Frequently Asked Questions

We know ACANA pet foods are different, so we bet you have a few questions. Learn more about what’s in our foods, how they’re made, and our plans for the future.

Your peace of mind is paramount to us, so if your question is not answered in the FAQ section below, or if you have questions about our Biologically Appropriate foods and how we make them, please contact our Customer Care Team.

FAQ Sections


  • ACANA Heritage

    ACANA Heritage foods are a celebration of our longstanding commitment to making Biologically Appropriate foods from Fresh Regional Ingredients. Rich in meat protein, ACANA Heritage foods feature regionally sourced free-run poultry, freshwater fish and heritage meats. Prepared exclusively in our award-winning Kentucky DogStar® Kitchens, ACANA Heritage offers a taste experience your dogs will love.

  • ACANA Regionals

    Regionally inspired and Biologically Appropriate, ACANA Regionals feature the rich diversity of fresh ingredients produced across Kentucky’s fertile prairies, meadows and ranchlands. Protein-rich ACANA Regionals are made with a full 70% of ranch-raised meats, free-run poultry and eggs, wild-caught fish and sun-ripened fruits and vegetables. Made exclusively in our kitchens in Auburn, Kentucky, ACANA Regionals are guaranteed to keep dogs and cats happy and healthy.

  • ACANA Singles

    Limited ingredients shouldn’t mean less meat for your diet-sensitive dog. That’s why we make four richly nourishing single protein foods especially for diet-sensitive dogs. ACANA Singles are full of meat, including Suffolk lamb, Muscovy Duck, Yorkshire Pork and Atlantic Mackerel, all in WholePrey ratios that supply nutrients naturally, eliminating the need for synthetic vitamins and amino acids. Featuring local fruits, vegetables and botanicals to promote digestive health, healthy blood sugar levels and peak physical conditioning. Prepared to our Biologically Appropriate and Fresh Regional Ingredient standards in our DogStar® Kitchens, ACANA Singles keep your dog happy, healthy and strong.

  • ACANA Treats

    Perfect for all dogs, including those with diet sensitivities, ACANA Singles Dog Treats are limited ingredient and Biologically Appropriate. Featuring a single animal protein, and made with WholePrey ratios that include organs and cartilage, these delicious and nourishing treats are formula-matched to ACANA Singles dry foods, featuring the same fresh local meats, poultry and fish. ACANA Treats are gently freeze-dried to lock in all the natural goodness and taste of our Fresh Regional Ingredients.

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  • Q. What does WholePrey mean?

    Nature matched the nutrients in whole animals to perfectly meet your dog or cat’s biological needs. ACANA WholePrey represents the evolution of ACANA foods by incorporating meats, organs, and cartilage in ratios that mirror the natural diet, and eliminating the need for long lists of synthetic ingredients.

    For more information on WholePrey, visit Biologically Appropriate.

  • Q. Why do ACANA foods contain botanicals?

    In the wild, dogs and cats instinctively graze on plants and grasses. ACANA is designed to match the natural diet as closely as possible. Botanicals are a part of the natural diet for all cats and dogs and play an important role in bridging the gap between good health and peak conditioning.

  • Q. What’s the difference between ORIJEN and ACANA foods?

    While there are key differences between ACANA and ORIJEN, both foods reflect our belief in the importance of providing diets that are Biologically Appropriate, using Fresh Regional Ingredients that are Never Outsourced for any part of the cooking or packaging.

    When comparing ORIJEN and ACANA, ask the 3 meat questions:

    How much meat?
    ORIJEN has 85-90% meat while ACANA foods have 50-75%.

    How fresh?
    ORIJEN foods have  fresh meats and ACANA’s have ½ fresh.

    How many meats?
    ORIJEN foods have up to 10 meats while ACANA’s foods feature up to 5.

    Put simply, both ORIJEN and ACANA foods mimic the natural diet of your dog or cat with high fresh meat inclusions. Although lower in protein and meat content than ORIJEN, ACANA provides an outstanding value and price point that makes Biologically Appropriate dog and cat foods accessible to a wide range of Pet Lovers.

  • Q. ARE ACANA foods supplemented with amino acids, VITAMINS, OR MINERALS?

    ACANA foods feature WholePrey ratios of fresh muscle meat, organs, and cartilage in ratios that mirror natural diets and eliminate the need for long lists of synthetic ingredients. Organ meats are a concentrated and natural source of virtually every nutrient your dog or cat needs to thrive, including all essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and vital amino acids.

