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Orijen Dog Food vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food: 2024 Comparison, Pros & Cons

Written by: Kerry-Ann Kerr

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

Orijen vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food - Featured Image

Orijen Dog Food vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food: 2024 Comparison, Pros & Cons

With so many dog food options on the market, it’s easy to walk away with your hands empty and your head buzzing. If you’ve been buying dog food for some time or have recently adopted a puppy and have been doing research into good dog food brands, you’ll recognize the brands Orijen and Blue Buffalo. These two names are some of the most loved and supported dog food brands on the market.

Because we know dog owners across America want to know more about these two brands and which is the better option for your beloved pup, we’ve gone ahead and compared the two for you. Next time you visit your local pet store, you’ll be equipped with all the information you need to make a confident choice and be able to walk out with your hands full and your mind at ease.

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A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Orijen

Rating Image Product Details
Winner
ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Real meat
  • Whole fruits and vegetables
  • High in protein
  • Second place
    ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Whole, fresh ingredients
  • High in protein
  • Ingredients are locally sourced
  • Both Orijen and Blue Buffalo have a lot to offer, but when considering the high meat content, fresh ingredients, personally crafted food, locally sourced ingredients, safety measures, as well as the standards the company works by, Orijen is the winning dog food brand.

    Don’t stop here; Orijen has plenty more to offer, so keep reading to understand why this company is so successful and well-loved, even with its high price point. But first, check out these two popular recipes!

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    About Orijen

    How They Began

    Orijen was founded by Reinhard Muhlenfeld, who initially started out as an animal feed producer who decided that local is always better and began producing his products from a local factory in Alberta, Canada. He later started producing pet food in 1985 and became the first pet food manufacturer in Alberta. Today, Orijen is sold in more than 80 countries.

    Where is Orijen Manufactured, Sourced, and Sold?

    Today, more than 30 years later, Champion Petfoods is still the manufacturer of Orijen.

    Champion Petfoods has two kitchens where they manufacture their dog food—their NorthStar Kitchen in Morinville, Alberta, and their DogStar Kitchen in Auburn, Kentucky. Champion Petfoods make both Orijen and ACANA foods and are extremely involved in every step of the manufacturing process, from start to finish. To maintain their level of care and quality, they have chosen not to make food for other companies nor allow other companies to make their food, as many other premium dog food brands are guilty of.

    To give dogs the best food they can eat, Orijen has a team of animal food scientists and nutritionists that help the brand continuously improve and develop.

    The ingredients in Orijen are typically locally sourced1 from leading ranchers, farmers, and fisheries. However, they do also source some animal meats from New Zealand and Scandinavia.

    Orijen dog food is sold in-store or online with authorized dealers that meet their customer-service standards. This can make their food somewhat harder to find, but you can use their store locator2 to find their products near you. Their food is sold online at Amazon, Petstuff.com, Chewy, Petco, Pet Supplies Plus, along with several other sites. They’ve refused to sell their products at some popular sites as they don’t meet their customer service standards, which says a lot about the integrity of their company.

    What Are They Known For?

    Orijen’s philosophy is that dogs should eat like their ancestors did—a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. The brand is known for its high meat content, with each recipe consisting of between 85% to 95%3 animal ingredients. Although no “natural flavors” are used in their food, dogs tend to lap up Orijen dog food. It could be because it’s packed with tasty variety as each recipe uses at least six different meats, many of them coming from chickens, lambs, turkey, and goats. Few companies come close to matching their high meat content.

    Orijen is also known for its raw or fresh, high-quality ingredients and its company values. They believe in transparency and are forthcoming about their ingredients and where they were sourced. They place a lot of emphasis on teamwork and building trust with their customers. They’ve won many awards for their excellent dog food and the food safety measures they’ve taken.

    woman buying dog food
    Image by: Caftor, Shutterstock

    Price

    The price is what prohibits many owners from buying Orijen dog food as it’s one of the most expensive brands on the market. However, large quantities of meat, along with high-quality ingredients, is what you’re paying for and many customers are more than willing to pay more for something their dogs are going to thrive on. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

    Pros
    • High-quality, fresh ingredients
    • Very high in protein
    • Manufactured by its own company to maintain a high standard
    • Ingredients are mainly locally sourced
    • They care about their staff and customers and have great company values
    Cons
    • They’re expensive
    • Their products can be hard to find

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    About Blue Buffalo

    How They Began

    Blue Buffalo is quite a bit newer than Orijen, having been founded in 2002 by Bill Bishop; however, they have quickly made a name for themselves. The company was started from a concern for Bill’s own dog’s health and the quality of dog food available on the market. They started making and selling food for other dogs that matched the same nutritious level that they wanted to feed their own dog.

    Today, Blue Buffalo is owned by General Mills and is a strong competitor in the pet food industry.

    Where is Blue Buffalo Manufactured, Sourced, and Sold?

    Blue Buffalo is manufactured by General Mills. Their headquarters are in Wilton, Connecticut, but they have several offices throughout the United States. They source all their main ingredients from the United States but aren’t as open about where their smaller ingredients are sourced from. They do outsource production for some of their recipes, with their Chomp ‘n Chew dog treats being the only product manufactured outside of the United States in Ireland.

