Q. What is AAFCO?
AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Our ORIJEN diets are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO for cats and dogs. This ensures that our foods provide complete and balanced nutrition.
Q. Are ORIJEN foods 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. 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 carbohydrates, protein is essential for life and is a Biologically Appropriate source of energy.
For overweight pets we would recommend trying our ORIJEN Fit & Trim recipes for cats or dogs.
Q. 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.
Q. 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 usually determine the carbohydrate content of dry foods by adding the protein, fat, moisture, fiber, and ash from the Guaranteed Analysis, 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.
Q. What happened to the ORIJEN Lawsuit?
Consumers represented by the same group of plaintiffs’ lawyers brought numerous class action lawsuits alleging that the heavy metals in Champion’s ORIJEN and ACANA dog food was deceptive or misleading. Champion does not add heavy metals into its food as an ingredient, or otherwise. Heavy metals are naturally found in the environment and the ingredients in Champion’s pet food. Every court that has considered this issue has found that the naturally-occurring heavy metals in Champion’s pet food are present at a low, safe levels that are not dangerous or toxic to pets.
Champion, the manufacturers of ORIJEN and ACANA, has tested its dog and cat foods for heavy metals at independent laboratories, using the Official Methods of Analysis by Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC). The results show that the presence of naturally-occurring heavy metals are well below the National Research Council’s maximum tolerable limits, which are the limits that the FDA uses for guidance and are the most widely used scientific guidance available to veterinary toxicology and nutrition experts for determining what are considered to be safe levels of heavy metals in dog food.
“Biologically Appropriate” Pet Food
At least eight federal courts have dismissed, or affirmed the dismissal of, lawsuits arguing that the term “biologically appropriate” was deceptive or misleading. These courts found that the term implies the food is suitable for dogs and cats to eat.
The term ‘biologically appropriate’ refers to pet food that mirrors the natural diets which cats and dogs have evolved to consume, aligned with their digestive anatomy. Studies have shown that the fundamental physiology of modern dogs and cats has experienced minimal change through domestication. Despite present day domestication, our beloved pets evolved from hunters, which is evident in their digestive mechanisms. Dogs and cats have short gastro-intestinal tracts. This indicates that the digestive tract is designed for breaking down protein and fat from meat, rather than plants or grains.
Therefore, in the context of dogs and cats, “biologically appropriate” food would typically consist of fresh or raw meat, offering high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate content. It's worth noting that substantial amounts of grains and carbohydrates are not considered biologically appropriate for your pets, which is why our food is low in carbohydrates, unlike many other ‘premium’ pet food brands.