Orijen Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Orijen Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Orijen product line includes six dry dog foods, five claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one (Senior) for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Orijen Adult
  • Orijen Puppy
  • Orijen Senior
  • Orijen Six Fish
  • Orijen Puppy Large
  • Orijen Regional Red

Orijen Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Orijen Adult Dog

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 42% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 30%

Ingredients: Boneless chicken, chicken meal, chicken liver, whole herring, boneless turkey, turkey meal, turkey liver, whole eggs, boneless walleye, whole salmon, chicken heart, chicken cartilage, herring meal, salmon meal, chicken liver oil, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, sun-cured alfalfa, yams, pea fibre, chickpeas, pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach greens, carrots, red delicious apples, bartlett pears, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, Enterococcus faecium, supplements: vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis38%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%20%30%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%40%25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The next two ingredients are herring and turkey, additional quality raw items. After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The sixth ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The seventh ingredient includes turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The eighth ingredient is whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The next two ingredients include walleye and salmon, items high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life. After processing, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The next ingredient is chicken heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us humans, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

Next on the ingredient list is chicken cartilage, a source of both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate — natural substances believed to support joint health.

After chicken cartilage we find herring meal and salmon meal, yet two more high protein meat concentrates.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With seven notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of red and green lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, this recipe also contains chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, we find peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Next, although dried alfalfa is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

We also note this recipe contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Next, the company appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Orijen Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Orijen Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 42%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 30%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the red and green lentils, green peas, chickpeas and dried alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Orijen is a grain-free meat-based dry dog food using an abundance of various named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Other spellings: Origen, Orijin

Notes and Updates

08/28/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Tracy

    I’m on my 4th Akita – last 30 yrs…….this Akita has been on Origins Regional over three years now. Most gorgeous girl ever AND healthy. Not even on a flea prevention that is how healthy she is. Healthy animals do not attract external parasites. So worth the price – 28lb bag lasts almost 2 months – better food you provide they get satisfied quicker. Supplement it with 1/2 can of Blue Buffalo Wilderness or Castor & Pollux brands, scoop of plain Chobani yogurt and 1/2 TBS Wellactin (omega oil for dogs). She is a gorgeous “handful”!

  • Laura Palmer Christmas

    I changed my dogs about 3 months ago from Eukenuba to Orijen. I live in South Africa, so with import duties, it costs me quite a lot for 4 dogs, about $300 a month, but I have never seen such a change in their condition. They’re looking awesome and my 12 year old Jack Russell, who has lived on cortisone her entire life for skin sensitivity is off it and has been for 2 months. Very happy and I do supplement their food with fresh meat in addition and a dollop of plain yoghurt every day which sorted out any loose tummies

  • 4FootedFoodie

    People shouldn’t have to read between the lines in order to realize that she’s here attempting to profit off of them. That’s deceptive.

    Funny thing is, you probably don’t even know what food she’s pitching because you didn’t read all of her posts.

  • Linda Bissonnette

    I used to give my dog Innova and ever since the recall about 1 year ago I stop I had to switch her over to something else. I tried Origen and I can tell you with a dog with sensible guts as mine this is the best as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t go back to Innova never. She had the odd diarrhea vomiting with Innova, now with Origen nothing absolutely nothing everything has stopped. The diarrhea vomiting completely. I’m intolerant to gluten and when I mentioned to my vet that I’ve changed Maya’s food she said “there’s your gluten intolerance right there”

  • Wade Meyer

    Words mean things and so what else does “arrange a promotion” mean? Compensation. She did tell us up front. What is wrong with compensation? It doesn’t change the flawless ingredients of this food. Some people have to work for a living.

  • Melissa LeBender

    To those that complain about the price — first, this food is WORTH EVERY PENNY. Moreover, it’s not as expensive as you think. A $70 bag (the largest available) feeds my 60lb pitbull for 6 weeks. That’s $12 a week. You don’t have to feed your pet as much of the good stuff. The cheap food is all uneccesary carbs and calories. My dog was the one who led me to this realization. He eats his food right up, but won’t finish the bowl if I overfeed him. He eats about half as much Orijen in comparison to the Science Diet I used to feed him, before I learned what crap that was. Give it a try and you will see too!

  • Julie

    I feed my German Shepherd Orijen (she lives it). The only problem I have noticed, is when we switch bags (same brand/type), it upsets her belly. Has anyone had a similar problem?

  • qutiebree

    We switched a few days ago, he seems to enjoy it pretty well and the hot spots have def gone down. Hope this will be the remedy to his allergies.

  • BridgeN

    hi! I have an almost 2 yr old jack russell that has extremely sensitive skin, and after switching to orijen regional red, I have noticed the itching and hot spots have greatly decreased! Definitely worth trying out!

