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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [2024 Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition

Written by

Ma. Leonor Dollisen

Reviewed by

Updated on:

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orijen dog food reviews

Heard about Orijen pet food? I bet you did that is why you are here. If you are looking for Orijen Dog Food Reviews, then you have come to the right place. Read on.

When you look at a bag of Orijen dog food you will see the words “biologically appropriate” in big, bold letters. This is the hallmark of the company's brand and a description of their nutritional philosophy.

In their own words, they describe “biologically appropriate” pet food as meeting five key principles: rich in meat, meat freshness, meat diversity, reduced glycemic load, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Orijen also adheres to a “whole prey” philosophy which incorporates all of the richly nourishing meats, organs, cartilage, and marrow in authentic ratios inspired by the natural diet of wild dogs and cats.

Simply put, their products are meat-rich and carbohydrate-limited, made with the freshest regional ingredients available and manufactured to the highest standards for quality and safety.

You can feel good about feeding your dog any one of Orijen’s biologically appropriate diets.


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Manufacturer Information

The Orijen brand is made by Champion Petfoods – this is the same company that produces the Acana brand of pet foods.

Champion Petfoods is based in Canada, though they operate manufacturing facilities in the United States as well. Champion Petfood products are sold throughout Canada and the United States as well as more than 70 other countries worldwide.

Made in the USA?

The Orijen brand is based in Canada, so that is where many of their products are made. Champion Petfoods recently opened a new manufacturing facility in Kentucky, however, so some of their products are made in these facilities instead.

If you check the label for Orijen products, you will find one of two statements: “Made in our Canadian kitchens” or “Made in our Kentucky kitchens”. Their Canadian kitchens can be found in the NorthStar manufacturing facility in Canada or in the new Dogstar facility in Kentucky.

Orijen Dog Food Reviews

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 1
Orijen Puppy
  • Coated with freeze-dried liver
  • Contains 85% poultry and fish ingredients
  • First 5 components are fresh or raw ingredients
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 2
Orijen Puppy Large
  • Specially crafted for large breed puppies
  • Bursting with flavors from freeze-dried ingredients
  • Rich in essential protein, vitamins and minerals
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 3
Orijen Senior
  • Crafted for senior sidekicks
  • Packed with protein from premium ingredients
  • Contains animal organs for an extra layer of flavor
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 4
Orijen Original
  • Recipe is crafted from world's best ingredients
  • Protein-rich and loaded with big, natural flavor
  • Higher moisture content for a dry food
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 5
Orijen Regional Red
  • Whisker-licking flavor for your dog
  • Provides optimum nourishment for small canines
  • Multi-protein, including multiple animal organs
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 6
Orijen Fit & Trim
  • Coated with wag-worthy freeze-dried liver
  • Raw animal protein—including meat and fish
  • Protein-based diet mimics ancestral feeding habits
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 7
Orijen Six Fish
  • Recipe always starts with fresh or raw animal protein
  • Composed of 85% fish ingredients
  • Rich in essential protein, vitamins and minerals
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 8
Orijen Tundra
  • Protein-focused diet is biologically appropriate
  • Contains 85% of quality meat and fish ingredients
  • Majority of the ingredients are fresh or raw protein
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Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 9
Orijen Small Breed
  • Suitable for high-energy, small dogs
  • Eye health support from lutein-rich eggs
  • Balanced nutrition in a protein-rich kibble
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When you look at the label for a bag of Orijen dog food, you may be surprised at the number of different meats used in each formula.

All of their recipes are biologically appropriate which means that they are designed to mimic the natural evolutionary diet of wild wolves – a carnivorous diet comprised primarily of animal ingredients.

Orijen’s products adhere to a whole prey ratio of fresh meats, organs, cartilage, and raw bone to deliver the nutrients your dog requires without the need for excessive supplementation.

All of their products are protein-rich and carbohydrate-limited which also makes them highly palatable, easily digestible, and nutritionally complete. Simply put, Orijen products are the best of the best.

