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Your Questions Answered


Your peace of mind is important to us, so if your question is not answered in the FAQ section below, or you want to chat about our Biologically Appropriate foods and how they are made, please contact our Customer Care Team.

FAQ Sections


  • What is MeatMath?


    Biologically Appropriate foods are formulated to match the eating anatomy of the animal they are intended for. Dogs and cats are evolved as carnivores, which means they require high concentrations of meat, high inclusions of fresh meat, and a rich diversity of meat.

    Is your food Biologically Appropriate?

    Answer the three meat questions: How Much? How Fresh? How Many?

    • How much meat is in the total diet?
    • How much fresh meat is in the total diet?
    • How many meats are included in the diet?
  • What does Biologically Appropriate mean?


    The Biologically Appropriate concept is simple: mirror the freshness and variety of meats that dogs and cats are evolved to eat. For more information on our Biologically Appropriate philosophy and to view the five principles that reflect our commitment, please visit Biologically Appropriate.

  • What does WholePrey mean?


    Nature matched the nutrients in whole animals to perfectly meet your dog or cat’s needs. ORIJEN WholePrey represents the evolution of ORIJEN foods, incorporating meats, organs, cartilage, and bones in ratios that mirror the natural diet, and eliminating the need for long lists of synthetic ingredients.

    For more information on WholePrey, visit Biologically Appropriate.

  • What’s the difference between ORIJEN and ACANA foods?


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

    When comparing ORIJEN and ACANA, ask the 3 Meat Questions:

    • How Much Meat?
      ORIJEN has 85-90% meat while ACANA foods have 60-75%.
    • How Fresh?
      ORIJEN’s foods have 2/3 Fresh meats and ACANA’s have ½ fresh.
    • How Many Meats?
      ORIJEN foods have up to 10 meats while ACANA’s foods feature up to five.

    Put simply, both ORIJEN and ACANA foods mimic the natural diet of your dog or cat with high fresh-meat inclusions, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Although lower in protein and meat content than ORIJEN, ACANA provides an outstanding value and price point that makes Biologically Appropriate dog and cat foods accessible to a wide range of Pet Lovers.

  • Are ORIJEN foods supplemented with amino acids, vitamins, or minerals?


    ORIJEN foods feature WholePrey ratios of fresh poultry, organs, cartilage, and bones in ratios that mirror natural diets and eliminate the need for long lists of synthetic ingredients. Organ meats are a concentrated and natural source of virtually every nutrient your dog needs to thrive, including all essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and vital amino acids.

    Organ meats such as kidney, liver, and tripe are loaded with minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, and iodine, and provide important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which nourish dogs and cats as nature intended.

    This is why you will find amino acids, or minerals like calcium and phosphorus, on the guaranteed or typical analysis but not on the ingredient list.

  • What is the source of ORIJEN’s glucosamine and chondroitin? Is it supplemented?


    Glucosamine and chondroitin in ORIJEN foods occur naturally in the fresh meats we use to make our foods. ORIJEN’s WholePrey concept means fresh cartilage is included in ratios your dog or cat would consume in nature.

    ORIJEN contains 85-90% meat, poultry, and fish ingredients, and our fresh meats in particular are a high source of natural glucosamine and chondroitin. That’s why glucosamine and chondroitin are listed on the guaranteed analysis but not on the ingredient list.


  • Where do you source your ingredients?


    We choose our ingredient partners carefully and set quality and nutritional standards to meet our own food standards. In Kentucky and other areas of the United States, we’re connected to regional farmers, ranchers, and fishermen whose values match our own, and who we are proud to name. These suppliers provide fresh and custom ingredients that are sustainably and ethically produced. Meat and poultry ingredients must be sourced from animals that are not condemned, diseased, or that have died otherwise than by slaughter. We do not use GMO ingredients.

    Visit our website to learn more about our trusted suppliers of Fresh Regional Ingredients.

  • Are the ingredients used in your Kentucky-made foods GMO-free?


