Dog Food Insider

Orijen Puppy Food Review

Feeding A Puppy

Dog Food Insiders Rating

5 Paws



See What Puppy Owners Are Saying About Oriejn Puppy Food


Product Overview

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: For additional information such as manufacturing processes and past recall information, check out our full Orijen Dog Food Review.


See What Puppy Owners Are Saying About Oriejn Puppy Food



Ingredients In Orijen Puppy Food

Boneless chicken*, chicken meal, chicken liver*, whole herring*, boneless turkey*, turkey meal, turkey liver*, whole eggs*, boneless walleye*, whole salmon*, chicken heart*, chicken cartilage*, herring meal, salmon meal, chicken liver oil, chicken fat, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, sun-cured alfalfa, yams*, pea fiber, chickpeas, pumpkin*, butternut squash*, spinach greens*, carrots*, Red Delicious apples*, Bartlett pears*, cranberries*, blueberries*, brown kelp, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, Enterococcus faecium.



I’m always nervous when I start looking at puppy foods. From raising a number of litters, I tend to be cautious about feeding puppies. What you feed your puppy in the first months of life can have effects years later. Even puppies who are active and seemingly healthy during their first year can have health problems later due to the kind of nutrition they have in their first months. So I look at puppy foods with a very critical eye.

The Importance Of “Grain Free” Puppy Food

Personally, I don’t care if a food is grain free or not. Dogs, and puppies, are quite capable of digesting grains as long as they don’t have allergies or food intolerances – and most dogs don’t have these issues. I believe dogs do require meat protein but some grains shouldn’t pose a problem. What I care about are quality ingredients and good nutrition.

The Importance Of Calcium And Phosphorus

Orijen’s Puppy food is a grain free food for puppies and it contains 80 percent meat. That’s a lot of meat for a puppy. Probably the number one thing you have to be concerned about with puppies is the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in their food. Calcium is needed for bone growth, but too much calcium will cause some serious bone and health problems such as HOD, OCD, and hip dysplasia. Meat provides the phosphorus for your puppy and, in a raw or natural diet, bones provide the right amount of calcium. In dog foods, the ingredients have to be properly balanced so the phosphorus and calcium are in the correct ratio. For adult dogs this ratio is about 1.2-1.4 calcium to 1 phosphorus. Absorption of these minerals is affected by phytates in the food, which are found in grains, and by how much vitamin D is present. Lots of phytates will inhibit the absorption of calcium, for example, so foods that feature grains can have a somewhat higher amount of calcium to make up for this inhibition.

You can read more about calcium and phosphorus research in dogs here.

Orijen says that they are aware of the role calcium and phosphorus play in nutrition for puppies and their Puppy food has “limited” calcium and phosphorus with a guaranteed maximum of 1.7 percent calcium and 1.4 percent phosphorus. This is a ratio of 1.21 to 1 which makes it ideal. So, even though this food is high in protein and features lots of meat, it should be safe for puppies.


See What Puppy Owners Are Saying About Oriejn Puppy Food


Ingredients Breakdown

The top 5 ingredients included in Orijen Puppy Food are boneless chicken, chicken meal, chicken liver, whole herring, and boneless turkey. These are the same top five ingredients from the Orijen Large-Breed Puppy food formula. Below you will find a brief explanation of each of these ingredients:

Boneless Chicken – Listing a fresh source of animal protein at the top of the ingredients list is a very good thing for this Orijen Puppy Food. Orijen uses free-run cobb chicken in their formulas so you can rest assured that it is hormone- and antibiotic-free. Plus, it is an excellent source of protein for your large-breed puppy.

Chicken Meal – Chicken meal is made from the same meat as boneless chicken, but it has already been cooked to remove moisture. This means that chicken meal is a much more highly concentrated source of protein than boneless chicken which makes it a valuable addition to this formula.

Chicken Liver – This ingredient provides your puppy with protein but more important is its nutrient content. Chicken liver is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin D, various B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, and folic acid.

Whole Herring – This ingredient is an excellent source of protein, like the three ingredients before it. Because this ingredient comes from fish, not meat, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids which is good for a puppy’s skin, coat, nervous system, heart, and other systems.

Boneless Turkey – Like boneless chicken, boneless turkey is an excellent source of animal protein. It is important to remember, however, that fresh meats like turkey contain up to 80% water so they will contribute less to the finished product in terms of protein volume. Because there are so many protein sources included in this recipe, however, this isn’t a problem.

Additional Ingredients of Interest

Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Orijen Puppy Food. Some of these ingredients include turkey meal, herring meal, salmon meal, chicken cartilage, chicken liver oil, lentils, peas, and various fresh fruits and vegetables. Like chicken meal, turkey meal, herring meal, and salmon meal are all highly concentrated sources of protein. These ingredients also contain some valuable fats, though chicken liver oil is a more concentrated source of essential fatty acids. In addition to several types of meat and meat meals, this formula also contains a variety of animal organs and cartilage. Organ meats are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals in addition to providing protein.

This formula contains several types of lentils as well as chickpeas, peas, and fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure that your puppy’s needs for dietary fiber are met. The fresh fruits and vegetables in this formula also provide antioxidants as well as various vitamins and minerals. All of Orijen’s fruits and vegetables are regionally sourced and delivered fresh and whole. This Orijen Puppy Food also contain botanicals which may or may not be useful to your dog, digestive enzymes which may or may not be useful, vitamins, and chelated minerals which do help your dog absorb the minerals in the food better.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude protein (min.) ….. 40%
  • Crude fat (min.) ….. 20%
  • Crude fiber (max) ….. 3%
  • Moisture (max) ….. 10%
  • Calcium (min./max.) ….. 1.5 / 1.7 %
  • Phosphorus (min./max.) ….. 1.2 / 1.4 %
  • Omega-6 (min.) ….. 3%
  • Omega-3 (min.) ….. 1.2%
    • DHA (min.) ….. 0.6%
    • EPA (min.) ….. 0.3%
    • AA (min.) ….. 0.1%
  • Carbohydrate (max) ….. 20%
  • Ash (max) ….. 7.5%
  • Taurine (min.) ….. 0.35%
  • Glucosamine (min.) ….. 1500 mg/kg
  • Chondroitin (min.) ….. 1200 mg/kg
  • Microorganisms (min.) ….. 120M cfu/kg
  • pH ….. 5.2

Metabolizable energy for ORIJEN PUPPY is 454 kcal per 8 ounce cup

ORIJEN PUPPY is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for ALL LIFE STAGES.


Orijen Puppy looks like a good food for puppies if you are looking for a grain free food with lots of meat protein. This is a very expensive food and you can find very good puppy foods that cost less.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our full review of Orijen Dog Food for even more details including recall histories, company manufacturing processes, and more.

Orijen Puppy Dog Food has received our 5 paw rating.


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