Acana vs Orijen Dog Food – Which Is Better In 2021?

Written by: Peter Laskay
Reviewed by: Amber LaRock
Last updated on:
acana vs orijen

This is my detailed comparison of Acana vs Orijen dog food brands in 2021.

As a pet lover, I feel obligated to give the best to my own dogs and cats and give the right advice to my online visitors. 

That’s why this article was born, in which I compared Acana and Orijen dog food based on all possible aspects.

 The same popular company manufactures both brands, so there are no quality problems with either. However, there are noticeable differences. 

Orijen contains more meat, but Acana guarantees nearly the same quality at a more affordable price. 

The final decision depends on several factors, but you can learn all about the two brands and the food options they offer from my article.

Let’s start with the review!

Why you should trust me

Whether you’re experienced in dog and other pet topics or not, I’m sure you’re in the right place. I do my best to provide the best and most reliable information possible to my readers.

My name is Peter Laskay, and I have been a pet lover since I was a child. One of the most important places in my life is to gain as much knowledge as possible about pet care. And I want to pass this knowledge on to my blog visitors.

Should you have any questions at any time, feel free to contact me using the contact information on the website.

More about Acana and Orijen

It is no coincidence that the packaging of Acana and Orijen dog food is similar. Champion Petfoods manufactures both brands. This is an excellent and popular company. 

When it comes to quality, there are few better companies than Champion. The ingredients are natural, healthy, and the way they are sourced is not hidden for a moment. 

Every protein, fats, carbohydrates, and other ingredients are sourced by the company with local suppliers’ help. This guarantees the maximum quality that makes customers stick to Acana and Orijen products. 

Foods from both brands meet the AAFCO recommended nutrient profile for dogs.

Acana is a mixture of the words Alberta and Canada. This brand is Champion Petfood’s first branded product, which means it has been around for 30 years. It has been considered a premium dog food since its first introduction, and its success among pet owners is unbroken.

Orijen was introduced in 2005 by the company. This dish got its name from the word “origin”. The manufacturer’s goal was to develop a product that is as close as possible to a natural and ancient diet.

What does “Biologically appropriate” means?

Reinhard Muhlenfeld founded champion Petfood in 1985. Muhlenfeld’s goal was to produce a biologically appropriate diet. This means that these foods should be as close to natural as possible. 

According to experts, the body and digestive system of dogs have not changed significantly since domestication. Therefore, it is worth striving to provide them with a diet similar to that of wolves. Acana and Orijen foods have a protein content of 30-40% for this reason.

Product lines

Acana and Orijen do not have as wide a selection as other commercial dog food. Nevertheless, anyone who chooses these two brands for their dog can be satisfied. 

In addition to sourcing premium ingredients, manufacturers have also made sure to produce recipes for dogs of all sizes, life stages, and nutritional needs. So let’s see what offers Acana and Orijen have.

Acana Singles

Acana has more products than Orijen. They are all high in protein and low in carbs, and many of them are grain-free. One of the most popular Acana range is Singles. 

Acana Singles’ products are practically Limited Ingredient recipes containing one type of protein source and few other ingredients. This, in turn, results in less problematic protein or carbohydrate sources in the food. 

This type of diet is ideal for dogs with sensitivities or allergies. You can choose from flavors such as Duck & Pumpkin, Turkey & Greens, Lamb & Pumpkin, Pork & Squash, and Beef & Pumpkin in this range.


Acana Puppy formulas

Puppies, by definition, have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. The quantity and quality of proteins required for growth are critical. Acana has products made specifically for puppies. There are three of these: Puppy Small Breed, Puppy & Junior, and Puppy Large Breed.


Acana Regionals 

Each of these products is also biologically compatible. The manufacturer makes Regionals recipes exclusively from ingredients found in Kentucky. Variants like American Waters, Meadowland, Wild Atlantic, and Grasslands are included.


Acana freeze-dried food and treats

I put products like freeze-dried foods and treats, and biscuits in this group. Freeze-drying is a very advantageous processing method, as the food retains its nutrient content as much as possible during preservation. 