  • http://batman-news.com O.R.

    My dog has the same issue. She is breaking out into hives. Now I find myself here. Looks like this is a really good brand. I will try it.

  • http://kathardisty.ca Katarina Leah Carlos

    We are using Orijen freeze dried dog food. Today, I have found a needle sharp bone in my doggies patty. The only reason I found it it I was breaking up a bigger piece that did not hydrate with my hand thank s for that! He could have choked if i did not find it. I was just going to work, this is outrages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Linda Johnson

    I have given my dog Orijen her whole life. She is a strong, beautiful Lab with no allergies. She is never sick or weak in any way. I love the freshness of the food. It is madeally a money-saver only from the
    freshest ingredients that are locally caught or provided daily. We have had other labs and given them lesser foods. The had allergies and were had hip problems or something else. With this food, my dog has never had these problems. The cost is high, but the vet bills are low. We think this is actually a money-saver in the long run.

  • qutiebree

    I have a 2yr old french bulldog who just recently in the last few months broke out in a rash and sheds alot more. We have taken him to the vet many times, but we still dont know whats causing him to have these break outs., they said it may be his food. Ive read many reviews about this food and I am thinking of switching his diet. Does anyone here had this problem with their dog and seen any improvement after switching? We give him wellness simple salmon dry and a little of wet mix together twice a day. He is about 37 pounds. Any advice or suggestions are reallly appreciate, we are desperate to help him. Two vets have told us so far to feed him gluten/ grain free. Also to stick with fish instead of meat.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Some dogs just don’t recognize the finer points of the argument. Obviously you should feed your dog what it will eat whilst trying to sneak in the best of that group.

  • Qi Koh

    yea, that won’t help if my dog won’t eat any of it

  • Mickey’s Dad

    How bad is it for a dog to eat fast? Don’t most dogs eat fast?

  • Lara

    My vet does too. My dog has anal gland issues due to a fatty lump near the gland. He wines a bit but doesn’t bite. Luckily, it is only $25 dollars, so nothing that will break the bank.

  • Lara

    My dog eats Orijen and still does the butt dragging. Turns out he has a fatty lump near his anal gland that prevents it to drain properly. But you are right, 99% of the time it is a food issue.

  • Lara

    We used to feed EVO until Procter and Gamble bought it. P&G make IAMS and we just were not comfortable with a brand that sells IAMS (and the known animal abuse from that). We feed our Shih Tzu mixes Orijen Six Fish. They love it.

  • Lara

    I noticed gas for 3-4 months afterwards. My dogs just needed some time to get used to the food.

  • Lara

    I spend $20 a month for two small dogs. I am quite happy with the price actually. Expensive, but worth it. I wouldn’t buy a dog I couldn’t afford to feed good food.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Yeah, some canned stuff can get pretty crazy too. I try to balance the two to be as close to 50% as possible. Thanks again!

  • LabsRawesome

    Victor Ultra Pro 42 has 42% protein and 22% fat. I like foods that have a fat ratio @ half of what the protein % is. Dogs are meant to thrive on protein and fat. I have seen some Raw foods that are out of whack, having higher fat than protein, which is not good. Glad your Mom can benefit from my recommendation of Nature’s Domain canned. :)

  • Dog Lover Plus

    I don’t really like how this site figures carbs out either. If you take into account that dietary fiber is undigestible carbs Victor has 16.3% carbs and Orijen has 21% carbs. Unfortunately what tends to happen when carbs are taken out is that fat is supplemented at a higher rate than are proteins, relative to what I consider a healthy ratio. Canned tends to have a higher ratio too, which is another reason I prefer a fish based canned, as it tends to have a better protein to fat ratio. (I.E. more protein, less fat)

    Thanks for the advice on the canned you use, my mother has budget constraints and has been using a slightly more expensive 4 star canned. My brother lives by a Costco and when she visits him she can stock up.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yes, Victor does contain sweet potatoes. I do not have a problem with that. Kibble needs a binder. I do add Sardines and Fish oil to boost the omega 3’s. Victor UP also only has 17% carbs. Orijen has 30% carbs. 17% carbs is way closer to the dogs ancestral diet. Victor foods are manufactured at Mid America’s manufacturing plant. Nature’s Domain cans are 13.2 ounces.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    There are many 5 star kibbles that don’t meet my personal standards for a high quality dog food and that’s what I’m paying for.

    The Omega ratio in Victor Ultra Pro (6 to 1) doesn’t meet my minimum standards of 5 to 1. On top of that Orijen also has 2.75 times more Omega 3’s in it’s regular adult formula than Victor Ultra Pro. Orijens Omega ratio is 2.72 to 1.

