In addition to this Acana Classics Large Breed Dog Food review, you can check our main review of Acana dog food for even more information on how the food is made, recalls, company history, and their quality control measures.
Acana Classics Adult Large Breed Dog Food is formulated for adult dogs one year of age and older. According to Champion, the company that makes the food, it contains cage-free chicken and locally and regionally-grown vegetables and eggs, and fish that comes from nearby. They stress the freshness of their ingredients. The ingredients in the Classics Adult Large Breed formula is similar to the ingredients in their other Classics dog foods.
The company states that 60 percent of the food is made of chicken, fish, and eggs. They say that 20 percent of the food is made of fruit and vegetables. Another 20 percent of the food is made of “low-glycemic Alberta oats.” For the guaranteed analysis of the food and its dry matter basis, please see below.
Special Note About “Large Breed” Dog Food
AAFCO doesn’t provide specific nutritional requirements for large breed dogs. Instead they have guidelines for adult dogs (maintenance) and growth (puppies, pregnant and lactating bitches), with some latitude for the dog’s size. However, the National Research Council (Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats – Subcommittee on Dog and Cat Nutrition, Committee on Animal Nutrition, National Research Council) does provide guidance and research relating to large breed dogs, large breed puppies, and dogs that have other specific nutrient needs. For the most part, dog food companies use this research and other reputable research when formulating dog foods that require special criteria such as large breed dog food. Some large breed dogs can have a slower metabolism and require fewer calories; while other large breed dogs are very active and have high energy needs. You will have to be the judge about how much energy your dog uses and how many calories he needs. But most large breed dogs tend to put on weight so it’s best to keep your dog on the lean side and avoid foods with high fat percentages.
Large Breed Puppies
Large breed puppies have more specific requirements about calcium and phosphorus than adult large breed dogs and they need to have food that keeps the calories down so they won’t grow too rapidly. For these reasons it is nearly always advisable to feed your large breed puppy a food that is formulated specifically for large breed puppies.
This particular food – Acana Adult Large Breed – is not suitable for growing large breed puppies because of its higher calorie content, for example. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is also slightly higher than recommended for large breed puppies. However, the calories, fat content, and calcium to phosphorus ratio should all be fine for an adult large breed dog.
Ingredients in Acana Classics Adult Large Breed
Chicken meal, steel-cut oats, deboned chicken, whole potato, peas, chicken liver, whole egg, deboned flounder, chicken fat, sun-cured alfalfa, herring oil, pea fiber, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, Vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
The food features several meat proteins: chicken meal, deboned chicken, and chicken liver. These ingredients are all good sources of protein for your dog.
Chicken meal is a concentrated form of chicken protein – it has had most of the moisture removed so it contains about three times as much protein as whole chicken.
Deboned chicken still contains the moisture. If the moisture were removed this ingredient would come much lower in the ingredient list.
Chicken liver is a good source of vitamin A and other vitamins and minerals. Chicken, in general, is a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Niacin and Selenium.
Peas are a good source of many vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Phosphorus and Copper, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin and Manganese. They are also about 23-27 percent protein. Some dogs, however, have trouble digesting peas. There is nothing particularly badabout peas, but it could give your dog diarrhea.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
Pea fiber is an insoluble fiber that soaks up lots of fiber in the gastrointestinal tract. It is mostly a filler ingredient that is being used in place of corn and other grains in some dog foods. Like peas, some dogs have problems digesting pea fiber, though others can digest them without any problems.
The food also features deboned flounder – a good source of fish protein. It’s also a good source of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin B12, Phosphorus and Selenium. However, it’s not a particularly good source of omega-3 fatty acid, as you might assume since it is fish.
And the food contains whole eggs which also provide a good source of protein and which are highly bioavailable.
In terms of fats, the food contains chicken fat and herring oil. Chicken fat is an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acid which is good for your dog’s skin and coat and for his joints. Herring oil is a particularly good source of fish omega-3 fatty acid which is good for your dog’s skin, coat, heart, brain, and other nutritional needs.
The food also contains several kinds of carbohydrates and fiber: steel-cut oats, potatoes, peas, pea fiber, as well as a long list of vegetables added to the food.