Biscuits are high in protein and usually contain some kind of grain-free carbohydrate source. You will surely be able to impress your dog with this.


Orijen Lineup

In terms of offers, Orijen makes things even less complicated. The brand has a total of nine dry foods. Four of these recipes are right for every dog, and only differences in taste can be discovered. These are Original, Six Fish, Tundra, and Regional Red. All of these products are grain-free.


There are 5 more dry foods for Orien. Each of these satisfies some unique needs. 

The Puppy formula is ideal for all kinds of puppies. The Puppy Large formula was developed for our large young four-legged friends. Also, there is a Senior recipe on offer that meets the nutritional needs of older dogs. The Small Breed recipe is essentially suitable for small dogs due to small kibbles. The Fit & Trim formula contains a lot of lean meat, fiber, and L-carnitine. This provides maximum support for weight management. 

All of these products are also grain-free.


If all that weren’t enough, Orijen also has freeze-dried treats. That is, the manufacturer’s Original, Tundra, Six Fish, and Regional formulas were packaged in sachets with 90% animal ingredient content. We can make meals similar to canned wet food with just rehydration. If your dog is very picky, consider these.


Acana vs Orijen dog food comparisons

To be able to compare two brands properly, I have to contrast their similar products. Since both Acana and Orijen have Puppy formulas, I will review the most popular products from this range. After that, I compare them to find out which one is better. Let’s see!

ACANA Puppy & Junior Formula Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Whole Green Peas
  • Features EPA, DHA, and taurine
  • Supports your pup’s healthy skin and coat
  • Coated with freeze-dried turkey liver
  • Made in the USA

Growing puppies need plenty of protein and other useful nutrients. Because of this, this recipe is a perfect choice for them. 

Four of the first five ingredients are high-quality protein sources. Deboned chicken and turkey are well digestible meats and provide all the necessary amino acids for growth. 

Turkey meal and chicken meal further increase the protein content. Besides, they have very good glucosamine and chondroitin content. 

Other animal sources are included in this recipe. Examples include Flounder, Cage-Free Eggs, and various chicken organs. The latter provides plenty of useful vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for puppies. 

Seeing these protein sources, it is no wonder that the product’s total protein content is 31%. 

The recipe is also ideal for gluten- and grain-free, i.e., sensitive dogs. It includes carbohydrate sources such as Whole Green Peas, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Yellow Peas. They have a good effect on the intestinal tract due to their digestibility and fiber content

There are other fiber sources among the ingredients, such as lens fiber. Together, they increase the amount of this nutrient in the recipe to 5%. This is just ideal, neither little nor many. 

The main fat sources are Chicken Fat and Pollock Oil, which perfectly balances omega fatty acids. These fatty acids have a good effect on the health of the skin and coat. 

And that’s still not all. This dish contains plenty of added fruits, vegetables, and probiotics. Together, they make your pup’s immune system extremely strong, which can lay the foundation for a healthy life.


ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, flounder, Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel
  • Contains 85% poultry and fish ingredients
  • Made in the USA
  • Developed for puppies
  • Coated with freeze-dried liver

If you liked Acana’s puppy formula, you would love Orijen’s. This recipe makes it even more apparent that it was developed specifically for puppies. 

Each of the first five ingredients in poultry meat, eggs, or fish. Deboned chicken and a deboned turkey are excellent sources of protein that are not only tasty but well digestible. 

Flounder, Eggs, and Whole Atlantic Mackerel are full of protein, so it’s no wonder the product’s crude protein content is 38%. You can be pretty sure that your puppy will have no problem building lean muscle mass. 

Also, we find other fish in the recipe, such as Whole Atlantic Herring. Fish is an excellent source of omega fatty acids that contribute to the health of puppies ’brains, coats, and skin. 

Like the Acana puppy formula, we also find chicken organs here that are extremely healthy. 

Carbohydrate sources include Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, and Whole Green Peas. These are gluten and grain-free, well digestible, and full of fiber and other useful nutrients. 

In addition to fish, the fat content of the product is given by chicken fat, making the food tastier and healthier for dogs. This food also contains plenty of added vegetables, fruits, and probiotics for overall health.