    Victor also contains potatoes, which If I can, I will do without. Orijen has a Meat to botanical ratio of 80/20, and I cannot tell what Victors has. I cannot tell how or where Victor sources their ingredients. Do you know were they come from? Orijen doesn’t sub contract, does Victor? Orijen uses cage free poultry, which costs more, does Victor?

    As far as canned dog foods go I simply prefer a fish based or at least the inclusion of fish ingredients. Even fish oil would be nice, although I do see Nature’s domain includes flax-seed oil for Omega 3’s.

    You are using very high quality dog foods for your dogs, I simply have a few extra boxes I’d like to check off. In that regard, my love for my dog does have a lot to do with how much I’m willing to pay to check those boxes. If you can offer an alternative that meets all those preferences for less then I’d appreciate the help.

  • LabsRawesome

    Loving your dogs has nothing to do with the price you pay for their food. I use Victor Ultra Professional Formula. I buy it local at just under $40 for 30lbs. It’s a 5 star kibble. It’s GMO and grain free with only 17% total carbs. http://www.midamericapetfood.com/victordogfood/pdf/Brochure-GF-Ultra%20Pro.pdf I mix in Nature’s Domain Canned, it’s also rated 5 stars. Costco sells it for $20 a case of 24 cans. My dogs also get fresh foods like Sardines and eggs.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Well, you can get it for $74 on Chewy, but I will concur that even at that it is a significant amount more than other dog foods, particularity if you buy a 3 or 4 star dog food or have multiple dogs.

    For my part though, I’ll say this: I’m not well off by any means, but I’m a minimalist, so I can budget for what matters most to me. My dog matters a lot to me and if I can give him a healthier lifestyle and increase his longevity, I’d pay twice that. But, I don’t have to it seems. This in the morning and Wellness CORE Grain-Free Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Formula Canned in the evening and I think my dog eats better than I do. I certainly spend more on his food than my own, but I’m an omnivore, so that goes with the territory.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Yeah, this site is pretty good; it has helped me pick out a great dog food, I only wish it did a little more thorough reviews that include stuff like omega ratio’s and source transparency as well as grain AND potato free foods. Maybe you get that information with the membership though? I’m planning on signing up soon and will see. Personally, I’d donate money to the site above and beyond that if it made that sort of information available to others for free.

  • LabsRawesome

    What’s not to like? The $100 dollar price tag. No Kibble is worth that much money.

  • Cyndi

    Well that’s good then. If you are happy with a food and it works well for your dogs, then I don’t blame you at all for recommending it to others.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    I don’t work for Orijen. I’m simply pointing out the benefits of this particular kibble so someone might quickly gauge whether it’s worth their time. I bought Pinnacle Peak Protein without realizing the benifits of the correct omega 6 to 3 ratio and was considering buying Wellness Core Ocean without realizing the lack of source transparency or actual ratio between meat and botanicals. I didn’t even know you could get a potato free kibble, which is a big plus in my book.

  • Cyndi

    If you work for Orijen or have a vested interest, you’re supposed to disclose that information…

  • Cyndi

    I take it you work for Orijen?

  • Dog Lover Plus

    What’s not to like? Orijen is a *Grain Free, *Potato Free, *GMO Free, low glycemic dog food that is *Regionally Sourced and produced in Canada, NEVER subcontracted, whose ingredients are *Approved for Human Consumption before being delivered fresh daily to its doors, *Preservative Free. All of it’s foods have an appropriate *Omega 6 to 3 Ratio, which is very important for the overall health and longevity of your pet. It’s poultry is *Cage Free and its eggs are *Nest Laid. It incorporates a *Whole Prey Diet which included all the parts of prey animals in ratios which mimic a wild diet (Meats/Organs/Cartilage/Marrow) and provide more balanced nutrition. Orijen also includes what they call *Botanical Infusions, which are designed to mimic the natural tendency to forage on grasses and other botanical sources.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Both seem to be VERY high quality dog foods. And they both seem to focus on providing proper ratio’s of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s, unlike a lot of other otherwise high quality dog foods… There are two main differences, as far as I can tell, as they are both regionally sourced in Canada and never sub contracted. The first is that Orijen uses a low glycemic potato free formula, which is very important for senior dogs as well as dogs with diabetic problems (likely caused by being fed grains and potatoes). Orijen uses a a 80/20 meat to Fruit/Vegetable/Botanical ratio whilst Acana uses a 60/40 ratio in it’s regional line and 65/35 at most in any of its kibble. That extra vegetable matter is likely where the potato comes into play, it’s a cheap filler. Second, Orijen also uses a whole prey diet blend which incorporates parts of the animals which would normally be consumed in the wild: Meats, organs, cartilage and marrow, mimicking the appropriate ratios. Orijen also uses cage free poultry and nest laid eggs for added peace of mind.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    It may just be his body adjusting to the new dog food. Please remember that our bodies and theirs have a complex micro-flora which needs to balance itself out when introduced to new foods. This process could take a month or more to sort itself out.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    You are not mistaken, Orijen not only regionally sources it’s ingredients and provides you with the local region of each of these regionally sourced ingredients (all in Canada), it also doesn’t use preservatives and describes it’s ingredients as being approved fit for human consumption before being delivered fresh to them daily. This is a brand that is guaranteed NEVER outsourced and has an appropriate ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s, which it seems many 4 and 5 star dogs foods do not.

