Orijen Dog Food | USA (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

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

The Orijen product line includes seven dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Orijen Puppy [A]
  • Orijen Senior [M]
  • Orijen Tundra [A]
  • Orijen Original [A]
  • Orijen Six Fish [A]
  • Orijen Puppy Large [A]
  • Orijen Regional Red [A]

Orijen Original was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Orijen Original

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 28%

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail flounder, whole eggs, whole atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver, whole green peas, whole navy beans, red lentils, chicken necks, chicken kidney, pinto beans, chickpeas, green lentils, alfalfa, chicken fat, natural chicken flavor, herring oil, ground chicken bone, chicken cartilage, turkey cartilage, dried kelp, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, apples, pears, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis38%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%21%28%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%41%23%
Protein = 36% | Fat = 41% | Carbs = 23%

The first two items in this dog food are chicken and turkey. Although quality items, raw poultry 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, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The third ingredient is flounder, a type of marine fish describing several distantly related species.

The fourth ingredient includes whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The fifth ingredient is mackerel, another quality, raw item inclusive of water. Mackerel is an oily salt-water fish naturally high in protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fat needed by every dog to sustain life.

The sixth and seventh ingredients are chicken liver and turkey liver. These are organ meats sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The eighth and ninth ingredients are chicken heart and turkey heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

Although quality items, raw organs such as liver and heart contain 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, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

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 peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

Next, we find navy and pinto beans, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

In addition, this recipe contains both red and green lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas, beans and lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, we note the use of 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, this recipe contains alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

We also note the inclusion of chicory root. Chicory 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.

And lastly, we find only one added mineral detailed on the ingredients list. We must assume many of these essential nutrients are provided by the food ingredients in the recipe.

Orijen Dog Food (USA)
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Orijen (USA) 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 43%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 28%.

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 various legumes and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing an abundance of meat.

Bottom line?

Orijen (USA) is a grain-free meat-based dry dog food using an abundance of named meats and fish 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.

Orijen Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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 entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

Notes and Updates

07/12/2016 Last Update

  • Elizabeth

    I switched my dachshund to Orijen about two weeks ago. Over the past couple of days, she has been very different. Almost as if she was in a fog, her whole body feels very stiff, she seems to calculate every move she makes. Her whole personality has changed it seems. Has any one experienced this when switching foods?

  • Dj

    Also have two older dogs who I cycle through Orijen and Acana. Just cycled back to Orijen and both have diarrhea. This latest bag also smells much worse than I recall before. Looks like it may be rancid or something.

  • Renee Barone

    I understand, I meet with a vet that seems to be a great vet who also feeds Purina. I just know from pasted pets that I want to try to feed my pets better food.

  • Renee Barone

    I’m sorry to hear that. I’m definitely getting her on a lower protein food.

  • Renee Barone

    Thank you, that was one company I was concerning to use.

  • Renee Barone

    Thank you for all the info. I’m going have to search the city’s 2 hrs either directions to find the foods you mentioned. I live in a area that only has a petco. I really do appreciate all the knowledge you shared with me. It’s time for a road trip. LoL

  • Henry Jackson

    me too

  • Jill K Avery

    Hi, I am so sorry to hear. Where do you live bc I buy my raw food from a local holistic pet store. I can ask them who they trust though if you are not in Palm Beach County/Broward County area.

  • Henry Jackson

    same here .. what raw do you use ?

  • Henry Jackson

    why did they not put out of notice they were doing this so we could slowly introduce our dogs and not make them sick.. they don’t care about anything except money

  • Henry Jackson

    people please realize that too high protein will cause dogs to sometimes males pace cant go pee or pee a lot or be uncomfortable when peeing …….. this happened years ago and spent tons of money on them with tests it was too high protein in evo. 4 days after I stopped they were back to there selfs..

  • Henry Jackson

    me to as of today

  • Henry Jackson

    well something has changed which made me look up reviews today. I am very smart about slowly introducing they have been on orijen for years but recently started having the runs, nausea , urine problems.. I am taking them off this food. I had such high hopes.. this happened many years ago with EVO . I took my dog to the vet .. trouble peeing man I spent a lot of money they found zero nothing .. I thought you know that food is new.. sure enough took him off the whole problem stopped.. damn now what am I going to do..

  • Henry Jackson

    ear dry relief from vets best works wonders keeps ears dry so ear infections don’t get bad .. I am in the same boat as you my dogs are also old. they all started having problems last 5 months.. eating grass throwing up sick ,the runs.. I think from high protein they have developed kidney problems . ugh what chicken rice and broth? then multivitamin . I am at a loss

  • Henry Jackson

    I just started checking after using ojijen for years my 6 dogs are not well and many the diarrhea this is an expensive food to be having these problems.. I have cancer or at this point I would make it myself ..

