Orijen has one of the best reputations in the dog food industry. Champion Pet Foods manufactures both the Orijen and Acana brands of premium dog food at their DogStar facility in Kentucky. This plant exclusively produces these two lines of food. According to the manufacturer, the facility meets the same requirements placed on human food processing plants.
Champion Pet Foods has not been subject to any recalls, but they have won awards such as Manufacturer of the Year. Moreover, their brand Orijen has won several awards, including Pet Food of the Year from the Glycemic Research Institute of Washington, D.C.
Orijen dog food reviews are overwhelmingly positive from pet parents everywhere. Both Orijen and Acana brands are produced using fresh regional ingredients in formulas that are deemed Biologically Appropriate, a term trademarked by Champion Pet Foods. This means that they use ratios mirroring the natural diets of canines and felines. True to form, Orijen dog food contains over 90% meat, cartilage, and organs from quality animal sources. This is in adherence to their carnivorous nature that requires a diet rich in animal protein with everything that they would naturally consume from their prey. This is also where Orijen derives their other trademarked term ‘Wholeprey’ to describe the use of multiple edible animal parts in every recipe.
The Break-Down In Each Bowl
Orijen’s Wholeprey food consists of everything a dog’s body needs from natural sources. Meat provides protein along with vitamins A, B, D, and K, plus minerals and compounds like folic acid, copper, chromium, iron, and magnesium. The organ tissue that they use comes mostly from liver, intestines, kidney, and heart. These are rich in B vitamins, healthy fats and amino acids as well as lots of minerals like phosphorus, iron, iodine, and copper. Cartilage and bone offer plenty of calcium and other minerals, as well as the all-important glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support.
The most important thing about feeding dogs in this way is that all of these critical nutrients are more efficiently absorbed when consumed in their natural state. Even the best manmade supplements cannot replace vitamins and minerals from the source. Orijen uses either freeze-dried or raw WholePrey ingredients that either infused with their dry kibble or packaged as they are in the case of their exclusively freeze-dried varieties. This method of food preservation is one of the best at preserving nutrient value.
As noted, this also eliminates the need to supplement the food with artificial or synthetic alternatives. You will find so many dog food labels with a long list of supplemental vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds that your dog would be getting if he were eating a natural diet.
Orijen makes a point to fill each formula with what your dog needs rather than anything it doesn’t. Sadly, so many popular dog foods are full of not just artificial or chemical fillers, but also unhealthy corn, wheat, soy or heavy carbohydrates. It is really no wonder why obesity, diabetes, and food allergies are on the rise, despite the best efforts of owners everywhere. Most dog foods are simply full of unhealthy ingredients.
No Carbs For Canines
There is a good reason that the Glycemic Institute would award the Orijen brand. They pay close attention to minimizing these harmful carbohydrates, which eliminates the health risks associated with eating things that their systems were never designed to process.
Orijen uses only low-glycemic carbohydrates such as chickpeas, pumpkin, lentils, and squash. These legumes and vegetables are not only easy to digest, but they are packed with fiber and vitamins that your dog needs.
You will also find the use of unique, locally sourced botanicals in Orijen recipes. Herbs and flowers such as juniper berries, peppermint leaf, rosehip, dandelion root, elderflower and sarsaparilla root are commonly found on Orijen labels.
These homeopathic botanicals are used for their individual holistic benefit in place of artificial compounds, just another way in which Orijen separates itself as one of the most authentically natural dog foods on the market.
A Sampling Of Great Labels
Here are just a few examples of Orijen’s offering. We can highly recommend all of their varieties, but to give you an idea of what you will find in their recipes we’ve selected some of their most popular products.
One of the most basic of the Orijen varieties is their original adult dry dog food. It features one of the most impressive labels on any bag of kibble. Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail flounder, eggs, mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver and dehydrated turkey liver are the first ingredients. It is hard to find another dry dog food with that many identifiable protein sources, of such high quality, at the top of the ingredient list. Moderate carbohydrates and plenty of fiber come from peas, navy beans, and lentils, while a long list of produce including kale, spinach, squash, pumpkin, and apples provide antioxidants. The recipe includes probiotics and Orijen’s signature WholePrey blend of organs and cartilage as well as their unique blend of herbs and botanicals.
