Thought I'd review Orijen and Acana together (they're made by the same Canadian company--Champion Pet Foods) since they've become really popular lately, and they're the brands that I feed most regularly. The entire Orijen line is grain-free, whereas Acana has a grainfree line as well as a grain line. I've fed Orijen Puppy , 6 Fish and Orijen Adult--was going to try Regional Red but it's not available in Malaysia (stupid country and the rules about importing kibble with beef in it).
Orijen Puppy, I felt was a bit too rich. It gave Cadence the runs if I ever overfed him, even by a tiny bit (though it was tonnes better than EVO, which was certainly WAY too rich--all of the flavours except for the Fish flavour). Orijen 6 Fish I really liked--the food smelled VERY strongly of fish. The moment I opened the bag, the entire kitchen smelled like fish! Not sure if it's a pro or con here--to met it's a good thing because it goes to show that there must be a tonne of fish in there. The dogs like it just fine. It's very similar to Acana Pacifica, which is different only in protein/fat levels (Acana Pacifica is grainfree, but less rich). I remember I once fed Cadence 6 Fish in my room, and boy did I regret that! My room smelled of fish for the entire day. NOT FUN. If I had to choose, though, I would say I prefer Acana Pacifica to Orijen 6 Fish. I didn't notice any difference between feeding these two, and Acana is cheaper.
The difference between the Acana grainfree varieties and Orijen is the meat content--Acana has about 60% meat in it, whereas Orijen flavours have about 75% or more. I've tried Acana Wild Prairie (chicken based) and Acana Pacifica (fish based). I actually really loved these two, and would gladly feed them to my dogs again. Acana, being less rich, was "safer" in that if overfed, the dogs would tolerate it just fine.
Orijen Adult dog was okay, but it was still a bit too rich for my dogs. I had to feed very little of it to Cadence, and for Lyra, I had to mix some grained kibble in to lower the overall protein levels in the food. Acana Wild Prairie was great! It was perfect for the dogs, and once again, I didn't notice any difference between feeding that and Orijen Adult. The ingredients are pretty much the same as well, so I'd recommend the Acana over the Orijen.
Of the grained varieties, I've only fed Acana Small Breed Adult and Acana Lamb & Apple. I very much preferred the Lamb flavour. For some reason, the Small Breed flavour gave Lyra the runs and Cadence pretty soft stool. No idea why! I won't be feeding that again. But the Lamb & Apple I liked. It's in my rotation for the time being, but I wouldn't feed it long-term because I feel that there's not enough meat content in there. It's 40% meat, 30% veggies/fruit, and 30% grains.
One thing about Acana kibble, though (except for the small breed varieties).. the kibble sizes are pretty big--bigger than the Orijen kibbles, so smaller dogs might have a problem chewing the kibble up.
The only Acana variety that has smaller kibbles is the Small Breed Adult. That one has the same kibble size as the Orijen varieties. The kibbles look the same size in those photos, but in reality, the Orijen kibbles are oval shaped and the Acana kibbles are round, hence slightly bigger.
As for the dogs' preference, I can't really say.... Lyra loves EVERYTHING (she has never refused food, EVER), while Cadence... he... has this really "Blah" attitude about food, so they're all the same to him. I genuinely love Orijen and Acana, though... For one, it's 100% Canadian made (their factory is in Alberta), and besides that, they have never ever been involved in any dog food recalls and I've found that they're really honest as a company. Those are plus points in my book!
In conclusion, I have to admit that I just prefer Acana over Orijen, because I have one dog with a sensitive tummy, and can't have anything above 35% protein, so Acana works really well for me. If you have a really active dog who does lots of sports or long distance running, Orijen might be the better choice, but for the average pet owner, Acana is more cost-effective in the long run.
Blog for the Dogs
Here's where I chronicle the dogs' daily lives, write reviews on dog products, and share tips on everything under the sun.