Orijen makes premium dog food, and they are in a class all their own. We’ve compiled all the data you need to help you decide if this is the right dog food for your pup in this Orijen dog food review. It’s difficult to name competitors because Orijen is a little different in their approach to feeding dogs. They strive to create “biologically appropriate” meals for dogs based on how their ancestors ate. All of their dog food is nutrition-dense, low carb, and high protein, and each one has specific nutritional profiles, even the special blends.
The company touts its quality ingredients and unique approach as reasons for their successes. Orijen has plenty of awards to support their theory, including innovation awards and multiple pet food of the year awards. Make no mistake, Orijen may make one of the best dog foods on the market, but it’s among the priciest, and sometimes difficult to find.
Unlike some products, you’ll find that Orijen delivers on its promise of high-quality. They made a name in the industry for reliability and innovation. Further, Orijen has a loyal following, loads of glowing reviews and compliments, and only a few isolated complaints (mostly about customer service). Read on to learn more about the company, individual recipes, and more.
Food Review at a Glance: Orijen Formulas
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Orijen, derived from the Latin term “origin,” alludes to the company’s return to canine (and feline) roots. For more than thirty years, Orijen has made food based on the ancestral diets of dogs (and cats).
Canadian-based Champion Pet Food manufactures all of Orijen’s dog food. Two plants produce Orijen foods, one in Canada (Alberta) and the other in the United States (Kentucky).
According to the company, they have three principle ideals for the food they create. First, it must be biologically appropriate for dogs. They note the anatomical build of dogs makes them carnivores who need to eat meat-based diets. Orijen cites canine teeth and jaws, saliva and enzymes, and short digestive tracts as reasons to feed dogs meat-based foods.
Second, they use regionally sourced ingredients. Many of their ingredients come from partners featured on their website. You can click on the ingredients you’re curious about and learn about the people providing them. Several of the entries also include videos. We should note that Orijen has two websites, the Canadian site features suppliers to their Alberta plant.
The United States plant in Kentucky has a similar website that includes information for their suppliers as well. There’s something especially refreshing about a company that is this transparent about where they source ingredients. Plus, it means Orijen supports small businesses. There are other brands like American Journey, that typically won’t divulge all of their suppliers.
Finally, they never outsource their manufacturing. Orijen monitors every step of the process and even boasts an award-winning kitchen. They also don’t make food for other companies.
Perhaps their three-pronged approach is the reason they have avoided recalls. We couldn’t find any recalls for Orijen dog foods. There was a 2008 voluntary recall of Orijen cat food in Australia due to a legal issue, but that’s the only incident we could find about Orijen recalls.
While no recalls on the books, Orijen is part of the 2018 class-action lawsuit in California against its parent company, Champion Petfoods. The company is accused of “failing to disclose the presence of heavy metals and toxins” in its foods, false advertising, and “negligent, reckless” practices. On the flip side, Champion has said the claims are “meritless and based on misinterpretation of the data.” The case was dismissed in 2020 due to a lack of concrete evidence to support the concerns.
However, we should note that Orijen was listed in the FDA investigation into grain-free diets and the link to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). At this time, there is no definitive link between grain-free diets and the increase in DCM. Most healthy dogs have no issues with grain-free diets, and actually see significant benefits over time. But, Orijen also offers “Amazing Grain” options with healthy oats, quinoa, chia, and more to provide the healthiest gluten-free grains.
Orijen stakes its reputation on using high-quality ingredients, and it’s the biggest reason they have persisted for thirty years. They only use fresh, non-GMO ingredients, never frozen, and no fillers, by-products, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Few companies can make the same claims about ingredients as Orijen, especially the sheer amount of locally and regionally sourced products. Orijen even has farmers who grow botanicals just for their dog food!
The other key thing to consider about Orijen’s foods is that they have unique compositions compared with other foods. Yes, there are other grain-free formulas, and most dog foods avoid certain ingredients, like corn and wheat. However, Orijen’s biologically appropriate approach is unique, and an excellent reason to pay more for their products. In fact, their healthier grains include quinoa, oats, and chia, among other gluten-free grains.
