Product Review: Acana Regionals Dog Food

 We are required to let readers know that we are compensated for our product reviews. We personally test the products to be able to provide the honest reviews you will read of products offered through our website.

seba

Many of you have read previous posts about my greyhound, Seba.  When she first arrived home from the track, she was transitioned to Diamond Naturals, which was what her foster mom was feeding.  After learning about Dog Food Advisor and that they consider Diamond a Four Star food, I switched her to Acana Regionals Grain Free, a Five Star.  Here’s a dog food review to tell you why.

dog food advisor logo

Pet Food Can Be Controversial

At Dog Food Advisor, they study the ingredients in a particular food, as well as the meat content.  Some ingredients in pet food can be “controversial”, meaning the jury is out on whether they are good for your pet–or even necessary.

Cost of Food VS Cost of Vet Care

I’m not going to lie to you.  Acana is one of the more expensive brands.  But, since we know that what you feed your own body affects your health sooner or later, here’s the way I figure things: I want Seba with me for as long as she can be.  And I don’t want to have huge vet bills if I can avoid it, nor do I want her health to deteriorate so that she becomes a victim of a long but unhappy and painful aging process.  No matter what I do, all things end.  But if there’s anything I can influence to change any part of that, I will.  That’s just me.

What I know is this: she loves all the varieties of the Acana food we’ve tried (and our other dogs constantly try to steal it from her bowl!).  She has thrived on this product.  Coming from the track, where nutrition was poor at best, her thighs were nearly bald. But after switching her to Acana, her full fawn coat came in thick and shiny.  She was beautiful when she came home–but now she’s gorgeous!  And now, 3 years later, she’s as full of energy as she was when she first came to live with us.

acana logo

Who Makes The Food In This Dog Food Review?  

(From Wikipedia and the ACANA Website)

ACANA is manufactured by Champion Petfoods which was founded in 1985 by Reinhard Muhlenfeld. Champion Petfoods believes in making Biologically Appropriate™ dog and cat food from fresh regional ingredients.  This is a new class of foods designed to nourish dogs and cats in keeping with their evolutionary adaptation to fresh meat and protein-rich diets.  The rules of the biologically appropriate mindset are: meat concentrated, with diverse meat ingredients, protein rich and carbohydrate limited, with whole fruits and vegetables and all fresh ingredients.

Champion has been an award-winning, independent Canadian pet food maker for more than a quarter century.  Their ingredients are sustainably raised and delivered to them  fresh, so they’re never frozen, and always preservative free.

ACANA Regionals feature foods produced from western Canada’s vast ranchlands, rich prairies, fertile valleys, and pristine waters.  Rich in protein, low in carbohydrates and entirely grain-free, these unique and flavourful ACANA recipes feature 60-65% meat and 35-40% of fruits and vegetables to nourish cats and dogs completely.

Varieties

ranchlands dog food

I started Seba on ACANA RANCHLANDS, because it was full of red meat, which she was used to from the track (although it was of very poor quality there).  The ingredients were largely Angus beef, lamb and bison, all free range.  But this food also has a high degree of fresh fruits and vegetables including Burbank potatoes, pumpkin, Red Delicious apples and spinach greens.

After awhile, of course, Seba inevitably started to get bored.  But I really liked how she was looking healthier and the high energy I noticed with her.  So I wanted to stay with ACANA.  I decided to switch her to their flavor called GRASSLANDS next.

grasslands dog food

GRASSLANDS main ingredient is lamb, but it also has generous portions of whole eggs, wild-caught fish, cage-free duck and infusions of New Brunswick herring.  Seba dug right in and let me know she loved it!  This one also has apples, butternut squash, Burbank potatoes and spinach greens.

wild prairie dog food

WILD PRAIRIE was the flavor we tried next.  The main ingredient is cage-free Cobb chicken and whole eggs, with wild-caught fish. This variety also has apples, butternut squash, Burbank potatoes and spinach greens.

pacifica dog food

Speaking of fish, we next tried ACANA PACIFICA.  Loaded with Pacific salmon, herring and flounder from North Vancouver Island, I must tell you that this will leave a faint fish smell wherever you store the bag, until it’s gone.  But with the same results as we’ve had all along, I can hardly complain.  This one also contains 40% of fruits & vegetables including apples and Bartlett pears, butternut squash, Burbank potatoes and spinach greens.

At this point, I had exhausted all of the ACANA GRAIN FREE REGIONALS line, but still wanted to give Seba as much variety as possible.  So I ordered some of the CHICKEN & BURBANK POTATO (still ACANA but not part of REGIONALS).

chicken dog food

ACANA Chicken & Burbank Potato also features cage-free Cobb chicken and whole eggs, wild-caught flounder, and Okanagan Valley fruits & vegetables–but for the first time, although Seba loved it, she had some digestive issues with this one.

