Orijen Dog Food Review, Recalls & Ingredients Analysis (2021 Updated)

In my opinion, Orijen is one of the top dog food brands out there.

In this article we will take a detailed look into this brand, including its background, its ingredients, and a look at what I believe to be 5 of Orijen’s top products.

Our List of the Best Orijen Dog Food Options in 2021:

Overview of Orijen


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It certainly comes at a hefty price, but here’s why - Orijen dog food is one of the top dog foods on the market. The brand prides itself on using fresh, and often local, ingredients.

They also include high levels of animal protein and low levels of carbs (all grain-free), as they believe that a dog’s diet should be primarily meat-based, mirroring the dog’s ancestral diet. For this reason, they call their food “biologically appropriate.”

Who manufactures Orijen?

Orijen dog food is manufactured in Alberta, Canada by Champion Pet Food, which has been in business since 1975. The company has won many awards for innovation and manufacturing, and can actually call themselves the most award-winning pet food manufacturer in the world.*

*True at the time of writing this article.

Orijen Recalls history

  • In 2008, there was a recall of Orijen cat food in Australia. The problems occurred due to gamma irradiation treatment, which was mandatory under Australian law. According to the company, the irradiation has never been conducted outside of Australia.

According to my research, Orijen has never been recalled in the US or Canada.

What formulas does Orijen have?

As well as 9 different types of freeze-dried dog treats, Orijen currently produces 8 different dry dog food formulas, listed below:

  • Orijen Puppy
  • Orijen Puppy Large Breed
  • Orijen Original
  • Orijen Regional Red
  • Orijen Six Fish
  • Orijen Senior
  • Orijen Tundra
  • Orijen Fit & Trim

A Review of Origen’s Top 5 Dog Food Products

I have chosen 5 of Orijen’s formulas as my top choices for their popularity and quality. Keep reading to see which dogs they are most suited for:

#1 Orijen Original

38 %
Protein
18 %
Fat
19 %
Carbs
4 %
Fiber

Orijen Original is one of Orijen’s most popular products among customers. In my opinion, given the high protein and fat content, it suits more active, high-energy dogs like German Shepherds or Boxers who exercise more than an hour a day. Small, active dogs like Yorkies can also benefit from eating this dog food.

Orijen Original is a good choice if your dog is already suffering from joint conditions, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis, as there are high levels of glucosamine (1400mg/kg) and chondroitin (1200mg/kg) in this recipe. These nutrients promote the renewal of cartilage between the joints and reduce swelling.

Review of ingredients in Orijen Original

Protein

Usually, the rule is that the first two ingredients should be sources of (preferably meat-based) protein, but Orijen goes that one step further. The first several ingredients are animal sources of protein, which are all named.

The first two are fresh chicken and turkey, which are good quality meats. They do, however, contain about 80% water, and when that moisture is lost on cooking, the original weight of the meat is seriously reduced.

The third ingredient is fresh whole eggs. Eggs have the highest biological value around, meaning that their protein is very easy to digest, plus they are complete proteins as they contain all 9 amino acids.

Orijen also includes organs like chicken heart and turkey heart. While it sounds a little unappealing, hearts are muscles and are, therefore, very high in protein.

There is also quite a range of legumes, including whole lentils, whole peas, chickpeas, and whole beans. These are high in fiber, which aids your dog’s digestion, as well as helping to fill her up and decreasing the chances of weight gain. These legumes also boost the overall protein content. However, it is clear that Orijen’s recipe derives its protein primarily from meat, which is the ideal.

Fats

Orijen uses high-quality, named fats. Chicken fat makes up the majority of the fat in this recipe, which is a good source of essential fatty acids and provides a quality source of energy. Orijen also includes fish (herring) oil, which is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Carbs

All Orijen’s recipes are low-carb and grain-free, staying true to the ancestral diet. This recipes includes low-glycemic carbs in the form of lentils and chickpeas as well as butternut squash and pumpkin.

Vitamins and Minerals

Orijen’s recipes are full to bursting with a variety of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, making their recipes rich in essential vitamins and minerals.

The blueberries, cranberries and leafy greens are all great sources of antioxidants, keeping your dog’s immune system healthy.

38 %
Protein
18 %
Fat
18 %
Carbs
4 %
Fiber

This recipe is another good choice for active/working dogs. For dogs that do less than an hour exercise a day, the protein and fat content may be too high, as it could cause them to gain weight.

Regional Red is all about the meat; it contains beef, boar, and bison, and the list goes on! So, this suits dogs who love the taste of red meats but avoid it if your dog is allergic to beef.

This recipe also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, though in much smaller quantities. For dogs already suffering from joint diseases, they need at least 1,000 mg/kg to feel any relief. For this reason, I think this recipe is more suited to active dogs who are prone to joint problems but aren’t yet suffering. The lower levels of these nutrients here will help prevent deterioration of the joints.

38 %
Protein
18 %
Fat
18 %
Carbs
4 %
Fiber

Orijen Six Fish is another great choice for active dogs who do at least an hour of exercise a day.

Orijen Six Fish is made with six different types of fish (duh!), making it very high in omega-3 fatty acids. For this reason, I highly recommend it for dogs with long coats that need more oils to keep it healthy and shiny. I also think it suits dogs with skin allergies or dermatitis, as omega-3s act as anti-inflammatories, helping to soothe itchy, sore skin.

