In this article, we’ll highlight some of the alternatives to Orijen and Acana Dry Dog food. Today’s pet owners have some serious options, as there are some new, challenger/online pet food brands offering high quality kibbles and other meals at prices that are more affordable than the premium powerhouses like Orijen and Acana.
Because they’re our best friends, our dogs deserve healthier choices every day. Whether they need more exercise, more stimulating activities, or a better diet, as a generation of pet owners, we are awakening to the needs of our pups. Today, many pet owners are looking for something beyond the standard, boring, kibble.
In fact, millennials — increasingly the most powerful consumer demographic — are the first generation to value their dog’s mental and physical health, fully embracing “Pet Parent” responsibilities. By enrolling them in doggie day care, including them in our social media, and continually searching for the best nutritional dog food, we are putting our pets at the forefront of our lives, prioritizing them like they’re our children.
And why not? Our poochies love us unconditionally. Why can’t we love them back? They deserve it!
For those looking to upgrade their pooch’s daily diet, there are dozens of new dog food brands introducing a wide variance of healthy recipes for our furry pals. Each one promises some kind of innovation off the standard store-bought brands that have dominated— and contaminated — the industry for so long.
In this article, we’re discussing Jinx and Crafted Kibble, two of the newest subscription-based dog food brands. They are interesting (and yummy, if you are a pup) alternatives to their well-know, premium, in-store competitors, Orijen and Acana. You’ll learn which have the best recipes for your dog, and whether sustainability, transparency, convenience, customization, or price make the call for you.
Click here to skip ahead to our comparison chart to get the highlights at a glance.
How to tell whether a dog food recipe is right for your pup?
First of all, if your pet has any special dietary needs or any particular medical issues, speak with your vet before transitioning to a new dog food.
A doggie’s dietary needs are as complex as their humans, and so they should therefore be served up a variance of proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. (If you want to learn more about what it takes to meet an animal's nutritional needs, you can check out the guidelines on the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials puts out.)
But how those ingredients and nutrients are delivered makes a world of difference in your dog’s digestive strength. That’s where so many brands offer their differentiation, and can sometimes cause consumer confusion when shopping for new food.
You may want to change your dog’s diet if you notice either subtle, or more obvious cues that he’s not feeling well from his current meals. By looking at these five qualities, you can determine if your dog’s diet needs an upgrade:
His Appetite. Most dogs eat too much, and are eating high protein, high fat kibble. Too much of a good thing can lead to various health issues, including obesity, joint pain, diabetes, liver or pancreatic issues, among other conditions. You’ll instead want to find a recipe that satiates your dog’s hunger without the oversized portions.
On the other hand, some dogs may appear like picky eaters if they don’t finish their bowl, but they might actually be communicating to you their physical discomfort of indigestion caused by their current dog food.
His Energy Levels. Dog’s sleep for most of the day, but should also be able to play hard and run hard. Daily exercise is a must for your dog, so if he’s not showing any interest in playtime, his energy might be getting drained from a poor diet or a lack of proper nutrition.
If instead your dog seems overly hyper or anxious, his metabolism may be in overdrive. A new dog food recipe could both satiate and soothe from the inside-out.
Poop Quality. Always a fun topic! This is, however, where the rubber meets the road (we searched high and low for a poop joke, but couldn’t produce one for this bullet point, sorry.)
Your dog’s poop should be sausage-like, with soft cracks running throughout. Too hard or too soft means you should definitely adjust your dog’s diet. If you really want to learn more, the American Kennel Club has a poop color wheel infographic that can help you understand what you’re dealing with.
Skin and Fur Health. Many dogs suffer from patchy fur, over-shedding, rashes and allergies. Diet is often the culprit.
Demeanor. A dog’s demeanor is an important indicator of gut health. An uncomfortable dog may show a lack of confidence, have depression or have heightened anxiety, and may even become aggressive.
It is important to find a dog food that makes your furry friend feel great, so he can be his best self for his best friend!
How to transition your dog to new food?
When introducing a new food to your dog, vets will recommend a slow transition over a week-long period to make sure you don’t upset your pup's stomach. It is possible that your pooch may be cautious of the new food, is a picky eater, or is perhaps reluctant to try new flavors, but by following these guidelines, you can prevent vomiting or diarrhea:
Day 1-2: 25% of the whole portion size of the new food mixed with 75% old food
Day 3-4: 50% new food mixed with 50% old food
Day 5-6: 75% new food mixed with 25% old food
Day 7+: 100% new food
Give your dog at least one month, or 1 bag of food, to adjust to his new diet. From there you should be able to tell if it has improved his daily lifestyle, health, and habits.
