Orijen Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

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

The Orijen product line includes seven dry dog foods, six 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 Tundra
  • 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
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.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

03/05/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Julia

    Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and diseases affect a dog’s stomach and intestines, resulting in pain and other problems.
    Some symptoms of a GI disorder are:

    There are different types of Gastrointestinal disorders like:
    (some of these can be caused by a food allergy)

    A dog’s food can have a significant impact on his GI tract health. Veterinarians recommend feeding dogs a food that is highly digestible to help prevent irritation to sensitive stomachs and intestines. Also, high-soluble and insoluble fiber foods combined with moderate fat levels in your dog’s food help support proper intestinal function. Because several of these conditions may be ongoing, long-term nutritional management of the disorder may be required.

    Also his was vet diagnosed with Gastrointestinal Disease. He had been having soft stool for a couple days and then one day he had really runny stool and blood should up in it and he didn’t want to eat any of his food prior (I was giving him plain rice with sweet potato and vegetable broth) . We brought him right to our vet and he took some tests and gave us some medication, special food and the next day told us the results.

  • Pitlove

    Ya that is interesting. Does he just have a food intolerance or is it IBS? What exactly is his GI Disease?

  • Julia

    Yeah he is the type that can’t have any type of poultry. When we found out about his Gastrointestinal Disease he was originally eating Acana Chicken and Burbank Potato. Then the vet made him switch over to a medi-cal for Gastrointestinal Disease and we tried him on different foods all separate with a lot of space in between so he would have time for his bowls to calm down and relax. He is normally sensitive to any poultry. That’s why I was surprised when was doing so well on it.

    Thank you, oh that’s sad to hear.
    Ha ha ha that’s to funny.

  • Pitlove

    “The one thing I was a little shocked about was when reading the ranch lands ingredients it says there is egg. But my one guy with the GI issues and allergy, it didn’t seem to bother him at all! Which I’m happy about (I think it hasn’t bother him cause it is farther down the ingredient list, there probably isn’t a lot in there, like a lot of other dog foods).”

    A lot of people (and nutritionists) have noted that some dogs with chicken intolerances/allergies are able to eat eggs and chicken fat, but not the actual muscle meat itself. Some dogs however, the allergy is so intense that they can’t have any form of chicken or poultry.

    your dogs are beautiful. I hope they continue to do well on this food.

    PS. Love the name Hugo. That was my beloved cats name who just passed away last year. Oh and wouldn’t you know it, my Betta fish is named Monty. lol!

  • Julia

    Thank you.

  • Crazy4cats

    What a great picture! Hope you have continued success with this food!

  • Julia

    I originally had my dogs eating Natural Balance L.I.D. Mainly because my one guy has Gastrointestinal Disease and an allergy to any form of fowl (chicken, duck, chicken fat, egg, etc..)and I wanted to get him off of the medi-cal that was prescribed to him from the vet. I was hesitating on switching him over many because of that reason but when we decided to do so we switched him very slowly. I’m so happy so say that all 3 of my dogs are now eating this food and have been doing so for about 2 and a half months now with no issues.

    The one thing I was a little shocked about was when reading the ranch lands ingredients it says there is egg. But my one guy with the GI issues and allergy, it didn’t seem to bother him at all! Which I’m happy about (I think it hasn’t bother him cause it is farther down the ingredient list, there probably isn’t a lot in there, like a lot of other dog foods).

    I have also seen a change in their coat. It is ALOT shinner, softer, and even after them rolling around in grass almost every day and going on hikes at least once a week they still feel very clean.

    I’m just so happy with this food and happy my dogs are doing so good on it.

    Monty: 2 years old, 50lbs, Gastrointestinal Disease and allergy to fowl.

    Hugo: 3 years old, 52lbs. Was over weight (63lbs -> 52lbs now)

    Bear: 12 years old, 20lbs.(not is picture)

  • Nichole Lay

    I work in a pet store and those moths are from the store, trust me. They’re very common and are attracted to dog food and treats in particular. They’re the bane of my existence.

