Friday, July 22, 2016

Food Friday: Acana Regionals Appalachian Ranch

This bag of Acana's Appalachian Ranch dog food from their Regionals product line means the food from their new Kentucky Dogstar Kitchens is finally here! Why is this exciting? Well, mostly it's because some of their new selections are safe for Brisbane's many food allergies. Someday I will no longer have a dog allergic to poultry and eggs, and I will probably stop being personally offended when companies choose to include those ingredients in their foods. For now though, I'm quite pleased whenever I spot something new for him to try.
Kentucky Kitchens dog food

The Company

Along with Orijen, Acana belongs to parent company Champion Pet Foods. They are widely regarded as making absolutely the best food on the market. I certainly want to blurt out their brand names when clients ask what the best dog food is. 

Champion Pet Foods announced that they would be opening the Dogstar kitchens in the USA well over a year ago. Then they reported that they had found a suitable location in Kentucky. Their original plant is in Canada, and their Regionals product line was based around locally-available ingredients that could be delivered fresh whenever possible. When they needed to step up their production, they decided to look for a new region with plenty of fresh ingredients available, rather than looking further afield to supply their original facility. 

The result is the Dogstar Kitchens in Kentucky. The new location means new products, as the resources locally available are a bit different than at the first plant. As a result, we now have similar but not identical foods to choose from. While I think this is super cool because the new choices are way better for my allergy dog, a lot of people are unhappy that distributors in the USA will now be distributing products made in Kentucky rather than Canada. I don't really have a preference for which of those two countries my dog food comes from.

The Food

Acana's original Canadian facility produces five foods that Brisbane can eat with his allergies to chicken, turkey, duck, eggs, corn, barley, and sweet potatoes. I like to rotate proteins and I dislike fish kibble simply because it makes my hands stinky when I use it for training treats, so I was disappointed when I found out that Brisbane was allergic to sweet potatoes and could no longer eat their Ranchlands food.

Their Appalachian Ranch kibble is the Dogstar equivalent of the Ranchlands option, and happily it does not contain yams (Or sweet potatoes. Seriously, there are two different root vegetables that both go by the names 'sweet potatoes' and 'yams' in various locales, and it's damned near impossible to figure out which one in specified on an ingredients list, allergy test, or anywhere else, so I don't feed Briz either.) Dogstar Kitchens actually makes seven different foods that Brisbane can eat. I have no idea how the new Orijen foods compare to the originals though, as that website just has "Coming Soon" instead of ingredients lists.

How does Appalachian Ranch compare to Ranchlands? The nutrient levels are slightly different, but nothing major. Both foods merit five out of five stars on the Dog Food Advisor website. Sisci and Ru like them both, and Brisbane has not yet tried Appalachian Ranch because he is still eating exclusively soft foods, but I'm sure he'll love it because Brisbane loves all food.

The Verdict

This is a food I would choose to feed my dogs continuously if there was some reason I had to stick with one kind of kibble long-term. I do sort of wonder about the name though. I guess Appalachia is supposed to conjure up "Heartland of America" feelings for normal people, but for me it means "rednecks and hillbillies" and "OMG did the farmers who supplied these ingredients have running water and shoes?!" I guess Champion Pet Foods didn't really have me in mind when they decided on that name.

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