Acana Dog Food Reviews

is ACANA a good dog food?
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Acana dog foods are made by Champion Pet Foods, a Canadian company founded in 1985. Champion also makes Orijen Pet Foods. Its US Acana dog foods are made at its own plant in Auburn, Kentucky. Canadian foods are made in Alberta, Canada.  

The ACANA brand offers mainly dry foods, but rounds it out with wet and freeze-dried foods. The brand includes ACANA foods, plus several sub-brands. On average, the ACANA dry foods score higher than most dry dog foods, thanks to a possibly higher ingredient quality, as reflected in few added minerals. But is ACANA a good dog food?

Acana has 7 lines of 32 foods. Here are Acana dog food reviews of each line individually, based on ingredient quality and safety/ The reviews were based on these criteria

acana dry dog food review

Acana Dry Dog Food Review

Score: 5.6/10

Package Ingredients for Red Meat Recipe: Beef, deboned pork, beef meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, whole green peas, pork meal, beef fat, whole green lentils, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, deboned lamb, fish oil, lentil fiber, natural pork flavor, pea starch, beef tripe, beef liver, beef kidney, pork liver, pork kidney, salt, dried kelp, whole pumpkin, zinc proteinate, collard greens, whole apples, whole pears, mixed tocopherols (preservative), taurine, calcium pantothenate, freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried pork liver, freeze-dried lamb liver, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, dried chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla, althea root, rose hips, juniper berries, citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product

With an average score of 5.6/10, , Acana Dry Dog Food is considered a moderate risk dog food.

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate

The average carbohydrates in this line calculated as 28%, which is somewhat high, but lower than many kibbles. Even though these are grain-free dog foods, they include several types of legumes in each recipe, which are also high starch ingredients. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets and the average protein content is 30%, which is lower than we’d like to see.

Unnamed Animal Ingredients

Unnamed animal products are a sign of low quality ingredients. While this line has named most of its proteins, it also contains fish oil, which could be any species of fish. These types of ingredients are usually waste products that are low quality.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with the Acana Dry line:

Ultra-Processed

Most kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient in food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, heterocyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients

The recipes in Acana’s Dry dog food line all contain ingredients in the top 5 that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Legumes like lentils and chickpeas (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more herbicide residue than other crops. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and is linked to cancer and other diseases. 

Natural Flavor

Recipes in the Acana Dry line contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. Natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Read more Acana Dog Food Reviews

acana wholesome grains dog food review

Acana Wholesome Grains Dog Food Review

Score: 5/10

Package Ingredients for Wholesome Grains, Duck & Pumpkin Recipe, Limited Ingredient Diet: Deboned duck, duck meal, oat groats, whole sorghum, duck liver, duck fat, whole pumpkin, natural duck flavor, whole oats, ground miscanthus grass, fish oil, duck cartilage, salt, choline chloride, taurine, potassium chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, dried kelp, mixed tocopherols (preservative), vitamin D3 supplement, freeze-dried duck liver, copper proteinate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, chicory, turmeric, citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product

With an average score of 5/10, Acana Wholesome Grains is considered a moderate-risk dog food.

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate

The average carbohydrates in this line is calculated at 30% which is somewhat high, but lower than many kibbles. The carbohydrates primarily come from oats, millet and sorghum which are high in starch. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets and the average protein content is 28%, which is on the low side – and lower than the carbohydrate content.

Excessive Added Vitamins 

When vitamins come from whole food sources, they include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable. While a couple of added vitamins are acceptable, five or more implies the food is of poor nutritional value. 