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Reviewed Orijen Products

  1. Orijen Puppy
  2. Orijen Puppy Large
  3. Orijen Senior
  4. Orijen Original
  5. Orijen Regional Red
  6. Orijen Fit & Trim
  7. Orijen Six Fish
  8. Orijen Tundra
  9. Orijen Small Breed

Lifestage Recipes

1. Orijen Puppy Formula

First 5 ingredients:  Chicken, Turkey, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Flounder, Whole Mackerel

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 10
Packed with protein and fat from various, quality animal protein sources. Thoughtfully crafted with 85% animal ingredients, including fur-esh or raw free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish and cage-free eggs.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 20%
Crude Fiber 6%

This Orijen recipe is designed to be biologically appropriate for puppies of all breeds. It’s a combination of poultry and fish ingredients that make up to 85% of the formulation. The rest is composed of whole vegetables and fruits to provide your little pooch with a balanced meal.

Puppies with their developing bodies require nutrient-dense food that’s much richer than what adult dogs need. And this recipe gives them that by having meat as the first 15 ingredients and a few more in between. Because of this meat fest, the protein level is up at a high 38%.

Deboned chicken and turkey lead the list. While muscle meat is full of protein and other nutrients, it’s really the organ meats in the recipe (such as chicken and turkey livers, and chicken and turkey hearts) that contribute a lot of the nutrition you can see in its guaranteed analysis (found below).

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Since Orijen follows a wholeprey approach, it makes sense to include organs in the food. In the wild, dogs eat up all of their prey to get the full benefits of the meal.

Organ meats contain a significant amount of fat (as an extremely dense source of energy), minerals and fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.

Legumes in the form of pinto beans, peas, lentils, navy beans, and chickpeas serve as a natural source of carbohydrates and fiber for your pup. Unlike common misconception that these are fillers, legumes provide a natural balance and essential nutrients in food that’s dominated by animal protein.

The main source of fat in this diet is chicken fat, and it is supported by pollock oil and the fat content found in the various muscle and organ meats in the food.

But why fat? Unlike humans who are concerned about the amount of fat in their diet, dogs need a good amount of this nutrient for good health and survival. It’s a crucial element in the proper function of canine eyes, hair, brains, etc. And dogs in colder climates particularly need fat to keep them warm and provide them stamina against the cold.

Fat is also where DHA and EPA comes from, and these two play a leading role in cognitive functions and brain and eye development. Pups fed diets with DHA and EPA become easier to train and are more likely to be sociable.

This recipe is an excellent one overall for growing puppies. It has all the necessary nutrients — particularly glucosamine and chondroitin — to support the development of young bodies.

Glucosamine and chondroitin will help protect your puppy’s joints as he goes through the rapid growth spurt of puppyhood. They’re also helpful in safeguarding pups predisposed to developing hip dysplasia.

We also like the addition of probiotics into the diet. Probiotics form an essential part of a healthy immune system, and they’ll also improve the digestibility of ingredients.

Lastly, there are very few, if any, recipes out in the market that can compare with the number of animal proteins included in this formulation. And with the kibbles containing freeze-dried meat and coated with freeze-fried liver, little dogs won’t be able to resist.

2. Orijen Puppy Large

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 11
A formula that is designed for large breed puppies. This protein-rich recipe takes a Wholeprey approach with the most succulent parts of the prey (liver, heart, gizzard) included for added nutrients.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 16%
Crude Fiber 6%

Large breed puppies have unique needs that are different from small or medium breed ones. This recipe is specifically formulated to meet those requirements.

Orijen Puppy Large is crafted using free-run chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, and wild-caught fish. The recipe utilizes a whole prey approach by including the richest and most succulent parts of prey for added nutrients.

It also follows an 85% and 15% ratio of meat to other ingredients, with the first five in the ingredients list composed of fresh or raw animal proteins.

Deboned chicken leads the list and is followed in succession by 15 more animal proteins. There are a few more animal meats in between some other ingredients, bringing the total kinds of animal meat up to 21. This is so much more than what is offered in most other dog foods. And for most pups, it’s hard to resist meat-laden dishes.

