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Orijen dog food is made by Champion Petfoods located in Alberta, Canada. The company was founded in 1975 and today they say their foods can be purchased in over 60 countries. They also make a sister brand to Orijen called Acana. Both brands are super premium pet foods sold in selected pet stores and from some online sources. Orijen, in particular, is one of the most expensive dog foods available today.
Many people consider Orijen to be one of the best dog foods on the market today and the company has won awards for the food as Pet Food of the Year from the Glycemic Research Institute in Washington, DC. The company has also been named Manufacturer of the Year/Western Canada, and won a Growing Alberta Leadership Award.
There are reports that their manufacturing plant emits an odor that spreads over the local community and which has drawn complaints but Champion has tried to fix the problem. They installed a $500,000 plasma injection system which, unfortunately, did not solve the problem. They were fined once because of the odor and had a government tax break withdrawn because they were not able to meet their targets for eliminating the odor. However, their recent efforts have reduced the odor by 15 to 20 percent. Odor near pet food manufacturing plants is not unheard of and has been reported with other pet food companies as well.
Champion Petfoods and Orijen are known for producing “Biologically Appropriate pet foods from Fresh Regional Ingredients.” They operate on the principle that dogs should eat a diet that contains foods similar to what they would eat on a natural diet in the wild. The food contains lots of meat protein. Orijen foods have 75 to 80 percent meat and they contain 38 to 42 percent protein. This is more than most dog foods. They only have 18 to 22 percent carbohydrates which is very low. They are made with up to 40 percent fresh meats which is virtually unique. And they use a minimum of five fresh meats in each formula. There are really no other foods, especially kibbles, that are similar to Orijen.
NOTE: Click the below links for more specific reviews
- Orijen Puppy
- Orijen Puppy Large
- Orijen Adult
- Orijen Adult Dog Biologically Appropriate Freeze-Dried
- Orijen Six Fish (see below)
- Orijen Regional Red
- Orijen Senior Dog
Review Of Orijen 6 Fish Dog Food
Ingredients In Orijen 6 Fish Dog Food
Whole salmon*, whole herring*, salmon meal, herring meal, Pollock meal, whole flounder*, boneless walleye*, boneless northern pike*, boneless lake whitefish*, salmon oil, herring oil, chickpeas, red lentils, green lentils, green peas, pea fiber, canola oil, sun-cured alfalfa, yams*, pumpkin*, butternut squash*, spinach greens*, carrots*, Red Delicious apples*, Bartlett pears*, cranberries*, blueberries*, kelp*, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, Enterococcus faecium.
* DELIVERED FRESH, preservative-free and never frozen.
I can say lots of great things about Orijen and their ingredients but this is supposed to be a review and not an ad for the food, so please keep that in mind while reading. For this review I’ve chosen Orijen 6 Fish Dog Food because I was curious about their fish ingredients.
Orijen says their foods are 75 to 80 percent meat and made from up to 40 percent fresh meats. That’s very commendable and something that a dog should enjoy. Their assertion seems to be confirmed in this food because there are six sources of fresh fish in the food. Orijen says on their web site that their food, including fish, is locally-sourced, coming from nearby lakes or the Pacific near Alberta, Canada and that they have direct relationships with the fishermen who catch the fish for them. They also plainly state that they do not use any fish that has been preserved with ethoxyquin or other artificial ingredients. The fish is used fresh.
It should also be noted that the presence of all this fish in the food is a good natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are important for a dog’s coat and skin, among other benefits.
Looking at the ingredients in order, the first five ingredients are Whole salmon, whole herring, salmon meal, herring meal, and Pollock meal. These are all sources of protein. Orijen lives up to its promise to provide plenty of meat (or in this case fish) protein in the diet. And there is more protein later in the ingredient list: boneless walleye, boneless lake whitefish, whole flounder, and boneless northern pike. Plenty of protein and all of it from good sources.
Orijen also states that their suppliers test the fish for heavy metals and mercury which should make pet owners feel better. The fish is passed as “fit for human consumption” and meets all Government of Canada food regulations for daily consumption.