  • Javiar

    I don’t mean to be THAT guy, but you can’t really blame them for not accepting your request. If the bag is over $100, they probably get a lot of scammers trying to get free product so they prob set standards for who gets reimbursed.

    Did your DH (lol) keep the receipt at least? For something over $100 and over 500 miles away, you/he must have kept the receipt.

    $10 is generious if you ask me. Though id prob be as upset as you if it was me but still.

  • Tammy

    Lol!! I will leave it at dear husband since he did catch the bugs and didn’t feed them to the dogs! Throwing it away, that was not the smartest thing to do. Trust me, he has his “dumb” moments but most of us do.

  • Tammy

    Thanks for letting me know it was not just me with the problem! I am sorry it happened though, it is a great food but too expensive to just throw away.

  • Kelly

    Same thing happened to us with a bag of their cat food. But it was about half empty when we saw them, they were all in the lower half of the bag otherwise i would have seen them squirming as i dished the kibble out, they were not that small. i didn’t take it back to the store as the bag was half empty, i figured i would let it go, and i know they did not come from my house as we store the bags in our bedroom closet and we do not have larvae in our closet plus none of the other opened bags had bugs. I decided not to give up and glad to say no bug infested bags after that. Knock wood. But i hated throwing that half bag out, the stuff is expensive. If i see it again, back to the store and i will stop buying it if thy don’t give us a replacement bag.

  • Roberta Liford

    What’s or who is your DH? Dear Husband? Dumb husband?

  • Jeff Putterman

    Orijen is no doubt the best dog food available. First, it’s made in Canada, where people do not sell themselves for money like our whore politicians, doctors, etc. Second, after I switched my dog from Wellness to Orijen, his entire body and coat sparkled.

  • Mackenzie

    I used to use Blue Buffalo for my dog because it’s always advertised as “natural” and “whole ingredients”. Ended up switching to Orijen because the quality was so much better. I feel like my dogs are healthier than ever and they go crazy at breakfast and dinner time because they’re so excited for their Orijen, which they never did with Blue Buffalo.

  • Pam c

    Personally, I had a positive experience with Orijen’s customer service. Although I will say I think their customer service is not as quick as Earthborn Holistic or Farmina.

  • Tammy

    Thank you Pitlove! I don’t disagree with anything you said. Had we still been in the area I would have taken the bag from the garbage myself, back to the store. I store kibble in the original bag, in an airtight container while feeding and keep the important info for a good while afterwards in the event of recalls as well. I figured letting the company know even though it was later was worth a shot. I was really turned off by the way I was treated. I am going to do my best to move on and hope this will not stop me from keeping this food in my rotation. My first reaction was to never buy their products again but I have never had an issue before and normally buy their food locally. My 2 do great on it and I really believe it was a storage, possible bag damage issue. Perhaps the CS rep I spoke to was just having a bad day, for their sake I hope so and I hope it does not happen to anyone else.

    Thanks again!

  • aimee

    Are you suggesting I ambushed a pet expo?? I have no idea how you’d come away from my post thinking that.

    The situations were similar in that the OP and I each had purchased product which had defects likely related to storage issues. Neither of us had the product or receipt of purchase or pictures of the problem or anything except our word.

  • aimee

    I have to say I’m confused. What is it that you think I did at the expo?

    I never went into detail as to what I did and your use the word “ambush” when you wrote:”Are you suggesting Tammy (and everyone with an issue with a pet food product) ambush a pet expo??” is puzzling.The word ambush implies I “attacked” the company.

    I don’t find the details of the exchange relevant which is why i didn’t include them but it seems you do. What was relevant was that the company stood behind their product even though I had no proof of purchase and that the cause of the defect may have been storage related. Similar scenario as the OP

    It was the last day of the expo and near closing. The hall was sparsely populated and I was walking past the company’s booth when the rep approached me while I was in the aisle and asked ” Are you familiar with our product?” and handed me a brochure.