    We do not use GMO ingredients.

  • Are ORIJEN ingredients human grade?


    ORIJEN and ACANA foods and treats are formulated for dogs and cats, with meat and poultry ingredients sourced from federally licensed facilities that must have implemented a HACCP-based food safety system. Meat and poultry ingredients must be sourced from animals that are not condemned, diseased, or that have died otherwise than by slaughter.

  • Fresh or raw – what’s the difference?


    FRESH – the only way we preserve we preserve our fresh meats is through refrigeration – no preservatives.

    RAW – we flash-freeze our fresh meats at peak season to lock in their natural goodness – no preservatives.

    Unlike some pet foods, ORIJEN is made with regional meats that are delivered FRESH or RAW from trusted suppliers and are a key factor in the superior palatability and feeding performance of ORIJEN.

  • Does ORIJEN contain Ethoxyquin?


    No. Champion’s ingredients and foods are never preserved with Ethoxyquin or any other chemical preservative.

    Ethoxyquin is typically used as a preservative in fish ingredients and is commonly found in fish ingredients produced in North America. Champion uses two kinds of fish ingredients – FRESH or RAW fish, and fish meals.

    FRESH or RAW fish – Our fresh fish is wild and sustainably caught and our only method of preservation is through refrigeration – without preservatives. Our fish is flash-frozen at peak season to preserve its natural goodness. Our FRESH or RAW fish never contain Ethoxyquin.

    Fish meals – Ethoxyquin preservatives are common throughout the fish meal supply chain, so we work directly with our fish meal suppliers (no brokers or middlemen) and pay them a premium to have our fish meals preserved with our proprietary blend of Vitamin E with botanical extracts. Our fish meals are never preserved with Ethoxyquin.



    Some meat meals are rendered at high temperatures from animal by-products. Our dried meat ingredients are different. Champion uses two kinds of dried meats: dehydrated meats and meat meals.

    Meat and Fish Meals – These meals are custom-made for us to our specifications. Processed at low temperatures, our WholePrey meat and fish meals provide a richly nourishing source of protein that cannot be provided by fresh meats alone.

    Dehydrated Meats – The process of creating a dehydrated meat involves mechanical centrifuge rather than heat to separate the fats and oils. The WholePrey meats are then dried at low temperatures (200°F). Our dehydrated meats are concentrated protein sources custom-made for us in WholePrey ratios, using the meat, organs, cartilage, and bones.


  • Does Champion Petfoods have a Veterinary Nutritionist or other qualified employees on staff? Are they available for consultation or questions?


    Yes, our highly educated and talented team of 20 Research & Innovation scientists lead the development and research of our ACANA and ORIJEN pet foods. These individuals cover a wide variety of education and experience including, but not limited, to: 1 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, 1 PhD in Animal Nutrition, 2 PhD’s in Food Science, 3 Masters of Science in Animal Nutrition (2 in companion animal nutrition), 2 Masters of Science in Food Science, 1 Masters of Science in Meat Hygiene and Food Microbiology, and 17 Bachelors of Science areas such as Animal Science, Biochemistry, and Veterinary Medicine.

  • Who formulates your diets and what are their credentials?


    Champion Petfoods’ Research and Innovation team works with a group of animal nutritionists, and consults with Veterinarians who specialize in nutrition, toxicology, and holistic medicine when developing our ACANA and ORIJEN diets.

  • Who makes ORIJEN’s foods and where are they made?


    ORIJEN and ACANA foods are made exclusively by Champion Petfoods. We cook our own foods in our very own kitchens – we don’t make foods for other companies and we don’t allow our foods to be made by anyone else.

    Many dog and cat food brands are owned by marketing companies that outsource their food production to third-party factories, which make many different foods for many different companies. We prepare ORIJEN and ACANA in our own kitchens where we control every detail, from recipe development and food safety to ingredient sourcing and food production.

    When you choose ORIJEN or ACANA, you can be confident your dog’s and cat’s food has been prepared with care and attention.