The rich combination of meats in the recipe helps it reach a high 38% crude protein content (as seen in the analysis below). For Orijen diets, this is normal levels.

But when compared with other Orijen brands, there is quite a big gap for the average protein content is usually around 22-27%. Since puppies are in the development stage, these high levels support optimal growth.

There are a few veggies and fruits here, although the ones which are of a significant amount are mostly legumes composed of pinto beans, lentils, and peas. These help regulate blood sugar and contribute vast amounts of protein, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Legumes are getting a bad rep lately due to some misconceptions about these possibly causing dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. But in the FDA warnings about the possible link to the disease, it only stated to be alert for dogs that eat diets “containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients.” (Emphasis on the words are ours.)

In the case of Orijen diets, the legumes are placed so far down the list after plenty of meat ingredients that even when combined together, they can’t possibly amount to even half of the meat content. Orijen also clearly states that the food is 85% meat, with vegetables and fruits making up only 15% of the recipe.

This Large Puppy recipe by Orijen contains enough nutrients to support your biggie furkid. There’s a bit more glucosamine (for joint health) here when compared to Orijen’s regular puppy recipe because large breed pups tend to put more stress on their joints than smaller dogs do.

The freeze-dried liver coating is a nice addition. Liver has always been a go-to for a number of dog parents when it comes to enticing picky pets to eat. And it has the bonus of containing a good number of essential nutrients.

We also laud the inclusion of probiotics in here. These help dogs process and absorb more nutrients from food before it comes out as waste. The presence of probiotics also mean that the effect of harmful substances are reduced since the main job of probiotics is to detoxification.

3. Orijen Senior

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 12
A senior formula that contains 85% poultry and fish ingredients, which are naturally rich in essential protein, vitamins and minerals.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 15%
Crude Fiber 8%

Orijen Senior is thoughtfully crafted and designed for aging canines of all breed sizes. It, like all Orijen recipes, feature a wholeprey approach that can be extremely beneficial for senior dogs who are often picky with their food. The meat-packed diet is further enhanced with freeze-dried liver coating that can entice even the most finicky canine.

The first 15 ingredients are a combination of chicken, turkey, eggs, mackerel, and herring products, with two-thirds of the animal ingredients either fresh or raw. A few more meat products can be found further down the list, which means that the high protein level (38%) in this diet is all-natural and not through synthetic means.

Usually in grain-free diets, the main source of carbohydrates are potatoes. Orijen prefers to use legumes instead, adding vegetables such as lentils, pinto beans, and peas. These legumes offer less carbohydrates than many types of potatoes but they’re higher in fat, protein, and dietary fiber.

Why are carbohydrates often mentioned in dog food reviews? Carbohydrates, when broken down, provide an adequate supply of quick energy to dogs. They’re also utilized by the nervous system and brain for normal function.

When there’s too much carb than can be otherwise used up by your pet, this is converted into fatty deposits in their body, causing weight gain.

So that the diet maintains an all-natural approach, wholesome fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, collard greens, turnips, mustard, and pumpkin have been blended in. This reduces the need for synthetic vitamins. Even the preservative is natural — just mixed tocopherols, which are a form of Vitamin E.

Senior pets will get the proper care and nutrition from this Orijen recipe. It has the proper balance of nutrients to help them stay healthy, maintain their weight, and develop lean muscles.

The diet specifically targets those areas where senior dogs often have problems with. For example, it has DHA and EPA, both of which are extremely helpful when it comes to cognitive function and helps canines stay alert. The fiber content is also higher than in other Orijen recipes, because older dogs are often constipated.

And because the older dogs get, the more brittle their bones are, there is chondroitin and glucosamine to the rescue. The chondroitin content, in particular, is at a very high level to reduce pain and inflammation from our pets’ joints.

orijen dog food

Adult Recipes

1. Orijen Original Recipe

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 13
A multi-protein formula from premium sources: chicken, turkey, flounder, mackerel, herring and eggs. This appetizing kibble is both gluten and grain free to cater pets with allergies.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 18%
Crude Fiber 4%

This Orijen Original Recipe is a biologically appropriate diet for dogs in all life stages. This recipe features free-run chicken and turkey as well as wild-caught fish and nest-laid eggs in a formula that consists of 85% poultry, fish, and egg ingredients with 15% fruits, vegetables, and botanicals.