The Burbank Potato was also an ingredient in the previous REGIONALS flavors, but I suspect there was much more of it used in this one, and it was just too much for her stomach (and my nose!) to handle.  So we won’t be buying this one again–your mileage may vary.

Where to Buy ACANA

You can usually find ACANA products easily and inexpensively on Amazon.  But be careful.  Make sure it’s shipping directly from Amazon, if you can, because with their huge distribution network, that product moves quickly and has not been sitting in a warehouse somewhere for a long time.  That’s death to foods without preservatives!  This happened to me once, when I wasn’t paying attention.  The result?  Moldy ACANA.  Not the manufacturer’s fault, but since Amazon was out at that time I had ordered from a third party provider (Corner Pet Supply) that did not have enough sales to turn over product in a timely manner.  Petsolutions is good third party provider, if it is not in stock at Amazon when you go to buy.  😉  Below are some links you can use:

Acana On Amazon

Thanks for reading–and no matter what food you choose for your pet, keep in mind the long term effect of weighing cost of food vs cost of vet care.  And think about the quality and variety you want in your own food.  Sure, everyone eats junk once in awhile–but when we do this over many years, it weighs heavily on our bodies.  The same is true for your pet.

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

Who Knows The Best Places To Shop For Pets? We do!

We are required to let readers know that we are compensated for our product reviews. We personally test the products to be able to provide the honest reviews you will read of products offered through our website.
question markIt occurred to me the other day that I’ve been adding affiliates left and right to our pages over the last year.  I know every one inside out…but if I were just coming to our site for the first time, would I know how to choose the best place to pet shop?  Probably not.  So…that’s what this post is all about.

Our Pet Food Providers

Dave and I use a variety of pet food providers–and we like to change things up once in awhile–either to give our pets some variety, or for nutritional reasons.  For instance, I just started giving our dogs ground flax seed with their food again–they’ve been getting some dry skin since we moved to New Mexico.  In the past, we only might have to give them this ingredient in the dead of an Ohio Winter.  But with less humidity here, we’ll need to give them this all year long.  In addition, Hoagy, our basset hound, and Little Dingle, our European tabby cat, need weight control food.

Because we need a variety of foods, we shop at a few different places through our website.  Let me highlight a few and their best features…

petbrosiaPet Food Providers For Dogs or Cats With Allergies, Special Diet Needs or a Nutritional Issue

We recommend Petbrosia–for food custom designed for your dog or cat. Their wholesome diets are matched to your pet’s health needs, made from all-natural ingredients grown and raised in America. Petbrosia matches your pet’s diet according to their breed, age, weight, and other health needs.

You can read here about our dog Hoagy’s vomiting issue and how it was solved with this product. Buy Petbrosia at Your Pet Food Space.

Only-Natural-Pet-StoreNatural Treats And Foods For Dogs And Cats

We buy from Only Natural Pet.  Our dogs love their natural training treats!  They have an unacceptable ingredients list you can view, so you fully understand what’s in your pet’s food.  They offer a 100% guarantee, support sustainability with their natural treats and foods for dogs and cats, and often feature sales of overstocked items. Shop Only Natural Pet at Your Pet Supply Space.

pet food direct logoIf Cost Is Your Main Concern, Try These Pet Food Providers

Pet Food Direct–Run by the same company as Only Natural Pet (Pet 360), they have an auto ship option on the least expensive foods so you get the best deal and never run out.  They also feature small pet food and accessories for birds, reptiles and fish.  And every purchase earns you PFD rewards–which can be used to get discounted items for your own pets, or donate food to shelter animals.  Shop Pet Food Direct in Your Pet Food Space.

petsmartPetsmart–A large variety of top brands and they often run specials through our website.  If you want to purchase products you saw in your local store but want the convenience of having them shipped to your door, buy at Petsmart through Your Pet Supply Space.