Transparency and sustainability.
Orijen and Acana, both founded by Champion Petfoods starting in 1975, are some of the leading voices of trust and transparency in the dog kibble and cat food world. They have gone through great lengths to provide in-depth information about how they source their food, from sustainability practices to cleanliness, in an industry that is otherwise shrouded in questionable nutritional standards, and false marketing.
Champion Petfoods has established itself as the rare example of pet food designed around principle, providing uncompromised “biologically appropriate” food for our favorite furry friends.
Champion Petfoods owns all of its kitchens, and doesn’t share with other brands, all in an effort to self-regulate on quality control. On their website you can find blog posts, interviews, videos, and virtual tours of their suppliers, the facilities, the owners and staff, all produced to build trust and loyalty to the brand, and the brands that they own like Acana and Orijen.
And it has worked so far, with pet owners shelling out twice as much for Champion Petfoods over other products, establishing their food in nearly 100 countries worldwide, and the company overall is estimated to be worth $2 billion dollars. This is a big part of the reason people pay such a large premium for the Orijen and Acana brands.You can save 5% at checkout when you subscribe to Orijen on Amazon!
What does “biologically appropriate” mean?
Champion Petfoods trademarked and defined “The Biologically Appropriate” concept as “mirror[ing] the richness, freshness, and variety of meats that dogs and cats would naturally hunt in the wild and for which they are evolved to eat” with “exceptionally high inclusions of fresh whole meats, plus richly nourishing liver, tripe, cartilage and marrow— all in ratios that mirror the natural diet, while excluding high-glycemic carbohydrates and plant proteins that simple don’t belong in the diet of cats and dogs.”
The two brands are different enough that it gives you a choice in how you want to feed your pet. Acana includes 50% animal protein using 1/3 fresh or raw ingredients in their kibble, whereas Orijen uses 2/3 fresh or raw ingredients and 1/3 dried.
This includes what they call "Whole Prey Superfoods," which is essentially another term for the “organs and bones” and “bone meal" that are healthy and digestible protein and marrow sources for our pets.
Although referred to by many on the internet as The B.A.R.F. Diet, aka "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food," can actually be very healthy and beneficial to our pets, especially when the quality of the animal proteins is very good.
It is only when the quality of animal proteins is poor (and sometimes outright disgusting) that The B.A.R.F. Diet is an appropriate acronym, making us rethink the food we serve our pet.
Champion Petfoods has spent decades delivering high quality, biologically appropriate, and raw animal proteins to our pets. Unlike thousands of other pet food brands, Champion Petfoods has a clean track record (mostly) on providing foods free of contaminants, or disease.
But does my dog actually need so much protein?
All domestic dog breeds require a mix of both animal and plant proteins.
But many consumers don’t believe their urban pets should have a "wild animal’s" diet, claiming their dogs require less rich, more balanced food.
In fact, 56% of America’s 90 million dogs are considered overweight.
Those consumers would love Jinx.
Jinx is tackling the misconception that today’s dogs are yesterday’s wolves. Instead, Jinx provides a nutritional alternative to better suit the lifestyle of "the modern dog," serving diverse proteins balanced with “epic” superfoods, prebiotics and probiotics.
Jinx dog food was formulated by CK Nutrition and Pet Nutritionist, Carolyn Kennedy, and was designed for the dog whose days are a mix of sleeping, doggie daycare, play dates, and Furry-Fridays. Not the same lifestyle as a wolf wandering around Yellowstone National Park! Jinx focuses on providing a balance of high-quality proteins with fruits, vegetables and grains to keep your dog’s physique on point.
The Jinx “D2C dream team” has put together a modern dog food brand that places your pet at the head of his own table.
And, Jinx offers 10% off with a subscription to their pet food, freeing you from future trips to the pet store, and saving a few bucks at checkout. It’s a great way to try out Jinx and save some money.
Why alternatives to Orijen and Acana are selling Direct-to-Consumer?
Or, as the case is at Jinx, Direct-to-Pup?
Even prior to the coronavirus making it almost impossible to go shopping, dozens of new dog food brands have been establishing themselves as experts in Direct-to-Consumer marketing and sales.
Consumers today are seeking brands that cut out the middle-man retailer, hoping to feel a deeper connection to the brands they purchase from, and hoping that their dollars go further when purchasing from the company directly.
As a result, brands are trying harder to connect with their customers through stronger branding, sustainability practices, promised transparency, and more relevant content marketing. And brands like Jinx are able to double down on their core values, like a healthy lifestyle for your pet, without having their message diluted by the grocery store’s marketing department.