Each 13-pound bag of Original Recipe contains 5 ½ pounds of chicken, organs and cartilage as well as 2 ¾ pounds turkey, organs, and cartilage. There is more than 1 pound each of whole Atlantic mackerel and whole Atlantic herring, with ½ pound each of wild yellowtail flounder and whole eggs. Simply put, this formula is protein-rich and loaded with natural flavor your dog won’t be able to resist.

The first ingredient in this recipe is, of course, deboned chicken. As you may already know, fresh meats like chicken contain up to 80% moisture by volume. When traditional pet foods are cooked, most of the moisture content is lost and that leaves the final volume of protein for that ingredient much lower than the original.

This won’t be a problem for this dry food for several reasons. For one thing, the moisture content of this formula is higher than for most dry foods – it is 12% rather than 10%. Second, deboned chicken is just one of more than a dozen protein-rich ingredients that appear on the ingredients list for this product.

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In fact, most of those protein-rich ingredients are listed before the first carbohydrate even appears. These meat ingredients supply more than just protein, however. They are also rich in healthy fats which help to support the condition of your dog’s skin and coat.

The main sources of carbohydrate used in this formula are not grains – they are beans and legumes like whole green peas, whole navy beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and green lentils. All of these are gluten-free and grain-free carbohydrates which makes them highly digestible for most dogs.

It should be noted that beans and legumes such as these do contain some plant protein, but with more than a dozen meat-based proteins listed before, they are unlikely to contribute significantly to the 38% crude protein content of this formula.

They do, however, contribute significantly to the 4% crude fiber content. Your dog will also get some fiber from the fresh fruits and vegetables that appear on the list. More importantly, though, these ingredients act as natural sources for key vitamins and minerals which minimizes the need for synthetic supplements.

The main source of fat in this kibble is chicken fat. While this may not sound like an appetizing ingredient to you, it is highly nutritious and a concentrated source of energy for dogs. This ingredient is supplemented by herring oil as well as the natural fat content of the fresh meats and organs.

All of these ingredients combine to create a crude fat minimum of 18% which includes a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The remaining ingredients in this recipe consist of seeds (supplementary sources of fats and fiber), botanicals (for flavor and nutrients), chelated minerals, and dried fermentation products.

Chelated minerals are mineral supplements that have been chemically bound to protein molecules – this makes them easier for your dog’s body to digest and absorb. Dried fermentation products act as probiotics to support your dog’s healthy and regular digestion.

Overall, this food is a high-quality source of protein-rich nutrition for dogs in all life stages. There are very few products on the market that include more than three or four sources of animal protein, let alone a dozen. And there is more than just fresh meats included there are eggs, organ meats, and raw bones as well.

This recipe contains a full 85% poultry, fish, and egg ingredients with just 15% fruits, vegetables, and botanicals – there are absolutely no grains, potato, or tapioca ingredients and no plant protein concentrates. Simply put, it is hard to beat this product in terms of nutrition and quality – your dog won’t be disappointed!

2. Orijen Regional Red

First 5 ingredients: Beef, Wild Boar, Goat, Lamb, Lamb Liver

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 14
For pets who are more on the carnivorous side and prefer meaty ingredients, this one is perfect choice. Apart from having several high-quality meat sources, it is also coated with freeze-dried liver for that mouthwatering flavor your dog naturally craves.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 18%
Crude Fiber 4%

Orijen Regional Red brings dogs all the goodness of red meat in many different forms. It features ranch-raised beef, grass-fed lamb, wild boar, and boer goat. Pork also makes an appearance here as well mackerel, herring, and pollock.

This recipe has one of the most numbers of animal proteins, with 16 of them leading the way before a carbohydrate product even makes an appearance. In total, there are an astounding 29 animal products in here composed of all parts of the animal, from muscle meat to organs and bones.

