Purina Pro Plan vs Orijen Dog Food

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

With so many brands, formulas, and options out there, it can be hard to know what food is best for your furry friend.

While you’re looking for new dog food, you’ve probably heard of Orijen and Purina Pro Plan.

Both brands are popular, and both have their pros and cons, but how do you decide between them?

In this Purina Pro Plan vs Orijen Dog Food comparison article, I’m going to share with you the ins and outs of each brand based on 6 very important criteria when choosing dog food.

Let’s jump in!

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orijen vs purina pro plan Dog Food Comparison
Dear Dog Owner

Overview: Purina Pro Plan vs Orijen Dog Food

⚠️ Consider the following when choosing dog food:

  • Life stage
  • Size of dog
  • Grain-inclusive or grain-free

What’s most important in choosing the right type of food for your dog is understanding its breed (activity levels) and any existing allergies.

If you need more help, consult your vet or find a veterinary nutritionist at the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (AVCM).

If you’re one of the many pet owners out there who’s looking for a high-quality dog food brand, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of options.

But not all of those options are created equal. Some brands are better than others. And some brands will even cause your dog to develop allergies or other health problems in the long term.

Purina and Orijen both produce high-quality dog food that meets the nutritional needs of your pup.

But each brand has its own unique philosophy, so it’s important to know what sets them apart before making a decision about what kind of dog food is best for your pet.

The sections below will focus on the following factors:

  • Brand Reputation
  • Ingredients
  • Key Nutrients
  • Range of formulas
  • Product Safety and Recall
  • Price

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Is Purina Dog Chow good for dogs?

1. Brand Reputation

Purina Pro Plan

The company Purina manufactures the high-end brand of dog food known as Purina Pro Plan.

It has a long history dating back to the 19th century, and today is one of the most recognizable names in its sector globally.

From puppy to senior years, their Pro Plan line has a variety of dog foods for your pet’s varied life phases.

And not just that.

In addition to being one of the first businesses with pet nutritionists on staff, they were also among the first to create a comprehensive and balanced diet for dogs (more than 500 professionals now).

Additionally, they own a number of production and research facilities, one of which is devoted to the study of animal health.


Since more than 30 years ago, Champions Petfoods, the company that owns Orijen and was recently purchased by Mars, has been making premium dog food.

It is recognized for its high-quality ingredients, which include locally-grown veggies and farm-fresh meats.

With the continued development of premium dog kibble, Orijen has gained a devoted following of customers who stand by its products.

Its renown is recognized around the world, as seen by the various honors it has received throughout the years, including the Best Overall Dog Food by Business Insider.

2. Ingredients

⚠️ A few points to note about the product label

Product name – tells you the percentage of the main ingredient

  • “Chicken” – at least 70% of the product.
  • “Chicken entree”, “Chicken platter”, “Chicken dinner” – at least 10% of the product.
  • “With chicken” – at least 3% of the product
  • “Chicken flavor” – less than 3% of the product

Ingredients – The first few items listed are the most important and make up the majority of the product (determined by weight).

Meat-meal – Can have much more protein than actual meat. To further understand, refer to this guide by AAFCO.

In this Purina Pro Plan and Orijen comparison article, we will consider the following dry food products from each company:

Purina Pro Plan

Purina employs 500 scientists and nutritionists exclusively for dogs and invests millions of dollars at numerous research sites to develop the best dog food recipes.

The first ingredient in Purina Pro Plan, which is available in grain-inclusive and grain-free varieties, is always real meat.

Additionally, you might come across the use of meat by-products—in this example, those from chicken—which some people might find disagreeable but that, in our opinion, is totally acceptable.

Since only tested and government-approved ingredients may be used in the production of dog food, we feel confident allowing our dogs to eat it.

They may even be beneficial for your dog because organ meats like liver contain more protein than regular muscle meat. These are certainly not wasted in the wild.

Here are the top 5 ingredients used in this particular kibble:

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Whole wheat grain
  • Poultry by-product
  • Soybean meal

Potential harmful ingredients: None.


Orijen dog food is produced in North Alberta, Canada, by Champion Petfoods.

They use fresh, whole foods and a variety of proteins to create formulas that are devoid of grains, fillers, antibiotics, hormones, and preservatives.

The primary components for sources of protein come from actual meat, and in fact, Orijen places a high emphasis on that (evident from the ingredients list).

Here are the top 5 ingredients used in this particular kibble:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Chicken liver
  • Whole herring
  • Whole mackerel

Potential harmful ingredients: None.

3. Key Nutrients

In the United States, every pet food label must include a guaranteed analysis of the nutrients, under AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines.

It has strict guidelines to follow to guarantee that a product is balanced and comprehensive for dogs.

As indicated by the “assured analysis,” this means that full and balanced diets must contain the absolute minimum of all nutrients needed by dogs.