Comparison table:

Brand:AcanaOrijen
First 5 ingredients:Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Whole Green PeasDeboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, flounder, Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel
Main Protein SourcesDeboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Turkey MealDeboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, flounder, Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel
Main Carb sources:Whole Green Peas, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Yellow Peas, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Whole Green Peas
Other ingredients:Chicken Organs, Chicken Fat, Pollock Oil, Added fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and mineralsChicken Organs, Chicken Fat, Pollock Oil, Added fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals
Protein content31%38%
Fat Content:19%20%
Fiber Content:5%6%
Omega-3:1.3%0.8%
Omega-6:2.3%3.5%
Price:$2.43/lb.$3.57/lb.

It is not easy to make a decision about which food is better. I cannot complain about the quality of the ingredients for any of these products. 

After all, both contain real meat or a meat meal. Carbohydrates are highly digestible, complex, gluten and grain-free. When two recipes are so similar, that’s when I tend to look at nutrient ratios. 

Orijen has a protein content of 38%, which is very positive. After all, a puppy needs a huge amount of amino acids to grow. Because of this, Orijen would win the competition in terms of protein. 

There is not much difference between the amounts of other macronutrients. 

The situation is different for omega fatty acids. The Orijen puppy formula contains more omega. However, the Acana puppy formula has more omega 3 and is also more balanced in fatty acids. For this reason, for me, Acana’s product is more positive from this perspective. 

In terms of price, Acana is also the winner. Although at $ 2.43 / lb. the price isn’t considered cheap, yet it’s better than $ 3.57 / lb. Overall, I have to say that Acana’s product is better than Orijen’s among the Puppy formulas.

Acana and Orijen Nutrition Comparison

I have previously compared two dog foods developed for similar purposes. Now, however, I would like to write about Acana and Orijen products in general. 

All recipes can be said to provide a healthy and balanced diet for dogs. However, the differences between the quantity and quality of the ingredients are worth examining. 

This way, we can get closer to choosing the best formula for our pooch. Remember that you should consult your veterinarian before making any dietary changes.

Meat content

The most important ingredient in any dog ​​food is meat. If a food does not contain real meat or a meat meal, it should be a red flag. 

I definitely have to note; a meat meal is not a bad thing. It is a concentrated version of real meat, meaning it is just as biologically valuable. 

In the case of Acana and Orijen, neither the quantity nor the meat’s quality is at all a problem. What is positive for me about these brands is that their recipes contain meat and various organs that are excellent sources of nutrients. 

However, in terms of meat content, there is a difference between Acana and Orijen. 75-80% of Orijen products are real meat. For Acana, that number is “only” 40-65%. However, keep in mind that this is still more than an average competitor. 

Another important difference is variety. Orijen uses several types of meat in its recipes. On the other hand, it is subjective whether more is better. If all meat is well digestible and of high quality, multiple sources will provide a more balanced supply of amino acids. 

Considering these in terms of meat content, Orijen is the winner.

Protein content

The importance of protein in a dog’s diet cannot be stressed enough. Because they are biologically carnivorous animals, this nutrient is essential for their bodies. 

It is a very good source of calories, yet it provides the body with the amino acids it needs to grow. All dogs will be more energetic with a proper protein diet. Proteins and amino acids play a key role in several important bodily processes. 

As the products of both brands are high in meat, their protein content also meets expectations. However, Orijen far outperforms in this area. The products of this company have an average protein content of 38-42%. 

Acana products, on the other hand, provide a protein content of 28-33%. Although a higher protein content may be preferable in some cases, it is too much for average dogs. The same is true, for example, in dogs with kidney disease

The protein content of Acana, on the other hand, is adequate for almost all canines. Try consulting your veterinarian to see if a diet is right for your dog. 

The protein content of Acana is more suitable for average dogs.

Carbs

In terms of carbs, it’s also worth looking at the quantity and the quality. Both brands are low in carbs. For Orijen, this number is below 25%; for Acana, it is 25-30%. 

Low carb content has benefits for all dogs. This is especially true in the case of obesity or diabetes. 