Orijen uses an 85%/15% ratio for their dry foods. What does this mean for your dog? Not only does Orijen provide high-quality ingredients, but their foods are also primarily made from animal, fowl, and fish proteins. That’s right, 85% of their dry dog foods come from animal-based proteins. The other 15% is a balance of botanicals, fruits, and vegetables.
The company doesn’t stop there with its commitment to creating a biologically appropriate diet. They also make sure that two-thirds of the animal proteins are fresh or raw to create a nutrient-dense (and oh-so-tasty) meal for your canine companion.
When Orijen introduced their freeze-dried meals, they continued the protein-rich approach. The three freeze-dried recipes include 90% animal proteins and a 10% combination of fruits, vegetables, and botanicals.
Are you wondering how they hold the food together with so much protein, no grains, and no fillers? The answer is the use of legumes, which also helps to keep the glycemic index low while providing fiber.
The combinations of animal proteins provide plenty of vitamins and minerals to promote healthy skin and coats, support bone and joint health, and aid in digestion. According to Orijen, using canine-appropriate animals, fowl, and fish makes it easier for your pup to digest the food and absorb the nutrients they need to stay active and healthy.
Orijen Dog Food Reviews
While Orijen may make the highest quality dog food on the market, they have a price tag to match. However, their recipes deliver wholesome, nutritionally ingredients, and some elements you won’t find with other dog foods. While all of the recipes we review here are grain-free, they do have some Amazing Grain and other special formulas, including puppy and senior blends.
Orijen Grain Free High-Protein Puppy Food
- Includes a blend of free-range chicken and turkey.
- Also includes cage-free eggs, and wild fish.
- Grain-free recipe.
- Contains vegetables, like zucchini and squash.
- No fillers, artificial colors, artificial flavors.
- 449 Calories per cup.
- 38% Protein, 20% Fat, 6% Fiber.
Puppies need a little extra care during their first year because of their rapid growth and development. Orijen created a custom formula to address a growing puppy’s needs, and it’s a protein-packed winner.
Orijen delivers the nutrition puppies need with a powerful protein profile that is 85% animal protein. They claim that two-thirds of the animal ingredients in the puppy blend are fresh or raw. It helps that they use sustainably sourced and free-range animals.
Puppies, especially those active breeds, can thrive on this blend because the recipe is loaded with nutrients and has higher levels of protein and fat to support their energy levels. They also include glucosamine and chondroitin to promote joint health, so Orijen is an excellent option for breeds prone to joint problems.
Of note, puppy parents big dogs should look at the Puppy Large recipe which we recommend for large breed puppies, and also for giant breed puppies. The regular blend can’t support the rapid growth spurts of large and giant breed puppies, so Orijen created a blend just for them. Expect the same quality ingredients with a nutrient profile tailored explicitly to large breed pups.
Orijen Original High-Protein Adult Dog Food
- First four ingredients are all real meat.
- Contains fresh chicken & turkey.
- Contains whole fruits and vegetables.
- Includes natural herbs and roots for antioxidants.
- Grain-free recipe.
- 449 Calories per cup.
- 38% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.
As adults, dogs can explore an array of new flavors, and Orijen delivers a selection of recipes to support your furry friend for the rest of their lives. They don’t carry as many choices as other brands, but quality usually trumps quantity, especially when it comes to your pet.
Orijen’s original dry dog food is tough to beat, and it remains their most popular recipe. It builds on the premise that canines should eat high-protein diets with a variety of proteins.
Like all of Orijen’s dry dog food recipes, the Original blend ingredients list is 85% animal-based proteins, including chicken, turkey, cage-free eggs, herring, and flounder. The remaining nutritional value rounds out with fresh whole fruits and vegetables, herbs, roots, and two nutritional additives (zinc chelate and enterococcus faecium). It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health.
Since the Original blend includes glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, it will support active lifestyles and promote bone and joint health. If your furry friend is prone to bone or joint conditions, you may want to consider Orijen to provide extra support.
This recipe is a high-fiber option, so you don’t have to worry about your canine companion feeling hungry. It’s also easy on their digestive system, so if your furry friend has a sensitive stomach, Orijen may be a good choice.
Another big selling point for Orijen is that it is low carb, especially compared to others on the market. The company believes that carbohydrates are empty calories and not biologically appropriate for canines.
Orijen High-Protein Senior Formula Dog Food
- Fresh chicken meat is the first ingredient.
