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Acana Dog Food Review: Best Formulas, Recall History & More

Thinking that Acana might be the next dog food for your pup? In this Acana Dog Food Review, we examine dog food costs, recall history & more!

Last Updated: June 6, 2020 | 9 min read

Acana Dog Food in Bowl

Acana is owned by Champion Petfoods, who also produces the more expensive brand Orijen. Since 1979, Acana has received numerous awards for their superior products. They have multiple dog and cat foods for “all life stages,” as well as formulas for puppies and seniors. Also, they have select diet options plus products for different breed sizes.

Acana is a popular dog food brand available in over 60 countries around the globe. They have both grain-inclusive and grain-free options, as well as limited ingredients recipes, so you’re sure to find a product that meets your pet’s specific needs. They produce both dry kibble and treats, which are a great training aid. The treats are raw animal meats that have been freeze-dried to lock in flavor and nutrients, made out of real animal meats.

Acana has multiple flavors of “all life stages” formulas designed for all breed types, which is similar to its competitors. But they also have puppy foods, including formulas intended for small puppies as well as food made for large breed puppies. Small breeds have different needs than bigger dogs, including a smaller kibble size. They even have a senior formula. You’ll be able to keep your dog on the same dog food brand from a puppy until old age. Keep reading to learn about Acana, including what ingredients they use, recipes, and favorite picks. Here we go!

Food Review at a Glance: Acana Formulas

Acana Puppy
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Acana Puppy Formula

View at Amazon.com
Acana Adult
Our Rating

Best For Adults

Acana High-Protein

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Acana Limited
Our Rating

Limited Ingredient

Acana Limited Ingredient Recipe

View at Amazon.com

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Brand History

Acana Dry Dog Food History
Acana has been around since 1979 and is well respected in the Dog Food industry.

Champion Petfoods, the parent company of Acana, has been in business since 1979. Founded in Alberta, Canada, they currently have factories in Canada and America. Both Acana, which is moderately priced and Orijen, the more expensive version, has been in production for decades. They’ve earned a reputation for being among the best pet food manufacturers available.

Acana headquarters are still in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as is the manufacturing plant NorthStar Kitchens, which is only for the production of Acana and Orijen dog food products. And they’ve expanded to have an office and factories in Auburn, Kentucky called DogStar Kitchens. Their products come from local farms and waters, so all the ingredients are safe and from trusted sources.

Recall History

Acana Recall History
Acana has a clean recall history compared to other brands.

We’ve searched high and low and were excited to learn that there have been zero recalls for any Acana products. Not only that, but there has only been one recall for their sister product, Orijen. With over forty years of manufacturing, we’re in awe that they’ve never had penalties for their products. But that accolade gives us confidence that this is a high-quality brand. 

FDA Warning

It is worth mentioning that the FDA has listed Acana along with fifteen other dog food brands connected with multiple pets developing DCM – dilated cardiomyopathy – a severe heart condition. However, there has not been anything conclusive that proves that the brands are causing the diseases. The issue is mostly related to grain-free products and not the brand itself.

Active Lawsuits

Another thing worth mentioning is that there was a lawsuit filed in 2018 against Champion Petfoods, claiming negligent, reckless practices, false advertising, and heavy metals and toxins.

Food Ingredients

Acana Dog Food Ingredients
Acana uses natural ingredients in all of their dog food formulas.

When it comes to the ingredients, Acana doesn’t cut corners. They use locally sourced ingredients and never include undesirable ingredients like by-product meats, wheat, corn, or soy. There’s always a high-quality meat protein listed as the first ingredient. Acana does have warnings of possibly causing DCM in pets, but nothing has been thoroughly proven, so you should be safe using Acana as your pet’s go-to dog food.

Acana provides essential amino acids, fats, vitamins, and minerals by using WholePrey muscle meat, organs, and cartilage, which contains all the nutrients you need naturally. Hence, there’s no need to add supplements to the ingredients list. All fruits and vegetables, including peas, beans, and lentils, are non-GMO ingredients that provide natural fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

Acana Dog Food Reviews

Acana Food Waiting For Dog
Below the top picks by Acana, including grain-free, and limited ingredient formulas.

Now, we’re going to review Acana’s different options, including the various life-stage options. The majority of Acana’s foods are for “all life stages,” meaning you can feed these recipes to dogs of any age and size and base your dog’s needs off his weight. These can even be fed to puppies. We’re going to cover the different options starting with their puppy line.


Puppy Formulas

Acana Puppy Formula

Acana Puppy Formula
  • High protein 50%-75% of animal ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Farm fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Four sources of animal protein.
  • Produced in-house at Acana kitchens
  • 408 Calories per cup.
  • 33% Protein, 20% Fat, 5% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Acana makes three different puppy formulas, including one designed for small breed puppies and another for large breed pups, as well as one formulated for puppies and junior dogs. All three recipes are grain-free and made with a biologically appropriate WholePrey ratio of fresh raw meat and local fruits and vegetables to create a protein-rich diet. The different breed formulas help you make sure your puppy is getting the appropriate nutrition for his size.