Why does Orijen include the organs and bones? Well, because it’s a completely natural way of providing all of the nutrients that dogs need without resorting to synthetic vitamins and minerals.

In the wild, dogs get all of their nourishment and nutritive requirements by devouring the whole of their prey. This is what Orijen calls the Wholeprey approach.

This special diet is grain-free, gluten-free, chicken-free, and high protein. Dogs who are especially active will thrive on the energy boost that the protein provides.

At 38% crude protein levels, it’s considered a high protein diet that may be suited for all canines, but most especially for performance dogs, obese canines (promotes weight loss), and older pooches.

While the AAFCO determines that dogs only need 18% protein to survive, a higher crude protein content ensures that they thrive. Protein is key in building muscles, skin, hair, ligaments, tendons, and cartilages, and the maintenance of all tissues in the body.

The diet takes its fat content from the organ meats and the Alaskan Pollock oil. It’s not a low-fat food, but neither is the fat content too high either.

The total fat provides the diet with the necessary omega fatty acids, DHA, and EPA that dogs need for overall cognitive function, healthy immune system and skin, and lustrous hair.

It’s hard to find anything wrong with this recipe. There’s a whole range of animal products in here, so wide that your dog will find it hard to resist.

The combination of so many meat ingredients creates an interesting taste that is normally not found in other recipes (by other brands).

Aside from the legumes, there’s also a feast of fruits and vegetables that can be considered superfoods. Apples, kale, spinach, carrots, and more help create a formulation that’s not only super balanced but also quite rich in nutrition.

It’s a formulation that leaves nothing to be desired. The formula completely nourishes dogs from nose to tail.

3. Orijen Fit & Trim

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Turkey, Cod

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 15
Your dog will come running for dinner when he gets a whiff of this kibble, which includes 85% poultry and fish ingredients and is coated with freeze-dried liver.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 42%
Crude Fat 13%
Crude Fiber 8%

Orijen Fit & Trim is designed for pups who need to maintain a healthy weight. It’s a carefully crafted formula to promote weight loss and the development of lean muscle mass in adult dogs of all breed sizes.

The first 15 ingredients starting with deboned chicken makes special use of poultry and fish products to bring the protein level up to a high 42%. A bit further down the list, more animal proteins in the form of bone, cartilage, and liver can be found.

Why is the protein level so high? It’s because many studies show that protein is especially useful in helping overweight canines in maintaining a lean body mass while shedding extra fat. With a high protein diet, dogs tend to burn more calories, and the protein-packed meal can help him feel fuller for longer.

This recipe features a combination of fresh, raw, and dehydrated meats. It closely mimics the diet of ancestral dogs, which makes use of all parts of the animal whether it’s the bone, the muscle, or the organs.

Since dogs in the wild don’t have access to supplemental vitamins and minerals, they get everything they need from their prey. And organs and bones contain lots of those essential nutrients.

Of course, since this is a crafted diet, it doesn’t hurt that it also includes plenty of greens and fruits for added nutrition. Lentils, pinto beans, peas, navy beans, and chickpeas contribute the most carbohydrates in the list. They're there in place of the more usual potatoes you see in grain-free food.

The use of legumes is actually a good idea because these contain just enough carbs to supply dogs with energy but not too high (as in the case of potatoes) that the excess is converted into calories. As a bonus, legumes contain more fat, fiber, and protein than potatoes do.

Fit & Trim carefully reduces the calories your furry buddy receives while keeping him in top-notch shape. It has the right amount of nutrients to help your dog thrive, while at the same time helps him lose the excess pounds.

Losing weight can sometimes make bones and joints hurt, although of course, not losing it means more pressure on those.

The high amounts of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine present in this food ensures that your pet’s bones and joints are fully supported against pain and inflammation.

It also has L-carnitine, which promotes a healthy weight and optimum energy levels. Overall, this recipe is well-thought-out and excellent at helping dogs shed those unwanted pounds.

