ACANA™ FAQs FOR PET LOVERS
As Pet Lovers ourselves, we understand peace of mind is paramount. That’s why we strive to answer any questions you might have about our ACANA foods. Wondering about which recipe to choose for your pet, where we source our ingredients, or what goes into making the foods in our award-winning kitchens? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to learn everything you need to know about our Biologically Appropriate foods.
Have a question you don’t see here or just want to chat about our foods and how they are made? Please contact our Customer Care Team and we’ll be happy to help!
OUR ACANA™ FOODS & TREATS
ACANA foods and treats are a celebration of our longstanding commitment to making Biologically Appropriate foods from the best ingredients. Rich in meat protein, ACANA foods feature at least 50%* quality animal ingredients. ACANA foods offer a taste experience your dogs and cats will love!
*approximate and derived from the pre-processed state of the ingredients.
Feeding and transitioning
Q. How do I transition my pet to ACANA foods?
Dogs and cats are often fed the same food for a long period of time, which means a sudden food change makes it difficult for their digestive systems to adapt. That’s why it’s important to introduce new food gradually. Going slowly will give your dog or cat time to adjust to their new food and will also reduce the chances of digestive upset. Start by mixing 25 percent new food with 75 percent old food. Slowly increase the new food proportionately over the next 5-7 days until you are feeding 100 percent new food.
Q. Which ACANA diet should i choose?
The first time you transition your dog or cat to ACANA, we recommend selecting a recipe with an animal ingredient that matches the food you are currently feeding. This will help allow for the easiest transition and help minimize the risk of gastrointestinal upset. For example, if your dog is currently on a poultry-based diet, you may want to try the ACANA Prairie Poultry or Wild Prairie.
It is also important to consider the life stage of your pet. With foods for puppies, kittens, adults, seniors and All Life Stages you’re sure to find the right fit. A FEDIAF statement indicating which nutrient profile the food is formulated to meet can be found on our website under the “Ingredients & Analysis” tab of each respective diet.
For more specific dietary needs, please contact our Customer Care department.
Q. What is a rotational diet? Can I do this with ACANA?
After initially transitioning to ACANA, what many Pet Lovers do is a method of feeding known as Rotational Feeding. Rotating between ACANA formulas prevents your dog or cat from getting tired of eating the same thing day in and day out, while offering them a great variety of proteins and fats. A good place to start is rotating by the bag – when you have finished one formula, your next bag will be a different recipe. The first time you introduce a new food for rotation, mix the food 50/50 just to make sure your pet transitions well to the new ACANA food. However, if your dog or cat is more diet-sensitive, do a full transition when introducing a new ACANA food – after that you can change at will.
Q. Do you have any feeding tips?
Feed according to your dog or cat’s size, breed, stage of life and activity level. Consider that puppies and kittens require up to twice the energy of full-grown pets, and that overweight and senior pets often need smaller meals – just like people!
We recommend that for most pets, you feed twice daily. Simply divide the amount suggested on the feeding guide into two meals, spaced eight to 12 hours apart. For example, if the feeding guide calls for 1 cup per day, we recommend feeding ½ a cup in the morning and ½ a cup at night. You may need to adjust portions as you learn your pet’s ideal daily maintenance amount. These amounts may change over time as your pet’s age and activity levels change. Always keep in mind that a lean dog or cat is a healthy pet.
Many dogs and cats have large appetites and will eat everything you feed them. As ACANA foods are highly palatable, you need to be careful not to overfeed, as this can cause issues such as loose stool or unwanted weight gain.
Q. How many treats should i feed?
We all love to give our pets treats. However, treats should be given in moderation and should represent 10% or less of your pet’s daily food intake. The rest should come from a nutritionally complete feeding program. When using treats frequently, such as during training exercises, try to use small pieces.
Q. What does biologically appropriate mean?
The Biologically Appropriate concept is simple: mirror the freshness and variety of meats that dogs and cats are evolved to eat.