When you’re trying to choose a puppy formula, it’s best to find one that matches your breed’s needs. Large breed puppies require different nutrition than smaller breeds. Picking a recipe formulated for your puppy’s specific needs helps ensure your furbaby grows up healthy.

Acana’s foods have a high meat ratio, providing most nutrients naturally through animal organs, cartilage, and meat. Animal protein is always the first ingredient. For all three puppy foods, the first thing listed is fresh chicken meat. These formulas have 60% meat, 40% vegetables and no grains, meat by-products, gluten, potato, or tapioca.


Adult High-Protein

Acana High-Protein Grain Free Adult Blend

Acana Adult Formula
  • Higher protein for active dogs.
  • Higher fat for extra energy and lean muscles.
  • All life stages and breeds.
  • No by-products or fillers.
  • Locally sourced products.
  • 388 Calories per cup.
  • 29% Protein, 17% Fat, 6% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Having an active breed means that you’ll need to provide high-quality dog food higher in protein, which is how your pup gets his energy. He’ll also need plenty of carbohydrates and fat to sustain healthy muscles. Finding a dog food containing crucial amino acids like glucosamine is also advised since this nutrient supports healthy bones, joints, and cartilage.

Due to higher protein, it is not advised to feed dog food formulated for high agility to puppies or dogs under one year of age. Too much protein can be damaging to a growing puppy’s organs. Once your dog transitions from puppy food to adult dog food, you can safely feed them this type of dog food designed for working and high activity dogs.

Acana ensures that your pet will have plenty of energy due to all the protein sourced from animal ingredients such as the organs, meat, cartilage, and bones of multiple animals, including chicken and turkey. Red meat is an excellent source of protein for dogs with sensitive digestion as it’s blander than red meat and is easier on the stomach and digestion. There’s also plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms and waters.


Adult Grain-Inclusive

Acana American Waters With Grains

Acana American Waters
  • High-protein blend.
  • Wholesome grains.
  • Biologically appropriate diet.
  • No fillers or animal by-products.
  • Fresh regional ingredients.
  • 371 Calories per cup.
  • 31% Protein, 17% Fat, 6% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Acana has multiple adult recipes made with wholesome grains and fresh or raw animal meats. These formulas are “all life stages,” meaning you can feed them to your adult dog over the age of one, but they can work for most puppies and senior dogs as well. However, we do recommend using puppy and senior food instead. Most dogs will do well on grain-inclusive recipes and do not require a grain-free diet. But your veterinarian is the best way to know whether your dog needs grains or not.

Acana with wholesome grains like oats, sorghum, and millet are available in six yummy flavors. Recipes with grains do have a higher cost than grain-free formulas. As long as your dog does not experience any digestive distress, there’s no reason to choose grain-free over grain-inclusive. Many parents are willing to pay a slight price increase for the extra safety of dog food with grains.

With grains, this recipe has WholePrey ratios of real animal proteins that mimic the type of diet your pet would get in the wild. Acana includes animal organs, cartilage, bones, and meat to provide natural nutrients, so there’s no need for supplements like glucosamine, vitamins, or crucial amino acids. There are zero fillers, and no common allergens like potatoes, tapioca, or gluten.


Adult Grain-Free

Acana Regionals Appalachian Ranch

Acana Appalachian Ranch
  • No potato, gluten, tapioca, or grains.
  • High-protein formula.
  • WholePrey Superfood Ingredients.
  • DHA rich for brain development.
  • 70% meat, 30% vegetables.
  • 388 Calories per cup.
  • 33% Protein, 17% Fat, 6% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Acana grain-free formulas are “all life stages” and come in various yummy flavors that deliver a diet similar to what they’d get in the wild. No matter what kind of tastes your dog has, Acana will have a flavor your pup loves. And all life stages means you can use this formula on any age and breed to provide a balanced, nutritional diet.

Grain-free is usually recommended for dogs with sensitivities to common allergens like grains. But given the warnings on grain-free pet foods, you shouldn’t switch your pet to a grain-free dog food without the approval and recommendation of your veterinarian. Don’t change your dog to grain-free just because your friends or family says it’s a great idea. The majority of dogs do fine with grain-inclusive products.

Acana’s grain-free product line is just as popular and high-quality as their grain-inclusive brands. They load their foods with tons of animal proteins while limiting the carbs to provide your dog with a balanced diet for peak performance. Most of the nutrients come from the 70% animal protein, including Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, glucosamine, and multiple vitamins. There’s also DHA and EPA, which are excellent for brain and eye development. Most adult dog foods don’t include DHA, as it’s more common in puppy foods.