  • Dori

    If I eat anything with MSG it always triggers a migraine. When eating Chinese I always have to tell them to leave it out and I always know if they honored my request because I’ll get a migraine if they didn’t.

    I’m not saying this happens to all people and dogs I do know it happens to me.

  • Shawna

    Yes, “intense exposure” is one way to induce damage from MSG. Hypoglycemia, head injury/neck injury, undeveloped blood brain barrier are additional conditions that increase ones susceptibility.

    Amino acids when eaten in food are handled by the body differently then when freed. They are part of the protein structure and are broken down and utilized differently. Example, when accompanied by the amino acids cystein and glycine, glutamine is used by the body to make the master antioxidant called glutathione. When cysteine and glycine are not present glutathione is not made and the glutamine is able to attach to glutamate receptors. Once those receptors are full, from my understanding, this is when the damage can happen.

    Some may get small doses while others could get relatively large doses. Babies eating “hydrolyzed” soy milk, as just one example, are going to get larger amounts of “free” glutamic and aspartic acid. Or those people that eat mainly inexpensive processed foods are likely at an increased risk for added exposure. Since excitotoxins are believed to bio-accumulate, it is those that have repeated exposures that will also be at increased risks. PS — MSG is not the only source of free glutamic acid. Industry has become very good at disguising it — nutritional, brewers and one that starts with a “t” that I’m blanking on are sources. I’ve also seen it disguised as “sodium caseinate”, soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate as well as many others.

    It is that “frikkin’ delicious” flavor (umami) that will make it hard to get industry to change. They can make otherwise poor quality and bland food taste good. But that comes with a consequence whether you chose to believe it or not.

  • rumtopf

    “”Excitotoxicity refers to the ability of glutamate or related excitatory amino acids to mediate the death of central neurons under certain conditions, for example, after intense exposure. ”

    Intense exposure, meaning nothing like normal dietary levels. Be afraid!

    I think this is the hang up, here. While interesting, you can’t point to a study where rats are given a 10% diet of MSG for 3 months(or directly injected with large doses at birth) and claim it will do the same to humans, despite the comparatively tiny amount of MSG we ingest every day. It’s like drinking 10 gallons of vinegar vs sprinkling some over your french fries.

    Not sure how the extraction process could make things different either, your body processes glutamate as glutamate no matter where it came from, the salt is processed as salt. The ionic bonds between the glutamate and sodium are likely already broken if stirred into wet food and will break in a dry food upon contact with saliva into the two compounds. So how can some people claim to react to “added” MSG but not the naturally occurring glutamate, if not from a self induced nocebo effect? It’s kinda… Not possible. I also wonder how many people actually have a different dietary issue but mistakenly blame it on the MSG, thus solving nothing :/

    Not even gonna comment on the book guy. MSG and aspartame aside, he’s into all that conspiracy theory fluoridated water, contrails, anti-vaccine kinda stuff. Just, no.

    It just looks like a whole load of truth stretching and hysterics to me, so I’ll continue reading about it and pointing out the more ludicrous claims(Like, normal dietary levels of MSG cause brain damage? No.). That and I’m biased because MSG is pretty frikkin’ delicious.

  • rumtopf

    Not exactly a reputable source seeing as it’s all about how evil MSG supposedly is. But I looked anyway

    The first link mentions a study where rats were given 10GRAMS of MSG a day out of 100g total food. Wow, so in order to have health issues from MSG, just make it 10% of your diet for 3 months? xD Looking over other examples of animal studies from the site, they involve crazy doses that don’t even compare to normal dietary levels, talk about misdirection. Why the heck are they trying to compare a diet of 10% MSG to the usual 10-20g we eat every day(or the glutamate we naturally produce in our own bodies)? They even claim that just “contact with” MSG is enough to hurt someone? Oh come on, that’s ridiculous. Sorry but I really do not trust that site(or any site that just lists a bunch of references to papers that don’t actually support their scary claims when you look them up).

