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 8 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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

Use links below to compare price and package sizes at Amazon.

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

Orijen Original (USA)

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, lentil fiber, 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 up to 73% 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. Flounder is another quality, raw item inclusive of moisture.

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 up to 73% 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 four notable exceptions

First, it’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:

  • Peas
  • Navy beans
  • Lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Next, this recipe contains lentil fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from lentils. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

In addition, we 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 44% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 29% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

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, 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 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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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

12/01/2017 Last Update