes is Chicory Root. Chicory Root is included by many dog food brands as a dietary supplement. Many believe it can provide health benefits as well as some vitamins and minerals. Find out more about Chicory Root in our article Dried Chicory Root In Dog Food.
Acana And Dilated Cardiomyopathy
In July 2018, the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration)announced that it had received reports about a type of heart disease called Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy, which can cause an enlarged, weakened heart and eventual heart failure in dogs. These reports suggested a link between grain free dog foods, high in Potatoes, Peas and other Legumes could be the cause.
The heart disease occurred in select breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, and Miniature Schnauzers. None of these dog breeds are genetically prone to the disease which suggests that there must be another cause and the reports pointed the finger at legumes like Peas.
Observant dog owners were quick to realize that Acana formulas contain a large variety and portion of legumes such as Peas, Lentils, and Chickpeas. The portion of legumes found in Acana’s formulas is significantly higher than its sister brand Orijen who has as little as 10-15% plant matter.
Following this information, some dog owners went as far as to immediately transition their dogs to an alternative recipe that did not use legumes and instead makes use of grains.
Since this initial announcement, enthusiasts and some industry individuals have been trying to narrow down which brands are most strongly linked with Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
Acana, in particular, Acana Singles, has had one of the strongest links between itself and Dilated Cardiomyopathy with a large number of cases that have been reported by dog owners
However, at this time, these links and reports by dog nutrition groups and dog owners have not been officially or scientifically substantiated.
Champion Pet Foods, who own Acana and Orijen, has strongly disputed this link and have made repeated statements in emails and on social media that state that all of their products are carefully formulated to meet industry guidelines.
If this link between legumes and Dilated Cardiomyopathy is substantiated then there will be serious consequences for Acana and many other brands. This will likely lead to reformulations and ingredient modifications.
If this concerns you and you think your dog may be at risk, we recommend checking out our Best Dog Food Without Peas article which showcases some alternatives to traditional legume focused formulas.
Acana Animal Testing
Acana, along with Orijen, proudly states that it does not perform any testing or trials on animals that they would not feel comfortable being performed on their own pets.
This is an excellent approach to animal testing and shows that they care about the wellbeing of all animals. Acana does say that it participates in palatability and digestibility testing which is vital to ensure that can both enjoy and digest Acana’s products.
We firmly believe that animal testing in a laboratory environment is a cruel and outdated practice. We hope over the coming years that it will be significantly reduced or preferably eliminated.
Acana is in a very select club of pet food brands that have yet to be recalled. This shows they take their manufacturing process seriously and use high-quality and safe ingredients. Nevertheless, consumers should always be on the lookout for any future concerns or recall of Acana or any other pet food brand’s products.
In March 2018 a lawsuit was filed against Champion Pet Foods, the manufacturer of Acana and Orijen pet products. The lawsuit claims that Champion Pet Foods failed to disclose harmful levels of heavy metals and toxins such as Arsenic and Lead in their products.
Champion Pet Foods quickly responded claiming the lawsuit was meritless and had misrepresented the data. It is essential to understand this is merely an accusation at this stage and until any conclusive judgment or evidence is made public, we will not advise against any of Champion Pet Foods products.
Acana Related Articles
- Taste of the Wild vs Acana – Dog Food Brand Comparison – This article breaks down two of the most popular mid-priced premium dog food brands. This includes a look at their product ranges, nutrition, ingredient quality, recall history along with other factors.
- Acana vs Orijen – Dog Food Brand Comparison – Similar to the above, this article breaks down the two sister brands. While it may be obvious which one comes out on top for most factors, it is important nevertheless to lay down the facts and present which brand may be superior for certain dogs.
- Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods Guide – This guide breaks down the world of Hypoallergenic Dog Food. This includes the different types available, common allergens, symptoms of allergies, and finally some of the best Hypoallergenic Dog Food currently available including one recipe from Acana.
- Best High Protein Dog Food – High Protein dog food recipes have become more and more popular but are they worth all the hype? This article breaks down which dogs need a high protein diet, the positives, and negatives of such a diet and which dog food recipes provide the most high-quality meat protein. Once again, an Acana recipe features in this article.
- Best Dog Food Without Potatoes – This more specific article related to allergies in dogs focuses on dogs with an allergy or intolerance to Potatoes. It explores the alternative carbohydrate ingredients to Potatoes as well as suggest some of the best Potato Free recipes available. Once again, an Acana recipe features.
- Best Dog Food Without Chicken – Similar to the above, this article is specific to dogs with allergies to Chicken. Chicken is the most common meat ingredient in dog food, so it is important to filter these out and display some of the best recipes with alternative meat ingredients — one of Acana’s many chicken free recipes features.
- Best Puppy Food -This incredibly detailed and in-depth guide explains everything you need to know about puppy food. This article will answer questions such as do puppies need puppy-specific food? What nutrition do puppies need? Do large breed puppies need different nutrition and many more. Acana’s only puppy recipe takes a well-deserved place in this guide.