4. Orijen Six Fish

First 5 ingredients: Whole Mackerel, Whole Herring, Monkfish, Acadian Redfish, Flounder

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 16
There are pooches out there that are quite sensitive to red meat, and this is a nice alternative for them. This kibble contains 85% quality fish ingredients including raw whole mackerel, whole herring, flounder, monkfish, redfish and whole hake.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 18%
Crude Fiber 4%

Dogs that are bored of the usual meat ingredients will get their fill from this fish-filled recipe. Orijen Six Fish contains a diverse selection of the sea’s bounty, namely mackerel, herring, monkfish, redfish, flounder, and hake.

These six provide the bulk of the animal protein, although there are additional fish species, such as cod, pollock, and whiting, further down the list.

Oily fish are the best sources of EPA and DHA, two of the most important Omega-3s. As you can see in the guaranteed analysis below, this recipe contains the most DHA and EPA content among all of Orijen’s formulations.

Why do these two matter a lot? Because these unsaturated fats offer huge health benefits for the brain, lungs, heart, and circulation. They’re also quite powerful in decreasing inflammation and pain in dogs who are battling arthritis.

As is usual with Orijen recipes, there are several animal proteins listed before you even see a hint of vegetable. It’s a primarily meat-based diet that is supported with a limited amount of fruit, veggies, and other food products to keep it balanced.

Lentils, pinto beans, peas, navy beans, and chickpeas provide healthy sources of carbohydrates and dietary fiber. The carbs in legumes are much lower than those found in many types of potatoes, but their protein, fat, and fiber content are that much higher.

Sunflower, safflower, and pollock oils contribute to the omega fatty acid levels of this food. Sunflower and safflower oil are rich in omega-6 and pollock oil contributes plenty of omega-3s. These two types of omega fatty acids are involved in the proper function of your dog’s brain, hair, skin, cell and membranes, and immune systems.

If you might notice when looking at the label, this diet contains a few herbs such as sarsaparilla root, turmeric, rosehips, chicory root, and althea root.

Do dogs need herbs? Yes! In fact these can be powerful tools to help different conditions. For example, sarsaparilla root can improve urine frequency and decrease painful urine retention. Chicory root provides prebiotics, and so on.

We can’t help but like the Six Fish recipe. It’s a fish feast for dogs, providing an interesting change from the usual beef/chicken meat diet. It has all the necessary proteins as well as greens to provide a complete and wholesome meal.

It doesn’t just provide a balanced diet for adult dogs, but it also targets different conditions that affect a lot of adult canines. For example, it contains chondroitin and glucosamine to support bone and joint health. It has herbs that battle skin inflammation, urine retention, and so much more. And it has probiotics to strengthen the digestive system.

It also has the most Omega-3 Fatty acid content because of the many fish ingredients. Overall, this is a good meal to feed your dogs on a regular basis.

5. Orijen Tundra

First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Venison, Duck, Whole Arctic Char, Whole Pilchard

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 17
Made from myriad of high-quality protein sources, this kibble is surely nutrient-dense plus each kibble is coated with freeze-dried liver making it so scrumptious that even the pickiest of eaters cannot resist.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 40%
Crude Fat 18%
Crude Fiber 5%

Orijen Tundra is a protein-rich recipe that combines fresh or raw Boer goat, grass-fed mutton, ranch-raised venison, duck, and Arctic char in one biologically-appropriate meal that utilizes the power of natural.

With 17 meat and fish ingredients listed before any hint of vegetables appear, this will satisfy any canine looking for more meat in his food. Aside from those mentioned above, this recipe also contains wild boar and several types of fatty fish for their omega fatty acid content.

Tundra contains the second highest amount of protein. Working dogs or those extremely active ones can benefit a lot from the protein levels of this food. Protein is, of course, an essential element in developing lean muscles and it provides a dense source of energy that performance canines need.

Providing a balancing component to the meal are the various legumes, fruits, and leafy greens that contribute a significant amount of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Since this recipe strives to keep it wholly natural e, no synthetic nutrition is used. Instead, all nutrients are taken from whole ingredients.

Carbohydrates aren’t bad for dogs, unlike what some would have you believe. They provide a practical and quick boost of energy. The problem lies in their quantity, if there’s too much added in the dog food. But there’s no worry about that here. The legumes, which are the sources of fiber and carbs, only appear in the middle of the list.

