The Acana Dog Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Looking for high-quality dog food that doesn’t break the bank? If you considered getting Orijen dog food but considered it too pricey for your budget, this one’s for you.
We teamed up with veterinarians, canine nutritionists and dog parents to form our own panel of independent experts. We then spent months researching everything there is to know about this brand, testing each food variety with our faithful canine companions. We learned a lot, and wish to share that information with you.
In today’s Acana dog food review, we’ll explore Champion Petfoods’ budget option. Should you switch your pup?
Related: The Best Dog Food Australia.
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia.
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal.
Quick Pick - Our Best Rated Dog Food
Our Number 1 Pick -
Petzyo Dog Food
- Ethically sourced Kangaroo, Chicken or Salmon, sweet potato & superfood extras
- Iron-rich & low fat proteins
- Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
- Made in Australia
Australia's Acana Dog Food Reviewed
Acana - 4 Star Rating
- Ingredients: Free-range poultry: 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 fibre, eggs, pollock oil, natural chicken flavour, 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.
- Named Protein First: Yes.
- Dog Food Type: Dry food and lyophilized treats
- Recipe Range: Regular, single-protein and “regional” recipes. There are options for puppies (regular and large-breed), as well as for seniors. More recipes available in New Zealand and the US but not yet sold in Australia.
- Suitable For: Puppy, adult and senior dogs. Small- and large-breed recipes available.
- Cost: $$$
- Australian Owned: No
The manufacturer behind Acana dog food, Champion Petfoods, claims they make the “world’s best pet food” … and this might be true for their Orijen line. But how does Acana compare to Orijen? Is it worth the price? Here’s everything you need to know about this popular food brand.
Acana Dog Food Review
This is probably one of the tastiest dog foods we’ve reviewed. Acana is apparently so delicious to dogs that the brand warns against overeating, and recommends carefully measuring portions to avoid obesity problems.
Considering the high animal protein percentage and lots of tasty extras in the recipes, it’s not a surprise most pups like this food. Overall, even picky eaters are happy with their bowls when offered Acana. Digestion-wise, most pups do well and even have improved digestion from this food after getting used to the higher fat content.
Our team appreciated the lack of artificial flavouring. Although the natural flavour is still a fairly lax category, it’s the better option in a sea of mysterious artificial additives.
Considering the high palatability and zero artificial flavourings, we’re giving this brand 5 out of 5 in this category.
This is where Acana shines in comparison to other brands. Although less protein-heavy than Orijen dog food, Acana doesn’t lag behind. Their free-run poultry boasts “60% premium animal ingredients” and 40% “vegetable, fruit, botanicals & nutrients”.
The guaranteed analysis doesn’t look bad: the examined recipe features 29% crude protein, 17% crude fat and a max of 6% crude fibre. This is in line with other foods in the upper mid-range. The protein and fat percentages are well above the bare minimum recommended by the AAFCO. This means your pup will be plenty energetic to jump and play all day.
Looking at the ingredient list itself, it’s nice to see the first three (!) ingredients are from animal sources. Following the meat, we have 3 types of beans (green peas, red lentils, pinto beans), then chicken liver, chicken fat and catfish meal. The bulk of the food is finished off by green lentils, lentil fibre and yellow peas.
It’s worth noting that a good portion of the main ingredients are legumes. This is fine, considering lower down the ingredient list there are even more animal ingredients (like innards). Nevertheless, these legumes are bumping up the protein content.
The ingredients listed point out that the brand privileges getting high-quality components. Without claiming to be grain-free, there are no cereals like wheat, corn, or gluten. Our team appreciated the inclusion of animal-derived fats: on top of chicken fat, there are eggs and catfish.
In general, most pups will do well with the ingredients in these recipes. Unless your dog has specific medical advice to avoid a high-protein diet, we found the fat percentage great to keep your dog active as they age.
Considering this is a kibble, it’s one of the better recipes we’ve seen. Of course, it’s lower in animal protein than freeze-dried and raw food. This is common with kibble!
Our team agreed to give Acana 4 out of 5 in this category. Pretty nice ingredient list!
Protein content 4/5
As we mentioned above, these recipes have between 29% and 35% protein, depending on the flavour. This is nice to see, especially considering most mid-range kibbles generally have 20% to 25% protein.