  • Do you make canned food?


    Making canned food is a very different production process, and almost all canned pet foods in North America are made in one of two very large canning companies. While we could easily follow the industry model and have ORIJEN cans produced for us, we’re not comfortable with the idea of having ORIJEN made outside our own facilities. Therefore, we have no plans to make ORIJEN in cans.

    ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Food is an excellent alternative to conventional canned foods. Unlike conventional canned foods, ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Foods are made with authentically fresh ingredients, contain 90% of FRESH or RAW meats, and are prepared without cooking so they fully retain all the natural taste and goodness of our Fresh Regional Ingredients.

  • Do you perform any type of animal testing?


    Our position on animal testing is simple – we only conduct tests that we would allow our own companion dogs and cats to participate in. We perform various research trials such as palatability tests (taste), digestibility testing (through stool analysis only), and AAFCO feeding trials.

    If it’s not OK for our dogs and cats, then it’s not OK for any other dogs and cats.

Food Safety and DogStar Kitchens

  • Tell me about your food safety.


    ORIJEN and ACANA foods and treats are formulated for dogs and cats, with meat and poultry ingredients sourced from federally licensed facilities that must have implemented a HACCP-based food safety system. Meat and poultry ingredients must be sourced from animals that are not condemned, diseased, or that have died otherwise than by slaughter.

    Our kitchens follow the internationally recognized hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) preventive approach to identifying and responding to hazards at every stage of the food chain. Our Quality Assurance department follows protocols for testing from the time ingredients enter our kitchen, through production, and packaging. Our Quality Assurance technicians sample the product and send it to an internationally recognized third party-accredited laboratories for testing.

    Every sample is subjected to pathogen evaluation before release and shipment. No product is released to be shipped until all tests for food safety are confirmed to be favorable. We believe our new kitchens and foods are unmatched.

    For more info: https://www.championpetfoodsfacts.com/veterinary-professionals-questionaire/

  • Tell me about your other awards and certifications


    Our DogStar Kitchen has received several significant certifications and awards. DogStar surpassed organizations in both human and animal food industries to win the inaugural 2017 Global Markets Programme Award from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This recognition is one of the highest food-safety achievements in the world.

    We have achieved the internationally recognized Safe Quality Food (SQF) and Safe Feed/Safe Food (SFSF) certifications. DogStar scored a remarkable 98% in the audit.

    Our state-of-the-art DogStar Kitchen also won a prestigious Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Award – the first pet food facility in the world ever to receive such an accolade.

    Our DogStar ACANA foods won the American Choice Award, a 100% consumer-voted award among more than 1,500 brands, for Best Brand in the Specialty Pet Food category.

    To learn more, visit the Awards section of our website.

  • What is the First Alert Pet Food Recall Program?


    Champion Petfoods is proud to be a member of the First Alert Pet Food Recall program. This is a voluntary effort consisting of a coalition of responsible pet food producers who agree to alert Pet Lovers in the event any product is involved in a recall.

    We are committed to the safety of our foods and to the well-being of cats and dogs and the people who love them. In the unlikely event that one of our foods is recalled, we will contact you immediately with information regarding the affected products, the reason for the recall, and any steps that you may need to take. We will post information on our website and will notify the appropriate regulatory agencies.

    If you are interested in this program, please email us with the subject FIRST ALERT PROGRAM. By doing this you indicate your willingness to have your contact information stored and accessed by Champion Petfoods to be used in the unlikely event of a product recall.


  • Storing your ORIJEN food


    Once opened, you can safely store ORIJEN food in its packaging by rolling the top of the bag down after each use. If you live in a humid climate, consider using an airtight container and simply put the entire bag of food in the container. Remember to wash your storage bin whenever you change out your bag of food to ensure that food buildup does not occur. Remember, too, to keep the lot number handy.

    Refrigeration of ORIJEN is not required. Rather than a garage with large temperature fluctuations, the best storage is in your home in a cool, dry place at room temperature.