- Vegetables include butternut squash, and spinach.
- Includes glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
- Uses only low-glycemic carbohydrates.
- Grain-free Formula.
- 414 Calories per cup.
- 38% Protein, 15% Fat, 8% Fiber.
Older dogs are less active and may develop health problems, specifically with their joints and digestion. Orijen created a custom recipe to support senior dogs with protein-rich meals that are delicious and can accommodate their changing needs.
Just because they’re less active doesn’t mean senior dogs don’t want to enjoy mealtime. This blend provides all of the flavor and nutrition you expect from Orijen but in a senior-friendly form. They don’t sacrifice protein and maintain the 85%/15% ratio of other Orijen recipes.
The key differences in this blend are the fat and fiber content. Orijen reduced the fat content to limit weight gain, which stresses older joints. They also packed in plenty of fiber to aid the digestive process and helps prevent weight gain. This food is a great option for muscular breeds.
It’s important to note that the kibble size of the Senior blend works for smaller dogs, so it’s truly an all sizes, all breeds mix. The kibble bits also seem a bit softer than the other blends, which makes chewing and swallowing easier for older dogs.
Weight Loss Formulas
Orijen Fit & Trim High-Protein Formula Dog Food
- First ingredient is fresh chicken meat.
- Includes a variety of lean animal, fish, and fowl.
- Contains whole fruits and vegetables.
- Lower fat content than other recipes.
- Grain-free recipe.
- 402 Calories per cup.
- 40% Protein, 13% Fat, 8% Fiber.
The Fit & Trim formula just sounds better than “weight loss” or “weight management,” doesn’t it? This recipe has the highest level of crude protein of any of Orijen’s blends, but the lowest fat content. It’s a flavorful blend with plenty of whole and fresh foods, including an array of protein, including fresh whole mackerel.
If your furry friend needs to trim off a few pounds, this blend can help give them the energy they need to reach a healthy goal. This protein-rich blend is also an alternative for less active dogs who found the Original blend a bit excessive for their lifestyle. It also makes our list of top weight management foods for overweight pups.
Orijen Tundra Freeze Dried Dog Food Formula
- Protein-rich venison as the first ingredient.
- Contains fresh apples and pumpkin.
- Raw ingredients are gently freeze-dried.
- Pre-portioned with appropriately sized medallions.
- Grain-free formula.
- 402 Calories per cup.
- 40% Protein, 13% Fat, 8% Fiber.
While Orijen does make wet food, we find their line of grain-free, freeze-dried, raw food to be a better option for those seeking a softer alternative. The freeze-dried line mimics the Original, Regional Red, and Tundra dry food recipes, but in a slightly different form.
If you want to pursue a raw diet for your canine companion, you could do worse than Orijen’s Freeze-Dried meals. They are expensive, in line with the rest of their products, but they are convenient to serve and loaded with nutrition.
All three freeze-dried recipes contain 90% proteins with 10% vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. You do need to rehydrate each medallion in warm water before serving. You can also use it as a dry food topper for a little extra flavor or a special treat.
Orijen makes some of the best dog food available, which is evident as we wrap our Orijen dog food review. It’s tough to find any complaints with their product and it stacks up well against competitors like Hill’s Science Diet. If we had to pick cons for Orijen, it would have to be price and accessibility. On the other hand, premium food comes at a price, and most owners seem to have no difficulty finding products.
The protein-packed, low carb, biologically appropriate options mean extra energy, joint support, and easier digestion for most dogs. If you can afford Orijen food, your canine companion will likely appreciate the effort and reward you in ways only a dog can.
October 20, 2022 at 3:30 pm
Just so you know, Orijen changed all or nearly all of their formulas. Their new formulas resemble nothing like their old formulas. You need to let your readers know if they buy any of the new Orijen formulas they will basically be poisoning their dogs. I didn't realize the change and for the past three months my dog has been itching because they added EGGS.
September 23, 2022 at 8:00 am
My 1 year old cocker spaniel poodle mix always have the best looking #2! I make sure her bowel movements are regular- I’m a nurse. It tells me a lot about her gut health based on what her poop looks like :) Orijen is the only dog food I trust. She only had 1 episode of diarrhea since she was a baby so we feel very lucky.
