Your Questions Answered
WE’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT DOGS, CATS AND MAKING FOOD. AND WE LOVE SPEAKING WITH PET LOVERS.
Your peace of mind is our most important goal. If your question is not answered in our FAQs, or you want to chat about our Biologically Appropriate™ foods and how they are made, please contact our Customer Care Team.
- Biologically Appropriate™
- Fresh Regional Ingredients
- Never Outsourced
- Packaging and Food Storage
- Feeding Tips
- Nutrition and Health
Q. WHAT DOES BIOLOGICALLY APPROPRIATE™ MEAN?
The Biologically Appropriate™ concept is Simple: mirror the freshness and variety of meats that dogs and cats are evolved to eat. For more information on our Biologically Appropriate™ philosophy and to view the 5 principles that reflect our commitment, please visit Biologically Appropriate™.
Q. WHAT DOES WHOLEPREY™ MEAN?
Nature matched the nutrients in whole prey animals to perfectly meet your dog or cat’s needs. ORIJEN WholePrey™ represents the evolution of ORIJEN foods, incorporating meats, organs and cartilage in ratios that mirror the natural diet, and eliminate the need for long lists of synthetic ingredients.
For more information on WholePrey™, visit Biologically Appropriate™.
Q: WHAT IS MEATMATH®?
Biologically Appropriate™ foods are formulated to match the eating anatomy of the animal they are intended for. As dogs and cats are evolved as carnivores, that means they require high concentrations of meat, high inclusions of fresh meat, and a rich diversity of meat. Is your food Biologically Appropriate™? Answer the three meat questions:
• HOW MUCH MEAT IS IN THE TOTAL DIET?
• HOW MUCH FRESH MEAT?
• HOW MANY MEATS?
Q: WHY DO ORIJEN FOODS CONTAIN BOTANICALS?
ORIJEN is designed to match the natural diet as closely as is possible in a kibble format. Botanicals are a part of the natural diet for all cats and dogs, and play an important role in bridging the gap between good health and peak conditioning. The botanicals found in ORIJEN are selected by one of North America’s leading Homeopathic Veterinarians.
Q. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIJEN AND ACANA FOODS?
While there are many differences between ACANA and ORIJEN, both diets reflect our belief in the importance of providing diets that are Biologically Appropriate™, using ingredients that are Fresh, Regional, and Never Outsourcing any part of the cooking or packaging of our Brands.
When comparing the 2 brands, let’s ask the 3 Meat Questions:
1. How Much Meat?
ORIJEN has 85-90% Meat, while ACANA foods have 50-75%.
2. How Fresh?
ORIJEN’s foods have 2/3 Fresh meats and ACANA’s have ½ fresh.
3. How Many Meats?
ORIJEN foods have up to 10 meats, while ACANA’s foods feature up to 5.
Put simply, ORIJEN and ACANA foods mimic the natural eating habits of your cat or dog with high fresh meat inclusions and low inclusion of carbohydrates. Although slightly lower in protein than ORIJEN, ACANA provides an unbeatable value and price point that makes Biologically Appropriate™ pet foods accessible to a wide range of pet lovers.
Q: WHY DOESN’T ORIJEN SUPPLEMENT THEIR FOODS WITH AMINO ACIDS AND MINERALS?
Organ meats are a concentrated and natural source of virtually every nutrient your dog needs to thrive, including all essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and vital amino acids.
Densely packed with nearly every nutrient, including heavy doses of B vitamins, organ meats such as kidney, liver and tripe are loaded with the minerals phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine, and provide important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, all of which nourish dogs and cats as nature intended.
Which is why you will find amino acids, including taurine or minerals like calcium and phosphorus on the guaranteed analysis but not on the ingredient list!
Q: HOW IS IT THAT ORIJEN FOODS FEATURE 15-20% FAT, BUT VERY LITTLE FAT IS ADDED TO THE INGREDIENTS?
ORIJEN’s fresh meat inclusions are very high. The two largest nutritional components of fresh meat are protein and fat. By using large inclusions of fresh meat we are able to minimize the amount of added fat in our ingredient list.
Q: WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF ORIJEN’S GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROITIN – IS IT SUPPLEMENTED?
Glucosamine and Chondroitin in ORIJEN formulas occurs naturally in fresh meats used to make our foods. ORIJEN’s WholePrey™ concept means fresh cartilage is included in the ratios your dog or cat would consume in nature.