There is also salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols) as a source of fat. Orijen foods have named sources of fats and salmon oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids with DHA and EPA.
The food also has some vegetables which provide carbohydrates. Although Orijen doesn’t contain any grains, ingredients like russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas provide carbohydrates in the food, as well as some vitamins and minerals. Orijen has far fewer carbs than most dog foods (18-22 percent according to their web site), so if you like a low-carb food, Orijen will appeal to you.
They state the following in their FAQ section: “Carbohydrates are an empty calorie, which means they have no essential function in the body and provide only sugar for energy, which converts quickly to glucose in the blood.”
It’s not exactly true to say that carbohydrates are empty calories. Along with protein and fats, carbs provide the body with energy, especially energy for the brain and nervous system. From a practical standpoint, if you try to feed a dog nothing but protein and fat, he will stay hungry all the time. Carbs help provide dogs or any animal with a feeling of fullness, especially complex carbohydrates – such as russet potatoes and sweet potatoes – and they take longer to digest.
And, again, from a practical position, you have to have some carbs in dry dog food in order to make the food. Kibble has to be formed into a dough-like consistency so it will go through the extruder machines and that requires some carbohydrates to hold the mixture together. So, for many reasons carbohydrates are getting a bad rap, even from Orijen. I understand that they want to promote the idea of a natural, biologically appropriate diet but even in the wild dogs will eat some carbohydrate content when they eat the stomach and intestines of their prey which contains plant material.
Now the food also contains what Orijen calls “botanicals” and while these look nice on the label, they probably don’t benefit your dog much. Orijen says of them: “Botanicals are a part of the natural diet for all cats and dogs, and play an important role in bridging the gap between good health and peak conditioning. The botanicals found in ORIJEN are selected by one of North America’s leading Homeopathic Veterinarians.” These botanicals include: licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory. Rosemary is present but it’s usually used as a natural preservative. Maybe some of these herbs have uses that I can’t recall, but I doubt they are of much benefit to your dog in his dog food. If you would like your dog to benefit from herbs, you will probably need to give him something directly and consult with a local herbalist in your area.
Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Orijen 6 Fish Dog Food. Some of these ingredients include: salmon oil, herring oil, peas, sun-cured alfalfa, kelp, and pumpkin. Both salmon oil and herring oil provide your dog with a highly concentrated source of energy as well as essential fatty acids which are good for his skin and coat. . Peas, red lentils, and other complex carbohydrates add to the dietary fiber content of this recipe while also supplying some vegetarian protein. Plant-based protein sources are less biologically valuable to your dog than animal-based sources but this Orijen 6 Fish Dog Food is loaded with animal proteins so you don’t have to worry.
I also note the presence of organic kelp and pumpkin. Kelp, when it doesn’t contain high levels of iodine, is a good source of many trace minerals that are important to animals. Orijen says their organic kelp tests at the lower levels for iodine. Pumpkin is used to help a dog’s digestion. You can also see cranberries and blueberries in the food which are antioxidants. The food also has a couple of fermentation products to help digestion: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faecium. Finally, you can see that the form has minerals in the form of “proteinates.”These are chelated mineral which allow the dog to better absorb the nutrition and protein in the food.
Overall Quality Of Ingredients
As you might expect, the quality of the ingredients is outstanding. You can’t get much better dog food than this.
The only item I see which I don’t really like is the pea fiber which is being used by many pet food companies as a protein/filler ingredient today It is less expensive than corn and some other grains and it looks better on the label. However, pea fiber is a “nutritionally functional fiber.” It is an insoluble fiber and it has certain laxative effects. It can cause some dogs to have loose stools. You’ll probably be seeing it on more and more pet food labels.
Additional Nutritional Info
Orijen 6 Fish Dog Food provides 38 percent crude protein (Minimum), which is well above the government’s recommendations (18 percent for adult dogs). Your dog shouldn’t have any problems eating this much protein unless he already has a health problem involving his kidneys or liver. Otherwise, this should be a great food for active dogs. The 18 percent fat in Orijen 6 Fish Dog Food is well above the government’s recommendations (9 to 15 percent for an adult dog), but good quality fat is good for your dog.
