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Orijen freeze-dried treats

Product: Orijen Alberta Wild Boar singles freeze-dried treats
Manufacturer: Champion Pet Foods
Quantity: one pouch, 2 oz. (approx. 45 pieces) [also available in 3.5 oz packages]
Price: $7.99 via Chewy.com
Ingredients: Wild boar liver, boneless wild boar
Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Crude Protein, 40% min.
  • Crude Fat, 50% min.
  • Crude Fiber, 1% max
  • Moisture, 2% max

Country of origin: Canada
Company Information: Champion Pet Food; 11403-186 Street NW; Edmonton, Alberta; T5S 2W6 Canada
Web Presence: ChampionPetFoods.com, on Facebook

Champion Pet Foods, the makers of Orijen and Acana, have quite a reputation for making what they call “biologically appropriate™” kibble with a surplus of whole prey ingredients that is supposed to mirror what dogs and cats would eat if left to fend for themselves in the “wild.” That part of their marketing platform has always been less impressive to me than their claims of sourcing “authentically fresh regional ingredients” that come from named, sustainably farmed sources. They are generally brands that the Bows do well on (Acana, specifically), though they’re priced beyond our capacity to feed them exclusively.

Knowing they’ve got a solid foot in the market for high-end pet consumers, Orijen has boldly trotted out a new freeze-dried treat. This product is so new, I didn’t even know this was in the works until alerted by the folks at Chewy.com, who gave me the opportunity to review from the selection which includes single-protein blends of beef, bison, duck, lamb, or wild boar, as well as three blends based on some of their popular kibble recipes, Regional Red, Tundra, and Orijen Original.

from the Champion Pet Foods channel on YouTube

(Call me weird, but I actually seek out company-produced PR videos to get a sense of how the company markets itself and what kind of information they think is valuable for others to know. I do, however, take their presentations with a healthy sense of skepticism and intent to read between the lines, wherever I can.)

For this review, we chose the wild boar recipe, primarily because there are very few completely pork-based pet foods on the market. I’m already favorably disposed to this line of treats for offering novel proteins catering to pets with protein sensitivities (as seems to be the case with so many dog people we know)

Upon receiving the 2 ounce bag in an oversized box from Chewy.com, I admit thinking… this is it?? as I shook the lightweight package before the Bows. Freeze-dried products tend to be very porous, so it’s hard to feel like you’re making a satisfactory purchase at the outset. It’s one reason that I’m not a huge fan of this type of food processing. Previous experiences have left me feeling that the crumbly mess that often accumulates at the bottom of the bag makes it a particularly un-economical way to feed.

These treats, however, aren’t quite as crumbly as others we’ve tried. Chewy.com’s protective packaging seems to help ensure that you’re not getting a pouch full of crushed bits.

Orijen freeze-dried treats

Lightweight they may be, freeze-dried products tend to be pretty rich — though these are less than 7 calories per treat. At any rate, you really don’t need to feed many of these at a time. The Bows, however, were completely taken by the novelty of the smell, taste, and texture.

Orijen freeze-dried treats

They glommed so close when I busted out these treats that I realized this would be the perfect incentive for practicing more “difficult” maneuvers. They’re a good size, not particularly messy, and totally irresistible. I don’t do much complex training with the Bows, but I do frequently take them off leash in high distraction areas, something which neither Shiba Inu nor Basenjis are known to be good at…

Okay, so the Bows are already accustomed to off-leash walking on vast acreage, and this is only one lesson of “Off Leash 101,” so my video may very well simplify the process and exaggerate the efficacy of these treats… What is unusual, however, is the way that both Bows remain underfoot and jump up like unruly Compsognathus, Jurassic Park style. Point is that this is a special treat, as confirmed by the Bows’ responses!

Given how effective these are, I think the price point is just right, at least relative to other freeze-dried dog treats on the market. I’m not willing to spend more than $10 on a pouch of treats that will be finished off in days or a handful of training sessions, but Chewy.com’s price for the small pouch is fair for the quality of this product.

I’ve yet to see these at my local pet stores, so I don’t know how normal retail price compares. We are grateful that Chewy.com provided us with a free sample in exchange for our honest review.

Final Grade: A