In fact, ORIJEN contains 85-90% meat, poultry and fish ingredients and our fresh meats in particular are a high source of natural glucosamine and chondroitin. That’s why glucosamine and chondroitin are listed on the guaranteed analysis but not on the ingredient list!
FRESH REGIONAL INGREDIENTS
Q: WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
We choose our ingredient partners carefully, and we set quality and nutritional standards to meet our own food standards. In Alberta, and other areas of Canada we’re connected to regional farmers, ranchers and fishermen whose values match our own, that we are proud to name. These suppliers provide fresh and custom ingredients that are GMO free, and sustainably and ethically produced. Fruit, vegetable and botanical ingredients will be of table quality, and all meat ingredients come from animals deemed fit for human consumption.
Visit our website to learn more about our trusted suppliers of fresh regional ingredients: Fresh Regional Ingredients.
Q: HUMAN GRADE - ARE ORIJEN INGREDIENTS HUMAN GRADE?
The fresh meats, meat meals and fat ingredients we use are produced exclusively from animals that have been deemed as fit for human consumption, and are produced in category 3 facilities (human grade facilities, no flushing, and no 4-D animal parts permitted on premises).
All fruits and vegetables used in ORIJEN foods are also passed as fit for human consumption.
Q: FRESH OR RAW? - WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Refrigeration is the only means of preservation for our fresh meats, and our raw meats are flash-frozen at peak season to lock in their natural goodness.
Unlike most commercial pet foods, ORIJEN is made with regional meats that are delivered fresh or raw each day, and are a key factor in the superior palatability and feeding performance of ORIJEN.
Q: DO ACANA AND ORIJEN DOG AND CAT FOOD FORMULAS CONTAIN ANY INGREDIENTS FROM CHINA?
We do not source ingredients from China. There are no ingredients from China used in the preparation of our dog and cat foods, including vitamins and minerals — we are 100% China-free.
Q: ETHOXYQUIN - DOES ORIJEN CONTAIN ETHOXYQUIN?
Champion’s ingredients and foods are never preserved with Ethoxyquin or any other chemical preservative.
Ethoxyquin is typically used as a preservative in fish ingredients, and is commonly found in fish ingredients produced in North America. Champion uses two kinds of fish ingredients – fresh fish, and fish meals.
FRESH FISH. Our fresh fish is caught wild within our region and arrives FRESH – which is defined as ‘never frozen and with no preservatives’. Our fresh fish never contain Ethoxyquin.
FISH MEALS. Ethoxyquin preservatives are common throughout the fish meal supply chain, so Champion works directly with our fish meal suppliers (no brokers or middlemen) and we pay them a premium to have our fish meals preserved with our proprietary blend of Vitamin E and botanical extracts. Our fish meals are never preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Champion’s Ethoxyquin standard is set at true trace level, not to exceed 5 ppm (parts per million) of Ethoxyquin, which is 0.0005%, or one half of one thousandth of 1% – the lower limit of what most certified laboratories are able to detect or measure.
Q: BHA/BHT - DOES ORIJEN CONTAIN BHA/BHT?
Champion’s ingredients and foods are never preserved with BHA/BHT or any other chemical preservative.
Champion never adds BHA or BHT (or any other chemical preservative) to our pet foods or ingredients, and all ingredients and foods are preserved with our proprietary blend of vitamin E with botanical extracts.
As BHA and BHT are typically present in pet food ingredient supply chains (for example, BHA and BHT are often present in the feed fed to chickens, turkey or duck) we work with our suppliers to ensure our ingredients enable Champion’s final product standards.
Champion’s BHA, BHT standard is set at true trace level not to exceed 5 ppm (parts per million) of BHA/BHT, which is 0.0005%, or one half of one thousandth of 1% – the lower limit of what most certified laboratories are able to detect or measure.
Q. WHO MAKES ORIJEN’S FOODS, AND WHERE ARE THEY MADE?
Both ORIJEN and ACANA foods are made by Champion Petfoods. We cook our foods exclusively for pet lovers in Canada and around the world in our NorthStar® kitchens in Morinville, Alberta.
Our Freeze Dried ORIJEN Foods and Treats are produced exclusively in our Freeze-Dry kitchen in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
It’s simple – we don’t allow our foods to be made by anyone else and we don’t make any other foods.
