Acana Heritage Dog Food | Canada (Dry)

(5.0 / 5)

The Acana Heritage product line includes 9 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Acana Heritage Senior Dog [M]
  • Acana Heritage Light and Fit [M]
  • Acana Heritage Sport and Agility [A]
  • Acana Heritage Puppy and Junior [A]
  • Acana Heritage Adult Large Breed [A]
  • Acana Heritage Adult Small Breed [A]
  • Acana Heritage Puppy Small Breed [A]
  • Acana Heritage Puppy Large Breed [A]
  • Acana Heritage Cobb Chicken and Greens (4.5 stars) [A]

Acana Heritage Adult Small Breed was selected to represent others in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 35
Fat 19
Carbs 38

Ingredients: Fresh chicken meat (12%), chicken meal (12%), turkey meal (12%), red lentils, whole green peas, field beans, chicken fat (5%), fresh chicken giblets (liver, heart, kidney) (4%), herring meal (4%), fresh whole eggs (4%), fresh whole flounder (4%), herring oil (2%), sun-cured alfalfa (2%), green lentils (2%), whole yellow peas, pea fiber, fresh chicken cartilage (1%), dried brown kelp, fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole butternut squash, fresh whole parsnips, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh mustard greens, fresh turnip greens, fresh whole carrots, fresh red delicious apples, fresh bartlett pears, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, fresh whole cranberries, fresh whole blueberries, chicory root, turmeric, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rose hips, Enterococcus faecium, supplements: zinc chelate, vitamin E (preservative)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.7%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 31% 17% NA
Dry Matter Basis 35% 19% 38%
Calorie Weighted Basis 29% 39% 31%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fourth ingredient includes red lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

Read more:  Bixbi Rawbble Dog Food (Freeze-Dried)

The fifth ingredient includes green peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

The sixth ingredient includes beans, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

However, lentils, peas and beans contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient includes giblets (liver, heart, kidney), the edible by-products of poultry slaughter. This item can include the gizzard, brain, lungs, kidneys, heart, spleen, liver, ovaries and other visceral organs.

Though the thought of eating an animal’s internal organs probably wouldn’t appeal to most humans, these grisly-sounding ingredients can all be considered a natural part of an authentic ancestral diet.

Giblets are an acceptable (although less costly) meat ingredient. Although it is a quality item, raw organ meat contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The ninth ingredient is herring meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With five notable exceptions

First, it’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:

  • Red lentils
  • Green peas
  • Field beans
  • Green lentils
  • Yellow peas

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

Read more:  Apex Dog Food (Dry)

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Next, we find dried alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

In addition, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

Next, this food includes chicory root. Chicory is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

And lastly, this food contains one chelated mineral, a mineral that has been chemically attached to protein. This makes it easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Acana Heritage Dog Food (Canada) The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Acana Heritage (Canada) looks like an above-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 35%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the legumes and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Acana Heritage (Canada) is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Those looking for a grain-free version of the same brand may wish to visit our review of Acana Grain Free dry dog food.