Acana Dog Food

Acana is a premium brand of dog food that is known for its high-quality ingredients and rigorous manufacturing standards. Made by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian company with over 30 years of experience in pet food production, Acana products are designed with a “biologically appropriate” approach. This philosophy means that their dog foods aim to closely resemble the variety and freshness of foods that dogs are evolved to eat.

Acana Dog Food Range

Acana offers a wide range of products tailored to suit dogs of different life stages, breeds, and dietary needs. This includes specific formulas for puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, and dogs with special dietary requirements. Their product line is divided into the following ranges:

  1. Acana Heritage: This line is composed of meat-heavy recipes and includes free-run poultry, freshwater fish, and heritage red meats.
  2. Acana Singles: These are limited ingredient diets designed for dogs with food sensitivities. Each recipe features a single, easily digestible animal protein.
  3. Acana Regionals: This range offers unique recipes inspired by different regions, utilizing fresh, local ingredients.
  4. Acana Wholesome Grains: Introduced in response to the grain-free diet controversy, this line includes ancient grains like oats, sorghum, and millet in their recipes.

Key Ingredients in Acana Dog Food

Acana dog food is notable for its quality ingredients, which are locally sourced from trusted farmers, ranchers, and fishers. A typical Acana recipe includes a high proportion of fresh or raw animal ingredients, including meat, organs, and cartilage. This provides a rich source of essential nutrients and is supplemented with a selection of fruits, vegetables, and botanicals.

Grain-inclusive recipes from Acana incorporate wholesome grains, providing additional fiber and essential nutrients. Regardless of the specific formula, Acana dog food is designed to be biologically appropriate, with a nutritional profile that matches as closely as possible to the diet of a wild canine ancestor.

Controversies and Concerns

While Acana is generally regarded as a high-quality brand, it has been part of a controversy relating to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. A 2018 FDA report linked grain-free diets with an increased risk of DCM in certain breeds. Acana was one of the brands named in the report, leading to concerns among pet owners. However, the FDA has clarified that it has not established a definitive cause-and-effect relationship, and research on the subject is ongoing.

In November 2022, it was announced that Mars Petcare, a global pet food conglomerate, would acquire Champion Petfoods. This led to speculations about potential changes in the quality and formulation of Acana dog food. No significant changes have been reported.

Acana Dog Food: Nutrition Analysis

All Acana formulas offer a high protein content, much of which comes from fresh or raw animal sources such as free-run chicken, wild-caught fish, or grass-fed lamb. This emphasis on high-quality animal proteins helps ensure that dogs get the necessary amino acids for muscle development, tissue repair, and overall health.

The carbohydrate content in Acana’s recipes comes from a variety of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkin, squash, or peas. These provide essential vitamins and minerals while also supplying dietary fiber, which aids digestion. In their grain-inclusive formulas, Acana uses ancient grains like oats and millet, selected for their nutritional value and digestibility.

Acana’s recipes also contain a range of organ meats and cartilage. These ingredients are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that dogs would naturally consume in the wild. Notably, organ meats are rich in taurine, an amino acid that plays a crucial role in heart health and has been at the center of the DCM controversy.

Special Dietary Needs and Acana

If your dog has specific dietary needs, Acana may have a product to match. Their Singles range, for instance, caters to dogs with food sensitivities or allergies, as each recipe focuses on a single animal protein source. This limited-ingredient approach minimizes the risk of triggering food allergies or intolerances.

For owners concerned about the potential health risks associated with grain-free diets, Acana’s Wholesome Grains range offers nutritionally balanced recipes that incorporate healthful grains. It’s a recognition that grains, particularly whole grains, can play a beneficial role in canine nutrition by providing fiber, vitamins, and energy.

Acana’s Sourcing and Manufacturing Standards

A key feature of Acana’s brand identity is its commitment to sourcing fresh, local ingredients. Champion Petfoods, the company behind Acana, operates on a farm-to-bowl philosophy. They source ingredients from local suppliers they know and trust, enabling them to maintain strict quality control over their products.

Acana dog food is made in the company’s own kitchen, ensuring that they maintain direct control over every aspect of production. This includes everything from ingredient sourcing and quality assurance testing to the actual cooking and packaging of the food.

Acana’s Transparency

Transparency is another area where Acana excels. They provide detailed information about their ingredients, including where they’re sourced from and why they’re included in the formulas. This commitment to transparency allows pet owners to make informed decisions about what they’re feeding their pets.

Conclusion: Is Acana Dog Food Right for Your Dog?