    Organ meats such as kidney, liver, and tripe are loaded with minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, and iodine, and provide important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which nourish dogs and cats as nature intended.

    This is why you will find amino acids, including taurine or minerals like calcium and phosphorus, on the guaranteed analysis but not on the ingredient list.

  • Q. What is the source of ACANA’s glucosamine and chondroitin? is it supplemented?

    ACANA contains 50-75% meat, poultry and fish ingredients in WholePrey ratios — meaning we include fresh meat, organs and cartilage, just as Mother Nature would. Our fresh meats and cartilage in particular are high sources of natural glucosamine and chondroitin. That’s why glucosamine and chondroitin are listed on the guaranteed analysis but not on the ingredient list.

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Fresh Regional Ingredients

  • Q. Where do you source your ingredients?

    We choose our ingredient partners carefully and set quality and nutritional standards to meet our own food standards. In Kentucky and other areas of the United States, we’re connected to regional farmers, ranchers, and fishermen whose values match our own, and who we are proud to name. Fruit, vegetable, and botanical ingredients are of table quality, and all meat ingredients are sourced from federally inspected facilities that only accept animals meant for human consumption.

    We do not use GMO ingredients.

    Visit our website to learn more about our trusted suppliers of Fresh Regional Ingredients.


    In nature, dogs and cats forage on grasses and plants to enhance their overall health and well-being. The botanicals in ACANA foods were carefully chosen to help soothe the digestive tract, as well as for other benefits.

    • Chicory root – contains inulin, a natural oligosaccharide which is an excellent prebiotic
    • Turmeric root – a natural antifungal and antioxidant with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
    • Sarsaparilla root – decreases fluid retention and promotes urination (diuretic) and a healthy urinary tract. Some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
    • Althea root – helps reduce inflammation of the digestive and urinary tract, and is also a diuretic which contributes to kidney health
    • Rosehips – a great source of vitamin C
  • Q. Are the ingredients used in your Kentucky-made foods GMO-free?

    Yes. We do not use GMO 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.


    Some people believe peas are a concern because of phytic acid and lectins. It is important to note that our diets are steam cooked in their own juices at 90°C (194°F), effectively destroying most of the lectin content of the legume (lentils, chickpeas and peas) and increasing the bioavailability of legume to digestion. Steam cooking at temperatures over 80°C (176°F) denatures the structure of the lectin and renders it unable to bind to other structures when within the body.

    The extrusions process also significantly reduces the phytic acid content as well as other molecules and sugars that could be related to digestive issues. The bioavailability and nutritional content of all of our diets are tested; the inclusions of peas and other legumes has no effect on the bioavailability of ACANA foods.

    Although chickpeas and lentils do contain extremely small amounts of phytoestrogens, they are not the same phytoestrogens (genistein and daidzein) that have been scientifically linked to infertility in sheep consuming clover (extremely high in daidzein) and humans consuming soy (high in genistein). The chickpea and lentil content of our diets have no adverse biological effect on fertility and are completely safe to feed to breeding and lactating dogs and cats.

  • Q. are ACANA ingredients human grade?

    The fresh meats, meat meals, and fat ingredients – every animal ingredient we use – are produced exclusively from animals that have been sourced from federally inspected facilities.

    All fruits and vegetables used in ACANA foods are of table quality.

  • Q. Fresh or raw – What’s the difference?

    FRESH: The only way we preserve our fresh meats is through refrigeration – no preservatives.

    RAW: We flash-freeze our fresh meats at peak season to lock in their natural goodness – no preservatives.

    Unlike some pet foods, ACANA is made with regional meats that are delivered FRESH or RAW from trusted suppliers and are a key factor in the superior palatability and feeding performance of ACANA.

  • Q. Do ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat foodS contain any ingredients from China?

    1. We do not use and do not source any ingredients from China, including vitamins or minerals. We are 100% China-free.
  • Q. Does ACANA contain Ethoxyquin?

    No. Champion’s ingredients and foods are never preserved with ethoxyquin or any other chemical preservative.

    Ethoxyquin is typically used as a preservative in fish ingredients and is commonly found in fish ingredients produced in North America. Champion uses two kinds of fish ingredients – FRESH or RAW fish, and fish meals.