What is more important than quantity is quality. The two companies use the best possible carbohydrate sources. None of the products contain cheap fillers such as wheat, corn, or soy. 

Both brands offer grain inclusive and grain-free products. The best grains are oatmeal, sorghum, millet, and whole oats. 

Most Orijen’s products are grain-free, so if your dog suffers from tenderness, this brand may be a better choice.

Fat content

Fats are very concentrated sources of energy. But that’s not the only reason they’re important in a dog’s diet. 

This is because there are plenty of vitamins that fats need to dissolve and use. But fats also contain essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6. These have positive effects on the development of dogs’ brains and the skin and coat’s health. 

The best sources of fat are a variety of meats and fish. Fish, fish oil, and plant sources like flaxseed contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. 

There is no big difference in fat content between the two brands. Acana foods have a fat content of 15-17%, and Orijen foods have 18-20%. 

However, Orijen recipes usually have more fish and other sources of omega-3. Therefore, the products of this brand have a more balanced omega fatty acid profile.

Flavor options

You can buy the healthiest food in the world. If your dog doesn’t eat it, the whole thing isn’t worth much. 

However, the digestive system of dogs prefers consistency. That is, you should not change your diet too often even if you choose the same range of the same brand, just a different flavor. Even such a small change can upset a dog’s digestion for a long time. 

Fortunately, the Acana and Orijen recipes also contain a lot of meat. Therefore, in general, dogs are delighted with both brands. Orijen’s freeze-dried formula, in particular, will satisfy the appetite of every canine. 

However, despite the majestic taste, the wide variety of options is quite important in some cases. There may be many recipes with sensitive dogs to try before we can find the most suitable one. 

Acana has a wider range of variety and limited ingredients dog food that rules out the possibility of allergens. 

The truth is that both brands are outstanding in terms of flavors. Acana, on the other hand, offers a wider selection. This will make the decision easier if you are looking for a product for your dog with individual nutritional or taste needs.

Cost

It’s worth knowing that premium-quality dog ​​food is usually more expensive. The reason is simple. Good and carefully selected ingredients are not cheap. 

Keeping a dog comes at a high cost, and the truth is, it’s not worth saving on food. This is because a lower quality product can also cause health problems in the long run. Not only is this dangerous for your pet, but a lot of veterinary visits can be an extra cost for you later on as well. 

Both Acana and Orijen are premium brands. Therefore, their costs are also higher than average commercial dog food. However, keep in mind that this is due to the high meat content, as it is the most expensive item in any recipe. 

Of the two brands, Acana is the one that is significantly cheaper per pound. This is because Orijen uses several ingredients of animal origin. However, if you want affordable premium dog food, choose Acana.

Acana and Orijen recall history

When I review one or more brands, I always look at current and past recalls. These are initiated by the FDA, usually because of some potential source of danger. Fortunately, the FDA has a detailed list from which you can easily search your chosen brand’s recall history. 

Neither Acana nor Orijen has an active or previous recall. 

Orijen cat food once had a recall in Australia due to irradiation. This is a special preservation process that can be used to remove microorganisms from food. However, this procedure can be detrimental to the health of your pets. 

It is also worth knowing that there has already been a lawsuit against the parent company, i.e., Champion pet foods. According to the lawsuit, the company did not properly disclose heavy metals in pet foods. 

Of course, I still recommend Acana and Orijen in the same way. On the one hand, it was “just” a lawsuit, not a proven fact. On the other hand, the parent company’s case cannot be closely linked to either Acana or Orijen. 

My suggestion is that whatever brand you choose for your dog, keep track of your recall history and current status.

Real customer reviews

This section looks at the real customer reviews of the most popular products from the two brands. I believe this is how I get a real picture of both dog food.

All reviews are from Chewy’s website.

ACANA Meadowland Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Positive

Best dog food ever

  • I have nine docs all of them eat this food at they are happy and satisfied after eating this food they love it every single one of them I highly recommend this dog food and I hope chewy never discontinues supplying it seems to be out of stock in different flavors I hope they keep on top of it it’s a wonderful wonderful dog food and it’s organic and GMO-free yay !!!

