This Review Has Been Merged with
Orijen Dog Food (Dry)
Orijen Puppy food receives the Advisor’s highest rating of 5 stars.
The Orijen Puppy product line includes two dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The design adheres to the company’s “biologically appropriate” high protein concept.1
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review:
- Orijen Puppy (for all breeds)
- Orijen Puppy Large Breed
Orijen Puppy Large Breed was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Orijen Puppy Large
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, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, chicken liver oil, 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, 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) = 6.7%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||42%||18%||32%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||37%||27%|
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 item is salmon. Salmon is a fatty 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 two ingredients are turkey meal and herring meal, both considered protein-rich meat concentrates
The sixth ingredient is russet potato. Sometimes referred to as an Idaho potato, this is the most common type of potato grown in the United States.
Assuming they’re cooked, potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, they’re of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient lists sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The eighth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient lists turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.3
The tenth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, the manufacturer 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.
Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Next, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
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 Puppy Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Orijen Puppy appears to be an above-average kibble.
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 43% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 29% 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 effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Orijen Puppy food is a grain-free kibble using a notable amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
If Orijen Puppy is within your budget, go ahead. Grab a bag. And take it home for your favorite baby dog. For this is one puppy food that’s truly worth the price.
Those looking for a similarly designed adult kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Orijen Adult dog food.
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
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Other spellings: Origen, Orijin
Notes and Updates
01/24/2010 Original review
08/28/2010 Review updated
11/17/2010 New formula
08/17/2012 Review updated
02/17/2013 Review updated
02/17/2013 Last Update