Orijen is well-loved by pet parents and gets impressive customer reviews. But does Orijen dog food live up to the hype? In this Orijen dog food review, we’re going to take a closer look at the brand, including its philosophy and the many high protein recipes of premium dog foods it has to offer.
Where you dog food is made and what type of ingredients are used to make it matter, and in this. respect, Orijen is pretty impressive. Let’s get started by taking a closer look at the Orijen foods brand.
- About the Orijen Brand
- Dog Food Reviews
- Dry Dog Food
- Freeze Dried
- What Dogs Should Eat Orijen?
- What Dogs Should Not Eat Orijen?
- Are Grain Free Diets Safe for Dogs?
- How to Choose a Food for Your Dog
- Orijen Dog Food Review: How Does It Measure Up?
About the Orijen Brand
Orijen gets its name from the Latin word for origin, and it’s a great name for this dog food brand. Orijen’s pet food recipes are rooted in what dogs have evolved to eat, and the brand tries to deliver high-quality, biologically-appropriate food. Orijen focuses on unique proteins and a combination of other healthy ingredients to give your dog the nutrition it needs to thrive. It’s made under the larger manufacturing brand of Champion Pet Food and is made in both Alberta, Canada, and Kentucky in the United States.
Recipes Based on Biology
When creating its recipes, Orijen remembered that modern dogs share about 97 percent of their DNA with their wolf ancestors. Although the specifics vary from one breed to the next, dogs have wide, single-hinged jaws and sharp pointed teeth for tearing and shredding meat. They can’t chew side to. side and grind up leaves and other plants like cows and other plant-eating animals can. Their saliva helps them swallow large chunks of meat without thoroughly chewing, and the short digestive tract to quickly break down meat for energy and stomach acid that’s able to kill the bacteria that raw meat can harbor. Orijin uses these biological features to go back to the beginning, putting together recipes to feed the wolf within.
Another great thing about Origin is that they use fresh ingredients that are responsibly sourced from people the brand knows and trusts. Orijen even features some of its suppliers on its website so you can see where it gets ingredients like wild boar, whole eggs, fruits and vegetables, chicken and turkey.
Orijen freezes its raw ingredients at the peak of freshness which allows it to make unique recipes with delicious flavors your dog will love. One of the unique things about Orijen is that it uses fresh or raw ingredients for two-thirds of its protein. Because of its approach, Orijen’s RAW meat ingredient do not degrade, meaning your dog gets a nutritionally-sound meal that tastes great.
Food Safety First
These pet food recipes are developed and produced in Orijen’s kitchens using a stringent safety process. Orijen is made by Champion Pet Food. They do not outsource its production, and don’t make dog food for other brands. That means Orijen has greater control over food quality and safety.
Dog Food Reviews
Orijen has a variety of quality dog food recipe for all life stages. Although it does not have any wet food options, the dry recipes it makes are loaded with nutritious ingredients that your dog will love. Let’s take a closer look at the recipes Orijen has to offer.
Dry Dog Food
Orijen has many dry dog food options. The first one that we’re going to look at in detail is Orijen Original.
This dry dog food is, as the name implies, the Orijen original recipe. The ingredients include:
Fresh chicken meat, fresh turkey meat, fresh cage-free eggs, fresh chicken liver, fresh whole herring, fresh whole flounder, fresh turkey liver, fresh chicken necks, fresh chicken heart, fresh turkey heart, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated whole mackerel, dehydrated whole sardine, dehydrated whole herring, whole red lentils, whole green lentils, whole green peas, lentil fiber, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, whole pinto beans, whole navy beans, herring oil, chicken fat, chicken cartilage, freeze-dried chicken liver, and freeze-dried turkey liver. As you can see, this food, like all of Orijen’s recipes, uses a lot of protein ingredients, delivering a high protein diet to meet the demands of your healthy, active dog.
Orijen Original dry dog food also contains fresh fruits and vegetables, including fresh whole pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, parsnips, carrots, Red Delicious apples, Bartlett pears, kale, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens, brown kelp, cranberries, blueberries, Saskatoon berries, lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, zinc proteinate, and more.
We are impressed by the sheer amount of protein on this list, along with the variety. Real meat of some kind makes up the first 15 ingredients, which is astounding.
Now that we know a little more about the Orijen. Original recipe, let’s take a look at the other products in this pet food line.