Adult Limited Ingredient

Acana Limited Ingredient Formula

Acana Limited Ingredient Formula
  • 65% single animal protein.
  • WholePrey ratios.
  • Limited ingredients.
  • Zero fillers, gluten, peas, potato, tapioca, or rice.
  • Loaded with superfoods for healthy digestion.
  • 388 Calories per cup.
  • 31% Protein, 17% Fat, 5% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Limited ingredients dog foods are an excellent option for pet parents trying to avoid dog foods with artificial ingredients and common allergens. They’re an excellent option for pets with sensitive tummies. These types of dog foods have fewer ingredients than traditional dog foods.

What we love about Acana is they don’t mark their price up for their limited ingredients product line like other companies. You can expect to spend about the same amount. Typically, companies charge more for a limited ingredient recipe. Acana has five different flavors to choose from with limited ingredients.

Most limited ingredient recipes contain the same foods as traditional brands, so transitioning your pet from a grain-free or grain-inclusive diet to a limited ingredient diet can be a lot easier on your pet’s digestion. Typically, pets experience problems when changing to a new food if there’s an abrupt introduction to new ingredients. These issues usually resolve themselves in a few weeks. If they are still experiencing problems a month later, you may want to consult a veterinarian.


Senior Formulas

Acana Senior Dog Food

Acana Senior
  • Higher protein.
  • Includes freeze-dried liver.
  • 65% of animal ingredients.
  • Low-glycemic fruits and vegetables.
  • Zero grains, tapioca, pea, potato, gluten.
  • 399 Calories per cup.
  • 33% Protein, 14% Fat, 6% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Acana only has one senior formula, which is grain-free. It has received a ton of great reviews from pet parents and seems to be a popular choice for senior dog food. Most senior dog foods are expensive, but Acana has a lower cost, which is a decisive factor that we love.

When transitioning your pet from a regular adult dog food to senior dog food, make sure you choose a senior diet that contains extra minerals and vitamins to support your dog’s aging body and glucosamine for healthy bones and joints. You also want balanced carbohydrates, so your elderly pet doesn’t gain too much weight. Acana Senior is among the stiff competition for the best senior food, but it’s a favorite for many.


Weight Management

Acana Light and Fit Weight Management

Acana Light and Fit
  • 65% fresh meat for protein.
  • Low glycemic fruits and vegetables.
  • Limited carbs and calories.
  • Human grade ingredients.
  • Grain-free.
  • 348 Calories per cup.
  • 33% Protein, 10% Fat, 8% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Acana has one weight management option available. As is typical of the Acana brand, both of these formulas are full of animal proteins made with multiple parts from different animal sources. They are grain-free and contain no gluten, potato, tapioca, or fillers. It’s a great product to use for weight control due to the low-glycemic vegetables and fruits, which are suitable for low blood sugar.

This weight loss formula is safe for all breeds and all life stages after the age of one. You’ll need to use your pet’s age and weight to regulate how much food he’ll need each day. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian for assistance. When your pet is struggling with obesity, she will require strict monitoring of her diet.


Freeze-Dried Treats

Acana Duck & Pear Formula Dog Treats

Acana Dog Treats
  • 70% Freeze-dried real animal meat.
  • Packed with protein.
  • 100% raw and natural.
  • Limited ingredients.
  • Grain, potato, gluten, and tapioca free.
  • Biologically appropriate.
  • Made with fresh local ingredients.
View at Amazon.com

Acana doesn’t just make dog food, but they also make yummy high protein treats. These freeze-dried treats are a great way to encourage proper behavior and make training more successful. Or as a treat to show love. Use caution when feeding snacks, as too many can cause your pet to experience unwanted weight gain.

Treats make a useful tool when you’re training your puppy, but they also make great snacks for older dogs between mealtimes. You can start giving your dog treats as soon as they can chew solid foods, usually around eight weeks of age. Even senior dogs can benefit from a few healthy treats each day to boost energy.

The Acana freeze-dried pet treats have a lot of high ratings from pet parents, and they’re limited ingredients so your pet won’t get too much nutrition or unnecessary ingredients. As with their dog food, Acana dog treats are full of various high-quality animal ingredients for a massive dose of protein for a biologically appropriate diet. There is also plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to provide balanced nutrition.


Final Thoughts

We’ve hoped this dog food review has shown that Acana is a popular, affordable, high-quality dog food that has earned a reputation as one of the best. Acana believes in providing your pet with a diet that resembles what they would eat in the wild, with tons of animal-based protein to provide natural nutrition.

They always use locally sourced ingredients and manufacture their products from start to finish in their local factories. There are many dog food options out there, but we suggest trying Acana as your brand based on price, nutritional content, ingredients, and quality.

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