Product Type: Orijen dog food
Newest Review: ... to eat when scavenging in the wild. The food is marketed as a uniquely Biological Dog Food,and is seen by some as the next best thing to a ... more
A Canadian Dog Food Injects New Life Into Ageing Shih Tzu!
Orijen Adult Dry Complete Dog Food
Member Name: Machair1
Orijen Adult Dry Complete Dog Food
Date: 06/08/10, updated on 11/08/10 (99 review reads)
Advantages: Utterly superb food bursting with nourishment.
Disadvantages: None at all.
My little dog Molly is a Shih Tzu and is now entering what you could call the autumn of her life. She is still full of beans, especially with regard to postmen and callers in general, but she was beginning to slow up more often, especially after long walks that previously she used to take in her stride. In addition to this she has allergies, which we have never really been able to pin-point, but the vet has her on Piriton tablets when these flare up, which controls them to an extent.
With her forthcoming tenth birthday, and a holiday which was fast approaching, when she would have a new companion in the form of an energetic retriever puppy, I decided to see if I could make improvements to her diet a few weeks ago. With this in mind I began to search the market for more natural foods. Molly has always enjoyed commercial foods, such as Pedigree and Cesar, but I have never really been sure these were ideal for her. In fact it was when my son moved to America to work for a natural pet food company that his knowledge became my interest, and his many tales of dogs doing so well on more natural foods starting me thinking that I could improve Molly's diet.
I first tried Lily's Kitchen foods which are a relatively new entrant onto the UK market, and these were enjoyed, but were rather a pricy long term option. I had been to my local garden/pet centre to purchase these, and it was there that I was first introduced to Orijen by the owner of the store, who told me that customers travelled from long distances to purchase this food. I had been very happy with Lily's, though as I said it works out rather costly, but the brochure she handed to me about Orijen immediately made me sit up and take a keen interest.
The food is dried, is made in Alberta in Canada, and is produced by a family firm who have a passion for the industry, and a compassion for the animals they serve. The food is what they call "biologically appropriate", in that it contains foods that, in their opinion, dogs have evolved to eat over centuries of living in the wild. This means that it is high in proteins and natural fruits, but has little carbohydrate, and no cereals at all. At first I must admit to being quite sceptical. Then I thought long and hard about Molly's allergies, and wondered if some of her problems could be related to the bulking agents in cheaper commercial foods, as many of these contain wheat and other cereals which are well known allergens.
It was on holiday with my daughter, who is a vet, recently that we were discussing this, and it was at this point that I discovered her dislike of supermarket pet foods. She already has her dog on James Wellbeloved, which is highly thought of in the breeding world as being a high quality food. When I questioned her about Orijen she had no prior knowledge, but on reading the leaflet was impressed and certainly said she was pleased that I had put Molly on this food.
The food has some amazing ingredients contained within it. If I wasn't a vegetarian I could honestly say it might even appeal to me, as it is like something from a banquet menu. There are saskatoon berries from Alberta and Saskatchewan (apparently these are high in anti-oxidants), fresh northern lake white and other fish caught using sustainable methods, and salmon rich in omega three fatty acids which is line caught off Vancouver Island. The food also contains free range grain fed organic chicken, free range wild boar, bison and heritage pork, grass-fed lamb and free range ducks. All these ingredients are enjoyed in Canadian households by humans, and care is taken to ensure these suppliers produce to the highest standards, and conform to animal welfare regulations.
The dog food contains six varieties of fresh meat and in particular the cartilage is used, which has a high concentration of glucosamine and chondroitin. This really interested me as sometimes Molly has had a touch of arthritis, and would occasionally limp on rising from a sleeping position. I had been buying her the Pedigree joint care treats, which are high in glucosamine, but since feeding Molly this food the need to purchase these has diminished.
The food also contains fruit and vegetables- including russet potatoes, and blackcurrants from prairie farms. There are also red delicious apples and cranberries from the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, and organic sea vegetables from the cold North Pacific waters which include kelp and dulce. The food is bursting with vegetables including peas - these are from prairie farms in Alberta & Saskatchewan, whole carrots from British Columbia & Alberta, and sweet potatoes, squashes and even vine ripened tomatoes make an appearance.
What I am also very interested in is that this food also has an inclusion of grasses and weeds, which a dog in the wild would forage for as part of its natural behaviour. So you can expect to see ingredients including sweet fennel and peppermint, chamomile and marigold flowers.
The kibbles have a strong but pleasant aroma and Molly adores them. Furthermore I can honestly say I have a dog with a new lease of life. She is absolutely on top form. There is no sign of her arthritis and her coat is the most glossy that I have ever seen it. I have no doubt that this food has transformed her life, and has taken years off her age in terms of how she acts, and furthermore there are no signs of her allergies at all.
All the ingredients are fit for human consumption so there is no low grade meat or fish included in the diet at all. Price-wise I think it is excellent value. A bag containing 2.5kg is £13.99 and lasts for ages. As Molly is small breed her size dictates a measure of food between 55-115 g per day, so this bag size would easily last 1-2 months, depending on how active your Shih Tzu was. So it is certainly not an expensive purchase. Larger breeds such as retrievers would need 375-500g per day, so this would work out to be a more expensive option, but still good value for a food so rich in nourishment. There is also the option for larger breeds to purchase giant size bags weighing 13.5 kg, which retail for around the £50 mark. What I would say, however, is that we have not had to buy other treats for Molly, mixer biscuits and so on, and she has been fed exclusively on this food with the exception of the odd foil tray of Lily's Kitchen food which she loves too!
What we did in the beginning was to very gradually introduce a little of the food in place of her normal diet, as what you shouldn't do with any change of diet is implement it in one go, as this can trigger stomach upsets. They advise you to feed twice a day and that was fine for Molly as she ate in that way already. By about 5 days the transition was complete and Molly was able to exclusively enjoy her new food, with no side effects at all. You just need to ensure a steady supply of water is readily available.
It is thought that this food may help to prevent diabetes in dogs as it is low in carbohydrates, and so prevents insulin resistance. I hope this is true as this is a dreadful condition which can affect ageing dogs in particular.
The food comes in a variety of forms including those for senior dogs and puppies and there is even a cat food out there. Work is in progress to produce some healthy treats which should also soon be available.
Their main website is at www.orijen.ca and there is a UK website at www.orijenpetfoods.co.uk where a mail order service is available. Many of the online suppliers of pet foods stock this line now, and you will also find it in certain garden centres which have pet food sections. I have just ordered some from Petplanet and it was free postage for the 7kg bag.
I will never go back to supermarket dog food again. I have been so impressed by this product that my next puppy will be fed exclusively on this food without a doubt. It has made Molly's coat shine, her arthritis had disappeared, and her energy and well being has been enhanced in a few short weeks. The ingredients are fit for a banquet, and the product is made with care and respect for both the animals that provide it and the animals that consume it.
This review is also published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
Summary: A food which is excellent in every aspect.