Q. What is meatmath?
MeatMath is designed to help you assess if your food is Biologically Appropriate. Biologically Appropriate foods are formulated to match the eating anatomy of the animal they are intended for. Dogs and cats are evolved as carnivores, which means they require high concentrations of meat, high inclusions of fresh meat, and a rich diversity of meat.
Is your food Biologically Appropriate?
Answer the three meat questions: How Much? How Fresh? How Many?
- How much meat is in the total diet? ACANA contains 50-85%* animal ingredients depending on the products.
- How much fresh or raw meat is in the total diet? 1/3 - 1/2 of the animal ingredients are fresh or raw.
- How many meats are included in the diet? Each ACANA recipe contains 1-6 different animal ingredients.
*approximate and derived from the unprocessed state of the ingredients.
Q. What does wholeprey mean?
Nature matched the nutrients in whole animals to perfectly meet your dog or cat’s biological needs. ACANA WholePrey ingredients incorporate meats, organs, and bone to reflect the natural diet, eliminating the need for long lists of synthetic ingredients.
World's Best Ingredients
Q. Where do you source your ingredients?
We believe that making the world’s best pet foods requires using the world’s best ingredients. That’s why we collaborate with a specially curated group of leading farmers, ranchers, and fisheries that we know and trust. Trust is earned by demonstrating an ongoing commitment to quality, food safety, sustainability, and communication.
Our strong network enables us to source only the best, including lamb from New Zealand, fish from Scandinavia, and other premium ingredients from our neighbors. No matter what, every ingredient we choose is selected for its nutritional value, digestibility, and superior flavor.
Our commitment to trust and transparency has led to a robust supplier vendor audit approval program and detailed ingredient traceability system.
Click to learn more about our ingredients
Q. Why do you use peas, beans, and lentils in your foods?
Our fruit and vegetable inclusions provide natural sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while also providing the binding action needed to form a kibble. Our legume inclusions are a healthy source of fiber and soluble carbohydrates.
Q. Fresh, raw or dried – what’s the difference?
Fresh: Our fresh ingredients meet the FEDIAF standard of refrigeration as the sole method of preservation.
Raw: Our raw ingredients are the same as our fresh, but are frozen at the peak of freshness to preserve nutrients.
Dried: Dried fish, poultry and meat ingredients are made of flesh, bones and cartilage, and provide a concentrated source of protein, with their bone content providing a very rich source of minerals. Dried ingredients are made by removing water from the meat, bone, and cartilage ingredients through a cooking process.
Award Winning Kitchens
Q. Who makes ACANA foods and where are they made?
ACANA Kibble and Treats are made by Champion Petfoods in our own Kitchens. When you choose ACANA, you can be confident your dog’s and cat’s food has been prepared with care and attention.
Q. Who formulates your diets and what are their credentials?
Our talented team of animal food scientists and nutritionists lead the development and research of our pet foods. They possess a wide variety of education and experience including degrees in Doctorates of Veterinary Medicine, PhDs in Animal Nutrition, PhDs in Food Science, Masters of Science degrees in Animal Nutrition, Food Science, Meat Hygiene and Food Microbiology. They also hold Bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science, Biochemistry, and Veterinary Medicine.
We also partner with numerous Doctors of Veterinary Medicine as consultants. We have always created Biologically Appropriate pet foods and are proud of the research we conduct.
Q. Do you perform any type of animal testing?
Our position on animal testing is simple – we only conduct tests that we would allow our own companion dogs and cats to participate in. We perform various research trials such as palatability tests (taste), digestibility testing (through stool analysis only), and AAFCO feeding trials. If it’s not OK for our own dogs and cats, then it’s not OK for any other dogs and cats.