May 4, 2022 at 11:20 am
Hi, I feed my dog Orijen Red he loves it. His name is Nugget and a very picky eater. Orijen Red is the only dog food that I have been able to get Nugget to eat, believe you me I have tried a lot. Great dog food and yes a bit pricey. Wish they had coupons. Will keep buying it as long as Drug Emporium carrys it. Thanks for a great product 😊 Happy Customer ☺️☺️
March 3, 2022 at 10:53 am
I am feeding my dog Origen fit and trim but I am concerned that the grain free diet is not good for her heart because of all the legumes which are directly linked to the heart disease. Why use it if there seems to be a link? Do you have a dog kibble that is not with legumes? Or is it such a small quantity that it's insignificant to the worry?
March 3, 2022 at 11:42 am
Hi Linda - We review Orijen and other dog foods on our website, but we do not work at the company. We would suggest that you reach out directly to Orijen to get a better understanding. They can be reached via phone at 877-939-0006.
July 25, 2022 at 12:59 am
I have the same concern, Linda. Orijen does carry at least two legume-free diets, which I’ve recently started my dog on. Hopefully she tolerates it well; she has a sensitive stomach.
January 2, 2022 at 2:23 pm
Been feeding Orijen to my husky since he was a puppy. He developed an allergy to chicken at age 2. Switched him to the Red Blend that doesn’t contain chicken and he loves it. He’s going to be 7 soon and my vet wants him on senior food by age 7. (He’s a giant husky mix, 95 lbs). But the senior food has chicken as it’s first ingredient. I have no idea what I’m going to do. Help!
January 3, 2022 at 1:13 pm
Talk to your vet again to find the best solution for your dog in his aging years.
January 2, 2022 at 11:44 am
I have been feeding Origen original and the dry Tundra for a few months now and my small mixed breed likes it. I also was feeding Bravo freeze dried and was surprised you haven’t reviewed it.
December 17, 2021 at 6:16 pm
I tried adding a bit of 6 fish Orijen dry dog food to my dog’s current dry food. Even after several weeks, my dog has had terribly smelly gas. This only started after I added orijen. I believe it’s all the lentils and different kinds of beans in this food which are hard for dogs to digest. My neighbor gave me this food after her dog developed DCM and her veterinarian recommended a change in food. I appreciated it but I don’t think my dog’s gut is liking it at all!
December 4, 2021 at 11:15 am
what about the class action lawsuit they have pending regarding the lead and other arsenics found in their food?
does is my only concern for this line of dog food
December 6, 2021 at 1:47 pm
We missed this while doing our research since it is not a recall and was dismissed in 2020. But, thanks to you, we have now added the details in our article. Thank you. Joe.
December 3, 2021 at 8:59 am
Orijen does make wet food
December 6, 2021 at 1:39 pm
Thank you for pointing this out. You are correct that they offer them, just not very many, especially for special diet or lifestage needs. So we have updated our copy to reflect this.
November 17, 2021 at 2:49 pm
I have been feeding my dogs Orijens for 15 years. Our yellow lab, Roxy, lived a happy, healthy 14 years on a diet of Orijens Six Fish. She had a gorgeous coat, lots of energy and was the picture of health. My current companions, a 7 year old beagle/ mini dachshund mix and an 11 month old male Pembroke Welsh Corgi are flourishing. I agonized over the correct diet for the Corgi, switching from raw to freeze dried to my cooking because of all the conflicting advice on a proper diet. I’m back home to Orijens and he is doing great. My only issue now is how much to feed him - he’s super high energy and still developing, but that aside, I am sticking with the brand that has always worked.
October 19, 2021 at 5:48 am
I have 1 1/2 yr old mutt dog just diagnosed cancer half month ago. His health condition drastically worsen after health check. Weak body,underweight, wobble legs, can't run, pee, poo nicely. He was dying. My friend suggested orijen dog food to replace current dog food + fresh cooked meat. Today is the 4th day of feeding orijen six fish to him. His body strength definitely boost up since 2nd day of feeding. I didn't expect it at all. He can jump, run like normal dog now. I overfed him now(which my dog happily swallowed all up) so he can be normal weight for chemotherapy. Orijen saved my dog. Truly appreciate for such product truly care for dogs exist in market.