    FRESH or RAW FISH | Our fresh fish is wild and sustainably caught and our only method of preservation is through refrigeration – without preservatives. Our fish is flash-frozen at peak season to preserve its natural goodness. Our FRESH or RAW fish never contain ethoxyquin.

    FISH MEALS | Ethoxyquin preservatives are common throughout the fish meal supply chain, so we work directly with our fish meal suppliers (no brokers or middlemen) and pay them a premium to have our fish meals preserved with our proprietary blend of Vitamin E with botanical extracts. Our fish meals are never preserved with ethoxyquin.

  • Q. Does ACANA contain BHA/BHT?

    No. Champion’s ingredients and foods are never preserved with BHA/BHT or any other chemical preservative – nor are they added to our pet foods.

    All our ingredients and foods are preserved with our proprietary blend of vitamin E with botanical extracts.

    BHA and BHT are typically present in pet food ingredient supply chains (for example, BHA and BHT are often present in the feed fed to chickens, turkey, or duck). We work with our suppliers to ensure our ingredients and foods are free of BHA and BHT and meet our high standards.

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  • Q. Who makes ACANA’s foods and where are they made?

    ORIJEN and The fresh meats, meat meals, and fat ingredients – every animal ingredient we use – are produced exclusively from animals that have been sourced from federally inspected facilities.

    All fruits and vegetables used in ACANA foods are of table quality.
    ACANA foods are made exclusively by Champion Petfoods. We cook our own foods in our very own kitchens – we don’t make foods for other companies and we don’t allow our foods to be made by anyone else.

    Many dog and cat food brands are owned by marketing companies that outsource their food production to third-party factories, which make many different foods for many different companies. We prepare ORIJEN and ACANA in our own kitchens where we control every detail, from recipe development and food safety to ingredient sourcing and food production.

    When you choose ORIJEN or ACANA, you can be confident your dog and cat’s food has been prepared with care and attention.

  • Q. Do you make canned food?

    Making canned food is a very different production process, and almost all canned pet foods in North America are made in one of two very large canning companies. While we could easily follow the industry model and have ACANA cans produced for us, we’re not comfortable with the idea of having ACANA made outside our own facilities. Therefore, we have no plans to make ACANA in cans.

    You may want to consider our ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Food – an excellent alternative to canned foods. Unlike some canned foods, ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Foods are made with authentically fresh ingredients, contain 90% of FRESH or RAW meats, and are prepared without cooking so they fully retain all the natural taste and goodness of our Fresh Regional Ingredients.

  • 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.

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    All meat is sourced from federally inspected facilities that only accept animals meant for human consumption.

    Our kitchens follow the internationally recognized Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) preventive approach to identifying and responding to hazards at every stage of the food chain. Our Quality Assurance department follows protocols for testing from the time ingredients enter our kitchen, through production and packaging. Our Quality Assurance technicians sample the product and send it to internationally recognized third party-accredited laboratories for microbiological and in-depth nutritional testing.

    Every sample is subjected to pathogen evaluation before release and shipment. No product is released to be shipped until all tests for food safety are confirmed to be favorable. Regardless of which kitchen, our standards and foods are unmatched.

  • Q. Tell me about your OTHER awards and certifications.

    In the past year our DogStar®Kitchens have received several significant certifications and awards. DogStar® surpassed organizations in both human and animal food industries to win the inaugural 2017 Global Markets Programme Award from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This recognition is one of the highest food safety achievements in the world.

    We have achieved the internationally recognized Safe Quality Food (SQF) and Safe Feed/Safe Food (SFSF) certifications. DogStar® scored a remarkable 94% in the audit, which is almost unheard of, particularly for a green field operation that had barely been open for a year.

    Our state-of-the-art DogStar® Kitchens also won a prestigious Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Award – the first pet food facility in the world to receive such an accolade.

    Lastly, our DogStar® ACANA foods won the American Choice Award, a 100% consumer-voted award among more than 1,500 brands, for Best Brand in the Specialty Pet Food category.

    To learn more, visit the Awards section of our Champion Petfoods website.

  • Q. What is the First Alert Pet Food Recall Program?

    Champion Petfoods is proud to be a member of the First Alert Pet Food Recall program. This is a voluntary effort consisting of a coalition of responsible pet food producers who agree to alert Pet Lovers in the event any product is involved in a recall.

