Quick Review
  • Nutrition - 8/10
    8/10
  • Ingredients - 10/10
    10/10

Summary

Acana Heritage – Freshwater Fish is a high-quality dry dog food. Its nutrient profile is above average and it provides above average proportions of protein and fat. Despite this, its carbohydrate proportion is a little higher than ideal and could be replaced with additional protein.

The formula contains a range of high-quality ingredients with a focus on freshwater fish such as Trout and Catfish. These fish provide a fantastic amount of the Omega 3 Fatty Acid, more than other Acana dog food product. The formula also contains a range of Legumes which are considered a high-quality source of carbohydrates. In addition to their carbohydrate content, they provide fiber for healthy digestion.

While Heritage – Freshwater Fish contains a wide range of vegetables and a large number of fish ingredients it may be suitable for dogs with meat-based allergies or sensitivities.

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Pros

Satisfactory Nutrition

High-Quality Fish and Vegetable Ingredients

High Level of Omega Fatty Acids

No Grains or By-products

Cons

Somewhat Excessive Carbohydrate Proportion

A Full Review of Heritage – Freshwater Fish By Acana

Acana Heritage Freshwater Fish Packaging

Nutritional Analysis

The ideal nutrition for a dog is entirely dependant on their unique circumstances. However, a high proportion of protein and fat combined with a lower proportion of carbohydrates is most appropriate nutrition profile for the vast majority of dogs. Dog’s are very capable of consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, but a diet high in protein and fat is more appropriate and a better reflection of their natural ancestral diet.

Acana Heritage - Freshwater Fish Calorie Breakdown Chart

 

Carbohydrate Content Analysis

Dogs use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Dogs do not require significant carbohydrates in their diet and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 34% of Acana Heritage – Freshwater Fish calories are derived from carbohydrates.  Please note that this is the maximum amount of carbohydrates as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of carbohydrates is likely to be a lot lower. This is below average for a Dry Dog Food.

The majority of this carbohydrate content appears to be from the vegetable ingredients of this dog food. This includes legumes like Peas and Lentils. These ingredients and others will be discussed in more detail later on. This is above what we would consider the ideal proportion of carbohydrates. That being said, they are from a reasonably high-quality source and this percentage is an overestimate.

Protein Content Analysis

Dogs use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 29% of Acana Heritage – Freshwater Fish calories are derived from protein. Please note that this is the minimum amount of protein as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of protein is likely to be higher. This is above average for a Dry Dog Food.

This will be a sufficient proportion of protein for the majority of dogs but may be inadequate for those who are very active. This protein appears to be sourced from the large range of fish based ingredients which are high-quality sources. A minority of this protein is from the vegetable ingredients. Plant-based proteins are considered less optimal than animal or fish-based proteins.

Fat Content

Dogs use fat as a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 37% of Acana Heritage – Freshwater Fish for Dogs calories are derived from fat. Please note that this is the minimum amount of fat as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of fat is likely to be a lot higher. This is significantly above average for a Dry Dog Food.

The fat present in this dog food appears to be sourced from the range of fish based ingredients. Fish are considered a high-quality source of fat and often contain higher levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids than other meats. This low estimate of fat content is more than sufficient to fulfill the energy needs of the majority of dogs including those who are more active.

Calorie Density

Calorie Density is essential to understand as it determines the portion size of food your dog will require per day or meal. Calorie Density is commonly measured in calories per kg or per cup.
Dog food formulas with high-calorie densities can be more cost efficient to purchase while recipes with lower calorie density can be advantageous to dogs attempting weight loss or who are relatively inactive.

Overall Acana Heritage – Freshwater Fish contains an average of 3475 kcal/kg or 396 kcal per 8 oz cup

Disclaimer

Once again please note that the values in this section are calculated using the products guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis only lists the minimum and maximum values and as a consequence, these can sometimes be an inaccurate representation. As a rule of thumb, most dog foods will contain slightly more protein and considerably more fat than their guaranteed analysis. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the relative amount of carbohydrates present. However also note that every dog food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.

Guaranteed Analysis – Acana – Heritage – Freshwater Fish

Pet foods in the United States are legally required by the AAFCO to have a guaranteed analysis on their packaging. A guaranteed analysis must display certain nutritional information. This is similar to how nutritional values are now commonly displayed on food for human consumption. The information that must be displayed includes Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Moisture. Some guaranteed analysis will contain additional information. The guaranteed analysis for this product is listed below.