Best of Acana
We consider all of Acana’s products to contain high-quality and nutritious ingredients as well as providing appropriate nutrition. Nevertheless, we have to choose our favorites.
Dry Dog Food
Acana’s Heritage range has been recently revamped and given a new lease of life. This revamp included the addition of four formulas that were not previously available in the United States. Some of these four, such as Puppy & Junior, and Light and Fit, were available in other countries. The addition of these formulas to the US market has enabled Acana to branch out into some niches they were not previously exposed to such as Puppy Food and low-fat food.
However, we’ve chosen to highlight one of the other formulas added which is Heritage- Paleo. The Paleo formula is interesting because it contains a broad range of unusual meat ingredients. Examples include Boar and Rabbit. These are joined by the usual suspects of Turkey and Pork. This variety could provide a unique taste for your dog. In addition to its unusual flavor, these ingredients will provide a plentiful supply of protein and fat.
As is the case with almost all Acana formulas, a range of legumes is present including Chickpeas, Peas, Lentils, and Beans. These provide high-quality carbohydrates and dietary fiber to aid digestion.
The Regionals range can best be described as reliable and Wild Atlantic is the best of the bunch. What particularly attracts us to the Wild Atlantic formula is the very high level of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids it contains.
The vast majority of dog food formulas have an unimpressive level of these fatty acids which makes those that do have impressive levels really stand out. The Omega 3 Fatty Acids provide a range of health benefits such as improved skin and coat health as well as improved cognitive function.
Wild Atlantic can thank the wide range of fish ingredients it contains for these fatty acids. Examples include Mackerel, Herring, Redfish, and Hake. These are all high-quality fish ingredients and can provide highly digestible protein and fat which dogs so badly need. The formula also makes use of many of the traditional vegetable ingredients found in Acana recipes such as Peas, Chickpeas, Lentils, and Pumpkin.
Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Acana’s singles recipes, which is their limited ingredient brand, maintain the same quality as their non-limited ingredient formulas. There are five formulas currently available within the range, Lamb and Apple, Duck and Pear, Turkey and Greens, Beef and Pumpkin, and Pork and Squash. There was a sixth formula within which was probably our favorite. However, the Wild Mackerel formula is now discontinued for reasons unknown.
One of the reasons that Acana’s Limited Ingredient formulas are unique is that they go beyond just providing a single source of meat or fish; they also include less commonly used fruit and vegetable ingredients with the hope that dogs will be less likely to be allergic to these than traditional carbohydrate sources. An example of this approach includes the use of Apples, Pears, Squash, and Spinach.
However, sadly these formulas also tend to contain some of the more common vegetable ingredients such as Beans, Peas, and Chickpeas. The presence of these ingredients could cancel out the benefit of containing less common fruit and vegetable ingredients. This could lead to these formulas not being suitable for those dogs who suffer from vegetable-based intolerances or allergies.
However, the singles range of formulas is very suitable for dogs who do not suffer an adverse reaction to any of the available meat ingredients such as the above-listed Pork. The recipes provide excellent nutrition from whole ingredients and are free of low-quality fillers and by-products.
Acana’s range of dog treats is bundled into their Singles range and match up with the corresponding kibble formula. This allows you to select both a dry food formula and a treat that is suitable for your dog’s intolerance or allergy.
Pork & Squash is one of the best of the treat range and provides a healthy balance between protein and fat. Many dog treats are very excessive with their fat proportion which can cause the treats to be unhealthy in excess. The treats also include a portion of Pork Liver which can provide a range of minerals and vitamins not commonly found in traditional meat cuts. Finally, the small portion of Squash found in the treats can provide a tiny portion of carbohydrates and some dietary fiber.
Dry Cat Food
Acana’s cat food range perfectly aligns with the Regionals dog food range. Not only are the names similar, but the ingredients and nutrition have many similarities. It will, therefore, come as no surprise that we are fans of the Wild Atlantic cat food formula. This is once again due to the high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids that this formula can offer. These fatty acids can provide a range of benefits to cats such as improved fur and a reduced risk of heart disease.
An extensive range of fish ingredients is the core of the formula. Examples include Mackerel, Herring, Redfish, and Hake. These ingredients are highly nutritious and will provide a cat with a satisfactory proportion of protein and fat.
However, the nutrition provided by this formula isn’t quite as satisfactory as the dog food recipes. Ideally, a cats diet should have very minimal carbohydrates, and the recipes from Acana do include a modest yet notable proportion. These carbohydrates are provided by a broad range of legumes such as Peas, Lentils, and Chickpeas. While these ingredients would undoubtedly be considered superior to others such as grains, they are still not ideal.
Acana Full Product Range
Dry Dog Food (Kibble)
Singles Range (Limited Ingredient)
Wild Mackerel Review – (DISCONTINUED)