Orijen Freeze Dried Treats: A Review
Every once in a while, every once in a great, long while this little blog gets me something for free. Not much, mind you, and primarily it comes from the dog world, which is fitting. Whenever it happens, I can’t help but squee with excitement. Especially when that free stuff is something I’ve been looking forward to for what seems like forever.
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Champion Pet Foods. I’ve sung their praises from the very beginning (here and here) and given them every honorable mention I can get away with (including in my dog food manifesto). As kibbles go, they are way ahead of the pack, in my not so humble opinion. Locally sourced ingredients, full disclosure, never outsourced, biologically appropriate. They set the bar for the industry, and not a lot of other companies can even come close. However, this high standard has left them with some ‘limitations’ shall we say, in their product lines. If you insist on owning all your own equipment (as opposed to co-packing at a facility you can never completely control), it can be difficult to offer things like cans or frozen foods or… treats.
Champion has been looking to change that for sometime by creating a line of freeze dried treats and diets, developed and produced in house. Alas, as with most things Champion, there were production and distribution delays. These items were originally slated for certain markets late last year. Ahem. I’ve been dutifully waiting this whole time. Well, my dogs have. When Chewy.com contacted me about doing a review of the new treats, I was needless to say, enthusiastic. I’ve worked with Chewy before. I still sing the praises of local retailers, but particularly when it comes to Champion products (Orijen and Acana), availability can become an issue. They seem to have about one big distribution crisis a year, leaving everyone scrambling for bags of kibble. So, having a backup source, not a bad idea at all. Chewy’s prices aren’t exorbitant, especially for an online retailer. They offer free shipping and wide selection of products (a plus, even if I don’t support all those offerings).
They sent me just one 2oz bag of free-range bison freeze dried treats. It was the first time I’d seen the treats, in the bag, live and in person. Impressions? First I am just so happy they created so many single source protein options. As someone with protein sensitive dogs, it can be difficult to find treats without chicken or the common (cheaper) protein sources. Champion offers up Bison, Duck, Wild Boar, Beef, and Lamb. Follow those links, read the ingredients. For those of us who struggle with dogs who struggle with allergies, these should be a welcome addition. They do also offer ‘blends’, multi-protein source treats that mirror some of their kibble formulas: Original, Regional Red, and Tundra. Even those are not poultry/chicken centric and represent novel protein combinations. We’d certainly like to try the Tundra!
The bags come in two sizes: 2oz with approximately 60 treats and 3.5oz with about 110. We aren’t quite through our smaller bag, which offers 10 rounds for this multi-multi-dog household. At $7.99 for the smaller bag, and $12.99 for the larger (prices at chewy.com only), we will definitely be getting the bigger sizes. Still, I think the meat content to treat ration represents a good value. As with all things Champion, there can be some sticker shock, but you get what you pay for. My dogs were quite enthusiastic with the smell of the Buffalo. They all eagerly ran to their kennels to await their morsels.
The size of the treats themselves represents a happy medium. You could use them for training. They are small enough to not require a bunch of chewing time. Given the price, I’d go with something smaller and available in mass quantity. Course, if you are only dealing with one dog, be my guest. They are light, crunchy, not too crumbly (as can be a problem with some freeze dried), and slightly bigger than a quarter. Perfect as a random reward throughout the day, or a ‘just because I think you are ridiculous cute’ prize, which is what my dogs tend to get.
In summary? Thanks Chewy and thanks Champion. Chewy for sending us the bag to try. This pack o’ hounds certainly appreciates a freebie now and again. And Champion, you continue to deliver…eventually. With all their delays, hype, build up, malfunctions, and formula changes, I stand by them. Their product is consistently stellar, and continues to be my industry standard. You may just want to keep an extra bag of kibble (and treats) on hand and book mark their offerings on Chewy.com just in case.