Q. WHAT TYPE OF QUALITY ASSURANCE PROCESSES DO YOU FOLLOW?
At all stages of production and preparation, we utilize both Good Manufacturing Principals – a worldwide system for the control and management of manufacturing and quality testing of foods – and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Analysis (HACCP) – an internationally recognized and systematic preventive approach to food safety.
Our quality management systems extend well beyond our factory – from our distributor partners and to our ingredient suppliers, all of whom we know and trust. All meat ingredients are approved by the Government of Canada and produced exclusively from animals classified fit for human consumption.
Our fresh meats, including chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, beef, pork, wild boar, bison and lamb are produced within our region in dedicated, federally approved human grade facilities. Our fresh regional ingredients truly meet the AAFCO definition for “fresh,” where refrigeration is their only form of preservation – no chemicals, heat, or freezing!
But perhaps the best assurance of quality is our international reputation of authenticity. At Champion, our foods are never outsourced. You can be assured that ORIJEN is never produced or packaged in any facility other than our own.
Q. ORIJEN CANS. WHERE ARE THEY?
Making canned food is a very different production process, and almost all canned pet foods in North America are made in one of two very large canning companies. While we could easily follow the industry model and have ORIJEN produced for us in cans, we’re just not comfortable with the idea of having ORIJEN made outside of our own facilities, and therefore have no plans for ORIJEN in cans.
That said, ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Food is an excellent alternative to conventional canned foods. Unlike conventional canned foods, ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Foods are made with authentically fresh ingredients, contain 90% of fresh or raw meats, and are prepared without cooking, so they fully retain all of the natural taste and goodness of our authentically fresh ingredients.
Q. WHAT IS THE FIRST ALERT PET FOOD RECALL PROGRAM?
Champion Petfoods is proud to be a member of the First Alert Pet Food Recall Program. This is a voluntary effort consisting of a coalition of responsible pet food producers who agree to alert their customers and consumers in the event any product is involved in a recall.
We are committed to the safety of our foods and to the well-being of cats and dogs and the people who love them. In the unlikely event that one of our foods is recalled, we will contact you immediately with information regarding the affected products, reason for the recall, and any steps that may need to be taken. We will post information on our website and will notify the appropriate regulatory agencies.
If you are interested in this program, please email us with the subject FIRST ALERT PROGRAM. By doing this, you indicate your willingness to have your contact information stored and accessed by Champion Petfoods to be used in the unlikely event of a product recall.
Q. DO YOU PERFORM ANY TYPE OF ANIMAL TESTING?
Our position on animal testing is simple – we conduct only those tests in which we would allow our own companion dogs and cats to participate. If it’s not OK for our dogs and cats, THEN IT’S NOT OK FOR ANY OTHER CATS AND DOGS.
We perform palatability (taste), urine pH, digestibility (the latter through stool analysis only) and AAFCO feeding trials.
PACKAGING AND FOOD STORAGE
Q. WHY ARE SOME OF YOUR BAGS VACUUM PACKED AND OTHERS NOT?
Contrary to popular belief, our bags are not vacuum packed. To keep our foods as fresh as possible, ORIJEN and ACANA foil lined bags are impermeable to oxygen transfer from the outside to the inside and vice versa. Once the bags are sealed, oxygen transfer is impossible.
Residual oxygen left in the bag when it is sealed depends on the amount of air pushed out by our air evacuation system (not to be confused with vacuum packing). Depending on how food enters the package, food density and ambient temperature, some bags will contain more air and some less.
While some of our packages will appear vacuumed and others not, the food in each bag will be equally fresh.
Q. STORING YOUR ORIJEN FOOD
Once opened, you can store your ORIJEN in an airtight container. Some ORIJEN bags may feature a re-sealable zipper function which can be used as well – if your bag does not have a zipper, then you can also tightly roll up the package to maintain airtight conditions after opening.
Refrigeration of ORIJEN is not required. Store your ORIJEN food in a cool dry place, with no direct sunlight. A storage temperature of 10 – 20 degrees Celsius is ideal. Prolonged exposure to higher temperatures increases oxidation and reduces shelf life.
Q: BEST BEFORE DATES
The best before (BB) date is printed on the back of the bag at the top of the ORIJEN package. We mark ORIJEN bags DAY MONTH YEAR.
