Q. Does ACANA contain preservatives like Ethoxyquin?
A. Champion’s ingredients and foods are never preserved with Ethoxyquin or any other chemical. Ethoxyquin is typically used as a preservative in fish ingredients produced within the United States. We use two kinds of fish ingredients: fresh fish and fish meal.
Our fresh fish is caught within our region and delivered authentically fresh – never frozen and no preservatives.
As Ethoxyquin is common throughout the fish meal supply chain, we partner directly with our fish meal suppliers (no brokers or middlemen) and pay a premium to have our salmon and herring meals preserved with a proprietary blend of Vitamin E and botanical extracts.
Champion’s Ethoxyquin standard is set at true trace level, not to exceed 5 ppm (parts per million) of Ethoxyquin, which is 0.0005%, or one half of one thousandth of 1% – the lower limit of what most certified laboratories are able to detect or measure.
Q. Why do ACANA foods contain botanicals?
A. Our pet foods are designed to mirror the natural diet. Botanicals are an important part of the natural diet for all cats and dogs. Our botanicals are selected by one of North America’s leading homeopathic veterinarians. Find out more about our botanical ingredients.
Q. Are ACANA ingredients human grade?
A. All of our local poultry, fish, red meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables are passed fit for human consumption by the Government of Canada before arriving at our kitchens fresh each day. Our poultry, fish, lamb and beef meals, fats and oils are produced only from animals passed fit for human consumption by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency – something few producers can claim.
Despite our lofty standards, we never claim our that our ingredients are “human-grade”. That’s because once ingredients leave the producer or processor and enter the pet food processor, they lose their “human-grade” classification. We encourage pet lovers to contact the producer of their food and ask whether they can actually verify their claim of “human grade”.
Q. Fresh or raw: what’s the difference?
A. Fresh means an ingredient has never been frozen and contains absolutely no preservatives. Raw means an ingredient has not been cooked, but has been preserved by freezing, chemical preservatives, or a combination of both.
ACANA pet foods are made with poultry, eggs, fish, red meats, fruits, and vegetables that are delivered to our doors authentically fresh each day.
Q. Do you test fish for heavy metals such as Mercury?
A. Yes. Although our fish come from our clean northern lakes and the Canadian North Pacific, our suppliers provide heavy metal and mercury test results, and we also test our final foods before shipping.
Our fresh fish are passed fit for human consumption, meet all Government of Canada food regulations for daily consumption, and provide a world-class source of DHA and EPA Omega 3 fatty acids.
Learn more about our Fresh Regional Ingredients.
Q. Do your meat ingredients contain antibiotics? What about hormones?
A. We don’t buy the bulk commodity ingredients found in conventional pet food, and each of our diets starts with fresh local meats that are certified free of antibiotics and artificial growth hormones.
Q. Do you use GMO ingredients?
A. All of the ingredients used by Champion Petfoods are GMO free, including our fruits and vegetables! Our ORIJEN and ACANA food is exported to the European Union, which has GMO regulations that are stricter than those set by AAFCO, the CFIA or FDA. In order to export to the EU, we must adhere to their regulations governing pet foods.
Q. Do ACANA dog and cat food formulas contain any ingredients from China?
A. There are no ingredients from China used in the preparation of our dog and cat food formulas, including vitamins – we are 100% China-free. Our focus is on fresh ingredients supplied regionally. All our products are made exclusively within our own award-winning factory here in Alberta, Canada.
Q. Are ACANA pet foods appropriate for my overweight pet?
A. Yes. Our foods have a Biologically Appropriate™ distribution of energy – more energy is supplied from protein and less energy is supplied from carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates are an empty calorie – they provide only sugar for energy, and have no essential function in the body. Sugar converts quickly to glucose in the blood, which in turn is easily converted into body fat.
While protein supplies the same amount of energy as carbohydrate, it has a very different effect on the body. Unlike carbohydrates, protein is essential for life. But, excessive amounts of protein are NOT stored in the body as fat – they are simply removed from the body through natural elimination functions.
Q. Will ACANA pet foods cause my pet to gain weight?
A. Our foods are meat and protein rich, which means dogs and cats typically experience an increase in lean muscle mass after a month or so. This may increase their overall body weight. However, ACANA foods are low in carbohydrate and glycemic index (GI), so most cats and dogs will actually lose body fat when fed ACANA.
Q. Do ACANA pet foods promote urinary health?
A. Yes. Due to their high meat content, ACANA diets are naturally acidic and help to promote a healthy bladder. With a pH of about 5.5, which is naturally mildly acidic, our diets are well suited to the maintenance of healthy bladder function in both cats and dogs.
Q. Are ACANA pet foods suitable for my large breed puppy or dog?
A. Yes. ACANA PUPPY LARGE BREED is formulated specifically for the growth requirement of Large Breed Puppies.
The American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) states that growing large breed puppy diets should have a moderate energy intake and an ideal mineral ratio. Our ACANA Large Breed Puppy diet is formulated with these specific ideas in mind:
1. The energy content in ACANA Large Breed puppy is lower than our regular Puppy diet to prevent an excess of energy (calories) and improper growth. Low glycemic carbohydrate sources promote peak conditioning and help manage body weight
2. Calcium is a minimum of 1.3% and a maximum of 1.6%
3. The ratio of calcium and phosphorus is within what is defined as optimal for growing large breed puppies (1.2:1-1.4:1)
The ideal calcium content for large breeds is thought to be between 1.0 and 1.4% on an “as fed” basis. It is also believed that calcium in excess of 3% on a dry weight basis can contribute to significant skeletal abnormalities.