August 23, 2021 at 9:40 pm
I have been feeding my Basenji's Orijen for about 13 or 14 years. No one has a dog with a better coat than mine. I owe that to Orijen. Soft and sleek, Healthy and happy. I have switched once because I couldn't find it, within a week, I noted a definite, unfavorable difference in my dog. I will never buy another brand.
August 24, 2021 at 8:41 pm
Thanks for sharing your firsthand experience, Lisa.
June 14, 2021 at 7:05 pm
I love Orijen, but with 4 big babies to feed, I have to go with the slightly less expensive Acana. Lol. It's done wonders for my babies! One is a super-sensitive 8yo whippet/lab mix and this is only the second food in those 8 years that we have found that doesn't send her into bouts of throwing up until she bleeds.
We end up saving money because we don't have to go to the er every month or two. Definitely, the brand to go with and so happy we made the switch! I work in a smaller pet store and they do now have Orijen canned food (we carry it, so I know this for sure). Don't know if it came out after this was posted/updated, but might be worth adding to the page.
June 15, 2021 at 9:09 pm
Thanks for sharing your experience with both brands, Heather! Yes, this must have come out afterward, so we will make sure to include that when we update this content next!
May 19, 2021 at 1:44 pm
My husky is a wooly husky which means extra long hair and almost a full extra double coat that non-wooly huskies do not have (think instead of a double coat it's almost like a triple coat). With woolies the extra undercoat usually does not shed out on its own and is so thick that it becomes trapped underneath. This means spending hours every week carefully brushing everything to the surface.
I switched my husky over to Orijen's Fish formula and after 2-3 weeks of being on it his extra undercoat started coming out all on its own. I'm talking globs of his undercoat just falling off of him which has never happened. He's been on it for a couple of months now and this is the first spring that he has been able to fully shed out his undercoat with just a quick daily brushing.
He also went from being a fairly lazy husky with random hyper moments to being in his best shape with a steady yet healthy amount of energy. We had guests visit who all commented on how he was energetic without the "husky caffeine hyper" and had the softest shiniest fur for a husky. They even wrote down that we had him on Orijen's dog food because they wanted to switch their pups over!
May 21, 2021 at 2:01 pm
Hi Maria! Thanks for stopping by to share your experience with this brand of food, as well as your pup! Sounds like it's worked out well for you, which is awesome!
April 6, 2021 at 11:40 pm
OMG, I have a miniature schnauzer that will be 13 this month. She refused to eat her vet food so I started cooking for her. This went on for at least three months then I knew she wasn’t getting all the nutrition she needed. I thought she was dying.
Walked into Pet Valu and asked which food was the best for her. The clerk recommended Orijen. I can’t believe my eyes. She’s like a teenager again, playing with toys, gained weight, running OMG I’m so happy. I recommend Orijen to everyone. Best dog food in the world.
April 7, 2021 at 5:41 pm
Hi Nicky! Thanks for stopping by, and we appreciate you providing your experience and insight into Orijen with our readers!
April 2, 2021 at 5:37 pm
Having a baby who is diabetic & recurring pancreatitis, the low fat and low carb of the Fit & Trim (hopefully) will be a good fit for us. The low fat will help avoid pancreatitis and the low carb will help carry her insulin load. Carbs are needed in a diabetic diet.
But they need to be low glycemic and this food looks like it will work (Though the kibble is just part of her diet). Switching her over slowly now to Fit & Trim. Hoping we've found a replacement for her "other food". I know this company well. This plant in KY is my neighbor! I like knowing I'm supporting my local small businesses and keeping money in my home state. A win for all.
April 5, 2021 at 8:29 pm
Thanks for the comment, Lori! I agree, we love to support local businesses whenever we can. Hopefully the Fit & Trim will be a winner for your pup. Good luck!
March 11, 2021 at 6:27 am
I have been feeding Orijen to my dogs for about 14 years now. My prior pup lived with cancer for 5 years, and I am convinced she lived so long in part due to this food. Dutchie died at 14. Zuri, my current girl is almost 13 and behaved like a puppy. She runs and plays with great energy. I give Orijen much credit for her great condition as well!
March 12, 2021 at 4:44 pm
Sounds like you've had a great experience with this dog food Mary! Thanks for stopping by to comment and share your experience!