Q. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FOOD SAFETY
KIBBLE AND TREATS
Built to reflect our commitment to Pet Lovers everywhere, our NorthStar kitchen has achieved the internationally recognized Safe Feed/Safe Food (SFSF) and HACCP certifications. Our NorthStar and New NorthStar Kitchens are also two of the very few North American pet food facilities that are European Union certified.
Our track-and-trace system tracks ingredients throughout our kitchens at each step in the process. All of this information is stored in databases that link to a finished product lot code, which enables trace back to an individual ingredient supplier or any step within our kitchens’ processes.
Our NorthStar kitchen has a comprehensive, industry-leading Food Safety System including a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) program, and our kitchen follows very strict GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices) to ensure our foods are made to the highest standards.
Our Quality Assurance department follows testing protocols from the time ingredients enter our kitchen through production and packaging. Our Quality Assurance technicians sample the raw, in-process and finished products according to our risk-based and scientifically-sound protocols. All finished products are subjected to pathogen evaluation before release and shipment. No product is released for shipment until all tests for food safety and quality are confirmed to be favorable.
Packaging and food storage
Q. Storing your ACANA food
Once opened, you can safely store ACANA food in its packaging by rolling the top of the bag down after each use. If you live in a humid climate, consider using an airtight container and simply put the entire bag of food in the container. Remember to wash your storage bin whenever you change out your bag of food to ensure food buildup does not occur. Also remember to keep the lot number handy. You can find this information, as well as the Best Before date, on the back of the package near the top.
Refrigeration of ACANA is not required. Rather than a garage with large temperature fluctuations, the best storage is in your home in a cool, dry place at room temperature.
Q. Best before dates
Each ACANA product is guaranteed until the Best Before Date printed on the package. The Best Before (BB) date is printed on the back of the bag at the top of the ACANA package along with our lot number and production information. Our BB dates should be read Day, Month, Year.
Nutrition and health
Q. WHAT IS FEDIAF AND AAFCO?
FEDIAF is the trade body that represents the European pet food industry. As we do export our ORIJEN and ACANA diets to Europe, we follow FEDIAF nutritional recommendations for dogs and cats to ensure that our diets are complete and balanced. AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Our Treats are produced in our DogStar Kitchen in the US and adhere to the nutritional levels established by AAFCO for cats and dogs.
Q. Are ACANA foods appropriate for my overweight pet?
Yes. Studies show that feeding dogs a high protein, low carbohydrate diet can help them to reduce body weight better than a high carbohydrate food.
High protein diets supports weight loss, while not having such severe reductions in caloric intake when compared to traditional high carbohydrate diets. We recommend ACANA Light & Fit, as it does meet these requirements.
Q. What is your position on DCM?
Why some dogs develop DCM is a complex issue that has been studied by scientists for decades. From published research we know many factors may cause a dog to develop DCM, including breed, genetics, biology, pre-existing health conditions, digestive issues, obesity, nutrition and processing of key nutrients, as well as activity level. We believe the best diet for your dog depends on the unique nutritional needs of your pet.
In a meeting with the FDA in October of 2020, the FDA reinforced that:
- DCM is a scientifically complex, multifaceted disease.
- The development of DCM in dogs has a clear genetic component, and potentially other factors, including nutrition, could contribute.
- FDA is not taking any regulatory action against grain-free foods.
There is no question that grain-free foods are safe and nutritionally complete. We have been making premium grain-free foods for 15 years, and dogs thrive on our products. If grain-free foods were dangerous or unsafe, we would have known that by now. Moreover, as a public health agency, FDA would be required to take regulatory action, including recalling grain-free products if they were unsafe or dangerous.
We are passionate about the premium quality of the grain-free food we make and are committed to optimizing pet health through sound nutrition. Grain-free foods are safe and nutritionally complete – our history and the science proves it.
The following article, which appeared in the Journal of Animal Science, provides an overview of the scientific literature on the issue.
For more information please contact our Customer Care team.
Q. How can I find an ACANA retailer?
Our online store locator will help you locate retailers in your area.