It's not cheap, but experts and dog owners say Orijen is the very best dry dog food you can buy. It's grain-free and made from fresh Canadian meats, eggs, produce and wild-caught fish.
A rare grain-free dry dog food. Experts say Orijen is as good as dry dog food gets. Orijen has great meat content: Chicken is the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal, chicken liver, whole herring and turkey (in fact, the first vegetable ingredient doesn't appear until No. 16 on the list). The food is grain-free, and carbohydrates -- needed in dogs' diets, most experts say -- come from high-quality sources such as russet potatoes.
One top expert finds Orijen nearly perfect -- but it does contain several pea ingredients, which could cause gastrointestinal problems for some dogs.
Locally made, with local ingredients. Orijen dog food is made in the company's own facilities (many dog foods, including some top brands, outsource manufacturing to a third party). Ingredients are locally sourced, and no ingredients made in China are used. Meats and other proteins are certified as fit for human consumption by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (the company is based in Canada). Natural preservatives rather than controversial ones like ethoxyquin are used. We found no recalls for Orijen on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website (which tracks pet food recalls back to 2007).
Quality doesn't come cheap. The biggest negatives we've seen are that Orijen is harder to find than some other quality foods, and it's relatively expensive. It's no pricier than other super-premium dry dog foods, though -- and those usually include grains (which some experts argue that dogs don't need).
One less expensive brand, Taste of the Wild, is grain-free. It gets good reviews from both experts and dog owners, making Taste of the Wild High Prairie (Est. $29 for a 15-lb. bag) , a Best Reviewed pick. However, it includes some controversial ingredients you won't find in Orijen (like canola oil and sodium selenite), and Taste of the Wild dry dog and cat food were recalled in 2012 for risk of salmonella contamination.
PetsumerReport.com puts dog foods like Orijen Adult Dog under the microscope, discussing the ingredient lineup, the inclusion of controversial ingredients and more. Pluses and minuses are listed, and a rating is provided. However, the article is available only to subscribers.
Review: Orijen Adult Dog Food Dry, Susan Thixton, As of January 2014
Mike Sagman specifically evaluates Orijen Adult Dog, awarding it a perfect 5 stars. He discusses ingredients and how well the food meets the nutritional needs of a dog. Sagman says Orijen is "enthusiastically recommended."
Review: Orijen Dog Food (Dry), Mike Sagman, Updated Feb. 17 , 2013
Dog foods here are evaluated according to contents listed on the label and rated from 1 to 6 stars. Orijen earns the site's highest rating and is called "outstanding."
Review: Champion Pet Foods Orijen Adult, Editors of DogFoodAnalysis.com, July 12, 2009
Orijen makes Mary Straus's list of recommended dog kibbles. She notes the high quality of the ingredients used and says that the dog food is "highly recommended." She adds, "I've heard nothing but good feedback from those who feed Orijen."
Review: Dry Dog Foods (Kibble and Dehydrated), Mary Straus, Updated Oct. 23, 2013
5. Whole Dog Journal
Each year, Whole Dog Journal publishes lists of approved dry dog foods (there's a separate list for canned). Editors here prefer wet food for dogs, but they do find a few high-quality dry foods to recommend.
Review: Whole Dog Journal's 2013 Dry Dog Food Review, Nancy Kerns, February 2013
6. Dog Food Reviews
The quality of the ingredients and lack of any ingredients of low value earn Orijen a spot on this site's list of best dog foods. "Its exclusive use of fresh meats and meals make it one of the highest quality formulas currently on the market," the editors say.
Review: Orijen Dog Food Reviews, Editors of Dog Food Reviews, Jan. 14, 2014
More than 450 owner reviews give Orijen a high average score. Though most posters are pleased, some warn that the high protein content may be too rich for some dogs or say that the food caused some digestive problems. A few of the reviews are apparently tongue-in-cheek, including one that says buying cheaper foods with lots of grain helps support local corn farmers.
Review: Orijen, Contributors to RateItAll.com, As of January 2014
There aren't a huge number of reviews at ZooToo.com for Orijen Adult dog food, but of the nearly 30 posted, the overwhelming majority are glowing.
Review: Orijen Adult Dog Food, Contributors to ZooToo.com, As of January 2014