    Something funny as an aside: Table salt is more dangerous. If you ate 10% of the weight of your daily food intake in table salt you be very very dead very very quickly. Yet you can survive for months with MSG? I suppose the saying goes: The poison is in the dose. Drink too much water in one day and it’ll kill you.

    I think the real issue is that people get it into their heads that MSG is bad(thanks to the fear mongering? go figure) and experience a kind of “nocebo” effect when they think they’ve eaten it(which they do, every damn day with their protein-rich foods, in far greater amounts than from some MSG powder sprinkled on a dish like table salt). It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy and most research shows that the huge majority of people who claim to get sick from MSG don’t show symptoms under lab conditions when they don’t know they’re eating MSG rich food.

    I accept that there are probably the rare people who are sensitive/allergic to it, heck there are people who are allergic to water or sunlight out there, but it’s not the huge conspiracy these nuts claim it is and I get just a little bit mad at fear-mongering in general, especially when it’s all “omg the chemicals!!11 be very afraid!”.

  • Shawna

    There’s actually TONS of information out there if you know what to look for. I started at “Google scholar” and searched the term “monosodium glutamate excitotoxin”. This is taken from the journal “Developmental Neurobiology”
    “Excitotoxicity refers to the ability of glutamate or related excitatory amino acids to mediate the death of central neurons under certain conditions, for example, after intense exposure. Such excitotoxic neuronal death may contribute to the pathogenesis of brain or spinal cord injury associated with several human disease states. Excitotoxicity has substantial cellular specificity and, in most cases,
    is mediated by glutamate receptors.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/neu.480230915/abstract;jsessionid=0CA744B1F82F5321FD13390D43114EC1.f01t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

    This is from “Pharmacology and Toxicology”
    “A wealth of new information pertaining to excitatory amino acids (EAA) has been generated over the past two decades. The prototypic EAA, glutamate (Glu) and aspartate (Asp), which are abundantly present in the mammalian central nervous system, have become recognized as Jekyll and Hyde molecules that serve vitally important metabolic and neurotransmitter functions while simultaneously harboring treacherous neutrotoxic potential.” http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.pa.30.040190.000403?journalCode=pharmtox

    The problem is with the processing of foods to “free” these amino acids that makes them dangerous. So meats and foods high in aspartate and glutamate are not going to cause the same damage that “isolated” free glutamic and aspartic acids cause.

    A really good, but somewhat difficult to follow, book on the topic is “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” by Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock. There were parts of the book that I had to reread several times before I could absorb the information — very technical. I couldn’t find it locally either. I had to order it in.

    “Food” can be very dangerous to certain individuals sensitive to that food. Examples — betacasomorphin 7 (BCM-7) in most dairy is being studied as a possible trigger for diseases such as type 1 diabetes, heart disease, autism and schizophrenia. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17666771 The gluten in wheat (called gliadin), in sensitive people, can cause a condition called “gluten ataxia” which can manifest in symptoms such as temporary blindness, white matter brain lesions, stroke like symptoms and more. http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/126/3/685.full

  • USA Dog Treats

    I always try to err on the side of caution in order to protect myself and my loved ones (this includes my dogs) and there is definitely a population of people and animals that are severely affected by MSG.

    Below are some links I copied for you. The links include references.

    http://www.truthinlabeling.org/III.What%20is%20MSG.html

    On the Subject of Manufactured vs Natural Glutamic Acid,

    http://www.truthinlabeling.org/manufac.html

    Evidence of MSG-induced Brain Damage and Endocrine Disorders: The Animal Studies,

    http://www.truthinlabeling.org/Proof_BrainLesions_CNS.html

    Evidence of MSG-induced Human Adverse Reactions: The Human Studies,

    http://www.truthinlabeling.org/Proof_AdverseReactions_AR.html

    The Young are Particularly at Risk for Brain Damage from Ingestion of MSG: Data

    http://www.truthinlabeling.org/Proof_TheYoung_TY.html

  • rumtopf

    Links for the monosodium glutamate claims, please? Because I think you’ve just fallen for the fear-mongering, it’s not a dangerous substance at all. MSG is the sodium salt of an amino acid called glutamate. The part people always overlook with this non-issue is that glutamate is a naturally occurring substance and is present in all of our diets, and most likely all dog kibbles – though not on the labels as it’s not being added as an ingredient by itself – it’s just naturally present in the ingredients.(eggs, fish, chicken, potatoes, beef, peas, all naturally containing glutamate, to give some examples from the Orijen ingredients lists)

    I just hate misinformation surrounding food, especially when it’s so irrational yet pervasive in society – yet there’s a mountain of science(a lot of it in response to the crazy claims) to show that there’s nothing to be worried about.