Unnamed Animal Ingredients

Unnamed animal products are a sign of low quality ingredients. While this line has named most of its proteins, it also contains fish oil, which could be any species of fish. These types of ingredients are usually waste products that are of low quality.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with the Acana Wholesome Grains line:

Ultra-Processed

Most kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient in food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, heterocyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Ingredients In The Top 5

Most of the recipes in Wholesome Grains dog food contain ingredients in the top 5 that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Sorghum, oats and millet (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

Natural Flavor

The recipes in Acana Wholesome Grains contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. Natural flavor is usually animal digest or MSG, low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Read more Acana Dog Food Reviews

acana singles dog food review

Acana Singles Dog Food Review

Score: 5.8/10

Package Ingredients for Lamb and Apple Recipe: Deboned lamb, lamb meal, lamb liver, sweet potato, whole chickpeas, pollock oil, whole lentils, lentil fiber, lamb fat, apples, natural lamb flavor, lamb cartilage, lamb tripe, whole pumpkin, whole cranberries, salt, choline chloride, taurine, vitamin E supplement, dried kelp, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), freeze-dried lamb liver, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, copper proteinate, chicory, turmeric, citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product

With an average score of 5.8/10,  Acana Singles is considered a moderate risk dog food. 

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate

The average carbohydrates in this line is calculated as 29% which is somewhat high, but lower than many kibbles. The carbohydrates primarily come from oats, sorghum and legumes which are high in starch. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets and the average protein content is 30%, which is lower than we’d like to see.

Excessive Added Vitamins 

When vitamins come from whole food sources, they include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable. While a couple of added vitamins are acceptable, five or more implies the food is of poor nutritional value. 

Unnamed Animal Ingredients

Unnamed animal ingredients are a sign of low quality. While this line has named most of its proteins, it also contains fish oil, which could be any species of fish. These types of ingredients are usually waste products that are of low quality.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with the Acana Singles line:

Ultra-Processed

Most kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient in food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, heterocyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients

Most of the recipes in Acana Singles contain ingredients in the top 5 that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Sorghum, oats and chickpeas (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

Natural Flavor

Recipes in Acana Singles contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. This is a very low quality ingredient with limited safety studies.

Read more Acana Dog Food Reviews

acana highest protein dog food review

Acana Highest Protein Dog Food Review

Score: 6.1/10

Package Ingredients for Wild Atlantic Recipe: Whole mackerel, whole herring, whole redfish, silver hake, mackerel meal, herring meal, sunflower oil, whole red lentils, pollock meal, whitefish meal, safflower oil, whole pinto beans, whole green lentils, whole chickpeas, lentil fiber, pea starch, flounder, natural fish flavor, whole green peas, fish oil, whole yellow peas, collard greens, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, freeze-dried cod liver, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, copper proteinate, chicory, turmeric, sarsaparilla, 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

With an average score of 6.1/10, Acana Highest Protein is considered a moderate risk dog food. 

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate

The average carbohydrates in this line is calculated as 23% which is the lowest amount in the Acana dog food lines. The carbohydrates primarily come from legumes, which are high in starch. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also result in lower protein diets. The average protein content is 33% dry matter, which is on the low side for a high protein line.

Excessive Added Vitamins 

When vitamins come from whole food sources, they include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable. While a couple of added vitamins are acceptable, five or more implies the food is of poor nutritional value. 

Unnamed Animal Ingredients

Unnamed animal ingredients are a sign of low quality. While this line has named most of its proteins, it also contains fish oil, which could be any species of fish. These types of ingredients are usually waste products that are of low quality.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with the Acana Highest Protein dog food line:

Ultra-Processed

Most kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient in food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, heterocyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients

Some recipes in this line contain ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Peas, lentils and chickpeas (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