    We are committed to the safety of our foods and to the well-being of cats and dogs and the people who love them. In the unlikely event that one of our foods is recalled, we will contact you immediately with information regarding the affected products, the reason for the recall, and any steps that you may need to take. We will post information on our website and will notify the appropriate regulatory agencies.

    If you are interested in this program, please email us with the subject FIRST ALERT PROGRAM. By doing this you indicate your willingness to have your contact information stored and accessed by Champion Petfoods to be used in the unlikely event of a product recall.

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  • Q. Why are some of your bags vacuum packed and others not?

    Contrary to popular belief, our bags are not vacuum packed. To keep our foods as fresh as possible, ORIJEN and ACANA foil-lined bags are impermeable to oxygen transfer from the outside to the inside and vice versa. Once the bags are sealed, oxygen transfer is impossible.

    Residual oxygen left in the bag when it is sealed depends on the amount of air pushed out by our air evacuation system (not to be confused with vacuum packing). Depending on the food density and ambient temperature, some bags will contain more air and some less.

    While some of our packages will appear vacuumed and others not, the food in each bag is equally fresh.

  • 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 that food buildup does not occur. Remember, too, 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 with a temperature maintained between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Q. Best before dates

    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.

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  • Q. How do I transition my pet to ACANA foods?

    Unfortunately, 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% new food with 75% old food. Slowly increase the new food proportionately over the next 5-7 days until you are feeding 100% new food.

  • Q. What is a rotational diet? Can I do this with ACANA?

    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 in 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?

    We recommend that you feed twice daily. Simply divide the amount suggested on the feeding guide into two meals, spaced eight to 12 hours apart. 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 ages. Always keep in mind that a lean dog or cat is a healthy pet.

    PLENTY OF WATER – About 70% of your dog or cat’s body is made up of water, which is vital for cell function and tissue lubrication. In fact, water is more important to your dog or cat than any other nutrient. Make sure fresh and clean water is always available.

    DON’T OVERFEED – 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.

    LOOSE STOOL – Many stool issues can be corrected by lowering the amounts fed during the day, as loose stool is a common result of overfeeding.

    WEIGHT GAIN – Obesity at any age can cause serious health issues. While all of our foods have feeding guidelines printed on the package, every pet is different and these guidelines are really just a starting point. Keep a close eye on your dog or cat’s body condition. If he or she looks too thin, feed a little more. If he or she looks to be carrying too much weight, scale back a little at a time.

    HUNGER – While your dog or cat may act hungry, their body condition is the best gauge of how much to feed. If you’re having problems, please contact us.

    TREATS – 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.

    ROTATE – The first time you introduce a new ACANA food for rotation, mix the food 50/50 to make sure your pet transitions well. After that, rotating between ACANA foods is an easy way to prevent your dog or cat from getting tired of eating the same thing, while offering a diversity of nutrients.

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  • Q. Is a high-protein food healthy for my pet?

    Of course! As there are so many myths circulating about high-protein diets, this is probably one of the most common questions asked of our Customer Care team.

    Countless studies published over the last 15 years have clearly debunked the high-protein myth (often fueled by multinational and marketing companies that still produce or sell low-meat, low-protein foods).

    The truth is simple – high-protein diets are Biologically Appropriate for all breeds of dogs and cats. By better matching the natural diet and anatomical physiology of dogs and cats, higher-protein foods promote peak health and conditioning.

    Some of today’s pet foods are lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates (40-50%). As carbohydrates are not part of the natural diet, it should come as no surprise that carbohydrates are not nutritionally essential (in any amount) for dogs and cats.

    Dogs and cats are evolved to derive their energy from animal proteins and fats, not carbohydrates.

    Want more information? Please see our White Paper, pages 26, 27 – Protein myths.

    Or check the “Myths of High Protein” study published by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

    Please see our Library for more information on this subject.

  • Q. Does higher protein stress the kidneys?

    No. There is no study in science to show a higher protein diet has any negative effect on the kidneys of dogs or cats. Please refer to the articles in our Library for additional information.

  • Q. does ACANA promote urinary health?

    Yes. Due to the high meat content and low magnesium content, ACANA is naturally acidic and helps promote a healthy bladder.

    It is important that dogs and cats prone to urinary tract infections or developing urinary crystals are allowed all the fresh water they can drink to help flush the urinary tract and dilute the urine. ACANA is typically higher in protein and highly nutrient-dense, making additional water sometimes necessary to facilitate digestion. ACANA foods have a pH between 5.5 and 6, which is naturally mildly acidic and well-suited to the maintenance of healthy bladder function in both cats and dogs.