    Blue Buffalo dog food is more widely available than Orijen dog food because it’s sold at many more retail and pet stores. You can also purchase Blue Buffalo online4 from Chewy, Walmart, PetSmart, Petco, Target, and many other sites.

    What Are They Known For?

    Due to Bill’s great love for his dog, Blue, and his mission to provide him with the best nutrition to help him overcome his cancer, Bill worked with vets and animal nutritionists to create Blue Buffalo into what it is today—a premium dog food consisting of only high-quality ingredients with real meat listed first, that is free from questionable, problematic ingredients that tend to make food cheaper.

    Blue Buffalo’s slogan is “Love them like family, feed them like family.” Not only do they follow this slogan in regards to their dog food, but they’re also known to have a genuine love for pets and have many around the office.

    Blue Buffalo also promises ever to add poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives into their dog food. However, they don’t come close to matching Orijen’s protein content.

    Lastly, to honor Blue, Bill’s dog, the Blue Buffalo Foundation was created to raise funds for pet cancer research to help better understand cancer risk factors and find a cure for it.

    man buying pet food
    Image by: LADO-Shutterstock

    Price

    Although Blue Buffalo is much more affordable than Orijen, their high-quality dog food doesn’t come cheap. However, they’re a great alternative option to Orijen if you’re looking to save a couple of dollars.

    Pros
    • They have a genuine love for pets
    • They have a foundation to fund pet cancer research
    • Uses high-quality ingredients
    • Their dog food is widely available
    • They work with vets and nutritionists to better their formulas
    • They mainly source their ingredients locally
    Cons
    • They could have more protein
    • They’re expensive
    • They outsource production, which leaves room for quality loss
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    The 3 Most Popular Orijen Dog Food Recipes

    So many Orijen dog food recipes are wildly popular and spoken highly of by their customers. However, these three recipes are some of their highest-ranking options.

    1. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    If you’re looking for protein-packed dog food, you can’t go wrong with the ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This recipe can be enjoyed by all life stages of small, medium, and large breeds alike, making it a great dog food for a multi-dog home.

    The first five ingredients in this recipe are animal proteins, which are chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, and chicken liver. This recipe’s crude protein content is 38%, which is higher than most other competing dog foods. It contains whole fruits and vegetables and herbs and roots, aiding in good digestion and packing in antioxidants.

    Orijen is transparent about where they’ve sourced their ingredients and have listed them on the packaging. This recipe does include peas, which are under investigation for being associated with heart disease, and it comes with a high price tag.

    Pros
    • Real meat
    • Whole fruits and vegetables
    • High in protein
    • Suitable for all life stages and sizes
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains legumes

    2. ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Another option for a multi-dog household is the ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. It’s made with 85% animal ingredients, with the first five ingredients listed as fresh or raw beef, wild boar, goat, lamb, and lamb liver. Your dog will benefit from all the vitamins and minerals from this recipe, with a crude protein content of 38%.

    These ingredients are locally sourced, and the kibble is packed with tastiness as they’re freeze-dried coated. It doesn’t include grain and has no dairy products included, which is great for dogs with sensitivities. As with most products from Orijen, this dog food is very expensive.

    Pros
    • 85% animal ingredients
    • High in protein
    • Ideal for all life stages
    • Nutritious
    • Freeze-dried for extra tastiness
    • A good recipe for dogs with sensitivities
    Cons
    • Expensive

    3. ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    For dogs with allergies to chicken, ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a great option. It’s free from chicken, grain, and gluten and is an excellent alternative recipe for dogs with food allergies. This recipe contains various fresh fish options, such as whole mackerel, whole herring, monkfish, Acadian redfish, and several other options. Once again, this dog food is a pricey option, but it’s high in protein with a crude protein content of 38%.

    Other ingredients included in this recipe are vegetables and fruit, which are great sources of fiber and flavor. They also provide your dog with the antioxidants they need.

    Pros
    • Whole, fresh ingredients
    • High in protein
    • Ingredients are locally sourced
    • A great alternative to chicken recipes
    • Free from controversial ingredients
    Cons
    • Pricey

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    The 3 Most Popular Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recipes

    A good alternative to Orijen is Blue Buffalo, which also boasts some excellent dog food recipes. Below are some of their most popular dog food options.

    1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Some dogs have reactions to grain. If this is true for your dog, give Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food a try. This recipe uses real chicken and has a good amount of protein, with a crude protein content of 34%. The first five ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, and tapioca starch. Unlike Orijen’s recipes with meat listed for the first five ingredients, this recipe only has meat listed for the first two. Peas, a controversial ingredient, are listed as their third ingredient.

    This dog food is free from corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and poultry by-product meals. It includes fruits and vegetables to give your dog the vitamins and minerals they need. From the ingredients, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are present, which contribute to a healthy coat and skin. This recipe is ideal for active dogs and can lead to weight gain if your dog is inactive.

