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ACANA is manufactured by the Canadian company Champion Petfoods. Founded in 1985, Champion also manufactures Orijen pet foods. Champion manufactures their US food in Auburn, Kentucky, while the Canadian foods are manufactured in Alberta.
Champion Petfoods claims their ingredients are sourced regionally, with homegrown botanicals. Their website also claims their animal proteins are fresh, not frozen – and not dried. However, many of their foods contain meals, which are heated and dried animal proteins. Champion Petfoods does not use a co-manufacturer to make their foods, they appear to all be made in their own factories.
The ACANA brand offers mainly dry foods, but rounds it out with wet and freeze-dried foods. The brand includes ACANA foods, plus several sub-brands. On average, the ACANA dry foods score higher than most dry dog foods, thanks to a possibly higher ingredient quality, as reflected in few added minerals.
Note: On November 1st 2022, global giant Mars Petcare announced an agreement to acquire Canadian company Champion Petfoods, which currently manufactures ACANA, along with Orijen pet foods. With the pending acquisition there could be changes in the recipes and ingredient standards of these foods. The change of ownership is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.
The average score of ACANA Dry Dog Foods and each sub-brand are listed below. Click on any line below to view the individual foods and scores.
ACANA is manufactured in-house in both Canada and the US. It offers mainly ultra-processed kibble, but also has a freeze-dried and canned line.
The company prides them selves on being a premium food and it is certainly better than many. Most notably, the food doesn’t typically need a vitamin premix and is fortified with fewer minerals than most kibbles. It’s also notable that the carbohydrate content is low and the protein is high for a kibble, which is admirable.
ACANA also adds probiotics to their foods and guarantees a minimum amount.
When it comes to ingredient safety, the food comes up a bit short. Natural flavor makes a frequent appearance, as do known high pesticide, which are frequently found in the top 5 ingredients. Overall, ACANA is considered a moderate risk food, with the exception of the Rescue Care line, which we consider high risk.
The classic line of ACANA’s dry dog foods is considered moderate risk. On average, the foods average just under 30% protein and 30% carbohydrate, as calculated. The Puppy and Junior Recipe has the lowest amount of carbohydrate at 24%. Overall, these foods score fairly low for ingredient safety since they feature a large amount of legumes in the top five ingredients, increasing the risk of pesticide/Roundup exposure. Scores are also reduced due to natural flavors and added vitamins. With that said, the food does contain only a small amount of added minerals, which likely means the ingredient quality is relatively high. The food does round out its ingredient list with probiotics including Lactobacillus acidophilus, and they do guarantee a minimum amount on the Guaranteed Analysis.
ACANA’s Wholesome Grains line is considered a moderate risk food. This line averages about 28% protein and 30% carbohydrate.This line uses oats, millet in sorghum in place of legumes for their carbohydrate source and they are found in abundance in the top 5 ingredients. This is a bit problematic as oats and millet are very high in glyphosate (Roundup) and other pesticides unless they are organic. The Wholesome Grains line also contains added vitamins, which may indicate lower quality ingredients. This food also contains probiotics and does guarantee a minimum amount.
The Singles line is ACANA’s single protein offering and is considered a moderate risk food. The line averages about 30% protein and 29% carbohydrate.ACANA Singles mainly uses oat groats, sorghum and chickpeas for its carbohydrate source, which lowers the ingredient safety score. These grain crops are found to be higher in glyphosate and pesticides than most foods, although they are a bit further down the ingredient list than some of ACANA’s other food lines. The Singles line also contains quite a few added vitamins, which may indicate lower quality ingredients. It contains probiotics and does guarantee a minimum amount.
ACANA’s Highest Protein line is considered a moderate risk food. It averages about 33% protein and 23% carbohydrate, making it ACANA’s lowest carbohydrate kibble. The carbohydrate comes mainly from lentils, chickpeas and pinto beans. These foods are very high in glyphosate and pesticides, but they’re further down the ingredient list than many of their other foods. This gives the food a moderate decrease in the ingredient safety score although oats, legumes and other high-pesticide products aren’t desirable unless they’re organic. The Highest Protein line also contains several added vitamins, which may indicate lower quality ingredients. This food also contains probiotics but does not guarantee a minimum amount.
ACANA’s Rescue Care line stands out as their only high risk offering. It averages about 27% protein and 32% carbohydrate, making it one of the highest carbohydrate foods in ACANA’s lineup.This line uses several high pesticide/Roundup foods in the top 5 ingredients, including oats, peas and lentils. These crops are all very high in glyphosate and pesticides and this significantly reduces the food’s safety score. The Rescue Care line also contains more added vitamins, which may indicate lower quality ingredients, in addition to added amino acids, which indicates more plant-based protein than animal-based.
The food also loses ingredient safety points for natural flavor, which is often either animal digest or MSG, which are low quality ingredients with limited safety studies. And finally, it includes genetically modified ingredients including apples. Overall, this is ACANA’s lowest scoring food line.
ACANA’s canned line is considered moderate risk. This food averages about 8% protein and 3.5% carbohydrate, which equals 44% protein and 19% carbohydrate on a dry matter basis (which is how dry foods are evaluated). The canned line mainly uses sweet potatoes for the carbohydrate source, which is relatively low in pesticides. With that said, there are some high pesticide in the food.
The ACANA Premium Chunks and Pate foods contain both added vitamins and minerals, which may indicate lower quality ingredients. There are also quite a few glam ingredients, which are found in minuscule amounts including pears and collard greens. The caned foods also lose ingredient safety points for natural flavor, which is often either animal digest or MSG, which are low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.
Overall, ACANA’s canned line scored higher than their kibble because it is a bit lower in carbohydrate, contains fewer high pesticide ingredients and is a bit less processed.
ACANA’s Freeze-Dried line is considered low risk. It averages about 42% protein and 10% carbohydrate, making it the lowest carbohydrate food in their lineup.This line scores better than other ACANA foods for several reasons. First, freeze-dried foods are minimally processed and maintain nearly all of their nutrients. This means there are few added minerals, although the freeze-dried foods do contain excessive added vitamins, which does indicate lower quality ingredients.
ACANA’s Freeze-Dried line is also made without the oats and legume crops found in their dry foods. These ingredients are very high in glyphosate and pesticides, which lowers the score in most of ACANA’s dry foods. There are some glam ingredients, which are found in minuscule amounts including kelp and turmeric, but not as many as a lot of competitor foods. This food contains probiotics but does not guarantee a minimum amount. It is certainly ACANA’s highest scoring food line – but also the most expensive since low carbohydrate foods are higher in animal protein, which adds cost.
To date, ACANA has not been recalled.
It is worth nothing that their parent company, Champion Petfoods had two lawsuits filed against it.
In 2020, Animal Equity questioned Champion’s claim that the trout in the ACANA line was wild caught when it was identified by the AE organization as farmed fish. The suit was resolved with Champion Petfoods changing their marketing claims and promising better transparency in its fish sourcing.
Also in 2020, the Organic Consumers Association sued Champion Petfoods for deceptive marketing under both the ACANA and Orijen brand names. The association alleged that statements such as “free-run” chicken were misleading. This case has also been resolved with Champion Petfoods making changes to their packaging and marketing.