This Review Has Been Merged with
Orijen Dog Food (Dry)
Orijen Senior dog food receives the Advisor’s highest tier rating of 5 stars.
Orijen Senior dog food is designed to be “biologically appropriate for senior dogs of all breeds”.1
Although the food has been optimized for older dogs, Orijen Senior claims to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Boneless chicken, chicken meal, chicken liver, whole herring, turkey meal, boneless turkey, turkey liver, whole eggs, boneless walleye, whole salmon, chicken heart, chicken cartilage, herring meal, salmon meal, pea fibre, chicken liver oil, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, sun-cured alfalfa, yams, chickpeas, pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach greens, carrots, red delicious apples, bartlett pears, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, 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) = 8.9%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||42%||17%||33%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||35%||29%|
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 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 fourth ingredient turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is herring meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.
The seventh ingredient is 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 pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no nutritional value to a dog.
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, 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.
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, 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.
Orijen Senior Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Orijen Senior looks to be an above-average dry dog food.
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.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 40%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to the average dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Orijen Senior Dog Food is a grain-free kibble using a significant amount of fish and poultry meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Those looking for a quality adult kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Orijen Adult dog food.
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.
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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.
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Other spellings: Origen, Orijin
Notes and Updates
01/25/2010 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