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 29.00%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 17.00%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 6.00%
  • Moisture (Max) – 12.00%
  • Calcium (Min) – 1.2%
  • Phosphorus (Min) – 1.0%
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.0%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 1.0%

 

Ingredient Analysis

The ingredients of pet food are disclosed on the packaging of the product as a list in descending order. Therefore the ingredients at the start of the list make up the bulk of the pet foods content. As a consequence, the quality of these primary ingredients is the most significant factor in determining the quality of pet food.

However, ingredients listed further down the ingredient list should not be ignored, especially if they could have adverse or harmful effects on a pet.

High-Quality Ingredients

  • Trout
  • Catfish
  • Catfish Meal
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Perch
  • Cod Meal
  • Mackerel Meal

 

Low-Quality Ingredients

  • N/A

 

Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients

  • N/A

 

In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review

The meat and fish ingredients of dog food are without a doubt the most important. They are critical as they provide the majority of the protein and fat that dogs desperately need. Also, these ingredients would have made up the bulk of dogs ancestors diet. Therefore, the quality of a dog food formulas meat and fish ingredients is crucial. Acana Heritage – Freshwater Fish contains more than five sources of meat or fish.

The primary fish source present is Trout. Trout is considered a high-quality source of protein. Trout has a range of benefits including very high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. In addition, it is rich in Potassium, Vitamin B12 and Trout contains fewer contaminants such as Mercury than other fish. Unfortunately, just as with meat, Trout contains a high concentration of water. Much of this water is evaporated during the cooking process leaving a lesser proportion of Trout. However given that Trout is the first listed ingredient, its proportion will still be relatively high even after the cooking process.

The secondary fish source present is Catfish. Catfish is considered a high-quality source of protein. Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Phosphorus are just some of the minerals that Catfish contains in high quantities. Unfortunately, just as with meat, Catfish contains a high concentration of water. Much of this water is evaporated during the cooking process leaving a lesser proportion of Catfish. However given that Catfish is the second listed ingredient, its proportion will still be relatively high even after the cooking process.

Another fish source present is Catfish Meal. Catfish Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Fish Meal is a concentrated form of fish that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Catfish Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Catfish but in higher concentrations. This includes the high levels of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Phosphorus.

Another fish source present is Cod Meal. Cod Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Fish Meal is a concentrated form of fish that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Cod Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Cod but in higher concentrations.

Another fish source present is Mackerel Meal. Mackerel Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Fish Meal is a concentrated form of fish that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Mackerel Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Catfish but in higher concentrations. This includes the high levels of Vitamin D and Vitamin B12.

In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review

Acana Heritage – Freshwater Fish contains Peas, Lentils and Garbanzo Beans (also known as chickpeas). These are all members of the legume family of vegetables. Legumes are famous for having a relatively high amount of protein for a vegetable. Legumes also contain a high amount of fiber, which is important for healthy digestion. Pet foods often use legumes as a replacement for grains in grain-free pet food. Protein from vegetables such as legumes should not be a replacement for protein from meat. Instead, it should act as an additional protein source.

Pumpkin is a high-quality vegetable ingredient and a beneficial addition to a dogs diet. Pumpkin contains high levels of a variety of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Potassium. However, Pumpkin is probably best known for the Dietary Fiber it can contribute. This fiber can improve and regulate digestion. Finally, Pumpkin does not contain significant levels of plant-based protein. This lack of protein prevents Pumpkin being used solely to inflate protein levels like other vegetables, such as Peas, often are.

Squash, which is closely related to Pumpkin, is a positive addition to dog food. Squash contains high levels of Vitamin A and C similar to fruit such as Apples and Pears. In addition to this, Squash also provides a plentiful supply of Beta Carotene. Comparable to Pumpkin, Squash is high in fiber which can help regulate digestion. However, it is essential to be aware that Squash needs to have its seeds and skin removed to be suitable for dogs. The removal of the skin and seeds will take place during the manufacturing process of commercial dog food.

Dried Chicory Root or Chicory Root Extract is an additive or supplement to dog food. It can provide a range of health benefits including soluble fiber to enable regular passage of stool, probiotics to aid and promote digestion, as well as potentially eliminate or prevent intestinal worms. While these benefits are not fully proven, there is strong evidence behind them. The proportion of Chicory Root used in most dog food recipes is tiny and does not contribute meaningful nutrition. Find out more in Dried Chicory Root In Dog Food.

Full Ingredient List – Acana – Heritage – Freshwater Fish

Rainbow trout, whole blue catfish, catfish meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, whole green peas, catfish oil, whole green lentils, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, whole white perch, alaskan cod meal, pollock oil, mackerel meal, lentil fiber, natural cod flavor, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, zinc proteinate, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, freeze-dried cod liver, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, 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.

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