Orijen’s Regional line uses local flavors and their Regional Red recipe is filled with all the red meat your dog craves. Again, the label features meat sources as the top ten ingredients. These include beef, wild boar, goat, lamb, and mutton, as well as mackerel for essential omega fatty acids. Green and yellow peas, red lentils and pinto beans have healthy carbohydrates and fiber, while a great mix of fruits, vegetables, and botanicals offer a solid array of vitamins and antioxidants. Probiotics provide additional digestive support to a formula that is already designed to go down very easily.
Puppies need a calorie dense diet rich in protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to meet their growing needs. Orijen’s puppy formula has everything a growing dog needs and the infusion of freeze-dried chicken and turkey makes it even more palatable for even fussy eaters. Deboned chicken, turkey, yellowtail flounder, eggs, mackerel and more provide high levels of protein and omega fatty acids. Chicken fat and herring oil offer even more of the healthy fats needed during this critical life stage. Orijen’s puppy recipe also has their great blend of chickpeas, navy beans, peas and lentils along with lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. As with all of their formulas, it features WholePrey ingredients, probiotics, and homeopathic botanicals.
Orijen’s freeze-dried formulas undergo no cooking process, so nutrients are even better preserved in their natural state. The original recipe contains chicken and turkey ground with bone as the first ingredients, followed by herring, chicken heart, chicken liver and eggs, providing optimally high protein levels. Spinach, cranberries, squash, apricots, blackberries, and blueberries are among the mix of vitamin-packed produce. Flounder adds, even more, omega fatty acids, as well as ground sunflower seeds. Botanicals like peppermint leaf, ginger root, and dandelion root are also added. Orijen’s freeze-dried formula is full of simple, quality ingredients that are perfectly preserved for nutritional content.
As with their dry food line, Orijen makes regionally inspired varieties of their freeze-dried food. The Tundra recipe has venison, duck, bison, elk and quail, all ground with bone, making for some truly unique and high-quality protein sources. Trout and sunflower seeds proved omega fatty acids and the same impressive mix of fruits and vegetables gives it an antioxidant boost. Again, the inclusion of ingredients like bison tripe, elk liver, and duck heart give these recipes the vitamins, minerals, and compounds that every canine need without having to supplement. Orijen’s freeze-dried Tundra recipe is a great example of how mirroring what a wolf would eat in nature creates the most balanced food any dog could every need.
The dog food industry is flooded with expensive marketing and bold claims. Some of the biggest players on the market are also some of the worst offenders when it comes to the quality of their food.
Brands like Orijen are the select few that go above and beyond to provide dogs with a food comprised of ingredients that meet the same standards as those of pet parents. As much as many of us would love to be able to cater specifically to our beloved dogs’ nutritional needs with raw meats, fresh produce and the perfect blend of oils and herbs, it is completely unfeasible for most of us in terms of both money and time.
We can firmly believe that Orijen loves dogs as much as we do. They have taken the time and care to create a line of foods that have an almost cult following among dog lovers. Their transparency about where they source their ingredients, their processing methods and their quality guarantees create a level of trust with consumers that is really unmatched by most other brands. You can sense that trust in most every Orijen dog food review you find.
As we’ve mentioned before, the highest quality dog foods are, of course, some of the most expensive. This is for good reason and when you see what goes into a top-notch food you can imagine the costs associated with creating it. The cost of feeding your dog a low-grade food is far worse. Not only does it cause poor health now, but over time it puts them at a far greater risk for serious health conditions and disease.
The wellbeing of your family is truly priceless and choosing the right food is one of the most critical things you can do for their overall health. If you are looking for a food that you can feel confident about giving your dog, Orijen is definitely an excellent choice.