Orijen Dog Food Review 2024

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Written by Wag! Staff

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 04/13/2023, edited: 02/21/2024

Orijen Dog Food Review 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

Overview


Orijen is a dog food brand that taps into your pup's ancestral diet, using only fresh or raw meat in its recipes. All Orijen dog foods are freeze-dried coated to preserve their raw flavor. All fresh ingredients in Orijen's foods are refrigerated until they're ready for cooking, while raw ingredients are frozen when they're freshest.

Orijen believes providing a whole-prey, biologically appropriate diet consisting of only the best cuts of meat is key to your pet's nutrition. To mimic a dog's natural diet in the wild, most parts of the animal — including organs and cartilage — are used in the whole-prey diet.

At least 85% of Orijen dog foods are high-quality animal ingredients, with the first 5 ingredients always fresh or raw animal protein. The other 15% comprises premium fruits, vegetables, botanicals, vitamins, minerals, and natural preservatives. Orijen doesn't use artificial preservatives or genetically modified fruits or vegetables.

Orijen must be doing something right — Business Insider awarded the brand the Best Dog Food Overall in 2020 and 2021. But is Orijen dog food best for your dog? Let's take a look!



Orijen dog food product ranges and flavors

Orijen offers over 25 dog food products across five product ranges, including a line of dog treats. 

All Orijen dog foods are "complete and balanced" meeting the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profile guidelines for all life stages, maintenance (adults), or growth (puppies).

Let's a closer look at each of Orijen's dog food product ranges!


Orijen dry dog food for all life stages

Orijen dry dog food for all life stages

Orijen standard dry dog food

Orijen standard dry dog food is Orijen's flagship range. Each recipe consists of at least 85% high-quality animal protein, with 5 fresh or raw animal proteins as the first five ingredients. 

For example, Orijen's Original recipe lists chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, and chicken liver as the first 5 ingredients. Secondary ingredients include red lentils, which are rich in B vitamins and calcium, and whole chickpeas, which are a great source of iron. Orijen standard dry dog foods are grain-free and suitable for all life stages. 

Orijen standard dry dog foods contain 39% crude protein as dry matter on average, which is above average for dog food. 

Orijen standard dry dog food is available in five varieties:

  • Original
  • Small Breed
  • Regional Red
  • Six Fish
  • Tundra


Orijen Amazing Grains

Orijen Amazing Grains

Orojen Amazing Grains

Amazing Grains is Orijen's grain-inclusive range, featuring 90% premium animal ingredients. Each recipe contains a grain blend of oat groats, millet, chia seeds, and quinoa seeds as the primary ingredients. Oat groats are the eighth ingredient in each food and the most common grain. Oat groats provide nutritional value for dogs, as they're rich in vitamin B and linoleic acid. 

Orijen Amazing Grains recipes contain 38% protein as dry matter on average, which is above average for dog food.  

Orijen Amazing Grain dry dog food is available in three varieties:

  • Original
  • Six Fish
  • Regional Red


Orijen puppy foods

Orijen puppy foods

Orijen puppy food

Orijen’s puppy recipes are specially formulated with high fat and protein levels to support growth. Both Puppy and Puppy Large contain 85% poultry and fish ingredients, as they're excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. 

Orijen includes high fish and fish oil quantities in its puppy recipes. Fish and fish oils are rich in DHA and EPA fatty acids and vitamin A, which promote immune health, skin health, and brain development. Grain-free and grain-inclusive Orijen puppy recipes are available. 

Orijen puppy foods contain 40% protein as dry matter on average, which is above average for dog food. 

Orijen offers four dry foods and one wet food for puppies (respectively):

  • Puppy dry food
  • Puppy Large dry food
  • Amazing Grain Puppy dry food
  • Amazing Grain Puppy Large dry food
  • Puppy Poultry & Fish Pate Recipe wet food

(Fun fact: We rated Orijen's Amazing Grains range as one of the best overall puppy foods.)