This dog food is also good for dogs with skin allergies or digestive problems due to food allergies, as it does not contain the common allergens beef, chicken, dairy, or egg (plus it’s grain-free, like all Orijen dog foods).

38 %
Protein
20 %
Fat
17 %
Carbs
5 %
Fiber

This recipe is especially designed for young pups, who need to eat a special diet while they are still growing.

It is bursting with a variety of fresh meats and fish (as well as nutrient-dense organ meats like chicken heart), providing your puppy with a high-quality, protein-rich food.

I think this suits particularly active puppies, as, even for young dogs who need more protein and fat as they grow, the protein and fat contents are high. So, if your puppy is on-the-go for more than an hour a day, whether in exercise or play, this recipe will suit her.

This recipe also includes glucosamine and chondroitin in high amounts to make sure your pup’s joints are protected. I think this makes it a dog food that is suited to small/medium breeds who are prone to developing joint problems such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia.

It will not be suitable for large and giant dog breeds, as they are often prone to rapid growth. Therefore, they need a particular balance of macronutrients (available in large breed formulas, which Orijen also manufacture) to help them grow slowly.

38 %
Protein
18 %
Fat
19 %
Carbs
8 %
Fiber

Orijen Senior is suited for dogs in the last quarter of their lives. Remember that for some breeds who don’t live particularly long lives, like Bulldogs and Rottweilers, their senior years are considered to be from about 7 years and upwards.

Since senior dogs tend to be less active, the fat content is slightly less than Orijen’s other recipes, at 15%. The protein level stays at a high 38%, so I recommend it for larger, more muscular senior dogs who need high protein levels to keep their muscle mass.

The fiber content is high in this recipe, which promotes digestive health and weight loss on your older dog.

As with Orijen Original, there are very high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin in this formula, so it’s a great choice to provide support for an older dog’s arthritis or dysplastic joints.

The pros and cons of all Orijen's recipes included in this review:

Dog food

Pros:

Cons:

Orijen Original

  • Suitable for active/working dogs
  • Good for dogs already suffering from joint conditions
  • May not be suitable for less active dogs

Orijen Regional Red

  • Good for active/working dogs
  • Good for dogs prone to joint conditions
  • Contains beef, which could be an allergen for dogs with food allergies

Orijen Six Fish

  • Good for active/working dogs
  • Good for dogs with long coats
  • Good for dogs with skin conditions
  • Good for dogs with food allergies (no beef, dairy, chicken, or egg)
  • Strong odor and flavor - some customers report that their dogs turned their nose up at this food

Orijen Puppy

  • Good for small/medium breed puppies prone to joint problems
  • Good for very active pups
  • Many customers report a shiny coat
  • Not suitable for large/giant breed pups
  • Protein and fat content may be too much for less energetic puppies

Orijen Senior

  • Great choice for older dogs with joint problems
  • High fiber
  • May not be suitable for smaller senior breeds

What is the average price and how long will it last?

A 25 lb bag of Orijen dog food usually costs around $100* at the time of writing this article. The Six Fish recipe tends to be a little higher than this, while the Original recipe is just a little lower.

*all prices in this post are given approximately by looking on average at 5 of the top online retailers. The final price can vary.

Yes, this is an expensive dog food, but with Orijen, I think you get back in quality the amount you give away in money.

Now let’s see how long this food lasts.

Based on the weight of a 25 lb (11.3 kg) bag of Orijen dog food (and one cup of this food equals 120g), here are the approximations of how long it will last your dog, depending on her weight and activity levels*:

Weight of adult dog

Active Dogs

Less Active Dogs

lb / kg

Grams/day

How long does it last approx.?

Grams/day

How long does it last approx.?

11 / 5

90 g

4 ⅕ months

60 g

6 months

22 / 10

150 g

2 ½ months

120 g

3 months

44 / 20

240 g

1 ½ months

160 g

2 ⅓ months

66 / 80

330 g

1 ⅕ months

240 g

1 ½ months

88 / 40

420 g

3 ½ weeks

280 g

1 ⅓ months

110 / 50

480 g

3 ¼ weeks

330 g

1 ⅕ months

132 / 60

520 g

3 weeks

390 g

1 month

*Estimated using Orijen’s own daily ration and feeding guideline, which you can see on their website under each recipe by clicking on “feeding.”

**1 cup = 120g

Orijen’s daily feeding recommendations are considerably lower than some lower-quality dog food brands, meaning you have to feed your dog less of this food a day.

This is because, instead of using cheap, low-quality fillers, they use large amounts of high-quality protein and fiber, which are the two most filling macronutrients, helping to satiate your dog’s appetite as well as keep her healthy.

This means that, while Orijen is a pricey dog food due to its high-quality ingredients, it can last you that bit longer.


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Orijen Dog Food Review
  • Overall Quality of Ingredients
  • Meat Content
  • Grain Content
  • Quality/Price Ratio
4.9

Summary

In my opinion, Orijen is certainly at the top of the “best dog foods” list. This brand ticks all the boxes for me, including:

  • High-quality, named ingredients
  • High-protein
  • High meat content
  • Low-carbohydrate content
  • High in whole food sources of antioxidants
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