    I said I was and that I had been using it but stopped because I repeatedly had gotten product which was freezer burned. She was very concerned and asked if I remembered which store I bought it from. I told her where I purchased it and she then asked if I would follow her back into the booth so she could get pen and paper to write it down. I followed her back to her booth. She then said that she was going to contact the rep for that store to ensure the staff at the store was properly trained in handling their company’s product. She than asked for my address as she said she would like to send me a coupon for free product so I could give her company another chance. I gave her my address.

    There was an exhibitor in each of the booths on either side of hers taking down their booths but other than that no one else was really around or within ear shot. About 2 weeks later I received 4 coupons in the mail each one for a bag of free product.

    There was no drama and no ambush unless you consider the rep approaching me as an ambush LOL

  • Pitlove

    They state on their site they are sourced in the USA. That is also what the rep who we deal with at work told us during the seminar.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Tammy- Sorry to hear you had this issue. I work for a small family owned pet store that carries both Orijen and Acana. We have not had any issues like that with our foods from Champion thankfully.

    The others explained it pretty well, but what I will tell you is that even if you had been able to get back to the store that you bought it from, they could not take it back without the bag and the food. With a lot of the foods we sell Orijen included, we actually have to return the food to the distributor (our distributor in this case is a company called Bark to Basics) with a detailed note as to why it was returned.

    I also agree with everyones opinions of the way Champion handled it. It might not be ideal, but without a lot # they don’t have much recourse. Tundra is expensive to make for them, so just giving money back on such an expensive food without knowing what happened would cost them a lot of money.

    In the future, I would keep all your bags until you’ve used up the food. Thats what I do. I do it incase of a recall, even though I feed Fromm which has never had one, but also for these reasons, in case I were to get a bad bag.

    Hopefully you aren’t too turned off to discontinue feeding Orijen. It’s a very good food and this is honestly the first I’ve heard of any problem like this, so maybe it was a shipping issue or a storage issue on the retailers end.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Haha Tammy! Mine would definitely eating PB&J too! 😉

    I would mention it to your local store’s reps. Couldn’t hurt!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi Tammy, didn’t mean at all to imply that you would :-) Was just asking aimee if she’d recommend everyone else do what she did at that expo, given the chance.

    Enjoy your holiday weekend, too!

  • Tammy

    Oh gosh, I would not make a scene if that is what you mean, lol! I did not think Aimee was suggesting I do what she did, just relaying her own experience. I wouldn’t mind speaking to one of their reps, one on one, at the feed store I normally shop at. The store keeps records of the products you purchase, it would be easy to show it is a food I routinely purchase. Not because I expect anything at this point, just to hear their perspective.

    I am fortunate that I can afford this costly mistake even if it does sting. My dogs are my world and when I say they often eat better than I do it is pretty much the truth, lol! I told my DH when it happened he was eating pb&j for the next 2 weeks!

    Thank you everyone for your opinions and experiences. I am very grateful for your input. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Yeah, at a “limited admission pet expo” with lots of potentially fairly influential people milling about within earshot of any problem that may be voiced about a product, the level of service you’d get would probably (have to) be pretty darn good regardless of whether or not you had proof. Not sure what that has to do with this situation? Are you suggesting Tammy (and everyone with an issue with a pet food product) ambush a pet expo??

  • aimee

    Hi Tammy,

    In the only experience I have ever had with a food, I had no proof of the problem. Repeated purchases of raw food had freezer burn. The first bag I just chalked it up to chance but then the next bag was the same. The store I purchased it from just said ‘Well no one else has complained”

    The company asked where I purchased it and then gave me 4 coupons, each for a free 6 lb bag of frozen product.

    I may have gotten such good service because I was at a limited admission pet expo.

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, the whole situation stinks. I would have been upset too. That is a lot of money down the drain. After understanding the situation better, I agree that maybe they could have done more for you since you would have had so far to drive to return it. Too bad there are so many people that do try to abuse return policies making it harder for honest people to be treated fairly. Good luck to you!

  • Tammy

    I didn’t even bother calling them after the fiasco with Orijen customer service, lol! Definitely an expensive lesson learned!

  • Tammy

    That would have been a great option if it was possible. If you read the other replies above they will explain why it was not. Thanks for your input though!

  • Tammy

    Nope, it happened upon opening the bag for the first time.