Orijen wet food

Orijen wet food

Orijen wet food

Wet foods are the newest addition to Orijen’s product range. These canned foods contain at least 95% premium animal ingredients. Orijen’s wet foods have lots of texture, with visible shreds of high-quality meat and chunks of veggies. The water used for processing also retains a liquid consistency instead of turning to jelly like some low-quality canned foods. 

Orijen wet foods include a number of nutritionally beneficial secondary ingredients. Carrots are high in fiber and provide vitamin A, while broccoli is rich in vitamin K and vitamin C.

Orijen wet foods contain 61% protein as dry matter on average, which is high for dog food. 

Orijen wet food is available in five varieties:

  • Regional Red Stew with Shredded Beef & Lamb
  • Tundra Stew Recipe with Shredded Beef, Duck & Lamb
  • Beef Recipe Stew with Shredded Beef & Eggs
  • Chicken Recipe Stew with Shredded Chicken & Eggs
  • Original Stew Recipe with Chicken, Turkey & Eggs


Orijen freeze-dried food medallions

Orijen freeze-dried food medallions

Orijen Freeze-Dried Food Medallions

Freeze-drying preserves the nutrient content of raw ingredients and extends the shelf life of dog foods. You'll need to crumble up the medallions into your dog's bowl, then add warm water and stir before serving. Freeze-drying dog food means it's shelf-stable while preserving high nutrient levels. 

While the top five ingredients are quality cuts of meat, Orijen Freeze-Dried Food Medallions can't be considered limited ingredient and contain some filler ingredients, like pea fiber. 

Orijen Freeze-Dried Food Medallions contain 39% protein as dry matter on average, which is above average for dog food. 

Orijen Freeze-Dried Food Medallions are available in three varieties:

  • Original
  • Regional Red
  • Tundra


Orijen Freeze-Dried Epic Bites

Orijen Freeze-Dried Epic Bites contain almost identical ingredients to its Freeze-Dried Food Medallions. The main difference is Orijen Freeze-Dried Epic Bites come in bite-sized morsels, making them great as a topper or for pint-sized pups. As with the Freeze-Dried Medallions, you need to add warm water before serving. 

Orijen Freeze-Dried Epic Bites contain the same protein levels as Orijen Freeze-Dried Food Medallions.

Orijen Freeze-Dried Epic Bites are available in three varieties:

  • Original
  • Regional 
  • Tundra


Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Treats are limited-ingredient dog treats that contain 99% animal ingredients. They're great for dogs with food allergies, and with only five calories per treat, they're suitable as high-value training rewards. 

Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Treats contain 40% protein as dry matter on average, which is high for a dog treat product. 

Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Treats are available in six varieties:

  • Original 
  • Regional
  • Tundra
  • Beef
  • Duck
  • Lamb


Other Orijen dog food recipes

Other Orijen dog food recipes

Other Orijen dog food recipes

Orijen produces 2 specialty dog foods for weight management and senior dogs:

  • Fit & Trim dry food for adults: With 42% minimum crude protein, this food is perfect for dogs who require a high-protein diet. This food is also lower in fat compared to Orijen’s other dry foods.

  • Senior dry food: Orijen Senior contains fewer calories, less crude fat, and more crude fiber than Orijen’s dry foods for all life stages.



Why Wag! likes Orijen

Here are a few reasons why Wag! gives Orijen dog food a flawless five out of five paws up!

High-quality protein sources

Orijen dog foods contain a minimum of 85% premium animal ingredients. The first 5 ingredients in all Orijen’s recipes are fresh or raw animal protein. Fresh ingredients are never frozen, and raw ingredients are frozen at the height of freshness.

Common ingredients like whole mackerel, chicken liver, and turkey are high-quality and beneficial to a dog's health. Orijen's dog foods also contain no meat meal.

Fresh produce

Fresh, high-quality fruits, vegetables, and botanicals make up 5% to 15% of the ingredients in most of Orijen's foods. Chicory root is a popular ingredient in high-quality dog foods as it contains inulin, a source of soluble dietary fiber. Inulin is also a prebiotic that helps the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Other ingredients in Orijen's foods, like whole apples, whole pumpkins, and turmeric, are nutritionally valuable to pups.