I want to also put in a plug here for the Petsmart training program, of which our training editor Tina Caldwell, is a member. With the SmartPet PromiseSM policy, training customers are guaranteed 100 percent satisfaction or they can take the class again for free (see your local store for details). And you can read about Tina here.

doggyloot logoDoggyloot–If you love a good deal and like shopping for bargains, you’ll love this! They dreamed up Doggyloot for two reasons: they think dogs make the world a better place, and they wanted to create a new, fun way for dog lovers to discover the very best chews, toys, treats and more at the very best prices.  Doggyloot aims to extend these same good vibes to your shopping experience. They help you find exactly what your hound craves at competitive prices, and then ship it all free, straight to your door. Their product team carefully researches and tests everything they sell–and do not carry any edibles made in China.  You can save up to 75% on treats, beds, even pet themed jewelry!  Check out their Toy Of The Month auto ship in Your Pet Supply Space.  We love it!

amazon logoAnd of course, Amazon!  Have an Amazon Prime Membership?  You can use it right on our site and get free two day shipping on most items.  When it’s critical we find the absolutely best price and the greatest variety of shopping options–we go here.  Shop Amazon at Your Pet Supply Space.

cherrybrookDog Show Supplies

Check out Cherrybrook–They are the exclusive sponsor of the American Kennel Club Online Store, have been the only general grooming and show ring supply vendor at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for over forty years and were named a Retailer of the Year by Pet Product News for their Outstanding Holistic Approach.  They carry everything from tack crates to agility training supplies–and even offer special colognes, stain removers and other enhancing items for your dog’s coat.  In addition, they carry cat supplies. Shop Cherrybrook at Your Pet Supply Space.

I certainly hope you can find everything you need in our shopping areas–and please feel free to drop us a note on the Contact Us page or engage us in Live Chat if there’s ever anything you need and cannot find on our website.  Until then…happy shopping!

Joy JonesJoy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

Who Is Cafe Britt?

We are required to let readers know that we are compensated for our product reviews. We personally test the products to be able to provide the honest reviews you will read of products offered through our website.   

How Coffee Helps The Environment

We spend a good amount of time talking about animals and animal causes.  But once in awhile, we like to highlight one of our affiliates with whom we’re particularly proud to be associated.  Today, we’d like to introduce you to Cafe Britt (Grupo Britt NV) and show you how coffee helps the environment!

cafe britt logo

When we decided that we wanted to add a bookstore section to the YPS website, we wanted it to feel as close to a brick and mortar store as possible–including all the things you’d find in such an establishment.  We wanted not only books but vendors for greeting cards and audio books…and even tea and coffee.  But it was a bit more of a challenge to find a green coffee affiliate we liked.  Luckily, Cafe Britt agreed to join us!

golf cart

From the Cafe Britt website:

The Britt Shop Story

Since the mid 1990’s Britt thought of the International Airport in Costa Rica as a place where the traveler must find our products.

Back at that time there were no bids for shops, and the only souvenir shop was government owned and operated. The Company was able to adapt a golf cart and use it as a coffee cart, where customers could buy bags of Britt, and taste our Cappuccino, espresso and drip coffee by the cup.

Then in 2001 Britt won the bid to operate gift shops in the Costa Rican Airport. The Britt Shop concept grew beyond the airport and beyond Costa Rica.

Britt decided to expand internationally not so much by exporting its products, but primarily by exporting its business model. The Company decided to actively pursue international markets and invested in Perú (2005), Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles (2006), Chile (2007), Miami, St. Thomas (2008), Antigua and Barbuda (2009) and Mexico (2010).

Today, the Company employs over 1000 people with over 94 stores in 10 countries–everywhere from Miami, Florida to the island of Caledonia.

AND

Costa Rica’s official standards authority has certified that all of Grupo Britt’s operations comply with international standards for environmental protection. This certification confirms our commitment to developing earth-friendly practices for all our products and services.

coffee beans

How Coffee Helps The Environment Part II

This is just one of the many reasons we’re excited to offer products from this affiliate on our site–they’re green!  (And likely to stay that way.)  They’re committed to providing gourmet coffees with the least environmental impact.  This type of thinking means a better life for animals everywhere!  Think about that, while you’re enjoying the coffee you purchase through YPS and reading a pet related book.  We do!

Even their store furnishings and display cases are selected to have the least toxic materials to the environment.  They use bags made from recycled plastics that are 100% biodegradable.  Some are even their own brand. Their employees take part in an internal program where they bring their recyclables to work.  And many of the suppliers and contractors they work with make use of re-usable materials.

fair trade logo

Cafe Britt also practices Fair Trade, by paying the Columbian coffee farmers above market prices and ensuring their working conditions meet or exceed the standards of the International Fair Trade Organization.  And since 2003, the company has won many awards, which you can see here.

