Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Orijen Freeze-Dried product line includes three freeze-dried raw dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Orijen Freeze-Dried Tundra
- Orijen Freeze-Dried Adult Dog
- Orijen Freeze-Dried Regional Red
Orijen Freeze-Dried Adult Dog was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Orijen Freeze Dried Adult Dog
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken (ground with bone), turkey (ground with bone), whole herring, chicken liver, chicken heart, whole eggs, spinach greens, pea fiber, turkey liver, turkey heart, whole flounder, ground sunflower seeds, pumpkin, butternut squash, imperator carrots, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, red delicious apples, bartlett pears, red heart plums, tilton apricots, brown kelp, mixed tocopherols, chicory root, dandelion root, summer savory, peppermint leaf, ginger root, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.2%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||38%||37%||18%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||62%||13%|
The first two ingredients include chicken and turkey with ground bone. Chicken and turkey are considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken (or turkey)”.1
Both chicken and turkey are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life. The ground bone is an excellent source of natural calcium.
The third ingredient is 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 fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth 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.
The sixth ingredient includes whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The seventh ingredient is spinach. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 91.
The eighth ingredient is 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.
The ninth ingredient is turkey liver, another organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, 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.
And lastly, this food 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 Freeze-Dried Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Orijen Freeze-Dried looks like an above-average raw 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 36%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 18% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 95%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw product dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a raw dog food containing a notable amount of meat.
Orijen Freeze-Dried is a meat-based raw dog food using a notable amount of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
However, with 62% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 26% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.
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
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.
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
07/09/2016 Last Update