  • Troy Johnson

    USA orijen is garbage.My dog will not even touch it.Another great company going bad because of money greed.They just couldn’t just stay with there roots.

  • Bohyeon An

    Try Open farms or Ziwi Peak venison or the honest kitchen grain free recipe. I have Corgi, feed her all different one by rotation or mixing together, she doesn’t have any problem. But trying to give new one her slowly & mixing little by little.

  • Bohyeon An

    What about the color ? Is that darker than old one ? I just got back to orijen original. It wasn’t that uch darker than before. Did I got just wrong bag ?

  • Bohyeon An

    My friend has English Bulldog. She had problems nodding head up and down after changed food which has high protein ; Brand- Blue buffalo, from same brand. So my friend changed to Canidae chicken, problems solved. No diarrhea, no more nodding head. Hope it helps. By the way, when my friend’s dog had nodding problem, we went to vet. Vet said same thing, possibly high protein caused.

  • Bohyeon An

    I came back to Orijen original today from Canidae, Open farms. Now I’m feeding my Corgi Ziwi peak venison, Orijen original and Honest kitchen grain free turkey/chicken by rotation or mixing together for her picky taste. Lucky she doesn’t have any problem so far. She likes new formula than old one. However, the color of kibble is very darker than old formula. I called to the local pet shop where I purchased it. I was worrying that I got expired one. She said it may possible for changed the formular of food. Is that true ? Will attached pictures. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c4f1f1133b25315ceb4f70a47488843a7ffebbf53cbe2b2ff79abd4d8260404b.jpg http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d17e41f74d8cb5af7c0bb977c8b4f91d7d79fd5c352a1254a9383acfde27660c.jpg

  • Edgar Sianez

    Thank you i will take a look at it right now!

  • Pitlove

    Hi Edgar-

    A couple I follow on youtube that has 3 Huskies, uses Dr.Tims. Excellent food and the Kinesis formula comes in 44lb bags.

  • Edgar Sianez

    I would like know what would be a food to feed my husky who he is a year and four months and i still dont know what type of food to buy him

  • Renee Barone

    Can I ask what kind of fur baby’s you have? Do you have any issues with anal glands? Those comments worried me. I was all set to switch then read that. Does anyone like the solid gold? I thought it was a good dogfood maybe I’m mistaken. It’s just that the protein is so high that it worried me.

  • Renee Barone

    This is so confusing. You have to be a scientist to figure it out! I’m glad you guys know this stuff I was clueless. I would make her food if I knew what was a balanced diet for her. At least I’d know where the food was coming from and what it is.

  • Renee Barone

    Thanks Frank, I was reading the comments and I read someone said about them having to do anal glands, I’ve been lucky so far in not having any issues with that. Did you see those comments? I was hoping any dog food I chose it wouldn’t have to much ( it was beans I think) of those ingredients in them. When you supplement with raw do you purchase ready-made raw food or just do it yourself ? I was going to just buy chicken and grind it up myself and add it. I just haven’t seemed to find the time. It’s just easier to purchase. After finding another website someone posted I may just start doing it myself. It’s scary to think what these dogfood companies put in there mixes! Thanks again

  • Yes I was paying attention to the sugar content, and the fact that millet is a safe grain option for diabetics, those two would indicate to me that it’s a safe ingredient to use as a binder. Though I would still rotate diets anyway just to ensure millet isn’t a constant everyday ingredient.

  • aimee

    Thanks for clarifying. The Glycemic load table I looked at listed millet boiled at 26, cooked and cooled potato as 12 with some entries higher and some lower. (Potato GL varied a lot depending on variety and method of cooking and serving), and peas much lower at 4.

    In regards to sugar content millet is the lowest and pea the highest.

    As I said I really don’t know how this relates to a complete kibble product where it is mixed with a lot of other ingredient sources.

  • I look at the glycemic load, not the the GI for a more accurate picture, though I should have said it is lower in natural sugar than glycemic value (I keep conflating the two.) Millet has a GL of 17, lower than potatoes but higher than peas. Peas and lentils have the lowest count while potatoes have the highest, so millet seems to fall in between.