Natural Flavor

The recipes in Acana Wholesome Grains contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. This is usually MSG or animal digest, low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Read more Acana Dog Food Reviews

acana rescue care dog food review

Acana Rescue Care Dog Food Review

Score: 4/10

Package Ingredients for Free-Run Poultry, Liver & Whole Oats Recipe: Chicken, chicken meal, oat groats, whole green peas, whole red lentils, chicken fat, whole yellow peas, turkey meal, chicken bone broth, eggs, fish oil, chicken liver, whole oats, natural chicken flavor, whole green lentils, whole chickpeas, pea starch, chicken heart, whole pumpkin, salt, dried kelp, zinc proteinate, choline chloride, taurine, ascorbic acid, mixed tocopherols (preservative), vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, dried chicory root, DL-Methionine, chamomile, L-Tryptophan, collard greens, whole pears, whole apples, selenium yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, dried brewers yeast, copper proteinate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, rosemary extract, citric acid (preservative), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product

With a score of 4/10, Acana Rescue Care is Acana’s lowest scoring line, and it’s considered a high risk dog food. 

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate

The average level of carbohydrates in this line is calculated as 32% which is fairly high. The carbohydrates primarily come from legumes, which are high starch ingredients. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also result in lower protein diets. The average protein content is 27%, which is low and even lower than the carbohydrate content.

Excessive Added Vitamins 

When vitamins come from whole food sources, they include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable. While a couple of added vitamins are acceptable, five or more implies the food is of poor nutritional value. 

Added Amino Acids

Protein from animals is more complete in amino acids than protein from plants – plus it’s more expensive. Recipes with lower amounts of animal protein often need to add amino acids to compensate for the incomplete plant proteins. This can be a marker of cheap, lower quality ingredients. These recipes are found to contain both DL-Methionine, L-Tryptophan and taurine.

Unnamed Animal Ingredients

Unnamed animal ingredients are a sign of low quality. While this line has named most of its proteins, it also contains fish oil, which could be any species of fish. These types of ingredients are usually waste products that are low quality.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with the Acana Rescue Care line:

Ultra-Processed

Most kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient in food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, heterocyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Ingredients In The Top 5

There are ingredients in this line that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Oats, peas and lentils (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

Natural Flavor

The recipes in Acana Rescue Care contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. This is usually animal digest or MSG. low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Read more Acana Dog Food Reviews

acana premium chunks and pate dog food review

Acana Premium Chunks & Pate Review

Score: 6.3/10

Package Ingredients for Pork Recipe in Bone Broth: Pork, pork broth, beef bone broth, pork liver, sweet potatoes, cranberries, carrots, spinach, salmon, dried egg whites, dried egg product, bacon, natural flavor, organic guar gum, calcium carbonate, sunflower oil, tricalcium phosphate, pumpkin, sodium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, potassium iodide), blueberries, vitamins (thiamine mononitrate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, D-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), choline chloride, taurine

With an average score of 6.3/10, Acana Premium Chunks & Pate is considered a moderate risk dog food. 

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate

The average carbohydrates in this line are calculated as 19% (on a dry matter basis), which is fairly high for a canned food. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets and the average protein content is 44% (dry matter), which is fairly high for a canned food.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals

When foods are highly processed and/or contain lower quality ingredients, a vitamin and mineral premix is added to the dog food to meet minimum AAFCO nutritional requirements. These premixes can often cause toxicities, especially for vitamin D and copper.

Unnamed Animal Ingredients

Unnamed animal Ingredients are a sign of low quality. While this line has named most of its proteins, it also contains fish oil, which could be any species of fish. These types of ingredients are usually waste products that are of low quality.

Contains Seed Oil

Some of the recipes contain sunflower oil, which is a highly processed and highly inflammatory oil. It’s an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with the Acana Premium Chunks & Pate line:

Highly Processed

Canned dog foods are less processed than dry food. However, they are heated before and during canning, which will cause significant losses in some active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. 

