If your dog is like most dogs, there’s a good chance that they eat the same thing for every meal. So, it makes sense that you want to ensure that you’re feeding them the best food possible.
Taste of the Wild and Orijen both claim to offer balanced, nature-inspired nutrition that will do a canine body good. But the world of dog food is full of companies promising the most natural, responsibly sourced ingredients, and in many cases, these promises are more marketing than truth.
We’ve reviewed and compared these two brands to determine if they follow through on these promises. Find out which one is the best choice for your hungry pup.
A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Orijen
After reviewing these two premium dog food labels, Orijen is our preferred brand. Orijen is independently owned and manufactured, uses local ingredients whenever possible, has never been recalled, and provides tons of protein without leaning on plant-based supplementation.
However, as you’ll see throughout our comparison, Taste of the Wild is still a great brand. Plus, Orijen has nothing to offer dogs that perform their best on a grain-inclusive, rather than grain-free, diet.
Here’s everything you should know before running out and buying a bag of Orijen dog food for your hungry pooch.
About Taste of the Wild
As a brand, Taste of the Wild claims to provide nutrition based on the diets of wild canines, such as wolves and foxes.
Taste of the Wild rose to prominence as one of the top grain-free dog food manufacturers. While the company still offers a wide variety of grain-free dry and wet foods, recent changes in the pet food industry have led to the introduction of several grain-inclusive recipes as well.
Who Owns Taste of the Wild? Where Is It Made?
The Taste of the Wild label is owned and manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, a large but independently owned pet food company.
Diamond Pet Foods is based in the United States and currently owns five different factories located in Missouri, California, South Carolina, and Arkansas. All Taste of the Wild products are manufactured in the United States in one of these factories.
As of our review, Taste of the Wild has been subject to one product recall. In 2012, several lots of Taste of the Wild pet food were recalled because of salmonella contamination.
In 2019, the FDA named Taste of the Wild as one of 16 pet food brands associated with cases of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). No recalls have been issued as a result of this announcement, and research is ongoing.
A Quick Look at Taste of the Wild Dog Food
Like Taste of the Wild, Orijen prides itself on providing biologically appropriate, natural nutrition to canines of all shapes and sizes. However, Orijen seems to take it a step further by also sourcing its ingredients locally whenever possible. In fact, some of the brand’s most popular formulas are inspired by ingredients found just miles from its factories.
Currently, Orijen offers a variety of dry kibble, freeze-dried food, and freeze-dried treats to its United States customers. All Orijen products are grain free at this time.
Who Owns Orijen? Where Is It Made?
Orijen is owned and manufactured by Champion Pet Foods, which also owns the sister brand Acana. Champion Pet Foods is independently owned and operated out of Canada.
Originally, all Orijen products were manufactured in Alberta, Canada, with a select few being distributed within the United States as well. In 2016, though, Champion Pet Foods opened a Kentucky-based factory, which is where all U.S.-distributed Orijen products are now made.
One interesting fact about Orijen and its dog food recipes is that the brand’s Canadian and U.S. product lines are slightly different. These differences are due to certain ingredients being locally available to one factory but not the other.
At this time, Orijen has never been subject to a mandatory or voluntary product recall.
With that said, the brand was also listed by the FDA as being potentially linked to cases of DCM.
A Quick Look at Orijen Dog Food
The 3 Most Popular Taste of the Wild Dog Food Recipes
Although Taste of the Wild recently added a few grain-inclusive recipes to its product range, it makes more sense to compare its grain-free formulas against Orijen’s offerings. Here are a few of the most popular grain-free recipes currently available:
1. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Canine Recipe
When it comes to the Taste of the Wild grain-free dog food line-up, one of the best-selling formulas is the Pacific Stream Canine Recipe. This dry food is made with fish as the main source of animal proteins and fats, with salmon as the top ingredient. Because fish is the primary ingredient, this formula is also loaded with omega fatty acids that support a variety of canine bodily functions.
More information about this Taste of the Wild formula can be found by reading the Chewy reviews here.
2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Recipe
While the previous recipe is inspired by nutritious fish ingredients, the Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Recipe is designed to satisfy your dog’s craving for red meat. Although this recipe advertises bison meat, it’s important to point out that most of the meat in this formula comes from buffalo, lamb, and chicken instead. It also lists a couple of plant proteins high on its ingredient list, so keep that in mind when comparing its protein content versus other formulas
If you’re interested in first-hand feedback from other owners who have tried this food, you can find it by reading the Chewy reviews here.
3. Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine Recipe
The Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine Recipe is another option for dogs who enjoy white meat-based kibble. Along with fish, this formula includes real duck and other poultry ingredients for plenty of animal-sourced protein. While it does contain potato protein, this formula’s ingredients list seems to favor meat-based protein over plant-based.
Again, you can find more information about this formula by checking out the Chewy customer reviews here.
The 3 Most Popular Orijen Dog Food Recipes
Compared to Taste of the Wild, which already has a fairly small product range, Orijen’s line-up is even more limited. However, its most popular formulas are top sellers for a reason:
1. Orijen Original Dry Dog Food
Unlike many other dog food companies, Orijen uses whole prey ingredients. In other words, its recipes, including the Original Dry Dog Food, use regular meat, along with bone, cartilage, and organs, to provide a diverse range of nutrients. This particular formula contains 85% animal-sourced ingredients, which come from chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs.
For more information on this dog food from real owners and their pets, you can check out the Amazon reviews here.
2. Orijen Puppy Dry Dog Food
On paper, the Orijen Puppy Dry Dog Food is similar to the brand’s Original formula, but its nutritional analysis is tailored more to the needs of growing puppies and adolescents. Like the previous recipe, this one relies on chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs for its animal-sourced protein. The use of meat, bones, cartilage, and organs provides diverse nutrition without relying on fillers or less biologically suitable ingredients.
Countless other dog owners have tried this puppy food, and you can learn what they have to say by reading the Amazon reviews here.
3. Orijen Senior Dry Dog Food
Just like puppies have their own dietary needs, the same is true for aging dogs. The Orijen Senior Dry Dog Food features whole-prey animal ingredients, including those that are raw or fresh, from chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs. Since older dogs are less active and more prone to weight gain, this recipe is also designed to support lean body mass and fight harmful fat gain.
To learn more about this formula and if it’s right for your senior dog, we suggest checking out the Amazon customer reviews here.
Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen Comparison
We can learn much by looking at the most popular recipes sold by Taste of the Wild and Orijen, but let’s recap what we know about each brand as a whole before we wrap things up:
While exact pricing varies based on the retailer and exact product, there’s no denying that Orijen is considerably more expensive than Taste of the Wild. On average, owners will pay close to twice as much per pound of food from Orijen when compared to Taste of the Wild.
Of course, price isn’t everything when it comes to choosing the right formula for your pooch. But this factor is a major consideration for owners on a limited budget.
Both Taste of the Wild and Orijen are considered premium, boutique brands. In other words, these product lines might not be available at all pet stores, chain or independent. Overall, whether either of these brands is available at your local pet food supplier will depend on a variety of factors.
When it comes to shopping online, both brands are widely available from several retailers. However, if you currently or plan to use Chewy.com for pet food delivery, it’s important to note that Orijen is no longer sold by the company.
When it comes to comparing ingredients and their quality between two dog food brands, we largely rely on the marketing and transparency of the brands in question. With what we know, it appears that Orijen uses higher-quality ingredients than Taste of the Wild. Not only does Orijen use a high concentration of raw and fresh animal ingredients in its formulas, but the brand seems to invest heavily in using locally sourced products.
Based on the recipes we reviewed, Taste of the Wild appears to lean heavily on plant-based proteins. While many owners won’t have a problem with this, it’s a definite divergence from the brand’s meat-based marketing.
Both Taste of the Wild and Orijen offer dog food formulas that are high in protein, though Orijen’s nutritional analyses tend to be a bit higher. But again, Taste of the Wild’s frequent use of potato and pea protein calls into question how much of its protein comes from animal sources.
With no recall history, Orijen ekes ahead in this category. Still, Taste of the Wild has only been subject to one recall throughout its existence.
In the grand scheme of pet food and canine nutrition, neither Taste of the Wild nor Orijen is a bad choice. It’s just that Orijen goes above and beyond industry standards in more ways than one. Put simply: Orijen offers excellent nutrition from extremely high-quality ingredients that few other companies can compete with, including Taste of the Wild.
However, this high quality comes at an equally high price. For dog owners who either don’t want to or can’t afford to pay this price, Taste of the Wild is a great option compared to most popular dog food brands on the market. Also, unlike Orijen at this time, Taste of the Wild offers grain-inclusive formulas as part of its dog food line.
In the end, Orijen technically won this comparison. But we’re very happy to recommend either of these brands to dogs and their owners looking for something new and nutritious!