The food also states that it contains 25 percent carbohydrates. This is probably less than many commercial dog foods but it’s certainly not an excessive amount. It’s about the same amount of carbs (in vegetable form) that a dog would eat if you were homecooking for your dog and following a recipe.
Company Reputation And Quality Control Issues
Champion Petfoods and Orijen have an excellent reputation. They have not been involved in any recalls that we could find. There are some posts on the Internet from dissatisfied customers who say that customer service was not very forthcoming when they had a complaint about the food but these appear to be isolated incidents.
Champion did have an accident at their kitchen in Morinville, Alberta on September 8, 2012 and one of their ovens was damaged. This resulted in some of their food sizes not being available as usual but they have been working to repair the problem.
- Crude protein (min.) 38.0%
- Crude fat (min.) 18.0%
- Crude fiber (max.) 3.0%
- Moisture (max.) 10.0%
- Calcium (min./max.) 1.4% / 1.6 %
- Phosphorus (min./max.) 1.2% / 1.4%
- Omega-6 (min.) 2.6%
- Omega-3 (min.) 1.8%
- DHA (min.) 1%
- EPA (min.) 0.6%
- Carbohydrate (max.) 25%
- Ash (max.) 7%
- Taurine (min.) 0.4%
- Glucosamine (min.) 1250 mg/kg
- Chondroitin (min.) 1000 mg/kg
- Chicory root 700 mg/kg
- Licorice root 500 mg/kg
- Angelica root 350 mg/kg
- Fenugreek 350 mg/kg
- Marigold flowers 350 mg/kg
- Sweet fennel 350 mg/kg
- Peppermint leaf 300 mg/kg
- Chamomile flowers 300 mg/kg
- Dandelion root 150 mg/kg
- Summer savory 150 mg/kg
- Vitamin A 15 kIU/kg
- Vitamin D3 2 kIU/kg
- Vitamin E 400 IU/kg
- Vitamin B12 0.5 mg/kg
- Thiamine 50mg/kg
- Riboflavin 50 mg/kg
- Niacin 450 mg/kg
- Pan. Acid (B5) 50 mg/kg
- Pyridoxine (B6) 35 mg/kg
- Biotin 1 mg/kg
- Folic Acid 5 mg/kg
- Choline 2700 mg/kg
- Ascorbic Acid 55 mg/kg
- Beta Carotene 0.4 mg/kg
- Taurine 0.4%
- Lysine 2.9%
- Threonine 1.65%
- Methionine 0.9%
- Isoleucine 1.55%
- Leucine 3%
- Valine 1.95%
- Arginine 2.9%
- Phenylalanine 1.7%
- Histidine 0.9%
- Cystine 0.4%
- Sodium 0.4%
- Chloride 0.6%
- Potassium 0.7%
- Magnesium 0.1%
- Sulphur 0.4%
- Iodine 1.8mg/kg
- Manganese 20 mg/kg
- Cobalt 0.47 mg/kg
- Selenium 0.5 mg/kg
- Iron 240 mg/kg
- Zinc 200 mg/kg
- Copper 20 mg/kg
Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy: 480 kcal per 250 ml cup (240 ml per 8 ounce cup)
(36 percent calories from fish protein, 22 percent calories from fruits and vegetables, and 42 percent calories from fish oil.)
Orijen is formulated to meet the nutritional level established by AAFCO Dog food nutrient profile for all life stages.
You should notice that the food’s AAFCO statement is based on a nutrient profile for the food and not on feeding trials. Both nutrient profiles and feeding trials are acceptable to AAFCO, though feeding trials (which cost a lot more to carry out) are generally considered better from a consumer’s standpoint.
The bottomline is this is a great food and you should be able to feed it to your dog with confidence. It is very expensive but if you can afford it, your dog will probably love it.
Orijen Dog Food has received our 5 paw rating.
Last Updated On 12/20/2015