From the time the food is made and packaged at our kitchen, there is about 18 months until expiry. Heat, moisture and light have the biggest impact on ORIJEN’s shelf life.
When kept in a sealed or tightly closed bag, ORIJEN will remain stable for months.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY FEEDING TIPS?
We recommend that you feed your pet twice daily. Simply divide the amount suggested on the feeding guide into two meals, spaced eight to twelve hours apart. You may need to adjust portions as you learn your dog’s ideal daily “maintenance” amount, always keeping in mind that a lean dog is a healthy dog!
WATER: About 70 percent of your dog (or cat’s) body is made up of water, which is vital for cell function and tissue lubrication. In fact, water is more important to your dog or cat than any other nutrient. Make sure FRESH and CLEAN is always available for your pet!
DON’T OVERFEED: Many dogs have large appetites and will eat all you feed them. As ORIJEN foods are highly palatable, you need to be careful not to overfeed.
Experiencing loose stools? Many stool issues can be corrected by lowering the amounts fed during the day, as loose stool is a common result of over feeding.
Weight Gain: Obesity at any age can cause serious health issues. While all of our foods have feeding guidelines printed on the package, every dog is different and these guides really are just a starting point.
Keep a close eye on your dog or cat’s body condition. If he or she looks too thin, feed a little more. If he looks like he is carrying too much weight, scale back a little at a time.
Hungry all the time? While your dog or cat may act hungry, their body condition is the best gauge of how much to feed. If you’re having problems, just call us.
TREATS: We all love to give our dogs treats. However, treats should be given in moderation and should represent ten percent or less of your dog’s daily food intake. The rest should come from a nutritionally complete feeding program.
When using treats frequently, such as during training exercises, try to use the smallest pieces you can.
Q: WHAT IS A ROTATIONAL DIET? CAN I DO THIS WITH ORIJEN?
Rotating between ORIJEN formulas prevents your pet from getting tired of eating the same thing day in and day out, while offering them a big variety in proteins. A great place to start would be rotating by the bag – when you have finished one formula, your next bag will be a different recipe.
The first time you do introduce a new food for rotation, mix the food 50/50 just to make sure your pet transitions to the new ORIJEN. However, if your pet is more sensitive, do a full transition when introducing a new ORIJEN – after that, you can change at will.
Q: HOW DO I TRANSITION MY DOG TO ORIJEN FOODS?
Dogs and cats are often fed the same food, which means a sudden food change makes it difficult for their digestive systems to adapt, which is why it’s important to introduce the new food gradually. Going slowly will give your dog or cat time to adjust to their new food and will also reduce the chances of digestive upset.
Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% old food. Slowly change the proportions over the next five to seven days by gradually increasing the amount of ORIJEN and decreasing the amount of old food. At the end of this transitioning process, you should be feeding 100% ORIJEN.
NUTRITION AND HEALTH
Q. IS A HIGH PROTEIN FOOD HEALTHY FOR MY PET?
Of course! As there are so many myths circulating about high protein diets, this is probably one of the most commonly asked questions received at our customer service.
Countless studies published over the last 15 years have roundly debunked the high protein myth (often fueled by multinational and marketing companies that still produce or sell low-protein, grain-based foods).
The truth is simple — high-protein diets are Biologically Appropriate for all breeds of dogs and cats. By better matching the natural diets and anatomical physiology of dogs and cats, higher-protein, lower carbohydrate foods better promote their peak health and conditioning.
Today’s conventional pet foods are lower in protein and high in carbohydrates (40-50%). As carbohydrates are not part of the natural diet, it should come as no surprise that carbohydrates are not nutritionally essential (in any amount) for dogs and cats.
Dogs and cats are evolved to derive their energy from animal proteins and fats, not carbohydrates from grains.
Want more information? Please see our White Paper, pages 26, 27 – Protein myths.
Or check the “Myths of High Protein” study published by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Please see our Library for more information on this subject.
Q: PROTEIN LEVELS - DOES HIGHER PROTEIN STRESS THE KIDNEYS?
No. There is no study in science to show a higher protein diet has any negative effect on the kidneys of dogs or cats. Please refer to the articles in our Library for additional information.
Q. URINARY HEALTH - DOES ORIJEN PROMOTE URINARY HEALTH?
Yes. Due to the high meat content and low magnesium content, ORIJEN is naturally acidic and helps promote a healthy bladder.