At 460 kcal per cup, this recipe offers one of the most amounts of calories. (It’s second only to Orijen Small Breed.) This can help bulk up your dog in case he is exhibiting a body weight that’s lower than normal. Or, it can help him maintain his weight in case he’s an actively performing canine.

For dogs that live a laid back lifestyle, this formulation might be a little too fattening. A little extra care might be needed to make sure your dog doesn’t gain too much pounds. Or, you can rotate this with other Orijen meals to not only keep the calories down, but also to keep your dog from being too bored with his food.

This is an excellent recipe overall. It has the right mix and ratio of meats to other food products and is biologically-appropriate. Your best buddy will get all the craveable taste he wants with all the nutrition he needs.

6. Orijen Small Breed

First 5 ingredients:

Rating: 5/5 stars

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 18
A protein-rich recipe which helps nourish your best buddy with biologically appropriate meat sources, packaged in smaller kibble that is easy to chew for little mouths. Simply put, these are small bites that packs a big taste.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 18%
Crude Fiber 4%
Moisture 12%

Little dogs may be small, but their appetites can be large. Orijen takes into account all the dietary requirements that are unique to small breeds to craft this protein-powered meal designed for little mouths.

Packaged in smaller kibbles, the nutrition that’s trademark Orijen remains the same. It follows the same 85% fish and poultry to 15% other ingredients ratio. Fifteen animal protein ingredients (eggs, chicken, several kinds of fish, turkey, and organ meats) begin the recipe. A lot of these are either raw or fresh to get the most nutrient content as possible.

Those ingredients that aren’t fresh or raw are listed as dehydrated. What does it mean? Dehydrated food points to a gentle heating process that removes moisture content without compromising the nutrient value of a food much. Although raw or freeze-dried food will always yield the most nutrition.

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Chicken fat, pollock oil, and the organ meats contribute most of the fat content in the recipe. While fat might not sound all that appealing nor healthy, dogs need it for a balanced diet. It gives them fatty acids and energy, keeps their skin and coats healthy, and provides insulation during cold weather.

In case you’re wondering about the bones and organs in the recipe, it’s because Orijen follows a wholeprey approach to crafting its recipes. All of the animal is utilized, from the bones and cartilage up to the heart and liver.

In the wild, the only way dogs can get all the nutrients they need is to eat up all of their prey. And since no synthetic nutrients are added here, the offal provides most of the nutrition.

A few herbs also make their appearance. Chicory root contains inulin, which increases calcium absorption; turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties; rosemary as a natural antioxidant; and sarsaparilla root for treating joint pains. Small breed dogs will find their ideal source of daily nutrition from it. It contains a perfect amount of nutrients, raised up to meet small dog requirements.

The analysis above might look a bit much for small dogs, but in reality, it matches their needs. Small breeds typically have a higher metabolism rate than medium or larger breeds. They burn up calories faster and will need more fat, protein, and other nutrients for optimal health.

But with a small breed dog’s stature, they can’t consume enough of the food they need. A nutrient-dense recipe designed specifically to contain larger levels of nutrients are needed. This formulation meets all those needs and more.

Orijen Dog Food Reviews [[year] Update]: The Biologically Appropriate Nutrition 19

Ingredient Sourcing

The Orijen brand is very serious about using the freshest ingredients available. They define fresh as, “never frozen and containing no preservatives”. This description applies primarily to their meat ingredients, though they also use an assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, and botanicals in their recipes.

Not only are their ingredients the freshest around, but their poultry, fish, eggs, red meats, and game are all table-quality and fit for human consumption, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

They source their ingredients locally and regionally whenever possible and all fresh meats travel from farm to kitchen in just 3 days and are made into Orijen pet food in 2 days. Some examples of their regionally sourced ingredients include angus beef and bison from Kentucky; fresh-caught fish from New England; fresh lamb from Alberta, and more.

Orijen promises that they do not source any of their ingredients from China.

