Friday, June 5, 2015

Food Friday: Acana Singles Pork and Butternut Squash

Acana Singles are single-source protein, low-glycemic kibbles designed for dogs with food allergies. Like most grain-free dog foods, it features a very high meat content. It also features multiple legume ingredients which boost the protein level without adding a lot of simple carbohydrates.

I like Acana's foods a whole lot. They use as many fresh, local ingredients as possible, and cook the food in its own juices rather than adding water. The kibbles are dark and heavy and dense. The food smells meaty yet pleasant. Ru will actually eat it.

One thing I would like to point out about this food is that it is called Pork and Butternut Squash even though the squash is actually in sixth place in the ingredient list. Notably, it sits behind two different types of lentils. So this is actually a pork and lentil food.

Dog Food Advisor also makes note of this fact, and this food loses a star from its rating for its deceptively large legume content. The review for Acana Singles notes that the company uses ingredient splitting to make the meat ingredients appear higher on the list. The Pork and Butternut Squash food lists red lentils, green lentils, green peas, yellow peas, and garbanzo beans individually. If these were all just listed as "legumes", they might be the first thing on the list.

Acana Singles Pork and Butternut Squash only earns a four-star rating at Dog Food Advisor, but it's still pretty awesome. In building the database for my Dog Food Wizard, I noticed that Acana Singles are some of the only kibbles that don't have a litany of vitamin and mineral supplements at the end of their ingredient lists. They only add zinc proteinate, everything else comes from the food ingredients, and they still meet AAFCO standards for "all life stages" (meaning puppy) food.

I love that Acana Singles use a single protein source in each recipe, but I sort of have trouble calling them "Limited Ingredient Diets" simply because they use so many different types of carbohydrates. I've communicated with a number of different owners of dogs with weird food allergies, and some have found via elimination diets that their dogs have very specific intolerances. Some dogs can't have lentils, some can't have peas, some can't have garbanzo beans.

I think that a truly limited ingredient food should use a single protein and a single carbohydrate. This system works best for elimination diets and narrowing down possible food intolerances. The name "Acana Singles" is a little deceptive, and I was honestly a little surprised to see so many different carbohydrate sources in the ingredients.

Have you tried any of the Acana Singles foods for your dog yet?


  1. I was literally just debating about this one... but noticed it wasn't THAT great, especially for the price. I don't normally feed Acana/Orijen, but the Orijen ones looked better to me? I've only tried their sample packs.

    1. It's a tiny bit better in terms of meat content, but made by the same company and basically the same.

  2. I fed orijen 6 fish to my English Bulldog because he was having allergy issues, mostly from chicken. It is quite expensive but It seemed worth is as I thought it was the best food out there. (I still do) I looked at Acana several times as a choice that was a little more thrifty. I just didn't think it was worth the price. I think it's a great and safe company but I stuck with Orijen as it seemed better. As things got tighter at home I've switched to Taste Of The Wild food. My guys are just as happy. I feed the fish food and my allergy guy is very pleased and healthy. Mommy is happy because its half the price. I hope the food is still good quality. One thing I noticed about my allergy sensitive boy is that all the dogs have to eat his food because cross contamination in water and shared toys was enough to give him a reaction. Strange I thought.

    1. Orijen and Acana are actually made by the same company. I consider Orijen to be slightly better, but just a tiny bit. They are basically the same as far as quality of ingredients and integrity of production. Taste of the Wild is a really awesome food for a great price, but they are co-packed by Diamond Pet Foods and have been involved in multi-brand recalls due to problems at the factory. TotW is high in plant proteins, much like Acana Singles.

    2. What sort of reaction does your bulldog have? I also avoid feeding any of my pets foods containing Brisbane's allergens, but that's less because of cross contamination and more because keeping food out of Brisbane is basically impossible. I hadn't thought of issues with water bowls and toys, thanks for mentioning it.

  3. He gets a raw and bloody broke out chin, belly rash, hot spots, red and watery eyes and itchy feet. I haven't fed him a chicken based food for more that a couple days. His reaction shows up almost instantly. He gets the same results when any of the other dogs eat chicken based food or the cat. The cat food is occasionally in a spot where someone could snatch a bite and the water is accessible also. When I started the cat on fish only that improved him also. I am pretty obsessive about my dog babies so I notice every change. I may have some kind of condition that should be treated. :)


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