orijen-or-acanaBoth Acana and Orijen are made by the same manufacturer, so the question everyone asks is:  Whats the difference?

Because you want to do right by your dog, you want all the information you can get on the difference between the two foods.

Let’s take a look:

While there are many differences between ACANA and ORIJEN, both diets reflect the belief in the importance of providing diets that are Biologically Appropriate, using ingredients that are Fresh and Regional, and Never Outsourcing any part of the cooking or packaging.


What Is “Biologically Appropriate,” Anyway?

Biologically Appropriate is based on the principle dogs haven’t changed all that much since they evolved from wolves and that they should be eating a similar diet.  According to the Acana and Orijen website:

Biologically Appropriate aims to mirror the richness, freshness and variety of meats that dogs and cats would naturally hunt in the wild and for which they are evolved to eat.

The 5 principles reflecting their Biologically Appropriate commitment:

  1. Rich in Meatlabrador chasing ball
  2. Meat Freshness
  3. Meat Diversity
  4. Reduced Glycemic Load
  5. Fresh fruits, vegetabels and berries


But which is the better of the two brands?

Because each animal is an individual, it’s not as simple as “best” and “worst” when it comes to dog food.  But lets take a  look at the differences between the two brands and we can hopefully help you decide which would be better for your pup.

Five of the main points of difference are summarized below:
  1. MEAT CONTENT: ORIJEN is made with 75-80% meat, while ACANA has between 40 to 65%, depending on the formula.
  2. FRESH MEAT: ORIJEN made with up to 50% of fresh meats, compared with ACANA which ranges from 9-30% of fresh meats.
  3. FRESH MEAT VARIETY: ORIJEN features a minimum of 6 fresh meats, compared to ACANA which contains 3 different fresh meat ingredients. ORIJEN also features WholePrey ratios including meats, select organs, plus cartilage and marrow, all of which adds another Biologically Appropriate dimension to meat variety.
  4. PROTEIN: ORIJEN foods range from 38% to 42% protein, while ACANA features protein levels of 25%-35%.
  5. CARBOHYDRATE: ORIJEN diets for dogs have a maximum carbohydrate content of 25%, and 20% in the diets for cats. ACANA diets are typically in the 25-30% carbohydrate range.

Acana has a larger variety than Orijen and while both brands have food that presents like regular kibble, Orijen also does a Freeze-dried food that can be rehydrated and treated like wet/raw food.

Both brands offer foods for all life stages, puppies and senior dogs.

Acana offers food for Sport and Agility as well as a Light and Fit food where as Orijen, due to its higher protein and fat contents is perfect for sport and agility dogs.

Dog CricketAcana offers a “Singles” range which only contains a single protein source.  This is better for dogs with various protein allergies or sensitive stomachs.

Each type of Orijen food contains at least six different kinds of fresh meat and also takes on a “whole prey” model.  This means that the foods contain the whole of the prey animal including organ meat, marrow and cartilage, all of which wolves would eat in their natural diet.

There are at least three types of fresh meat in any given Acana food (except the “singles” range of Lamb, Pork and Duck). Some of these foods don’t contain whole prey ingredients.


Is There A Price Difference Between Acana And Orijen?

The different flavors and varieties of each food can vary significantly in price, but as a rule Acana is more reasonably priced than Orijen.


In conclusion

So, what does all this mean?  If we look at the above, it’s clear that Orijen foods are a slightly better quality that Acana.

For instance, Orijen foods contain more meat, more of which is fresh. But, Acana is more affordable than Orijen, meaning there may be some owners who can’t stretch to Orijen but can afford Acana.

However, it’s worth noting that Acana foods are extremely high quality for commercial dog foods and contain far higher quality ingredients than your average generic brand.

Now, most importantly, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Orijen is better than Acana for your dog. Sure, it’s got higher protein and fewer carbs, but not all dogs thrive on that combination.

Put simply, Orijen and Acana foods BOTH 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 then Orijen, Acana provides an unbeatable value and price point that makes Biologically Appropriate pet foods accessible to a wide range of pet lovers.

Choosing the right food for your dog can involve a bit of trial and error, but choosing between these two brands is a no-brainer when deciding on what is best for your dogs



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