Overall, the protein choice is promising. The poultry recipe has deboned chicken, turkey and chicken meal as the top ingredients. Further down the list, there’s chicken fat and several innards.
Everyone on our expert panel appreciated the inclusion of internal organs. These recipes have liver, gizzard, cartilage and heart from chicken and turkey. These extras more closely mimic a “wild dog diet”. When eating prey, around 30% of a dog’s “natural diet” would consist of internal organs.
Nutritionally speaking, these smaller pieces are rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and round up your dog’s daily intake. While raw innards would be the better choice to fully benefit from all nutrients, adding them to cooked kibble is the next best option.
Want to add innards to your dog’s diet? Liver, lung and heart (raw or lightly cooked) are a great topper for your dog’s daily bowl. You can ask your butcher for them: they’ll generally sell them for a very low price and sometimes they’ll give them away for free.
It’s worth noting that none of the recipes currently available in Australia are single-protein. For example, the poultry kibble is mainly based around poultry but it still has catfish meal and pollock oil. This shouldn’t be an issue for most dogs, but a pup allergic to fish might have to look elsewhere.
Finally, we noticed high-protein legumes relatively high up on the ingredient list. In fact, of the top 10 ingredients after animal proteins, six are legumes. These include red and green lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas, and green and yellow peas.
Legumes are a good addition to your dog’s diet, and it’s nice to see a good mix instead of the generic “peas” that most brands are satisfied with. Nevertheless, they are also around 25% protein. In food that privileges protein, adding legumes likely increases the protein percentage to make it look better.
We would consider this unclear labelling since customers might think all the protein comes from animal sources. It's also evident they are doing ingredient-splitting with it. If these ingredients were to be lumped together, they would likely go above one or more of the animal proteins.
All in all, we’re happy with the protein content in this food. It falls in line with other high to mid-range kibble, and having plenty of internal organs is generally uncommon at this price point. We’re giving Acana 4 out of 5 in this category.
Even though the overall protein percentage and core ingredients of this brand are in-line with other mid-range dog foods, it’s the extras that make Acana shine. There are lots of them, so we’ve grouped them into categories to make the analysis easier:
As a final note, our team liked that Acana specifically singles out what they call “technological”, “sensory”, “zootechnical” and “nutritional” additives on their ingredient list. It’s a great way to understand what’s in the food even for those that haven’t extensively researched the subject.
We’re giving this brand 5 out of 5 in this category.
Here in Australia, we don’t get the full recipe range from Acana. The brand is still testing the market here, so only the essentials make it. We do have adult, puppy and senior food available, as well as large-breed puppy options. However, the full catalogue is much more complete and includes some interesting “habitat” recipes that single out specific proteins and fillers to vary your dog’s diet.
The variety available in Australia as of the writing of this article is sufficient. While we might have some extra flavours available soon, there’s nothing official yet.
Considering these limitations, we’re giving this brand 3 out of 5 in this category.
Made by the same manufacturer behind Orijen, Acana dog food is meant to be a more affordable option without sacrificing (too much) quality. We would place this kibble on the higher end of the upper-mid range, and the price reflects that.
The ingredients chosen for these recipes are fairly high-quality. Our team appreciated the inclusion of not-so-common extras like innards and probiotics, which aren’t as used as we’d like.
Overall, this kibble has a fair price, but it might still be a little too high for households with a tight budget. If that’s your case, we’d recommend complementing with more affordable brands and using the bundle discounts online.
Considering the price is fair and the small online discounts, we’re giving this brand a 3 out of 5.
Do Not Buy If…
Acana can be a great choice for many puppers, but our team of independent experts suggest you might want to look elsewhere if you:
Acana dog food is a great option for most dogs. Of course, when compared with its sister brand Orijen, the latter comes on top. However, our team of independent experts found Acana a good compromise between price and quality, which cannot be ignored.
For those of us with a large pack, staying within budget is essential! If you’re looking for high-quality dog kibble but would also like to keep your life savings, give this one a try.
Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:
- Ivory Coat Dog Food Review
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- PetMD. Probiotics for dogs: How do they work? https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/probiotics-dogs-what-you-need-know
- Health Benefits of Marshmallow root for dogs. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/marshmallow-root-for-dogs/