From the moment that I opened the bag of ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Dog Food, I knew that this would be something that Elsa was going to enjoy... Mostly because she was almost climbing up my leg to get at it! I'm not embarrassed to admit that I actually think that it smells pretty good too!
I've never seen a dog food like this before; although the packaging is almost identical, the food is very different from the regular ORIJEN kibble.
The bag is light, and inside there are circular 'medallions' made of 90% freeze-dried meat, one of the highest meat ratios available on the market, even higher than ORIJEN’s own kibble!
ORIJEN champion the WholePrey™ diet, aligning to what dogs would naturally consume in the wild, delivering natural nutrients, reducing the need to add synthetic vitamins, minerals and amino acids. (Depending on the variety of food, only a few supplements like Zinc and Copper are added to ensure a fully balanced diet.)
Kibble VS Freeze-Dried Food VS Freeze-Dried Treats: What’s the Difference?
My first thought was that the freeze-dried food would just be the same as the ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Treats, but that's not the case. The treats are made of 100% meat, whereas the freeze-dried food is made up of 90% meat and the other 10% is made up of whole fruits, vegetables and botanicals with no grains or unnecessary carbohydrates, only wholesome ingredients that are Biologically Appropriate™ for dogs. This means that freeze-dried food forms a complete and nutritionally balanced meal for your dog, whereas the treats should only make up 10% of daily feed.
The difference between kibble and freeze-dried food is in the way that it is made. Kibble is traditionally cooked in an oven, whereas the ORIJEN Freeze-Dried food is prepared in a process that begins with flash-freezing fresh, raw ingredients. The food is then placed in special pressurized chambers to begin an 18 hour freeze-drying process that converts excess water into vapour, leaving behind all the valuable nutrients. This process means that ORIJEN Freeze-Dried food maintains all the benefits of a raw diet, but it is delivered in a way that eliminates the need to actually keep the food stored in a freezer, making it a much more practical alternative to traditional raw feeding.
Dinner is served!
The feeding guidelines on the bag suggest that an 11kg dog should be fed 5.5 medallions per day. Since we prefer to introduce new food to Elsa gradually, we decided to half the amount of medallions and continue to feed Elsa half of her daily kibble while she got used to this new food.
To serve the food, you simply break the medallions up into smaller chunks, pour a small amount of warm water over (approx 60ml per medallion), wait 3-6 minutes and then it's ready for your dog to enjoy! In this short time, Elsa always delivers the most spectacular vocal display ranging from whimpering to impatient barking...
Elsa has always been a fussy eater. She is picky, eats very slowly and she's never been known to 'wolf down' a meal before, but whenever we give her ORIJEN Freeze-Dried food it's very obvious that she savours every morsel! Her bowl is always licked clean too.
Three Delicious Recipes: Original, Tundra and Regional Red.
Elsa has been taste-testing all three varieties over the past couple of weeks and she has loved all of them without exception. As the saying goes 'variety is the spice of life' and it's nice to be able to give her different options to keep mealtimes enjoyable, and to provide her with a diverse range of proteins and fats that are essential for optimal health.
We have always integrated a variety of feeding methods to help stimulate Elsa's mind during mealtime too (for example: we often put her kibble into a ball with a hole so that she has to push it around to dispense the food), and the ORIJEN Freeze-Dried food gave us the perfect opportunity to test out the new Lickimat that we bought recently! Giving her the food this way helped to make the meal last a bit longer.
Other things we have noticed while Elsa has been eating ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Food:
- Once re-hydrated, the physical volume of the freeze-dried food fills more of the bowl than kibble and as a result Elsa seems to also be more satisfied after eating her meal = less begging for more food! It seems to keep her fuller for longer too.
- No upset tummies - When we've tried to switch Elsa on to a different form of food in the past (particularly wet or tinned) it's never 'come out of the other end' very well! Thankfully, the ORIJEN Freeze-Dried food has produced much better results...
- Smaller poop! Most people who feed dogs raw diets rave about the improved size, consistency and smell of their dog’s poop, so I was very interested to see what the results would be with the ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Food... I am pleased to report that Elsa's poos have indeed been smaller, and on some days she has only done one, instead of her usual two per day. I try not to smell them if I can help it... so I can't honestly comment on this aspect!
- She hasn't really been eating it long enough for us to notice any real changes to her coat or teeth etc, but she does seem to have plenty of energy and most importantly: she really enjoys eating the food!
For anyone who wants to feed their dog a diet full of wholesome, natural ingredients, we would definitely recommend switching to ORIJEN. Their extensive range means that you will be able to find a variety to suit any age or breed of dog. The option of freeze-dried food means that your dog can have all the benefits of a raw diet, without the hassle of dealing with traditional frozen dog food. ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Food is easy to transport, store, handle, prepare and (if our fussy-eater is anything to go by) your dog will thank you for it too!