  • Q. is ACANA suitable for my large-breed puppy or dog?

    Yes. Our ACANA diets, featuring foods for all life stages, are appropriate for puppies as well. We recommend that you feed poultry- or fish-based diets such as Free-Run Poultry or Wild Atlantic to Large Breed Puppies until your puppy is fully grown. The mineral content in our red meat-based diets is naturally higher and not best suited to the needs of growing large-breed puppies.

    Keep in mind that the feeding guides for all life stages foods are for adults. As puppies require more energy we recommend that you increase the amounts fed. You’ll find instructions on the packaging, and for easy reference we’ve provided them here as well.

    For puppies from 1 ½ to three months old, feed twice the recommend adult amount for their current weight. From three to six months old, feed 1 ½ times the adult amount. From six to 11 months feed 1 ¼ times the adult amount. This will ensure that your puppy receives the nutrition needed to support healthy growth.

    If you would like to read more about the needs of growing large-breed puppies, please visit our Library.

  • Q. Does high protein affect joint health OR SKELETAL DEVELOPMENT OF MY LARGE-BREED PUPPY?

    Research into the growth of Great Danes (Nap RC, The Netherlands) has shown that the protein level of a diet has no significant influence on skeletal development. High-protein intake does not result in increased risk for OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans) or HD (Hip Dysplasia), and there is no effect on the development in the longitudinal growth of the bone. Additionally, while protein does not cause orthopedic problems, other nutrients can.

    It is not excess protein that causes joint problems but overfeeding, excessive mineral content, and genetics that can contribute to arthritis and orthopedic problems. Please note that most orthopedic and joint problems are inherited, but puppies and dogs that are overweight have a greater chance of increased pain and discomfort, and have a higher potential of developing orthopedic problems as younger animals and arthritis as older animals.

  • Q. Is ACANA suitable for my senior dog?

    Yes. While lower-protein diets have traditionally been recommended for senior dogs, this thinking has been roundly dismissed by recent science. As dogs age, a protein-rich diet is especially important for maintaining peak health.

    The relationship between carbohydrates and protein is an important factor in the diets of senior dogs. When protein is high, carbohydrates are low – in other words, high-protein diets are by nature low in carbohydrates. This is great for senior dogs as the last thing they need is an excessive amount of inappropriate carbohydrates, which are simply sugars.

    Please see our White Paper for more information on this subject.

  • Q. Where can I find carbohydrate content in the guaranteed analysis?

    Due to Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) labeling conventions, carbohydrate content is not reported on the guaranteed analysis.

    You can always determine the carbohydrate content of dry foods by adding the protein, fat, moisture, fiber, and ash from the GA, and then subtracting this sum from a total of 100%. This gives you an approximate idea of the total amount of carbohydrates present in the food.

    Carb = 100 – (protein + fat + moisture + fiber + ash)

    If you’d like to learn more about the specific carbohydrate content in our foods, or if you have any other questions about our Guaranteed Analysis, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Care team.


    No. Neither ACANA nor ORIJEN foods are supplemented with Vitamin K3.


    The herring oil in our ACANA Singles foods provides a usable source of Omega 3s, DHA, and EPA. Omega 3s provide anti-inflammatory benefits and contribute to a healthy skin and coat as well as eye health. Even in diet-sensitive dogs, fish oil is typically not an allergen.


    At present, our packaging is not recyclable. We’ve spoken with our bag producer several times on this issue and have considered other bag producers. While there are lots of recycled bags, none of them are appropriate for our products. This is due to the fact that we do not use chemical preservatives, so our bags need to form a complete barrier to protect your pet’s food from the outside environment.

    We would prefer to reduce our impact on the environment, but the technology just doesn’t yet exist for a product like ours. That will change as more and more pressure is placed on packaging producers, and we will continue to explore these opportunities.


    Our online store locator will help you locate retailers in your area.


    If you are a registered breeder in the U.S. we do offer a Breeder Program. You can apply to join our Breeder Program online.


    In the U.S. and Canada we offer a Frequent Buyer program through all of our retailers. Each time you purchase a bag, your retailer records the purchase on your card and saves your receipts as proof of purchase. After the purchase of 12 bags, with a completed card accompanied by 12 receipts you will receive a 13th bag of equal or lesser value free from your retailer.

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