Orijen’s dry dog food line is aimed at owners who want the very best quality for their dogs, and who are willing to pay the highest prices. For the large breed owner, this will be a particular concern, considering how much those big jaws can chomp through.
A comprehensive feeding guideline is included on the pack, which suggests different amounts depending on the size your breed will be expected to reach as an adult and his current weight. Roughly, a large breed at eight weeks will go through 250-300 grams a day, rising to 600-800 when he grows to 30-50 kgs – after that, the suggested daily intake drops back a little. I have fed a little more than the guideline suggests as a result of monitoring my puppy’s ribcage prominince and hunger levels. Frank currently gets through one 13kg bag in just over three weeks.
Orijen markets their range as being “biologically appropriate”, and the ingredients list does indeed make for impressive reading. The first several listed ingredients are all meat or fish, and there are no grains, fillers, preservatives or any other junk in this dry food mix. I feel confident I am giving my pup an excellent nutritional intake with this food.
He enjoys eating it, and never gets bored or goes off the taste. He is an energetic, playful puppy. His glossy coat does look superb, which I assume is thanks to the food. His stools are currently firm, though I do supplement his Orijen with a little tinned pumpkin. When switching to Orijen, you do need to make the transition very slowly and carefully. It is a rich food, whose ingredients may be quite unlike your puppy’s previous food.
The kibble size is fairly small, and almost cuboid in shape. This is to accommodate the mouths of everything from young puppies to fullly grown dogs. It does make it easier for dogs to wolf down the food without chewing/breaking it up, as Frank tends to do.
One thing that can put large breed owners off this food is the protein levels. We have all heard the warnings about not feeding large breed puppies a food with high protein, as it is supposed to cause their bones to grow at too fast a rate. Orijen highlights the “countless debunkings” of this “myth”, asserting that there is “no direct link” between high protein and skeletal development of puppies. They have published a comprehensivwe white paper about their nutrition, with sections on protein levels, which you can view here.
The protein debate continues to be a divisive one, and some large breed owners will be put off. However, Orijen’s assurance that their high quality ingredients more closely match a dog’s natural diet (and protein levels) than cheaper commercial foods is one I find convincing.
What is certainly important for large breed skeletal development is the correct calcium/phosphorous ratio, and Orijen Large Breed Puppy has this nailed at 1.2:1. Orijen also states that it does not add calcium or phosphorous, but supplies it through natural ingredients (such as low-ash chicken).
This dry food also contains decent levels of glucosamine and chrondrotin for support of healthy joint development, though you may still wish to supplement these.
OVERALL: It is expensive, but it is the best I could find for my puppy. Its ingredients and tailoring for large breeds cannot be faulted, which is a hard thing to find in the current market. Frank enjoys it, and I am confident it is giving him the best possible nutrition available from a commercial dry food diet.