When it comes to dry dog and cat food, you can’t get any better than Orijen and Acana. Both foods are brand from Champion Petfoods based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. And now Orijen food is available in freeze-dried formulas. Their biologically appropriate diets are made from fresh regional ingredients. No ingredients, not even the vitamins, are from China.

In case you’re wondering just what biologically appropriate diet means, simply put, it’s food that an animal is designed to eat. For dogs and cats it’s a high protein, meat-based diet and consists -- 
  • primarily of meat,
  • from a variety of sources (consider the wolf who eats a chicken today, a rabbit tomorrow, and some elk the next day),
  • along with some meaty bones,
  • plus a few fruits and vegetables.
Ten Reasons Why We Like Orijen and Acana Foods
  1. All ingredients have been passed for human consumption. 
  2. Ingredients are regionally sourced so they arrive fresh, not just raw, each day. Fresh means not frozen or preserved by any means, therefore there’s more nutrient retention and increased palatability.
  3. The cat food formulas are meat-rich and consequently naturally high in taurine, an essential amino acid for kitties, so no supplementation is needed. Inadequate amounts of taurine in a cat’s diet leads to blindness, tooth decay, hair loss, and dilated cardiomyopathy (weakened and enlarged heart). 
  4. The dog food formulas are meat-rich, which makes them naturally high in glucosamine and chondroitin.
  5. All red meats are ranch raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics.
  6. Free-run chickens! These happy chickens are raised in a more natural environment: a weather-sheltered barn where they can run around, roost, and nest. 
  7. Wild-caught fish. No farmed fish for our dogs and cats.
  8. No artificial preservatives are used, at all. Not even the poultry suppliers use feed that contains BHA/BHT, chemical preservatives that can be retained in the food up through the food chain.
  9. Ingredients are “fit for human consumption.”
  10. Champion Pet Foods discloses where all of their ingredients comes from, and never outsources their products.
Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates

Unlike humans, dogs and cats get their energy from protein and fat, and have no dietary need for carbohydrates. Many foods use relatively inexpensive grain such as corn, soy, and wheat, in their food formulas. To some extent the grains add to the protein content, albeit an incomplete, low quality protein, but to a larger extent the carb content is increased and the meat-based protein content is reduced.

Want to determine how much carbohydrate is in your pet’s food? You can easily determine an approximation by adding the protein, fat, moisture, fiber, and ash contents together then subtracting that sum from 100%.

If you’re thinking that a high protein diet leads to kidney disease consider reading “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function” from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. This study (one of many in recent years) debunks the unproven theory that kidney disease should be managed through a low protein diet. It seems that the practice of managing kidney disease with a low-protein diet comes from early studies (1928 and 1932) of rats. In “Effects of Dietary Protein Intake on Renal Functions,” Delmar R Finco, DVM, PhD, states that not only did these studies fail to control variables, but that science is now much more advanced. It should also be noted that wild rats are opportunistic omnivores with a diet consisting mostly of grains, fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and some bugs. Not quite the same sort of diet as dogs and cats.