  • rumtopf

    Have you tried scatter feeding? We had to teach our boy to slow down with eating for the same reason, he was throwing up, no doubt thanks to being starved by previous owners(grr!). It was the scatter feeding(gradually scattering less and putting more food in the bowl) and a very regular feeding routine that helped him. He actually crunches his kibbles from the bowl now :)

  • kimstar

    How much caliber ?

  • theBCnut

    You could try adding digestive enzymes to help with the gas.

  • AJ

    Well his poop seems normal to me. It’s nice and firm. And he smells just like the bag of orijen. Like fish food.

  • theBCnut

    It sounds like Orijen might not agree with him. If it is a bit of a rotten fish smell, then it may be anal glands are not expressing themselves when he poops. For some dogs, stool size matters.
    The gas could be because of all the peas and lentils in the food.

  • AJ

    I started my dog on orijen about a week ago. I noticed he has been getting really bad gas and his body smells like fish. Is that normal?

  • Qi Koh

    My dogs seem to prefer Acana to Orijen. But Orijen is not bad as well.

  • Betsy Greer

    That’s awesome! I wonder if he’s benefiting from the additional fiber from the chickpeas and lentils.

  • Cyndi

    So glad to hear you’re having success! We love success stories on here! So no more butt, scoot and boogie, lol!

    Lots of helpful information on this site, I’ve been so glad I found it too! :)

  • Mickey’s Dad

    I have very good news. Mickey is doing just awesome on the food. We feed him 3/4 cup twice a day and he looks great. His coat looks perfect. Neighbors even ask how his fur has become so soft and shiny.
    He has for the most part stopped scooting his butt.
    The food is working great.
    We will definitely be trying the rest of the food line.

    Since Mickey is eating less the 28lbs bag will last about 7 weeks. That work out to $10 a week.
    I’m so glad I found this web site.

  • Vance Tullier

    There may be no perfect foods (especially dry which I’ll wholeheartedly agree) but the implication that items in the Orijen are from China in spite of the fact that they publically/openly declare that no ingredients whatsoever are sourced from China made me disregard her post immediately. It’s been a while but if memory serves they also declare where each ingredient is sourced from but I could be mistaken on that point.

  • Lili Lithiumm

    Thank u very much i surely will rotate, and she’s actually doing well on it so far beside the home cooked chiken

  • kimdy

    This is, by far, the best food I have ever fed to any of my animals. We have two German Shepherds, male and female, and feed them both a mixture of Regional Red and 6 Fish daily. The female, who weighs around 90lbs, and is VERY active, gets 2 cups a day. The male, who is 7, and is far less active, weighing 84lbs, get a cup and a half. Period. Folks who buy this food for their kids need to realize the maximum amount of calories, vitamins, minerals, and nutrition involved in this mostly meat diet, and feed far less that they did another food, which is likely grain full, etc. Also? NEITHER dog is uber thin, at all. In fact, neither gets treats, yet we battle the male’s weight all the time. The female is far more active, and maintains her weight herself no problems…

    So, while the food IS expensive at first, once you realize the minimum you need feed, it suddenly doesn’t look anywhere near as expensive.

    They have both been on it exclusively for 4+ years, and other than the MASSIVE amounts of err, gas, when we first started, it was an unexceptional and painless transition. We just mouth breathed and clenched our teeth and suffered through the first gassy couple weeks. :D NO problems since though…

    Would not trade this dog food for the world…

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Lili –

    As you’ll see on EVO’s rating – it’s a great food. If your dog is doing well on it, I don’t see any reason not to feed it. There are also several other wonderful foods,, including this food (Orijen). Rotating between foods is great – feeding a variety of foods will help not only to mitigate the issues that any one food may have but also will help to strengthen your dog’s gut. I’d recommend picking a few highly rated foods and switching between them periodically.

  • Lili Lithiumm

    Guys can u help me ! i dont really know what kind of dry food i have to feed my dog but am giving her now evo chiken&turkey grain free formula so i need to know is it good or bad??? and wich dry food is better for her am tired of looking and it seem they all have issues

  • bonbon

    People should know something is wrong with your dog’s anal glands when they drag their butts. Why do they let the dog keep doing it? My dog has never dragged her butt. Her anal glands drain after her bowel movement. She only eats the best grain-free food.

  • bonbon

    My dog loves NOW

  • theBCnut

    It gets updated every 18 months.

  • Betsy Greer

    Orijen is due for an update, but the current review does reflect the product’s current recipe.