Grupo Britt NV Assists The Planet Financially, Too

In addition. Britt provides financial support, and its top executives give their time and energy to environmental organizations that include:

proparques logo

Britt is an active member of ProParques, an organization created by a group of academics, conservationists and business people with the shared goal of improving Costa Rica’s National Parks. The organization seeks practical and immediate solutions to the problems of understaffing and funding within the country’s protected, wildlife areas.

amigos logo

Britt is a “Guaria” and “Bosque” Member of Amigos de los Parques Nacionales, a membership program created by ProParques, Fundecor and SINAC to provide individuals, organizations, tour companies and other businesses a chance to prove their commitment to the sustainability of Costa Rica’s national parks.

aqua logica logo

Grupo Britt NV is a pioneer in implementing at its company headquarters innovative urinals that greatly reduce water consumption.  These Acualogica-brand urinals have a visionary, water-saving design to reduce flushing. The company is commited to conserving the planet’s valuable hydro resource.

And If That Isn’t Enough, Check Out A Sampe Of Some Of The Grupo Britt NV Products!

Peru Pachamama Organic Coffee

Harvested to ensure biodiversity and harmony with nature, this superb dark roast is deserving of its namesake – the Quechua word for “Mother Earth.” It’s grown in the Quillabamba region in Peru, near the famous “lost city of the Incas,” Machu Picchu. It grows beneath the soft shade of native-species trees and is nourished by the region’s own natural nutrients. This growing method preserves native flora and fauna, ensuring pure supplies of water and fertile soils for future generations of small-scale farmers. Café Britt Pachamama is certified organic by international organizations.

Octagonal Chocolate Sampler

8 of Café Britt’s very best chocolate candy creations, all packed in a beautiful gift box. It includes an assortment of Café Britt’s most popular flavors. You can find chocolate covered pineapple, guava or passion fruit; chocolate covered macadamia or cashews. Of course, you can’t miss our famous fresh roasted coffee beans, all covered in creamy white or dark gourmet chocolate. So many flavors, so little time!

White Chocolate Covered Lime

Inspired by Florida’s favorite Key Lime Pie and world-famous citrus groves, these small, white orbs are big on refreshing, tropical flavor. We’ve covered tangy lime-jelly chews in creamy white chocolate for a sweet treat that refreshes like a cool, ocean breeze. Packed in a colorful Miami-inspired bag, they’re as great for giving as they are for snacking.

chocolate

Gourmet Hot Cocoa

 Hot Cocoa that’s silk for the palate and satin for the soul. Our delicious Britt Gourmet Hot Cocoa is made from the finest cocoa beans and pure cane sugar. Ideal for a moment of ultimate indulgence or fine giving to your favorite chocolate lovers. To make a perfect cup of hot chocolate, mix 2 tablespoons of Britt Gourmet Hot Cocoa into 6 ounces of hot milk and stir well. Now comes the best part! Sit back and savor how rich and delicious hot chocolate can be. Each 14.1oz container makes 18 servings.

Guava Cookies

Get ready for a fruitful, chewy crunch! These all natural artisan cookies burst with bits of pure, guava jelly. Tangy and tropical, our cookies are made from the finest, all-natural ingredients, packed warm & fresh from the oven. Don’t look for any artificial additives or flavorings here. You won’t find any! Just bits of chewy guava fruit enveloped in a delightful, subtle crunch.

coffee cups

Doesn’t all that sound just awesome?!  If you are drooling just reading this, then head on over to the YPS Bookstore, pickup a new book on pets and get some fab coffee as well!  And know that you’re doing something great for animals and the environment as you shop with us.

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as follow her on Facebook.

Betta Fish: Not Always Fighters, Sometime Lovers

Betta fish-- Photographer William Picard

Betta fish– Photographer William Picard

First off, what is a betta fish?  Everyone has seen them in the fish section of the pet store; brightly colored fish with long fins, sitting in tiny little pots.  Most people look and think, “Poor little fish, they’re so cramped and lonely.”  The truth is that betta fish come from Thailand, where their natural habitat consists of locations like shallow ponds, swamps, and rice paddies, and the males are highly aggressive, so the pet store is right about on target when it comes to their display.  But there is more to the story when it comes to keeping them as pets.

The first thing everyone does when they buy a betta fish is pick out the tank and these beautiful fish seem to provide a chance to combine flowers and fish all in one.  Many use a vase and flower setup for their betta fish, thinking it is more natural because of the original habitat, but what you have to remember when selecting any aquarium is that you are providing a CONTAINED environment for your fish, not one where nature has taken action, providing an entire ecosystem.  Most importantly, the betta fish actually requires access to the outside air.  Yes, I said it: air.  They have a special organ that allows them to take in air from the surface and if you block off that access to air, your fish can actually suffer from lack of oxygen.  The quick point: Avoid the vase.  Pick something small to help with mimicking habitat and remember that your fish will prefer water at room temperature (75 or 80 degrees) that isn’t filtered and doesn‘t really have any flow.