Origen offers specialized recipes for both small or medium and large breed puppies. The basic Puppy recipe is rich in protein and fat, using whole animal ingredients like free-run turkey, chicken, cage free eggs and fish. As with all Orijen recipes, two-thirds of the protein ingredients are fresh or raw.
The large breed puppy recipe has similar ingredients, delivered in portions for larger puppies with biologically appropriate nutrients to support their rapid growth.
Small Dog Breed
The Small Breed recipe is biologically appropriate for small dogs, using ingredients like high-quality proteins and a mix of fresh and raw foods in a kibble shape perfect for small mouths.
As the name implies, Orijen Six Fish features six fish proteins – pilchard, mackerel, hake, flounder, rockfish, and sole. These ingredients add good sources of omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health as well as organ meats and bone to satisfy your dog’s cravings. Because its so packed with fishy flavor, Orijen six fish is a great recipe for fussy eaters.
Orijen Regional Red is packed with whole ingredients from ranch-raised beef, wild boar, bison, lamb, pork, and wild-caught Pacific pilchard. The Orijen Regional Red kibble is also infused with freeze dried liver as an extra tasty treat.
Orijen Tundra uses protein sources like wild boar, farm-fresh goat, duck, and venison to create a recipe loaded with nutritionally appropriate ingredients. Your dog will love the taste, and you’ll love the quality of the ingredients and the high levels of crude protein.
Fit & Trim
Fit & Trim is formulated to help your pet maintain healthy body weight due to being less active. For overweight or less active dogs, Fit & Trim is the way to go. This Orijen recipe uses rich proteins and features whole animal ingredients like cage-free eggs, fish, turkey, and chicken. It’s great for less active dogs who need the best dog food to maintain a trim figure.
Orijen Senior is made to meet the special needs of older dogs. This Orijen dog food is rich in protein like cage-free eggs, turkey, and chicken, plus omega 3 fatty acids for coat and skin health and glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint movement, so your senior can stay healthy longer.
As we’ve seen, Orijen uses a lot of freeze-dried quality ingredients in its pet food, which is one of the things that makes this brand one of the best. Its dry food recipes use a range of healthy ingredients for active dogs, but if you’re looking for something with even higher protein content and more raw ingredients, check out Orijen’s freeze-dried recipes.
Let’s take a look at the Original freeze-dried recipe to see what these pet food products are all about. The Orijen Original recipe includes:
Raw chicken meat ground with bone, raw chicken liver, raw turkey meat, raw whole herring, eggs, pea fiber, raw turkey liver, raw turkey heart, raw flounder, raw chicken heart.
There are some fruits and vegetables, too, like pumpkin, collard greens, carrots, and whole apples. These ingredients are very similar to the Original dry pet food, though some ingredients, like lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, are not present.
Orijen has a nice range of dog treats too, with recipes based on its dry dog food flavors. The ingredients of the Original recipe treats include:
Raw chicken, raw turkey, raw chicken liver, raw chicken heart, raw turkey liver, raw turkey heart, raw monkfish, raw chicken gizzard, and raw turkey gizzard.
One thing pet owners love about these treats is that they have a high protein content. The Original recipe, for example, delivers 45 percent crude protein. Treats are a great way to reward your pet when training, but you should avoid feeding too many treats. So, if you’re going to reward your pet, you might as well pick a treat that’s packed with high-quality protein.
Other options for treats from Orijen include:
- Six Fish
- Regional Red
- Kentucky Bison
- Ranch-Raised Beef
- Free-Run Duck
- Grass-Fed Lamb
- Wild-Roaming Boar
What Dogs Should Eat Orijen?
If you’re looking for dry dog food, Orijen has recipes using many high-quality ingredients for active dogs, old dogs, young dogs, and everything in between.
Orijen has dry pet food available for dogs of all ages, including puppy and senior dogs. There are also many adult recipes to choose from, like Orijen Original, Orijen Six Fish, Orijen Tundra, and Orijen Regional Red, not to mention the freeze-dried dog food Orijen has to offer.
Allergies and Sensitivities
All of these recipes are grain-free, so Orijen is one of those dog food brands that is good for pet parents looking to avoid grains. While some of these dog food recipes use common proteins like chicken and turkey, there are a lot of novel proteins to choose from, including duck and goat.
