Orijen is well-known for its use of fresh regional ingredients and they continue that tradition with their new freeze-dried dog foods. I doubt that anyone can be very critical of their ingredients, which include chicken, turkey, and nest-laid eggs from local farms, plus wild-caught herring and flounder from North Vancouver Island. Fruits and vegetables are regionally-grown as well.
Ingredients in Orijen Adult Dog Biologically Appropriate Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Chicken (ground with bone)*, turkey (ground with bone)*, whole herring*, chicken liver*, chicken heart*, whole eggs*, spinach greens*, pea fiber, turkey liver*, turkey heart*, whole flounder*, ground sunflower seeds, Red Delicious apples*, Bartlett pears*, Red Heart plums*, Tilton apricots*, pumpkin*, Butternut Squash*, Imperator carrots*, cranberries*, blackberries*, blueberries*, kelp*, mixed tocopherols, chicory root, dandelion root, summer savory, peppermint leaf*, ginger root*, Zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate.
* FRESH AND PRESERVATIVE-FREE
Up until now Orijen has focused on kibbles but now they are branching out into freeze-dried foods with their Adult Freeze-Dried Dog food, Regional Freeze-Dried Dog food, Six Fish Freeze-Dried Dog Food, and Tundra Freeze-Dried Dog food. Orijen also makes freeze-dried treats. The freeze drying process allows the company to offer the benefits of a raw diet, remove almost all of the moisture, and freeze dry the food so it’s easy to store and feed like a kibble. Instead of kibble form the food comes in medallions which can be fed as is or reconstituted with water before feeding to your dog.
Orijen Adult Dog Biologically Appropriate Freeze-Dried Dog Food contains significant protein sources including the first five ingredients: chicken (ground with bone), turkey (ground with bone), whole herring, chicken liver, and chicken heart. If you’re wondering why some of these meats are ground with their bones, it’s because this is a good way to maintain the proper calcium to phosphorus ratio. Meats are a source of phosphorus and bones supply the calcium in the correct proportion. In most dog foods, which contain meat sources without bones, the calcium and phosphorus ratio has to be tinkered with to make sure it’s correct, with additional minerals added. When the bone is ground with the meat, it’s a more natural way to supply the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio. Raw diets include raw meaty bones for the same reason. Chicken liver and chicken heart are organ meats. Your dog doesn’t need as much of these foods as muscle meats but they are packed with nutrients and good sources of vitamins and minerals. A little goes a long way. Whole herring is another good source of protein, fat, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acid.
The food also contains several kinds of fruit and vegetables, including pumpkin and butternut squash, which are good sources of dietary fiber. Pumpkin is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Butternut squash is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese.
Cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries are good antioxidants and can act as moderate preservatives in the food, although with freeze-drying not much preservation is needed. Kelp is a source of iodine – Orijen says their iodine level is close to AAFCO’s lower limit. Kelp is also a source of many trace minerals that are beneficial to dogs.
The food also contains mixed tocopherols which are a form of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural preservative. It also contains chicory root which is a prebiotic often added to dog foods to help prepare a favorable environment in the gastrointestinal system for good bacteria to grow. Finally, the food contains a number of chelated minerals. These are minerals which have been bonded to amino acids so they are easier to digest and absorb with the food. Vitamins have not been added because they are already present in the food.
The only ingredient that looks troubling is the pea fiber. Pea fiber can be hard for some dogs to digest (and I know this from experience). There are two types of pea fiber, according to PetFoodIndustry.com. The difference lies in how they are processed. But both types contain more than 75 percent insoluble fiber and between 5 and 25 percent soluble fiber. It’s low in fat and high in crude fiber – having about 35 to 40 percent crude fiber. It’s often used in place of corn in dog foods today.
Pea fiber has little protein, though pea protein has more, and there is an ingredient called pea starch which is something like a flour which is used in some dog foods. It is a source of vegetable protein and is high in lysine and contain tryptophan.
To be honest, this is a lower quality ingredient than everything else in Orijen’s foods and I’m sorry to see it here. It’s essentially a filler. It comes midway through the ingredient list so it probably won’t upset your dog’s stomach, but it’s too bad that it’s in the food.
- Crude protein (min.) 44%
- Crude fat (min.) 38%
- Crude fiber (max.) 4%
- Moisture (max.) 2%
- Calcium (min.) 1.6%
- Phosphorus (min.) 1.3%
- Omega-6 (min.) 5.5%
- Omega-3 (min.) 1.5%
- DHA (min.) 0.3%
- EPA (min.) 0.3%
- Glucosamine (min.) 800 ppm
- Chondroitin (min.) 800 ppm
According to Champion customer service, Orijen Adult Dog Biologically Appropriate Freeze-Dried Dog Food has 80 calories per medallion.
There’s no AAFCO statement on the web site but Champion customer service says the food is approved for all life stages. It would be nice to see the nutritional adequacy statement on the web site.
On a dry matter basis (figuring 2 percent moisture because most of the moisture has been removed from this freeze-dried food), there is 44.9 percent protein in the food; 38.8 percent fat; and 4 percent fiber. We estimate there is less than 10 percent carbohydrates in the food.
Orijen Adult Dog Biologically Appropriate Freeze-Dried Dog Food looks like an excellent food with overall terrific ingredients. We like the concept of freeze-dried foods that make it easy to feed a raw diet without the mess. The only thing that bothers us about this food is the inclusion of pea fiber which is a lower quality ingredient.
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