Orijen Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Orijen Dog Food 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, atlantic 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, whole dehydrated egg, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, whole green peas, chicken necks, chicken kidney, whole green lentils, whole navy beans, whole chickpeas, lentil fiber, chicken fat, natural chicken flavor, pollock oil, ground chicken bone, chicken cartilage, turkey cartilage, mixed tocopherols (preservative), whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, freeze-dried chicken liver, dried kelp, zinc proteinate, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, 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 denotes controversial item

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 inclusion. 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 next 4 items include a series of nutrient-rich organ meats

  • Chicken liver
  • Turkey liver
  • Chicken heart
  • Turkey heart

These are organ meats sourced from a named animal and thus considered beneficial components.

Although quality items, raw organs 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 legume:

  • Red lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Green peas
  • Green lentils
  • Navy 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 includes dehydrated chicken, turkey and mackerel. Dehydrated meat is considered a meat concentrate and contains more than four times as much protein as fresh poultry and fish.

Plus (unlike meat meals) dehydrated meat is never exposed to high temperatures during processing, so it preserves more of the meat’s natural nutrients.

In addition, 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.

Next, 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 Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Orijen dog food 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 is a dry dog food using an abundance of named species as its main source 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.

Related Topics

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

12/01/2018 Last Update