It depends on the dog, but some picky eaters might find that some of these Orijen dog food recipes are delicious. The freeze dried Orijen dog food might be enough to entice them to eat, even if you use it as a mix-in instead of a meal. Picky eaters may also like the unique proteins used in some of these grain free Orijen dog food recipes.
As you see in our Orijen dog food reviews, there is one Orijen adult dog food recipe for small breeds. Although we wish there was a little more variety, we still like that Orijen put together a recipe that’s specifically meant for small breeds.
There are a lot of dog food recipes with a lot of animal protein to support active dogs, but Orijen also has a recipe with the dog food ingredients that less active dogs need to maintain a healthy weight.
What Dogs Should Not Eat Orijen?
Considering the quality of ingredients and high protein levels in this grain-free brand, there really isn’t a dog that shouldn’t eat Orijen.
That said, there are two areas where it falls a little flat.
Although Orijen does not have a specific formula for large breeds, the freeze-dried food options have the concentrated proteins big dogs need. That said, we wish that there was a specific dry food for large adult dogs in the vast line of Orijen dog food formulas.
Wet Dog Food
As you might have noticed when we broke down the dog products in our Orijen food review, Orijen dog food does not make wet food. This fact is not a huge deal since Orijen makes dry grain-free pet foods with tasty ingredients, but some dogs prefer wet foods. It’s not the end of the world, but we were a little disappointed that a brand that makes some of the best dog foods does not have a line of wet pet food for dogs.
Some people might argue that wet dog food isn’t as nutritious as dry, and there is some truth to that. Wet dog food has a much higher water content, but there are some situations where wet dog food is perfect. If you have an old dog that has lost its sense of smell or taste, using wet food or adding wet food to kibble can be enough to entice the dog to eat. Wet food is also easier to chew for these dogs.
All that said, the fact that Orijen doesn’t have any wet dog foods is not a deal-breaker. This brand is still of amazing quality, and as long as your dog likes dry kibble, there’s nothing to worry about.
Are Grain Free Diets Safe for Dogs?
While some pet parents swear by grain-free diets, there is some criticism that they may not be the best option for dogs. Orijen’s recipe philosophy argues that because dogs evolved from wolves and their digestive system, from their teeth to their saliva, is meant to digest meat. It’s a popular argument among pet owners.
The other side of that argument, though, is that dogs have evolved alongside humans over time and are perfectly fine eating grain.
So, which is right?
Choosing a food for your pet is daunting, and there are a lot of trends and boutique foods out there. Some veterinary cardiologists noticed an increase in a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs that were susceptible to developing this condition when they ate a grain free diet.
The relationship between a grain free diet and cardiomyopathy isn’t certain, but there are reports that some dogs with the condition improved after being taken off of grain free foods.
How to Choose a Food for Your Dog
If you have reservations about grain-free food or you want some reassurance, talk to your vet. You should always talk to your vet about what food is right for your dog, especially if you have specific concerns. There are plenty of people who feed their dogs a grain-free food and have never had an issue. There are also so many grain-free brands out there to choose from. If you’re going to choose a grain-free food for your dog, we believe that Orijen is a great option.
Orijen Dog Food Review: How Does It Measure Up?
We can’t say enough good things about Orijen dog food. As you can see from the specifics of our Orijen dog food review, this is one of the best dog food brands out there, and we love the freeze-dried dog recipes and the quality of ingredients.
We wouldn’t say that Orijen has an extensive line as there are some brands that have dozens of options to choose from, if not more. That said, the recipes you see in our Orijen dog food review are high quality and you can’t go wrong choosing one of these options for your dog.
The one place where we were a little disappointed is that Orijen doesn’t offer any wet dog foods. The main reason we’re a little bummed about this is because of the quality of the recipes they do have. This is high-quality food and every ingredient is reliably sourced. You can even meet some of the farmers that raise the animals Orijen uses on its website. If this quality was carried over into a wet dog food line, Orijen would be just about perfect in our book.
Of course, we love the high-quality ingredients, but there are many things about this brand that are great. Each recipe is high protein, and they don’t stop at just chicken and beef. You’ll find novel proteins like duck, goat, multiple types of fish, wild boar, pork, and venison in these recipes.
In our opinion, Orijen is a top pick for most dogs.