The Acana Heritage product line includes 3 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 Heritage Meats [A]
- Acana Heritage Freshwater Fish [A]
- Acana Heritage Free-Run Poultry [A]
Acana Heritage Heritage Meats was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned beef, deboned pork, beef meal, whole green peas, red lentils, pinto beans, pork meal, beef fat, chickpeas, green lentils, whole yellow peas, deboned lamb, herring oil, lentil fiber, natural pork flavor, beef tripe, beef liver, beef kidney, pork liver, pork kidney, pork cartilage, lamb tripe, lamb liver, lamb kidney, dried kelp, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, carrots, apples, pears, freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried pork liver, freeze-dried lamb liver, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rose hips, juniper berries, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||19%||40%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||39%||33%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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 pork, another quality, raw item inclusive of water.
The third ingredient is beef meal. Beef meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh beef.
The fourth ingredient includes green peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
The fifth ingredient includes red lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
The sixth ingredient lists pinto beans, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
However, peas, lentils 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 pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The eighth ingredient is beef fat. Beef fat (or tallow) is most likely obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Although it may not sound very appetizing, beef fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The ninth ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:
- Green peas
- Red lentils
- Pinto 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.
In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, we note the use of lentil fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from lentils. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.
In addition, chicory root 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 (USA) The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Acana Heritage (USA) 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 33%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 40%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
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 various legumes and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Acana Heritage (USA) is a meat-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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.