Orijen Recall History List

Orijen owns and operates all of their own manufacturing facilities – they do not outsource their production like many pet food companies do. In addition to using only the freshest ingredients available, Champion Petfoods holds themselves to the highest standards for quality and safety when it comes to the manufacture of their products.

All ingredients are tested prior to use and their quality assurance systems go all the way down the ladder to their suppliers. As careful as they are about the production of their foods, there has been one recall in brand history but it only affected products made in Australia. Here are the details of that recall:

  • In November 2008, the company issued an alert about Orijen cat foods produced in Australia causing some cats to fall ill due to problems with mandatory gamma irradiation.

How expensive is their food?

The Orijen is a very high-quality brand which makes it one of the more expensive foods on the market. Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for and, with Orijen dog food products, you are getting the best.

Prices vary from one recipe to another, but generally a 28.6-pound bag of Orijen dry food will cost you between $75 and $135. For a 16-ounce bag of freeze-dried food you will pay $30 to $40 and 3.5-ounce bags of freeze-dried treats cost about $15.

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List of their product line

The Orijen brand offers a fairly limited selection of products when compared to many other brands. Although their product offerings may not be very extensive, you can account on the fact that each and every recipe delivers the highest quality nutrition possible.

They offer only biologically appropriate diets which are formulated to mimic the natural evolutionary diet of wild wolves – that means that they are rich in protein and low in carbohydrates. In terms of the types of products they have to offer, they currently sell seven recipes for dry food and three recipes for freeze-dried food as well as an assortment of freeze-dried dog treats.

Dry Products


The Orijen brand offers an assortment of award-winning and biologically appropriate dry foods for dogs in all life stages. Each recipe starts with a premium-quality protein and is supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables for a healthy, balanced recipe.

Their dry foods do not include any high-glycemic carbohydrates or vegetable proteins and they include a very limited list of synthetic supplements. Here is a list of their dry recipes:

Dry Recipes:

  • Puppy Recipe
  • Puppy Large Recipe
  • Original Recipe
  • Six Fish Recipe
  • Regional Red Recipe
  • Tundra Recipe
  • Senior Dog Recipe

Freeze-Dried Products

The Orijen brand is unique from other brands in that they do not offer canned food products. They do, however, offer something even better – freeze-dried foods. There are three recipes to choose from and they are all biologically appropriate and made with high inclusions of fresh, regional meats. Here is a list of freeze-dried recipes:

Freeze-Dried Recipes:

  • Adult Dog Recipe
  • Regional Red Recipe
  • Tundra Recipe
orijen dog food reviews


In addition to an assortment of dry food and freeze-dried foods, the Orijen brand also offers a selection of freeze-dried dog treats. These are all protein-rich made with 100% natural meats, fish, or poultry -nothing else. Here is a list of freeze-dried dog treats:


  • Original Treats
  • Tundra Treats
  • Regional Red Treats
  • Angus Beef Treats
  • Alberta Lamb Treats
  • Alberta Bison Treats
  • Free-Run Duck Treats
  • Wild Boar Treats

Is Orijen best dog food?

For a brand that offers dog food designed to suit your dog's natural biological needs, our top choice is Orijen. Orijen dog foods are rich in meat and proteins. Each product contains up to 90% meat, which is is more than three times the amount used in conventional dog food.

Has Orijen dog food ever been recalled?

Inspired by a natural diet of whole prey animals, Orijen features unmatched and unique inclusions of meat, naturally providing everything your dog or cat needs to thrive. No Orijen pet food has ever been recalled in the United States or Canada.

Is Orijen better than Royal Canin?

Our analysis shows that Orijen guarantees 5.11% more fat than Royal Canin dry cat food recipes. If you look at the average percentages of crude fiber, you'll notice that Royal Canin typically guarantees 2.74% more fiber. This is a fairly small difference between Royal Canin and Orijen, but still worth mentioning.

Which is better Orijen or Acana?

If you've been paying attention, it's clear that Orijen foods are a slightly better quality that Acana. For instance, Orijen foods contain more meat, more of which is fresh. But, Acana is more affordable than Orijen, meaning there may be some owners who can't stretch to Orijen but can afford Acana.

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