Orijen dry 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 dog food 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 lists 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 fourth ingredient lists herring. Herring is a fatty marine fish naturally high in protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.
The fifth ingredient is turkey, another quality raw item. After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The sixth ingredient includes turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The seventh item is 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 ninth item is walleye, a freshwater fish native to the northern region of the United States and much of Canada.
The tenth ingredient includes salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.
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.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, 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 Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Orijen dry 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 and chickpeas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Orijen dry dog food is a meat-based kibble using an abundance of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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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".
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.
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Other spellings: Origen, Orijin
Notes and Updates
01/24/2010 Original review
08/27/2010 Review updated
11/17/2010 New recipe
08/18/2012 Review updated
02/17/2013 Review updated
02/17/2013 Last Update