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods

The recipes in Premium Chunks & Pate dog food contain some ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Certain crops are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

Natural Flavor

The recipes in Premium Chunks & Pate contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. This is usually MSG or animal digest, low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Read more Acana Dog Food Reviews

acana freeze dried dog food review

 Acana Freeze-Dried Dog Food Review

Score: 9.1/10

Package Ingredients for Free-Run Turkey Recipe, Patties: Turkey with ground bone, turkey liver, whole herring, pumpkin, natural flavor, turkey heart, turkey bone broth, organic butternut squash, organic carrots, organic pear, salt, dried chicory root, turmeric, dried kelp, mixed tocopherols (preservative), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate, copper proteinate), citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract

With an average score of 9/10, Acana Freeze-Dried is considered a low risk dog food. Freeze-dried foods are minimally processed, and because they aren’t heated, they retain their nutrients. 

The average carbohydrate level in this line is calculated as 10%, which is desirable. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. average protein content is 42%, which is acceptable for a freeze-dried food.

The Freeze-Dried line also contains some organic produce, which is desirable because reduces the likelihood of pesticide residues in the food.  

Ingredient Quality

There are couple of concerns about ingredient quality:

Excessive Added Vitamins 

When vitamins come from whole food sources, they include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable. While a couple of added vitamins are acceptable, five or more implies the food is of poor nutritional value. 

Unnamed Animal Ingredients

Unnamed animal ingredients are a sign of low quality.  While this line has named most of its proteins, it also contains fish oil, which could be any species of fish. These types of ingredients are usually waste products that are of low quality.

Ingredient Safety

There’s one Ingredient safety concern with Acana Freeze-Dried dog food … 

Natural Flavor

The recipes in Acana Freeze-Dried contain natural flavor, which is added to make food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Read more Acana Dog Food Reviews

Is ACANA A Good Dog Food?

ACANA is manufactured in-house in both Canada and the US. It offers mainly ultra-processed kibble, but also has  freeze-dried and canned lines. 

The company prides themselves on being a premium food and it is certainly better than many. Most notably, the food doesn’t typically need a vitamin premix and is fortified with fewer minerals than most kibbles. It’s also notable that the carbohydrate content is fairly low and the protein is high for a kibble, which is admirable. 

Champion Petfoods claims their ingredients are sourced regionally, with homegrown botanicals. Their website also claims their animal proteins are fresh, not frozen – and not dried. However, many of their foods contain meals, which are heated and dried animal proteins. Champion Petfoods does not use a co-manufacturer to make their foods, they appear to all be made in their own factories.   

ACANA also adds probiotics to their foods and guarantees a minimum amount.

When it comes to ingredient safety, the food comes up a bit short. Natural flavor makes a frequent appearance, as do known high pesticide and herbicide ingredients, which are frequently found in the top 5 ingredients. Overall, ACANA’s scores mean it’s considered a moderate risk dog food, with the exception of the Rescue Care line, which is considered high risk.

Lastly, the company doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. This is a concern because omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, and AAFCO allows a very high ratio of 30:1.

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluate and score dog foods based on two criteria.

Are the Ingredients High Quality?

Here are some common low quality ingredients or markers we look for:

  • Is there excessive carbohydrate content, which can cause gut imbalances?
  • Does the food contain unnamed proteins, which are low quality?
  • Does the food use cellulose (wood pulp) as a source of fiber instead of real food?
  • Are there excessive vitamins and minerals added in place of real food nutrition?
  • Are there excessive added amino acids or plant proteins instead of expensive meat protein?
  • Does the food contain inflammatory processed seed oils?

How Safe Are the Ingredients?

Many ingredients come from unhealthy, inflammatory sources or are full of pesticides so we look for:

  • How processed is the food?
  • Does the food contain known genetically modified foods?
  • Does the food contain ingredients known to be high in pesticides?
  • Does the food contain natural flavor, which are often MSG or animal digest?
  • Does the food contain rice, which is high in arsenic?

Each food is objectively evaluated by these criteria and a score is assigned using the average of ingredient quality and safety.

This is NOT a paid list and there are no affiliate links. We’ve partnered with DogFoodReviews.com to make sure dog owners have unbiased, objective criteria to help them choose the best dog food on the market. You can view the full Evaluation Criteria at DogFoodReviews.com.

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