Acana dog food stands out for its commitment to high-quality, biologically appropriate ingredients. However, it’s crucial to consult with your vet before deciding on a dog food brand, particularly if your dog has specific dietary needs or health concerns.

While controversies have arisen, particularly relating to the DCM debate and the recent acquisition by Mars Petcare, these concerns should be weighed alongside the brand’s overall reputation for quality. As with any pet food, individual dogs may respond differently to Acana’s formulations, underscoring the importance of monitoring your pet’s health and well-being regularly.


Q: Does Acana dog food contain grains?

A: Yes and no. Acana offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive dog food formulas. Their Heritage and Regionals ranges are grain-free, while the Wholesome Grains range incorporates nutrient-rich grains such as oats, sorghum, and millet.

Q: Where is Acana dog food made?

A: Acana dog food is made by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian company. They operate two kitchens, one in Alberta, Canada, and the other in Kentucky, USA. Both kitchens are owned and operated by Champion Petfoods, ensuring direct control over the production process.

Q: Why is Acana dog food linked to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)?

A: In 2018, the FDA released a report suggesting a potential link between grain-free diets and DCM, a type of heart disease, in dogs. Acana was among the brands named in the report. However, the FDA has not established a definitive cause-and-effect relationship, and further research is ongoing.

Q: How much protein is in Acana dog food?

A: The protein content in Acana dog food varies depending on the specific recipe but it’s generally high, with most recipes containing between 29% to 35% protein. This protein primarily comes from quality animal sources like fresh or raw meat, organs, and cartilage.

Q: Is Acana suitable for dogs with food sensitivities?

A: Yes, Acana’s Singles range is designed specifically for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. These recipes are limited-ingredient diets featuring a single, easily digestible animal protein, making them a good option for dogs with specific dietary needs.

Q: Has the quality of Acana dog food changed since the acquisition by Mars Petcare?

A: There have been no reported changes in the quality or formulation of Acana dog food since the acquisition by Mars Petcare. However, it’s always recommended to monitor any changes in your dog’s health or behavior after a change in their diet.

Q: What types of meats are used in Acana dog food?

A: Acana dog food uses a variety of high-quality meats, including free-run poultry, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed red meats. This can include chicken, turkey, beef, bison, and fish such as herring or trout, depending on the specific recipe.

Q: Are there any vegetables and fruits in Acana dog food?

A: Yes, Acana recipes incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables. These may include pumpkin, butternut squash, collard greens, apples, and blueberries. These ingredients provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to support your dog’s overall health.

Q: What is the fat content in Acana dog food?

A: The fat content in Acana’s formulas varies depending on the specific recipe, ranging from about 12% to 18%. The fat in Acana’s products primarily comes from animal sources, which is beneficial as these fats are typically more bioavailable and easier for dogs to digest.

Q: Does Acana offer specific formulas for different life stages or sizes?

A: Yes, Acana offers a variety of dog food formulas to cater to different life stages and sizes. They have puppy-specific formulas like “Puppy & Junior” and senior formulas like “Senior Dog”. Moreover, they have breed-size specific foods such as “Small Breed” or “Large Breed” to cater to the specific nutritional needs of different dog sizes.

Q: Does Acana dog food contain probiotics?

A: Yes, Acana’s dog food formulas contain probiotics. These beneficial bacteria are important for maintaining a healthy gut flora, which aids digestion and supports overall health.

Q: Is Acana an environmentally responsible company?

A: Champion Petfoods, the company behind Acana, states that they are committed to sustainability. This includes responsible sourcing of ingredients, reducing emissions, and minimizing waste in their production processes.

Q: Can Acana dog food help with my dog’s skin issues?

A: While no dog food can guarantee to solve skin issues, the high-quality ingredients and Omega-3 fatty acids in Acana’s dog food could potentially benefit dogs with skin conditions. Always consult with your veterinarian if your dog is suffering from persistent skin issues.

Q: Does Acana use artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives?

A: No, Acana dog food does not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. They pride themselves on using fresh, high-quality ingredients and natural preservatives.

Q: How should I transition my dog to Acana dog food?

A: When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do so gradually over a period of about 7-10 days. Start by mixing a small amount of Acana dog food with your dog’s current food, gradually increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of the old food over time.

Q: Is Acana more expensive than other dog foods?

A: Yes, Acana is considered a premium dog food brand and its prices reflect this. However, many pet owners find the higher cost justified by the high-quality, fresh, and regionally sourced ingredients that Acana uses in its recipes.

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