Suitable for all life stages

According to the AAFCO, all Orijen's dog foods (except for specially formulated varieties for puppies and seniors) are suitable for all life stages. Protein, rather than carbohydrates, is the primary energy source in Orijen's foods. This is especially beneficial for dogs on a weight management diet since calories from excess amounts of carbs are stored as body fat.

Eco-friendly ingredients and transparency

Orijen is transparent about its dog food production and sources its ingredients from trusted sources. All dry dog food sold in Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia are cooked at Orijen's kitchens in Auburn, Kentucky. Champion Petfoods also has kitchens in Morinville, Alberta, Canada that make recipes sold in Canada, Europe, and other parts of Asia.

Orijen's protein sources come from cage-free chickens, ranch-raised cows, and wild-caught or responsibly farmed fish. The company is also transparent about where ingredients are sourced — for example, the lamb in Orijen's recipes comes from New Zealand.




Concerns & considerations

Here are some concerns and considerations to think about before purchasing Orijen dog food.

Not the most affordable choice

Premium ingredients and human-grade protein sources mean higher prices. At the time of writing, a 4.5-pound bag of Orijen Original available through Chewy, one of Orijen's leading retailers, costs $33.29, which works out to $7.40 per pound. This pricing makes Orijen one of the most expensive dog food brands on the market.

Use of lentil fiber

One of the only ingredients in some of Orijen's recipes that could be considered low quality is lentil fiber. Lentil fiber is a by-product of farming and has no nutritional value to dogs besides being a fiber source. There's no lentil fiber in Orijen's Amazing Grain recipes.

Concerns about grain-free recipes

Most of Orijen's recipes are grain-free. There are concerns among scientists and veterinarians that grain-free dog foods can be harmful to dogs. In 2018, the FDA opened an investigation into reports of a connection between dogs on grain-free diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

The study is looking at the relationship between dog foods containing high levels of potatoes, legumes, and pulses and DCM. The FDA investigation is ongoing, with no new meaningful data to share as of December 2022.




What pet parents say about Orijen dog food

"This stuff is great. I have been feeding my dogs raw for two years, but I am getting tired of the hassle that I tails raw feeding. I found Origen after the endless search for a quality kibble to change them to. Origen fit the bill. It has everything in it that feeding raw delivers. This is quality food and my dogs love it too."

"My Greyhound is not a big eater and a bit picky so when I gave him his first taste of Orijen I was surprised that he ate the whole bowl! That is a first for dry food. I like the ingredients list with a variety of proteins."

"This dry food is full of protein (and not pea protein!) from animals and other nutrients. [It] is worth paying a little extra and my dogs love it!"

Read more reviews on Chewy.




Orijen brand history

Orijen is manufactured by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian pet food company founded in 1985 by Reinhard MĂĽhlenfeld, philanthropist and pet lover. Outside of his work with Champion Petfoods, MĂĽhlenfeld is a patron of arts and education who supports local pet rescue programs throughout Alberta.

Champion Petfoods began as a small operation, with just a dozen employees working with local farmers and businesses to produce food using limited equipment in a small factory. Today, Champion Petfoods has over 500 employees and sells products in 90 countries. To sell its foods internally, Champion Petfoods must meet the pet food quality control standards of that country. The approval process can be long, particularly in European countries where pet food regulations are stricter.

Champion Petfoods also manufactures Acana pet food. The company partners with the veterinary college at the University of Guelph, as well as Best Friends Animal Society.

In February 2023, Mars Petcare, Inc. acquired Champion Petfoods, which is still operating independently as a Mars Petcare business unit. Mars Petcare, Inc. owns several pet food brands, including Pedigree and Royal Canin.




Orijen recall history

At the time of writing, there are no recorded recalls of Orijen dog food.



All product images sourced from Chewy. Copyright Mars Petcare US, Inc.



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