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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||42%||20%||30%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||35%||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.
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.
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.
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
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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".
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Other spellings: Origen, Orijin
Notes and Updates
08/28/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