  • Tamara A Howard

    I would ask your vet how to express your dog’s anal glands if you choose to try. Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it true. Best of luck Scoot & Bogie!

  • Tamara A Howard

    When will Orijen’s food line be re-evaluated? As dog food manufactures have at least six months to update the public about any formula changes it would seem to me that a five star rating would be more current than 02/17/2013. Just a thought.

  • Crazy4cats

    I have been using grain free Victor for my two golden labs with good results. The price depends on whether you can get it locally or have to order it online. But, either way, I think it is still significantly cheaper than Orijen.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’d suggest checking out Victor and Dr. Tim’s.

  • tdog

    I feed Orijen but would also like to rotate with some slightly cheaper kibbles. Any suggestions for widely available Orijen-caliber kibbles? I’ve tried Acana, Merrick, Go Fit and Free, Earthborn Primitive Natural, Wellness Core, and TOTW. She does great on everything.

  • Liz Stuart

    Orijen works wonderful for my dogs but they have had to have their anals done. I would know I’m a groomer lol. If this doesn’t work you’ll have to try going raw. But definitely try the recommendation above, adding fiber. Also try canned pumpkin

  • Debra

    Have you looked into the Kyjen Slo-Bowl? These have slowed our puppies mealtime from about 1 minute to about 5 minutes! http://dogblog.kyjen.com/slo-bowl-slow-feed-dog-bowls887/

  • Mickey’s Dad

    My vet is hard core. She goes in and expresses them. None of this on the outside stuff.

    I will try when I think it is safe. He has not bitten anyone but attempts to. I think by the time I realize they need expressed he is in pain. Maybe I could learn routine maintenance! :)

  • SandyandMila

    In case you change your mind and want to save yourself a vet bill. lol http://m.wikihow.com/Express-a-Dog's-Anal-Gland

  • Crazy4cats

    Ok, my fingers are crossed for you and your pup. May his anal glands express themselves freely!!! LOL!

  • Mickey’s Dad

    It will be a one full week transition. We have an awesome Vet. She has thought us a lot about nutrition.
    Our dog gets crazy when they express his glands. Twice we had to give him a sedative.
    I bought the small bag just in case things do not work out. Very expensive food. It better live up to the hype.

  • Crazy4cats

    What? You don’t want to express your dog’s anal glands? Lol! Have you tried to add a little fiber to his diet. Sometimes when adding canned food, adding a little fiber helps. Such as psyllium or chia seed. Does he have loose stools? Going from Kirkland lamb to Orijen sounds like a big jump in protein and fat. Take the transition slow! Good luck!

  • Mickey’s Dad

    I’m very hopeful that Orijen Adult Grain-Free will be Mickey’s answer for food.
    I am currently feeding him Kirkland lamb & rice with Kirkland beef cuts. He seems to do well on it with fish oil pills too. I have also been making him food from JFFD.
    He has problems with his anal glands. They do not express unless the Vet does it. NO I will not be learning how to do it.
    A food that is grain free was recommended. I hope I will be saying good bye to the butt, scoot & bogie.

  • K8a

    It does – she only gets 2-3 kibble per turn of the ball, so it slows her down greatly.

  • Betsy Greer

    I bet the treat ball works well.

    Does it slow her down enough that you’re able to continue to feed Orijen?

  • K8a

    She actually eats out of a treat ball, which works well too. Thanks for the suggestions – I might try that muffin tin one down the road.

  • markalaw

    What I found to work well with my Cavy is simply to have her sit in front of the food until she’s calm. Then I release her to eat after she looks at me for direction. Seems that the very act of allowing her to be calm first causes her to slow her eating pace and to chew her kibble.

  • Betsy Greer

    Have you ever tried a slow feeder bowl? You can also use a large, clean rock or stainless steel ball in her bowl that she has to eat around which will slow her down. Or, try putting her food on a cookie sheet or in muffin tins.

  • K8a

    If I let her eat directly out of a bowl, she inhales it all and then throws it up because she doesn’t chew. I’m sure it depends on your dog but I also have a friend with an 80lb Lab that switched off of Orijin because of the same issue.
    To each his own – just giving my opinion on my experiences.

  • Betsy Greer

    My experience with Orijen was that it was some of the largest kibble I ever fed. I definitely prefer smaller kibble and feel that it’s often more easily digested due to its size. Although both of mine do, lots of dogs don’t chew.

  • K8a

    I have a cockapoo rescue with SEVERE allergies. We have tried 6 different foods in 6 months and keep coming back to the Six Fish. She does the best on this food by far and she absolutely goes crazy for it. I love the whole prey model and the fact she’s getting 80% protein with this food. She still exhibits some issues with scratching but it’s uncertain at this time if it’s her environmental allergies or food. (We’re only on week 10 for her allergy shots)
    My only complaint is the size of the kibble – it’s very small even for my little girl. She gulps most of it without even chewing. I hope they come out with two sizes at some point.
    I would recommend this food 10 times over for pups with allergies.