Very happy with acana

  • Will only feed my dogs acana. Stopped my dog from having ear issues and they love it!


Negative

Acana Meadowland

  • I have two dogs. My lab mix I feed Orijen Regional Red and in my dachshund I feed Acana Meadowland and I’ve noticed a big difference in these foods. Idk if it’s just this specific type of Acana but compared to Orijen this food is very hard, as the kibble from NB or TOTW.. you can’t break it with your fingers. There is also a HORRIBLE smell to it that Idk how to describe. I still love both Acana and Orijen, but I might just switch my dachshund to Orijen original after this bag only because Orijen seems to be the standard of quality I’m looking for in a kibble dog food.

Meadowland Regional Formula

  • This dry food for dogs is okay. I rated it a 4 star because it delivers quality overall. It is an average high-quality food however, my dogs did not seem too crazy about it. One thing I did notice is that the fur on them was not as shiny as other dry food I have tried. I am not going to sugar coat things.


ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Positive

I woke up!

  • I took the Orijen first five ingredients challenge and compared them with my pet’s current food. Wow, what a difference! Switched to Orijen right away and Milo is so happy and doesn’t circle his food anymore, he eats it right away and wants more!

Love this brand

  • and am THRILLED that it’s back with Chewy. Review sites all recommend it, and the ingredients are good quality. My dogs have done well with the Six Fish in the past, and are currently doing great on Original. We’ll be ordering our next bag of Orijen from Chewy, just like in the olden days. 🙂


Negative

Superb product, but pricey

  • I decided to splurge and test if it would help my 2-year-old whippet with his sensitive stomach. My experiment did not result in measurable improvements (which means his normal food is not a cause of his intestinal problems). The pups, however, like the food a lot, so I decided to use the kibbles as a treat and a bit of it as a topping for their regular meals. It definitely is a high quality, 5-star product, and I just wish it was more affordable, so I -one star for price. The food actually smells like food (fishy-smelling, but in a good way IMHO).

My dogs are ambivalent about it

  • My dogs are not in love with this food. They eventually will eat it. Not sure I would buy it again.


My final verdict about Acana vs Orijen

In this comparative article, I have tried to review both brands from as many perspectives as possible. 

First of all, I note that whichever one you choose, you will not go wrong. Both are made up of high-quality ingredients. It is clear that the manufacturers have put a lot of energy into making the best possible dog food. 

However, there are differences. Orijen products contain more meat and other useful animal-based ingredients. Of course, this has its advantages, but also its disadvantages. 

The downside is that Orijen dog food is much more expensive. Acana products are more affordable and offer a wider selection, including deservedly popular limited ingredient recipes. 

So my final suggestion is that no matter which one you choose, both brands are excellent. If your dog needs high protein content and impeccable quality ingredients and your budget allow, Orijen will be your brand. If you want to spend a little less but insist on the right quality, choose Acana.

Frequently asked questions

Which is better acana or orijen?

Examining the ingredients, it can be concluded that Orijen products have more meat and the ingredients are of slightly better quality. Acana, on the other hand, is much more affordable. Therefore, it is an excellent alternative to Orijen.

Has Orijen ever had a recall?

There are no records that Orijen has ever had a recall in the US or Canada.

Where can I buy Acana and Orijen?

Both brands are available at many retailers. Nowadays, the easiest way to purchase is to shop online. If possible, buy from a reputable online retailer, such as Chewy or Amazon.

Photo of author
Author:
Hey, my name is Peter, and I am the owner of this site. I have loved animals since I was a kid. I am constantly training myself; I recently obtained an accredited certificate in pet nutrition. But I am constantly learning about training, grooming for dogs and cats. I am currently a happy owner of two dogs, six cats, and two red-eared sliders. My goal is to provide my visitors with the most authentic information possible on any pet-related topic.
Amber LaRock
Reviewed By An Expert:

My name is Amber, and I am a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the majority of my career working in emergency medicine but recently transitioned to creating accurate pet care information online. There is nothing more important to me than helping pet owners understand their furry friend’s health, and giving you the tools you need to offer your pet the best future possible!