    Pros
    • Great recipe for dogs with grain allergies
    • High in protein
    • Real chicken is used
    • Nutritious
    • Gives active dogs the energy they need
    Cons
    • High in legumes
    • Can lead to weight gain in inactive dogs

    2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    If your dog bounces with excitement at the smell of salmon, they’re going to enjoy Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food because deboned salmon is the first ingredient in this recipe. Salmon is a high-quality ingredient that contains omega-3 fatty acids and contributes to a strong immune system and a healthy coat. It’s also a great source of protein.

    This recipe contains natural ingredients which fuel active small, medium, and large breeds. It’s a great recipe to help underweight dogs reach a healthy weight. It’s high in fiber which aids in good digestion. However, this premium dog food isn’t cheap.

    Pros
    • Deboned salmon is the first ingredient
    • High in protein
    • Fuels all breeds
    • Great recipe for underweight or active dogs
    • High in fiber for good digestion
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • High in carbs which will lead to weight gain in inactive dogs

    3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

    For smaller breeds that require smaller kibble for their jaws, check out Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food. The food contains LifeSource bits which are nutritious chunks that are packed with antioxidants to boost your dog’s immune system.

    The crude protein content is 26%, making this recipe the lowest in protein on our list, but it’s a good percentage for small breeds. However, a bit too much of the overall protein content is made up of plant protein. The first five ingredients on the list are deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. Oatmeal is a great form of carbohydrate that is gentle on your dog’s digestive tract. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, along with glucosamine, all contribute to good joints and a healthy coat.

    Pros
    • Smaller kibble size
    • LifeSource bits are nutritious
    • A good amount of protein
    • Omega fatty acids and glucosamine are included
    Cons
    • Too much plant protein

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    Recall History of Orijen and Blue Buffalo

    Between Orijen and Blue Buffalo, Orijen is the one who stands proud with none of their dog food products having ever been recalled. This does wonders for their reputation and adds to the trustworthy relationship Orijen tries hard to maintain with their customers.

    Unfortunately, Blue Buffalo has had its fair share of product recalls over the years, with its first dog food product recalled in 2007 due to the presence of melamine. It was a controversial event and caused many customers to lose trust in the company.

    In 2010, several of their dry dog food products were recalled due to potentially having a too high amount of Vitamin D. In 2015, a single lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones were recalled due to a potential of salmonella. The next year, one of the dog food recipes was recalled due to the possibility of mold.

    Most recently, Blue Buffalo had two recalls in the same year of 2017. The reasoning for the first recall was due to the possibility of metal contamination in some of the Homestyle Recipe dog food cans, and the other due to potentially too high levels of beef thyroid hormone.

    divider-dog pawOrijen vs. Blue Buffalo Comparison

    To directly compare these two brands, we’ve stacked them up against each other in the categories below:


    Taste

    Taste is both Blue Buffalo and Orijen’s strong point. They both have high amounts of animal protein in their recipes, which means more flavor for your dog to get excited about. They both also use a variety of animal proteins to keep your dog eager for their next meal.

    However, due to the higher meat content, we’ve chosen to give Orijen this one.

    australian shepherd dog eating, steel bowl
    Image by: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

    Nutritional Value

    Orijen’s crude protein content is typically more than 10% higher than Blue Buffalo’s. Their fat content is also substantially higher. However, Blue Buffalo does offer a higher crude fiber content in its recipes.

    Protein is essential for dogs because it keeps their bodies functioning the way they should. It contains amino acids that support tissue growth and repair. It contributes to healthy coat and skin, muscle development, and good digestion, along with many other benefits. Fats fuel dogs for performance and give them the energy they need.

    Although Blue Buffalo does better with fiber, Orijen definitely comes out on top with this one.


    Price

    It’s quite clear that Orijen and Blue Buffalo don’t compare when it comes to price. Blue Buffalo is an excellent dog food choice, they’re much more affordable than Orijen. Although still pricey, they’re a great alternative to Orijen for dog owners looking to feed their dogs premium food.


    Selection

    Both companies offer a good selection and have several product lines. Both Orijen and Blue Buffalo offer dry and canned dog food as well as treats. They both cater to all life stages and have specialized formulas.

    However, although Orijen is known for its fresh ingredients, they also offer a freeze-dried line, which Blue Buffalo does not.

    Hunting dog eating
    Image by: Nadezhda Zaitceva, Shutterstock

    Overall

    Orijen has a major edge here. They’ve got a larger dog food selection, higher nutritional value, more meat, and a taste dogs find hard to resist. Don’t get us wrong; we don’t think Blue Buffalo is a poor choice; it’s just hard to compete with Orijen.

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    Conclusion

    Although Orijen and Blue Buffalo are both great dog food brands, Orijen comes out on top for more than a few reasons. Firstly, they’re one of a few dog foods that pack some of the highest amounts of meat into their recipes. Secondly, they care about improving and bettering their formulas with the help of animal food specialists. Although expensive, Orijen has won the hearts and trust of thousands of customers with its transparency and high quality.

    Blue Buffalo also strives to provide dogs with high-quality dog food that is better for their health. If you’re looking for a more affordable premium dog food option, they’re a great brand to consider.

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