Experts say Orijen is as good as dry dog food gets. Orijen has great meat content, with deboned chicken, chicken meal and turkey meal listed as the first three ingredients, and lots of other named meats and meat meals listed just a little further down. The food is grain free, and carbohydrates -- needed in dogs' diets, most experts say -- come from high-quality sources such as russet potatoes. Orijen meets or exceeds Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for nutritional sufficiency.
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.
The biggest negatives we've seen are that Orijen is harder to find than some other quality foods and it's relatively expensive. Natural Balance Original Ultra dog food (*Est. $30 per 15 lb. bag) is another high-quality food that avoids the use of byproducts, artificial preservatives and other controversial ingredients. Meat content is high, and although grains are used, they are high quality grains like brown rice, oatmeal and barley rather than poorer quality ones like wheat, corn or soy.
Experts say that although palatability is important, the true gauge in judging dog foods is the quality of the ingredients used. You can find good discussions of ingredients at a number of sites, including PetFoodRatings.net, Dog Food Reviews and DogFoodAdvisor.com. PetsumerReport.com also rates Orijen, but its findings are only available to paid subscribers.
Though Mike Sagman specifically evaluates a different variety (Orijen Six Fish), he says his comments apply to other varieties, including Orijen Adult Formula. He discusses ingredients and how well the food meets the nutritional needs of a dog. Sagman enthusiastically recommends the dog food, adding that "If Orijen is within your budget, it's definitely worth the price."
Review: Orijen Dog Food Adult (Dry), Mike Sagman, Nov. 17, 2010
This site also does a good job in evaluating dog-food ingredients. Although not as many foods are covered as at DogFoodAdvisor.com and analysis isn't as deep, the author's sometimes personal interjections are interesting to read. Orijen is high rated here: "There is absolutely nothing you can fault this food for."
Review: Dog Food Listings & Reviews, Editors of PetFoodRatings.net
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, May 8, 2012
5. 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, February 2010
PetsumerReport.com puts dog foods like Orijen Adult Dog Food 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, all of that is available only to subscribers.
Review: Orijen Adult Dog Food Dry, Susan Thixton
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 Reviews, Contributors to RateItAll.com
There aren't a huge number of reviews at Zootoo.com for Orijen Adult dog food, but of the more than 25 posted, the overwhelming majority are glowing.
Review: Orijen Adult Dog Food Review, Contributors to Zootoo.com