As the company points out, they tend to use low-glycemic carbs which digest more slowly. These carb sources are better for diabetic dogs or any dog with an insulin-related problem. The nutrient profile for oats shows that they are about 70 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent fat, and 15 percent protein. They are a good source of dietary fiber, Thiamin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Manganese. They are also a good plant source of omega-6 fatty acid. Potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese. They are also a good dietary fiber. Potatoes are about 92 percent carbs.
The food also contains kelp, chicory root, and a fermentation product. Kelp is a good natural source of iodine and other trace minerals. Chicory root is a good prebiotic that helps prepare the gut so beneficial bacteria can grow there. And the added dried fermentation product aids in digestion and absorption of food. Dried fermentation products are usually added after the food has been processed.
The food also contains a number of “botanical inclusions” which are usually added for health reasons and not for nutrition. Finally, the food containsadded vitamins and chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are minerals that have been bonded to amino acids so they are easier to digest and absorb. When chelated minerals are used, the company can usually added smaller amounts of minerals. They are also less likely to interfere with each other or with their absorption.
The food also contains a good amount of chondroitin and glucosamin which is something to consider for large breed dogs. However, if you want to be certain that your large breed dog is getting an adequate amount of these supplements, it’s recommended that you purchase your own and add them to his diet.
- Crude protein (min.) ….. 33%
- Crude fat (min.) ….. 14%
- Crude fibre (max.) ….. 4%
- Moisture (max.) ….. 10%
- Calcium (min.) ….. 1.6%
- Phosphorus (min.) ….. 1.1%
- Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio ….. 1.4:1
- Omega 6 (min.) ….. 2.5
- LA (min.) ….. .3%
- Omega 3 EPA / DHA (min.) ….. 0.4% / 0.4%
- Omega 6:Omega 3 ratio ….. 2.8:1
- Glucosamine (min.) ….. 1500 mg/kg
- Chondroitin sulfate (min.) ….. 900 mg/kg
Calorie Contents – Metabolic Energy for ACANA Adult Large Breed is 3458 kcal/kg (415 kcal per 250 ml cup). This food contains approximately 393 calories per 8 ounce cup.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
ACANA Classics Adult Large Breed is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for Adult Maintenance.
Note: Not for puppies! Acana Classics Adult Large Breed has too much protein and too many calories to be fed to growing puppies, especially large breed puppies. Rapid growth at a young age leads to hip and joint problems later in life for large breed dogs. Puppies who weigh too much are also at risk of health problems later in life. For puppies, be sure to use their Acana Classics Puppy Large Breed or one of their other puppy specific formulas.
Dry Matter Basis
Figured on a dry matter basis, this food contains approximately 36.7 percent protein and 15.6 percent fat. It has about 4.4 percent fiber and about 34.4 percent carbohydrates. The estimates given in our reviews are always that – estimates – based on the guaranteed analysis provided by the dog food company. Most companies don’t provide nutrient profiles for their foods which would allow us to give more precise figures. For example, we use the figure of 8 percent for the ash content in most kibbles since an overall percentage of minerals is not usually provided. Others might use 7 percent, but considering the number of “condiments” – vitamins, minerals, fermentation products, botanical inclusions, etc., – that are added to many foods today, 8 percent seems like a better guess for most foods.
As far as this food is concerned, 36.7 percent is a fairly high amount of protein but not an excessive amount for a large breed adult dog. The 15.6 percent fat is a low to moderate amount which is preferable for large breed dogs since an overweight large breed dog is more at risk of developing health problems. The 4.4 percent fiber is standard for the dog food industry. The 34.4 percent carbohydrates is about average for dog foods in general, though it might be higher than many people look for in a quality food. According to Champion, the maker of Acana, the food provides 33% of energy from protein, 35% from chicken and fish oils, and 32% from fruits, vegetables and steel-cut oats.
Acana Adult Large Breed appears to be a good food for large breed adult dogs. It contains a moderately high amount of protein and a relatively low amount of fat. It probably contains a little more carbohydrates than many people expect in a quality dog food, but it is an average amount for most dog foods. The food also contains chondroitin and glusamine in larger amounts than most dog foods that add these supplements. This food is not recommended for large breed puppies but it looks good for adult large breed dogs.
Acana Classics Adult Large Breed formula has received a 5 paw rating – our highest rating.
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