When formulating for large breeds, it is important to keep in mind that certain vitamins (Vitamin D) can increase absorption of dietary calcium to possibly excessive levels. ACANA diets are formulated to meet these calcium ideals.
If too many calories are supplied and consumed on a daily basis, it can result in rapid growth. Forcing an immature skeleton to support this excess mass can result in damage to skeletal tissue, with subsequent malformation and or malarticulation of joints.
There are 3 sources of energy in commercial pet foods: protein, fat and carbohydrate. ACANA Large Breed Puppy diets are moderate in fat, high in protein and, importantly, low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates convert to sugar quickly and easily, and are the most common cause of excess weight.
Restricting carbohydrates in the diet is ideal for promoting peak physical conditioning in all dogs, including large breed puppies and dogs.
Q. Does high protein affect joint health?
A. 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 or HD, and there is no effect on the development in the longitudinal growth of the bone.”
While protein does not cause orthopedic problems, other nutrients can. Overfeeding dogs can also contribute to arthritis and orthopedic problems. Please note that most orthopedic and joint problems are inherited, but overweight puppies and dogs have a greater chance of pain and discomfort, and the potential for developing orthopedic problems as younger animals and arthritis later in life.
Q. Are ACANA pet foods suitable for my senior dog?
A. Absolutely yes! While lower protein diets have traditionally been recommended for senior dogs, this thinking is roundly dismissed by current science.
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. That’s great for senior dogs, as excessive amount of inappropriate carbohydrates (which are simply sugars) are the last nutrient needed in any senior dog’s diet.
Q. Does a high protein diet stress my pet’s kidneys?
A. No. There is no scientific study that shows a higher protein diet has any negative effect on the kidneys of dogs or cats. In fact, scientific studies show quite the opposite – dogs with poor kidney functions or dogs that had only one kidney showed improved health on higher protein diets.
Q. Many pet foods are made by factories not owned or controlled by the brand. What about ACANA?
A. We own and operate our award-winning kitchens in Morinville, Alberta, where we make ORIJEN and ACANA pet foods exclusively. It’s simple – we don’t allow our foods to be made anywhere else, and we don’t make any other foods.
Q. What type of quality assurance processes do you follow?
A. At all stages of production and preparation, we utilize both Good Manufacturing Principals – a worldwide system for the control and management of manufacturing and quality testing of foods – and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Analysis (HACCP) – an internationally recognized and systematic preventive approach to food safety.
Our quality management systems extend well beyond our factory – from our distributor partners and to our ingredient suppliers, all of whom we know and trust. All meat ingredients are approved by the Government of Canada and produced exclusively from animals classified fit for human consumption.
Our fresh meats, including chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, beef, pork, wild boar, bison and lamb are produced within our region in dedicated, federally approved human grade facilities. Our fresh regional ingredients truly meet the AAFCO definition for “fresh,” where refrigeration is their only form of preservation – no chemicals, heat, or freezing!
But perhaps the best assurance of quality is our international reputation of authenticity. At Champion, our foods are never outsourced. You can be assured that ACANA is never produced or packaged in any facility other than our own.
Q. What is the First Alert Food Recall Program?
A. 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 their customers and consumers in the event any product is involved in a recall.
We are committed to the safety of our foods and to the wel-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, reason for the recall, and any steps that may need to be taken. 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.
Q. Do ACANA pet foods use wild or farmed fish?
A. All of our fish ingredients are produced from wild caught fish, with salmon being our only exception. While many pet foods claim “fresh wild-caught salmon,” this is technically impossible due to the short seasons when wild salmon can be legally fished.
We source wild salmon when the season allows, which in Canada runs from May to September. During this time, fresh salmon in ACANA are wild caught. For the balance of the year, our salmon arrive fresh from North Vancouver Island salmon farms. This is in keeping with our mandate of Biologically Appropriate foods and Fresh Regional Ingredients, as well as our values of sustainability and responsibility. Salmon used to produce our salmon meal are from 100% wild caught salmon.
Q. Are ACANA bags recyclable?
A. 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.
Q. How can I find a retailer of ORIJEN and ACANA in my area?
A. Our online store locator will help you locate retailers in your area.
Q. Do you offer a Breeder Program?
A. If you are a registered breeder in the UK, you can apply to join our Breeder Program.
Q. How should I store ACANA pet food?
A. Ideally, you should store your ACANA pet food indoors, in a cool, dark place. Use a re-sealable container constructed of food grade plastic. The original package also works very well, provided it’s rolled tightly to maintain airtight conditions after opening. Prolonged exposure to higher temperatures increases oxidation and reduces shelf life, as does exposure to direct sunlight.
Refrigeration is not required. A storage temperature of 10 – 20 degrees Celsius is ideal.
Q. Where can I find the best before date?
A. Our best before (BB) date is printed on the back and at the top of all ACANA pet food packages. We mark our bags DAY MONTH YEAR.
From the time we produce and package our food, there is about 15 months until expiry. Heat, moisture and light have the biggest impact on shelf life. Once opened, please keep your food airtight in a container, or roll the package up tightly and store in a cool dry place with no direct sunlight. If properly stored, your ACANA pet food will remain stable for months.
Q. Why aren’t ACANA pet foods canned?
A. Making canned food is a very different production process. Almost all canned pet foods in North America are made in one of two very large canning companies. While we could follow the rest of the pack and produce canned versions of our foods, we’re not comfortable with having our brands made outside of our own facilities. We have no plans to supply ACANA or ORIJEN in cans.
Q. Why are some of your bags vacuum packed and others not?
A. 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 how food enters the package, 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 will be equally fresh.