Still, once you have your simple tank, you’re going to want to entertain your fish.  Most pet owners agree that intellectual stimulation is very important for any animal and your fish is no exception.  Plus no one wants to see a fish in a box.  It’s just unnatural.  A fish in a box with STUFF, now that’s more like it.  The most important point I can make regarding toys is this: The common misconception is that betta fish WANT to play with a mirror all the time.  These guys are called fighting fish for a reason, they fight, but think of it another way.  Would YOU want to spend every waking minute of your life, trapped in a tiny room, facing the moving image of someone who drove your blood pressure through the roof?  Didn’t think so.  While it is natural for your betta to encounter his reflection every now and then, please remember to remove your mirror after a few minutes.  If you want some more permanent toys, consider the more natural solutions.  There are floating logs and leaf hammocks made for betta fish to interact with, which simulate the natural environment and are far more comfortable for them to use on a permanent basis.

Betta fishNow we come to the part where we talk about food, where most new fish owners see the words “meat” or “live” and begin to get squeamish.  Keep in mind your new betta is a natural at catching mosquitoes and other insects.  He isn’t a vegetarian and you should make certain that the food you are giving him has the right stuff.  They make flakes and pellets for betta fish, but to have a truly healthy fella swimming beside you, it’s best to supplement with brine shrimp, glassworms or other such foods that can be found frozen or freeze dried.

It all sounds complicated, and now you won’t believe me when I say it, but these are actually some of the easiest fish to care for.  If you are unsure of your chosen setup, just ask the people at your pet shop.  Trained professionals can easily point you to the right items to include for a happier, healthier fish friend.  We used to have two betta fish in our home, Eric and Cody.  They’re more social than you would expect.  Our two lived side by side on our computer desk, each in their own setup (Never put two males together in the same tank!) which we could move closer together or farther apart, making their natural interactions replace the need for a mirror.  Eric and Cody knew when we came home and would swim to “meet us at the door.”  They loved humans occupying their space and one even had a “romantic interest” in my computer’s mouse, often flirting with it and making bubble nests in preparation for becoming a fishy father.  (Yes, it’s the men who care for the children when it comes to betta fish.)

To put it all simply, make sure that just like getting a dog or a cat, your betta isn’t a rush purchase.  Take the time to select just the right habitat for your needs and grab a toy or two for the needs of your fish.  Most importantly, if you have a question, ask a professional.  They’re out there to help you and they’re the best resource there is.

Mirrani 300Mirrani Houpe has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade.  Since that time she has purchased, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them.  She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@earthlink.net.

For Aquarium Supplies, Your Pet Space recommends Better Life Pets!

Lowest Price Guaranteed

Finding The Right Food For Your Cat

cat eating

I confess,  I feed my cats dry food.  Are you surprised?  Cats don’t have much of a thirst drive, so they need wet food to get enough water to survive.  Lisa Pierson, DVM believes that cats should be fed wet food only.  That certainly would be the safest thing to do.

I also free feed my cats.  That is, Joy and I leave a bowl of dry food out all day so the cats can eat as they please.  Yes, water is out all day also but even before I read Dr. Pierson’s article I noticed they didn’t drink much of the water. Cats that aren’t getting enough water will develop urinary tract infections, which can be fatal if left untreated.   The problem is how do you know when your cat isn’t feeling well, and if you do know will you catch it in time? We feed our cats wet food about three times a week, and that has been working well for us.

            How to choose a brand?  There really aren’t many rating good sites out there.  Go here first:

http://www.catinfo.org.  This is Dr. Pierson’s site.  While there are no brand specific recommendations, the site is jam packed with great nutritional information and advice on how to choose a commercial cat food so I encourage you to spend some time there.

            Then go here:

            PetSmart Pet food selector.

            This is an easy to use tool to find a brand that is a fit for your cat.  The PetSmart engine will suggest brands, then use the information from Catinfo.org to pick just the right one to meet the nutritional needs of your cat.

            I said at the beginning that I feed my cats dry food.  How do you find the right dry cat food?  To tell the truth, I use the dog food reviews mentioned last week in my column Dog Food Advisor and trust that they put the same care into mixing their cat food.

            How do you find a good brand for your cat?  Let me know at: Dave@yourpetspace.info

Dave Jones

Dave Jones is an insurance sales desk supervisor by day and a professional magician by night.  He lives with his wife Joy in Anderson, Ohio, but grew up on a farm with pigs, chickens and cows as well as dogs and cats.  You can e-mail Dave as well as follow him on Facebook.