If you’re looking for the most biologically appropriate dog food there’s only one name you can really put your trust on. Orijen pet food products have always been known to use only the best quality ingredients that are raised and caught right from their natural environments. The focus of the brand is in giving pets that kind of diet that speaks of their evolutionary adaptation by providing a rich diversity of high-quality animal proteins and fresh meat. A lot of Orijen dog food reviews talk highly of the brand.
And while they may not have a very aggressive marketing like the leading brands, they’re one of the most sought-after by pet parents who know better.
Orijen is classified as a premium brand of pet food that was founded in 1985. The brand is under Champion Pet Foods with headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and with a strong presence in the US market with their facility in Kentucky.
Orijen Pet Food boasts of unique canine and feline nutrition that utilizes fresh local ingredients and formulated in their state-of-the-art custom-built kitchens, earning them international recognition for innovation.
Some of the most recent awards include Eco Excellence Award from Natural Child World, Global Markets Award from Global Food Safety Initiative, Award for Dogstar Kitchens from the Design-Build Institute of America, Outstanding Excellence in Canine Pet Food from the Glycemic Research Institute, and many more. It was named the Best Pet Food of the Decade from 2000 to 2009 by the Rate It All Consumer Reviews, Best Dog Food Brand by Reviews, and the Pet Food of the Year (2009-2012) by the GRI.
Why Choose this Brand?
The brand is best known for 3 unique things that are quite rare in other pet food brands, which should also make you want to buy for your pet.
First, their formulas are considered biologically appropriate, taking into consideration the unique dietary requirements of canines and felines throughout the ages. Every dog diet that comes out of their kitchens mirrors the freshness, amount, and variety of premium quality meats that canines have been shown to have evolved to eat. One can say that they love their pet food to be meat-based, not plant-based. As such, if you’re the type of pet parent who strongly believes that your dog needs more meat than plants, then an Orijen dog food is for your pet.
Second, the brand always uses regional ingredients, caught or grown fresh from Mother Nature’s fields themselves. From the famed ranches of the Appalachian to the rolling grasslands and fertile farmlands of Kentucky, Orijen utilizes only ingredients that are farmed, fished, or ranched by folks that the company knows and trusts to use responsible methods. Fresh meats are delivered right to Orijen kitchens within 3 days after being federally inspected at the farms. Within 2 days these same high quality meats are already packed into your favorite Orijen dog food. It’s the freshness and quality of ingredients packed into each formulation that makes the brand such a worthy diet to give to pets.
Third, in relation to the second point, Orijen pet food doesn’t source out its ingredients or employ a third-party provider to cook their pet food. Everything is done the Orijen way. With ingredients sourced only from reputable and trustworthy partners in the field, Orijen utilizes its own state-of-the-art kitchens to provide your pet with the balanced and biologically-appropriate nutrition they deserve.
The list of Orijen dog food ingredients speak a lot about the brand’s emphasis on premium quality dog nutrition. Remaining forever faithful to their biologically appropriate pet nutrition philosophy, the brand features one of the best nutrient profiles you can ever have in a dog food.
- High levels of high-quality proteins
On the average, the amount of crude proteins on Orijen dog food formulations is at 38% which roughly translates to 43% by dry matter basis. This is even slightly higher than the dry matter protein content of wet dog food formulations of other brands. The best part of this is that the brand only utilizes animal proteins as its main ingredients. There are proteins from lentils, too but the proportion they add to the protein mix is almost negligible as 85% of all the ingredients in the Orijen formulation are meats.
Every meat is named. Instead of having ‘poultry’ you get to read turkey and chicken. Instead of reading ‘meat’ you’ll get Angus beef, Yorkshire pork, and Romney lamb, among others. You won’t also see ‘fish’; instead you will see Atlantic herring, and Atlantic mackerel, just to name a few. This gives you peace of mind on the ingredients that you are giving to your pet.
- Moderate amounts of healthy fats
The good news about Orijen dog food products is that its fats are mostly derived from its meat ingredients. Its crude fat content is roughly 16.5% on the average, translating into a dry matter fat reading of 18.75%.
Even when the highest fat content is taken, its dry matter equivalent will still be 21% which is way lower than other brands. It also has one of the best ratios of essential fatty acids, never going beyond the 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Fish oil is sometimes added to beef up its EPA and DHA content, both of which are important in nervous system, cardiovascular system, and immunologic system functioning.
- Substantially low amounts of carbohydrates
Orijen adult dog food contains no more than 23% carbohydrates which is basically less than half the carbohydrate content of other dog food brands, often in the 45 to 55 levels. One giveaway is that Orijen knows that dogs are not obligate carnivores, unlike cats. As such, they always include carbs in their formulations, but in proportions that mimic dogs’ natural diet in the wild.
Another big plus for the brand is its non-inclusion of potatoes or other highly starchy ingredients. Instead, it provides lentils like beans and peas. There are no soy, corn, and wheat. Instead, wholesome veggies like butternut squash, carrots, collard greens, and many more abound. There are fruits, too, like whole apples and pears to give it an amazing blend of antioxidants.
- Energy-dense formulations from proteins and fats, not carbs
If one looks at the calorie content of Orijen pet food, it is more on the moderately-high side of the spectrum. The good thing about this is that only 23% of the calories come from carbohydrates, with the remaining supplied by both proteins and fats. This gives your dog the energy it needs without necessarily turning obese.
Orijen doesn’t see the need to add nutrient supplements to its formulations since its wide range of meat ingredients are already complete with everything that dogs need. From calcium to phosphorus and even zinc and selenium and the complete range of fat- and water-soluble vitamins, Orijen’s unique formulation has it all. There’s even probiotics, prebiotics, chondroitin, and glucosamine for additional benefits.
Pros & Cons
- Contains at least 85% animal ingredients like meats, poultry, eggs, and fish
- All ingredients are clearly identified and named; no ‘vague’ sources
- Contains no more than 15% plant ingredients, majority of which are lentils, fruits, and wholesome vegetables
- No corn, wheat, soy, and other grains and ingredients that produce gluten
- Doesn’t use starchy ingredients such as potatoes
- Includes prebiotics and probiotics in each formulation
- Exceptional ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids
- EPA and DHA enriched formulations
- Well-balanced and nutritionally-complete dog food
- No history of product recalls
- More expensive than most brands
- A little bit difficult to source as some online retailers don’t carry the brand
It’s easy to see why a good number of Orijen dog food reviews highly recommend the product. It has one of the best nutrient profiles for hounds, utilizing the highest proportions of high-quality meat products and a modest percentage of carbohydrates that include only vegetables and fruits that are easiest to digest. This is in addition to the exclusion of corn, wheat, soy, and potato from their blend to give your pet the right amounts of fiber necessary for digestive health. The protein to fat ratio is one of the best in the industry making Orijen pet food products clearly one of the best if not The Best.