  • aimee

    Hi Frank Swift,
    Honestly, I don’t know the relevance of GI of any one ingredient in a processed food but I’ve always thought of millet as a having a higher glycemic index that peas or potato(cold potato as it would be in kibble is almost in the low GI range) You posted ” They use millet as a binder, which even though is a type of grain, has a lower glycemic value than peas and potatoes”

    I find millet commonly reported as 71 ( high GI) or when a porridge 107, Peas in the 40’s ( low GI) and cold potato in the range 55-56( borderline between low and medium).

  • I understand your frustration, been doing a ton of research as well and would have settled on Orijen/Acana had they not gone to crap with their USA product line.

    Instead I’ll be trying Nature’s Logic as a kibble base with 50% raw mixed in. Nature’s Logic has no corn, wheat, rice, soy, tapioca, or potato. They use millet as a binder, which even though is a type of grain, has a lower glycemic value than peas and potatoes (which is the important thing). It seems to be the best alternative if you’re looking for a formula that doesn’t use lentils or potatoes, and contains no synthetic vitamins.

    There are complaints that Nature’s Logic is either incomplete as a complete and balanced diet or the company is not totally honest in their nutrient analysis, but this is the best dry food option I found that doesn’t use peas, potatoes and synthetic vitamins, and may have a total glycemic value lower than meat based kibble that uses lentils or potatoes as binders. Since I’m feeding partial raw anyway, I think any deficiency in nutrients will be covered by topping half the kibble with a good raw brand anyway.

    Hope this helps!

  • Deborah Nelson

    My 4 goldens have been on orijens for years and have been on the Ky formula since they opened. 2 of them have been sick the past 2 months diahhrea night and day. I just realized the 2 sick dogs are on the senior and the other 2 on adult. I think there is a serious problem going on with the senior. I gave all 4 the adult last night and no diarrhea. Just the last 2 bags of senior were a problem. I am very upset because vets never want to say it is the food. I am going back to homemade. Too many recalls and crap in manufactured dog food. I am going to find out how to have the food analysed.

  • Renee Barone

    I was all set to try Acana or Orijen till I read the comments. I’m tired or researching dog food. I only want the best like everyone else. I have a 14 month golden retriever she’s 62 lbs. I had her to two vets that day her weight is very good. I’ve have her on Solid gold barking at the moon and Natures variety instinct raw chicken. I was all set to do a raw diet from what I read and changed my mind. I only give her about 1/4-1/2 cup of raw each meal. The Breader was giving kibble and raw where I got her. She is getting over a yeast ear infection in both ears. So after some research an online vet said to stay away from starches. I made her homemade treats with a lot of sweet potatoes. I’m thinking it’s my fault for the ear infection. So I’m looking for food with no rice, very limited or no starches. I’m loosing my mind researching. She is not as active as she was as a pup so the 40% protein she is on is to much. Someone also had dogs and seem to think the high protein dog food might have caused some issues. I only want to do my best. Can anyone help me decide? Thank you

  • adopt_a_dog

    Sorry to inform you but anything Purina is crap

  • Janice L Dwyer-Greenberg

    You’re welcome ! 🙂

  • Janice L Dwyer-Greenberg

    Hi Zoey, I order Horizon Legacy from Petflow.com. I get the Puppy formula as it has more protein. I order the Timberwolf Legends from Timerwolf Organics website. I get their. Grainfree formula.

  • Janice L Dwyer-Greenberg

    Excuse the typo. It’s supposed to say grainfree.

  • Janice L Dwyer-Greenberg

    This is for Zoey: I buy Horizon Legacy from Pet Flow.com. I get the Puppy formula as it has more protein than the adult formula. A 25lb bag is $70 dollars with free shipping. I buy Timerwolf Legends from Timerwolf Organics’ website . I get the Grainger formulas.

  • zoey zhu

    Btw, where can I get those brands dog food?

  • zoey zhu

    Thanks so much! It’s very helpful!

  • dulcetpine

    My lab (who literally has eaten just about everything including a giant sea shell) stopped eating the original formula. I’m leaning towards moving away from Orijen.

  • Reggie A.

    I’ve been feeding my fur babies Orijen for years. After the change from the Canadian formula to the US formula, we transitioned between the formulas to our pets slowly, about 2 weeks. No complaints, no problems, no issues. Happy gals munching away. I have to admit, the odor of the new formula is a bit overbearing though lol. I have a feeling some of the complaints are of parents not transitioning correctly. New/ different ingredients, to me mean new food, good thing we still had some of the old stuff. the only CONS other than the odor, is that the price has changed too. Still a loyal believer in Orijen…

  • Thena Sky

    Same. Three dogs on Acana for years and now all are sick. Took me too long to realize it’s the food. My poor babies…