  • Best before dates


    The Best Before (BB) date is printed on the back of the bag at the top of the ORIJEN package along with our lot number and production information. Our BB dates should be read Day, Month, Year.


  • How do I transition my pet to ORIJEN foods?


    Unfortunately, dogs and cats are often fed the same food for a long period of time, which means a sudden food change makes it difficult for their digestive systems to adapt. That’s why it’s important to introduce new food gradually. Going slowly will give your dog or cat time to adjust to their new food and will also reduce the chances of digestive upset.

    Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% old food. Slowly increase the new food proportionately over the next 5-7 days until you are feeding 100% new food.

  • What is a rotational diet? Can I do this with ORIJEN?


    Rotating between ORIJEN formulas prevents your dog or cat from getting tired of eating the same thing day in and day out, while offering them a great variety in proteins and fats. A good place to start is rotating by the bag – when you have finished one formula, your next bag will be a different recipe.

    The first time you introduce a new food for rotation, mix the food 50/50 just to make sure your pet transitions well to the new ORIJEN. However, if your dog or cat is more sensitive, do a full transition when introducing a new ORIJEN food – after that you can change at will.

  • Do you have any feeding tips?


    We recommend that you feed twice daily. Simply divide the amount suggested on the feeding guide into two meals, spaced 8 to 12 hours apart. You may need to adjust portions as you learn your pet’s ideal daily “maintenance” amount. Always keep in mind that a lean dog or cat is a healthy pet.

    PLENTY OF WATER – About 70% of your dog or cat’s body is made up of water, which is vital for cell function and tissue lubrication. In fact, water is more important to your dog or cat than any other nutrient. Make sure FRESH and CLEAN water is always available at all times.

    DON’T OVERFEED – Many dogs and cats have large appetites and will eat everything you feed them. As ORIJEN foods are highly palatable, you need to be careful not to overfeed.

    LOOSE STOOL – Many stool issues can be corrected by lowering the amounts fed during the day, as loose stool is a common result of overfeeding.

    WEIGHT GAIN – Obesity at any age can cause serious health issues. While all our foods have feeding guidelines printed on the package, every pet is different, and these guidelines are really just a starting point. Keep a close eye on your dog or cat’s body condition. If he or she looks too thin, feed a little more. If he or she looks to be carrying too much weight, scale back a little at a time.

    HUNGER – While your dog or cat may act hungry, their body condition is the best gauge of how much to feed. If you’re having problems, please contact us.

    TREATS – We all love to give our pets treats. However, treats should be given in moderation and should represent 10% or less of your pet’s daily food intake. The rest should come from a nutritionally complete feeding program. When using treats frequently, such as during training exercises, try to use small pieces.


  • Is a high-protein food healthy for my pet?


    Of course! As there are so many myths circulating about high-protein diets, this is probably one of the most commonly asked questions asked of our Customer Care team.

    Countless studies published over the last 15 years have clearly debunked the high-protein myth (often fueled by multinational and marketing companies that still produce or sell low-meat, low-protein foods).

    The truth is simple – high-protein diets are Biologically Appropriate for all breeds of dogs and cats. By better matching the natural diet and anatomical physiology of dogs and cats, higher-protein foods promote improved peak health and conditioning.

    Today’s conventional pet foods are lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates (40-50%). As carbohydrates are not part of the natural diet, it should come as no surprise that carbohydrates are not nutritionally essential (in any amount) for dogs and cats.

    Dogs and cats are evolved to derive their energy from animal proteins and fats, not carbohydrates.

    Want more information? Please see our White Paper, pages 26, 27 – Protein myths.

    Or check the “Myths of High Protein” study published by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

    Please see our Library for more information on this subject.

  • Does higher protein stress the kidneys?


    No. There is no study in science to show a higher protein diet has any negative effect on the kidneys of dogs or cats. Please refer to the articles in our Library for additional information.

  • Does ORIJEN promote urinary health?


    Yes. Due to the high meat content and low magnesium content, ORIJEN is naturally acidic and helps promote a healthy bladder.