The analysis must validate minimum crude protein and crude fat percentages as well as maximum crude fiber and moisture percentages.

The tables below will show you the data from the two brands.

Take note: When comparing dog food nutrient percentages, you should remove the amount of moisture to make it an even comparison.

This is also referred to as calculating its dry matter basis (use this calculator).

This approach is a more accurate way to understand the true nutrient contents of dog food, instead of just relying on the number on the label (which is an ‘as-fed’ basis).

3.1 Purina Pro Plan vs Orijen dog food nutrients comparison – Guaranteed analysis

Key nutrientPurina Pro PlanDry matter basisOrijenDry matter basis
Crude Protein26% min29.55%38% min43.18%
Crude Fat16% min18.18%18% min20.45%
Crude Fiber3% max3.41%4% max4.55%
Moisture12% max12% max
Based on dry adult dog food

Crude protein

For a dog’s diet to be healthy and well-balanced, protein is required.

Their bodies need it for a number of processes, such as the growth and maintenance of muscles and other tissues.

Among other things, it is crucial for the development of new skin, muscle, and hair cells.

It also helps with the synthesis of enzymes and hormones, two vital physiological components.

Like carbs, it increases immunity and releases energy.

It’s important to choose a meal that contains the correct amount of proteins because dogs can only manufacture about half of the 22 amino acids needed to produce proteins; the other half must be received from food.

It seems that Orijen has a clear advantage here, but in actual fact, an excessive level of protein (more than 40%) might actually not be good for your dog.

You need to consider the activity levels of your dog, and if it does require such a high amount.

Crude fat

An appropriate amount of fat can help your dog live a longer, healthier life as it is an essential nutrient in your dog’s diet.

Active dogs require more fat to fuel their muscles and provide them the energy they require to go around.

Dogs who are fed a high-fat diet have better performance and a greater capacity to burn fat, especially working and sporting dogs.

Both brands have fat content that is within healthy limits, which is 20% of a dog’s diet.

Crude fiber

Fiber increases mass and absorbs more water, which helps to encourage regular bowel movements and the development of solid, well-formed stools.

Additionally, it helps to maintain an intestinal pH level that is balanced, preventing the development of potentially hazardous bacteria in your dog’s digestive system.

Last but not least, it strengthens the health of their digestive system and makes them feel full, which may stifle their appetite and prevent overeating.

Both of these two dog food provides adequate fiber for most dogs, falling between the good range of 2% to 6%. Unless you have been advised by your dog to let your dog have a high fiber diet, these will be suitable.

A side note here is that this particular kibble from Purina Pro Plan also contains additional probiotics, which is good for your dog’s gut health.

4. Range of Formulas

Another important consideration is the availability of a wide range of formulations, as the majority of dog owners prefer to avoid switching brands on a regular basis.

The good news is that both businesses cater to dogs of all sizes and ages, from tiny puppies to seasoned seniors.

However, the range in Purina is somewhat larger by having specialized diets such as for weight management and sensitive stomachs, which Orijen covers the main bases well.

Here’s a look at some of their most popular products:

5. Product Safety and Recall History

You should always be aware of the safety and recall history of your pet’s food.

This is especially important as you want to know that your money isn’t going to a company that has had any major issues in the past.

And obviously, we need to know what we are feeding our dogs is safe!

I try to update this section as much as possible, but if you find anything amiss, you may double-check on the FDA’s site or its archives for accuracy.

Purina Pro Plan

In March 2016, a few varieties of Pro Plan wet dog food sold in tubs were recalled because of inadequate vitamin/mineral levels.


Orijen dog food has never been recalled before in the United States or Canada.

6. Price

Price is significant, but you shouldn’t make your decision exclusively based on it.

The availability of inexpensive, high-quality goods is limited since a product’s price can be a reliable indicator of both its quality and quantity.

I’ve seen that certain dog food brands cost less than others because they contain fillers or inferior materials, which may subsequently create health issues.

It might be worthwhile to spend a bit extra on a recognized brand if you want something that will last longer and give more nutrients.

The cost per pound for the choices covered in this article is displayed in the table below:

BrandAdult Dry Food
Purina Pro Plan$1.83/lb
based on similar product packaging; always check for latest prices

In Conclusion: Purina Pro Plan vs Orijen Dog Food Comparison

Now that you know the key differences between Orijen and Purina Pro Plan, which would you pick?

Of the two, my personal choice would be Purina Pro Plan as it provides plenty of nutrition at a much more cost-effective price.

Quick note: My personal choice for dog food now is Ollie fresh dog food. Is Ollie dog food good? Find out more!

Keep in mind that every dog is unique and that there is no such thing as the best dog diet.

Always take into account the breed, lifestyle, and allergies of your dog, and this should direct you in the right direction.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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