It is important that pets that are prone to urinary tract infections or developing urinary crystals are allowed all the fresh water they can drink to help flush the urinary tract and dilute the urine. As ORIJEN is much higher in protein and highly nutrient dense, more water intake may be needed to facilitate digestion. ORIJEN foods have a pH between 5.5 and 6, which is naturally mildly acidic and well suited to the maintenance of healthy bladder function in both cats and dogs.
Q: OVERWEIGHT - IS ORIJEN APPROPRIATE FOR MY OVERWEIGHT PET?
Definitely yes! ORIJEN has a Biologically Appropriate™ distribution of energy, where more energy is supplied from protein and less energy is supplied from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are an empty calorie, which means they have no essential function in the body and provide only sugar for energy, which converts quickly to glucose in the blood. If carbohydrates are provided in excess (as they often are), they convert easily into body fat.
Protein supplies the same amount of energy as carbohydrate, but has a very different effect on the body. Unlike carbohydrate, protein is essential for life, and is a Biologically Appropriate source of energy.
Q. LARGE BREED PUPPIES - IS ORIJEN SUITABLE FOR MY LARGE BREED PUPPY OR DOG?
Yes. ORIJEN PUPPY LARGE BREED is formulated specifically for the growth requirement of Large Breed Puppies.
The American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) states that growing large breed puppy diets should have a moderate energy intake and an ideal mineral ratio. Our ORIJEN Large Breed Puppy diet is formulated with these specific needs in mind:
1. The energy content in ORIJEN Large Breed puppy is lower than our regular Puppy diet to prevent an excess of energy (calories) and improper growth. Low glycemic carbohydrate sources promote peak conditioning and help manage body weight
2. Calcium is a minimum of 1.1% and a maximum of 1.4%
3. The ratio of calcium and phosphorus is within what is defined as optimal for growing large breed puppies (1.2:1-1.4:1)
If you would like to read more about the needs of growing large breed puppies please visit our Library.
Q: LARGE BREED DOGS - DOES HIGH PROTEIN AFFECT JOINT HEALTH?
Research into the growth of Great Danes (Nap RC, The Netherlands,) has shown that the protein level of a diet has no significant influence on skeletal development. High protein intake does not result in increased risk for OCD or HD, and there is no effect on the development in the longitudinal growth of the bone. Additionally, while protein does not cause orthopedic problems, other nutrients can.
It is not excess protein that causes joint problems, but over feeding, excessive mineral content, and genetics that can contribute to arthritis and orthopedic problems. Please note that most orthopedic and joint problems are inherited, but puppies and dogs that are overweight have a greater chance of an increase in pain and discomfort, and the potential of developing orthopedic problems as younger animals and arthritis later on in their life.
Q: SENIOR DOGS - IS ORIJEN SUITABLE FOR MY SENIOR DOG?
Absolutely yes! While lower protein diets have traditionally been recommended for senior dogs, this thinking has been roundly dismissed by recent science. As dogs age, a protein-rich diet is especially important for maintaining peak health.
The relationship between carbohydrates and protein is an important factor in the diets of senior dogs. When protein is high, carbohydrates are low. In other words, high protein diets are by nature low in carbohydrates, and that’s great for senior dogs as excessive amount of inappropriate carbohydrates (which are simply sugars) – are that last nutrient needed in any senior dog’s diet.
Please see our White Paper for more information on this subject Library.
Q. WHERE CAN I FIND CARBOHYDRATE CONTENT IN THE GUARANTEED ANALYSIS?
That’s because the AAFCO has decided not to allow carbohydrate content to be listed in the guaranteed analysis. This is a difficult decision to understand, given that carbohydrates comprise over 50% of many conventional pet foods.
You can always determine carbohydrate content by adding protein, fat, moisture, fibre and ash, and then subtracting this sum from a total of 100%. This will give you an approximate idea of the total amount of carbohydrates present in the food.
Q: IS ORIJEN HIGH IN IODINE?
No. ORIJEN diets range from 1.8mg/kg to 7.3mg/kg of iodine– close to the lower limits for iodine established by AAFCO (In canine diets AAFCO sets a minimum of 1.5mg/kg to a maximum of 50mg/kg). The kelp in ORIJEN is rich in 64 minerals that are in a highly bioavailable organic form.