    It is important that dogs and cats prone to urinary tract infections or developing urinary crystals are allowed all the fresh water they can drink to help flush the urinary tract and dilute the urine. As ORIJEN is much higher in protein and highly nutrient-dense, more water intake may be needed to facilitate digestion. ORIJEN foods have a pH between 5.5 and 6, which is naturally mildly acidic and well-suited to the maintenance of healthy bladder function in both cats and dogs.

  • Is ORIJEN appropriate for my overweight pet?


    Yes. ORIJEN has a Biologically Appropriate distribution of energy where more energy is supplied from protein and less energy is supplied from carbohydrates.

    Carbohydrates are empty calories, which means they have no essential function in the body and provide only sugar for energy, which converts quickly to glucose in the blood. If carbohydrates are provided in excess (as they often are), they convert easily into body fat.

    Protein supplies the same amount of energy as carbohydrates but has a very different effect on the body. Unlike carbohydrate, protein is essential for life and is a Biologically Appropriate source of energy.

  • Is ORIJEN suitable for my large breed puppy or dog?


    Yes. ORIJEN PUPPY LARGE BREED is formulated specifically for the growth requirement of large-breed puppies.

    The American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) states that growing large-breed puppy diets should have a moderate energy intake and an ideal mineral ratio. Our ORIJEN large-breed puppy diet is formulated with these specific needs in mind:

    • The energy content in ORIJEN Puppy Large is lower than our regular Puppy diet to prevent an excess of energy (calories) and improper growth.
    • Calcium is a minimum of 1.2% and a maximum of 1.6%
    • The ratio of calcium and phosphorus is within what is defined as optimal for growing large breed puppies (1.2:1 – 1.4:1)

    If you would like to read more about the needs of growing large breed puppies, please visit our Library.

  • Does high protein affect joint health or skeletal development of my large-breed puppy?


    Research into the growth of Great Danes (Nap RC, The Netherlands) has shown that the protein level of a diet has no significant influence on skeletal development. High-protein intake does not result in increased risk for OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans) or HD (Hip Dysplasia), and there is no effect on the development in the longitudinal growth of the bone. Additionally, while protein does not cause orthopedic problems, other nutrients can.

    It is not excess protein that causes joint problems but overfeeding, excessive mineral content, and genetics that can contribute to arthritis and orthopedic problems. Please note that most orthopedic and joint problems are inherited, but puppies and dogs that are overweight have a greater chance of increased pain and discomfort, and have a higher potential of developing orthopedic problems as younger animals and arthritis as older animals.

  • Is ORIJEN suitable for my senior dog?


    Yes. While lower-protein diets have traditionally been recommended for senior dogs, this thinking has been roundly dismissed by recent science. As dogs age, a protein-rich diet is especially important for maintaining peak health.

    The relationship between carbohydrates and protein is an important factor in the diets of senior dogs. When protein is high, carbohydrates are low – in other words, high-protein diets are by nature low in carbohydrates. This is great for senior dogs as the last thing they need is an excessive amount of inappropriate carbohydrates, which are simply sugars.

    Please see our White Paper for more information on this subject Library.

  • Where can I find carbohydrate content in the guaranteed analysis?


    Due to Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) labeling conventions, carbohydrate content is not reported on the guaranteed analysis.

    You can always determine the carbohydrate content of dry foods by adding the protein, fat, moisture, fiber, and ash from the GA, and then subtracting this sum from a total of 100%. This gives you an approximate idea of the total amount of carbohydrates present in the food.

    Carb = 100 – (protein + fat + moisture + fiber + ash)

    Carnivores, like dogs and cats, have no nutritional need for carbohydrates. We focus on producing Biologically Appropriate diets and minimizing the percentage of carbohydrates found in our diets. Our ORIJEN diets feature a carbohydrate content that is 20% or less.

    If you’d like to learn more about the specific carbohydrate content in our foods, or if you have any other questions about our Guaranteed Analysis, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Care team.