  • Angela Macdonald

    Thank you. Good information. I think I will speak to a vet that also considers holistic health and find out about allergy testing. I am just shocked at how many people’s dogs have or experience allergies!

  • Angela Macdonald

    Thank you. Great suggestion.

  • aimee

    A positive test result means your dog may or may not be reactive to that ingredient.

    A negative test result also means your dog may or may not be reactive to that ingredient.

    “In one study of dogs known to be soy and corn allergic,… measured soy and corn specific antibody levels were not significantly elevated……blood testing for food allergy showed positive reactions in only 2 of the control (normal) dogs and none of the food allergic dogs”
    http://dermvettacoma.com/pitfalls_otc_blood_allergy.pdf

    A lab that runs food tests doesn’t even recommend them..

    http://www.heska.com/Products/ALLERCEPT/Allercept-Testing.aspx

    Click the allergens tab

    “Heska, in agreement with the American College of Veterinary
    Dermatology, does not recommend IgE testing for foods. A compliant
    exclusionary diet trial, followed by provocative re-challenge, is
    recommended for animals suspected of suffering from adverse reaction to
    foods.”

    Since neither a negative test or a positive rules in or out an adverse reaction to that ingredient there is no point in running the test.

    Everyone is better off in putting that money into doing a proper elimination trial.

  • sue66b

    Try a low carb diet, my boy has itchy skin, he has seasonal allergies worst in spring & summer, I started an elimanation diet & found when I gave him sweet potatos or potatos he got his itchy ears & skin, so Ive stopped foods high in carbs like potato & sweet potato..

  • Sasha

    Well according to all my research they aren’t completely unreliable.
    If the test comes back and it says your dog is allergic to wheat – your dog could be allergic to wheat. However if the test comes back saying your dog isn’t allergic to wheat then your dog isn’t allergic.
    So it can give you and idea of things your pet may be allergic to and let you do food elimination based on that.

  • aimee

    Food allergy testing is unreliable. A properly executed food elimination trial is the only way to diagnose adverse food reactions.

  • Sasha

    Get your puppy allergy tested! Some vets offer it (or there are less reliable ways online.) Dog can have allergens as often as humans – my dog is even allergic to cats and grass – so keep that in mind. The test is slightly expensive (we paid like 300) but cheaper and better for long term then switching the diet around a bunch of times.

  • jay

    Thanks i hate all these rumors about what is good and what is not :/

  • Crazy4cats

    It’s not true!

  • jay

    he has gotten better now i mixed the puppy and regional red formula. also today i heard that small dogs should not eat high protein kibble like orijen, is this true? i have a shih tzu/papillon mix please tell me its not true :/

  • ian bouchard

    jay, though not profiled on the bag, there are fundamental differences in the nature of fat/oils presented in these two foods. Taking into account that the foods’ profiles cannot possibly be accurate there is a big question as to the security of their ingredients. For example, I just reviewed the bag and found that they claim that all of the herring and flounder are harvested and delivered daily/weekly “fresh” all year round from the BC coast…this is not possible given the limited nature of commercial fish openings. The red bag features a “pacific salmon” logo on the front panel and again, they make reference to fresh wild-caught salmon coming to them, fresh, all year round from Northern Vancouver Island. Again, this cannot be possible given the constricted nature of the commercial fish openings allowed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. If one calls the company (as I’ve done) they may tell you that when wild fish is not available they will supplement with farmed. However, if doing so, they are required to not the “color added” their ingredients label…but they don’t.
    All of this is just to say, that you’re really on your own in trying to determine, from the label, why your dog may be reacting badly. From the label, it is clear that their statements are just not supported by logic or evidence.

  • Angela Macdonald

    Hi I have a 8 month old Australian Labradoodle who was on Royal Canin from start by breeder. He started to get itchy a couple months ago so I switched him over to 6 Fish (on recommendation of others). After one week on 6 Fish he now has ear infections which vet has suggested is 99.9 % result of likely food allergies. The reading I have done suggests that sometimes the ear infections are a result of detoxifying off of other foods… should I stay the course with the 6 Fish for the month or try stop right away and try something different? Thank you.

  • Bobby dog

    You know what, I have to agree you are absolutely right, that is pretty funny!
    I did not really look at the site much further after I read the compensation statement and there was no response to Betsy’s question. It always ruins it for me when someone does not disclose a vested interest, not just here, but anytime. ;)