ACANA Dog Food Review

ACANA is the sister brand of Orijen, with both being made by Canadian manufacturer Champion Petfoods. If you’ve already read our review of Orijen dog food then you’ll know how reputable this manufacturer is, and it has to be said from the off that ACANA is a very good dog food.

The caveat is Orijen is the better of the two, but when it comes to pet food “better” also means “pricier”.

For our ACANA dog food review we’ll dig in to the Free-Run Poultry Recipe, which is a benchmark for all in the range.

ACANA dog food review

What the marketing says

Champion Petfoods boldly state on their website “World’s Best Petfood”. There isn’t even the word probably (some of you may be familiar with the Carling beer slogan “Probably the best beer in the world).

ACANA Dog Food Review

They claim both Orijen and Acana are made “For Pet Lovers, By Pet Lovers”. This surely makes you feel warm and fuzzy about their products, but as with any dog food they also make it for profit. That’s absolutely fine if quality goes hand in hand, which is thankfully the case.

What the ingredients really say

ACANA Free-Run Chicken is 60% animal ingredients, 40% vegetables/fruits/botanicals/other nutrients, and 0% rubbishy stuff like artificial colourings, flavourings, or preservatives.

Unlike most dog foods made from one meat ingredient and a range of fillers, ACANA dog food is made from a laundry list of meats, veggies, and fruits, each with nutritional merit. This is definitely a good thing.

If we take all the ingredients before fat (17%) we have a range of 4 whole prey ingredients and 3 vegetables. One of the whole prey ingredients is chicken liver which is very rich in nutrients and an excellent (and uncommon) addition to a dry dog food. Bonza!

It doesn’t end with chicken liver either. We also find chicken heart, turkey liver, chicken cartilage, chicken gizzard, and turkey gizzard. These may sound a bit yucky to your ears, but to your dog this sounds delicious. Well, at least it would sound delicious if they knew what you were talking about (say “liver” to your dog – how do they react!?).

ACANA Dog Food Review

The main ingredients of deboned chicken, deboned turkey, and chicken meal are really good to see, and we can tell from the 27% protein there’s a decent amount of meat in the food. The vegetable choices are pretty good too being green peas, red lentils, and pinto beans. It’s nice to see a variety rather than just “peas”.

In fact, there are so many decent ingredients in ACANA dog food it would be a very long review if we covered each one individually. Simply take a look at the ingredients list below and you’ll see what I mean.

The vitamins and minerals are hand-picked to coincide with the range of decent ingredients in the food which is a sign of quality. Most dog foods have little nutrition which they add with a generic “vitamin and mineral” pack.

Oh, and those bizarrely named lactobacillus and bifidobacterium ingredients may sound a little creepy, but they’re highly beneficial probiotics for gut health.

ACANA Dog Food Review
ACANA dog food review – kibble size

ACANA dog food is very good in it’s own right, and well worth feeding your dog. If you can afford Orijen as the more premium offering then do that, or why not feed both?

Where to buy ACANA dog food dog food

ACANA dog food is available to buy from VeryPet

An excellent insight into ACANA dog food (video)

This short video from Champion Petfoods shows how ACANA dog food compares to a regular mediocre brand:

ACANA dog food review – How ACANA compares to regular brands

About Champion Petfoods (video)

Bare with this one as it’s very “retro” being a TV program uploaded to YouTube, but it gives a great deal of insight into Orijen and Acana and how they’re made:

ACANA dog food review – The Champion Petfood Story

ACANA dog food review summary

If you’re looking to feed a decent brand of dog food then ACANA definitely fits the bill. As with all dog diets we recommend a variety, so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t mix ACANA with other brands of dog food, whether dry, wet, barf, raw, or fresh.

If you’re a feeder of ACANA then be sure to let us know how you’ve got on in the comments below.

Hopefully our ACANA dog food review has helped you! If it has, please tell others about Pet Food Reviews!

Ingredients of ACANA dog food

Ingredients of ACANA Free-Run Poultry dog food as of August 2021:

Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken meal, whole green peas, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, chicken liver, chicken fat, catfish meal, chickpeas, whole green lentils, whole yellow peas, lentil fiber, eggs, pollock oil, natural chicken flavor, chicken heart, turkey liver, turkey heart, chicken cartilage, chicken gizzard, turkey gizzard, salt, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, whole pumpkin, collard greens, whole carrots, whole apples, zinc proteinate, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin A acetate, 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.

Guaranteed analysis of ACANA dog food

Guaranteed analysis of ACANA Free-Run Poultry dog food as of August 2021:

Protein(min) 29%
Fat(min) 17%
Crude Fibre(max) 6%
Carbohydrates *(max) 35% (estimated)
* May be estimated. Read how to calculate carbohydrates in a pet food.

ACANA dog food recalls

There have been no recalls of ACANA pet food products.

Almost all US and Canadian brands seem to be tarnished in some way or other, and ACANA is no exception. The brand is often mentioned in regard to the FDA “DCM” scare of 2019, which despite being no longer investigated by the FDA still circulates around social media.

In 2011 ACANA was subject to a rather bizarre issue when an FDA test on a single bag of ACANA Grasslands suggested the possibility of salmonella. An alert was put on the product but subsequently dropped, with the test possibly being a false positive.

Calling Aussie pet lovers – join the mailing list!

9.2 Total Score
ACANA dog food review

ACANA is a very good choice for your dog. The ingredients are decent, and the manufacturer has had a flawless reputation for quite some time.

  • Fantastic selection of quality ingredients


David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. ….no reason why you wouldn’t mix ACANA with other brands of dog food, whether dry, wet, ****barf*****, raw, or fresh. ??????

  2. Any idea when Acana will be available again in Australia? It’s been out of stock everywhere for weeks.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) December 18, 2022 at 12:20 am

      Hi Rachael, yes this has been the case for a while now – on and off unfortunately. Taste of the Wild is probably the most like for like alternative, so maybe that’s an option while Acana is out of stock?

  3. No wonder this food and its sister food orijen food were investigated for DCM
    It’s nothing but FULL of lentils and peas a dog does not need these at such quantities
    How much lentils and peas and beans do you need in a dog food
    You don’t find dogs in the wild eat lentils, peas and beans they are not designed to not at such quantities
    Not good for dogs with allergies either or serious GERD problems
    Dogs need some grain and meat sources not just dam lentils, and peas

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) August 9, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Stacey, the investigation into DCM was subsequently dropped due to inconclusive evidence.

      Most grain-based pet foods are very significantly formulated with grain, often with very little meat. You don’t find dogs in the wild eating grains in any form except from the stomach contents of prey, so you can question that too.

  4. My 4 year old golden retriever use to eat this all the time and died of heart failure back in February, it happened so quick in the matter of less than a week and the emergency vet and family vet told us that acana foods have caused the most problems for heart health and acana was most-likely to have caused her sudden death. I would avoid this brand personally.

  5. is Champion owned by Purina now? 🙁

  6. we fed our puppy (border collie) Acana from the get go. she’s two now. her fur is soft (people always comment how soft she is!) and her coat and breath has no unpleasant smells at all. she absolutely loves Acana and we mix up the different recipes for variety.

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