Mostly it’s because people can’t get enough convenience.
Pet parents are also looking for convenience in our busy lives and long commutes. It no longer seems feasible to make trips to the pet store every month just to lug 25 pounds of food back home, and many pet food stores— including the largest household names— still take 1-2 weeks for online order delivery, while still charging exorbitant shipping prices.
Timing your online pet food order and delivery is such a tricky game, and yet so important to be right. How often, even after placing an online order, do you end up back at the pet store anyway to pick up a bag just to guarantee your dog or cat never runs out of food?
Does your dog need a customized recipe as an alternative to Orijen or Acana?
While Jinx and other brands offer a range of flavors that will match your dog’s lifestyle and nutritional needs, Crafted Kibble delivers a truly unique recipe, just for your dog.
Crafted Kibble says, “Crafted Kibble is breaking the cookie-cutter approach to the way we feed our dogs. We are offering a fully customized, subscription-based dog food delivery.” What this means is, that at the Crafted Kibble website, you create a private online profile for your dog based on age, breed, weight, energy levels, physical activity, and health issues.
With this information, Crafted Kibble will actually formulate a one-of-a-kind recipe, with hand-picked ingredients to meet your animal’s specific needs. It’s a personalized meal plan for your pooch, courtesy of Crafted Kibble.
But does your dog really need a customized recipe?
Again, you might want to talk to your vet to see what’s best for your dog before trying any new diet, but a customized recipe from Crafted Kibble could be the best solution for optimizing his health. And, because Crafted Kibble is so personalised, it may allow you to address more tricky health concerns than some of the other brands are capable of. It could be a great option to try if you’ve been having any of the digestive or health issues we listed above, and if you don’t think you can afford the expense of the super-premium brands like Orijen and Acana.
Why do Jinx, Crafted Kibble, or Orijen or Acana cost more? Quality.
No matter whether it is for us, or our pets, a healthy balanced diet costs more. Just like people can save money on food if they only eat at fast food restaurants, pet owners can save money if they only feed their animals bulk, mass-produced “fast food” style meals.
Orijen and Acana - premium food at a premium price
Champion Petfoods brands Orijen and Acana have been around for a long time, as pioneers in the healthy pet food space. They’ve traditionally been priced at least twice the cost of the cheapest in-store products. But what they offer in nutrition and sustainability practices has far out-weighed their price tag - if you can afford it.
Currently, a 25 pound bag of either Orijen or Acana can cost as much as $114, but there’s little question as to the quality of product your pet is receiving, thanks to their dedication to transparency on sustainable sourcing and agricultural practices for their ingredients.
Jinx and Crafted Kibble - modern meals at a better price
Jinx, by comparison to Orijen or Acanais, is offering 20 pound bags of their food at $75. Unlike other dog food brands, Jinx remains consistent with their pricing across all flavors, and they outline their commitment to quality in their Manufacturing Standards based on:
Packaging and warehousing
Because Crafted Kibble formulates a unique recipe for every customer, they are the least consistent in pricing. Their website offers a cost breakdown starting at $5/week for small breeds and puppies, $9/week for medium breeds, and $12/week for large breeds, but to know your actual costs you need to create a profile for your dog. So, compared to Acana or its sister brand Orijen, this is a more affordable (and customized!) option for many owners.
[ Author’s Note: I created a profile at Crafted Kibble based on my dog’s dietary needs— she’s 85 pounds, “on-the-run," and has stomach sensitivity. Her weekly costs at Crafted Kibble were totaled to be $23.42/week, or $93.68/month. ]
However, Crafted Kibble, which delivers a unique formula pre-portioned for your dog’s needs, also provides their customers with a caloric and nutritional breakdown of what your pup receives in each meal:
Grams per day of kibble (pre-portioned)
% Min. Crude Protein
% Min. Crude Fat
% Max. Crude Fiber
% Max. Moisture
Front Door Delivery + Free Shipping
Front Door Delivery + Free Shipping
PetCo & Amazon Delivery
From $5/wk - small breeds / puppies
From $9/wk - Medium breeds
From $12/wk - Large breeds
Orijen: $6-$114 for 12oz, 16oz, 4.5lb, 13lb, or 25lb bag.
Acana: $22-$80 for 12oz, 16oz, 4.5lb, 13lb, or 25lb bag.
Which brand will work best for your dog, Crafted Kibble, Jinx, Orijen, or Acana
Whether it's the pre-portioned, customized food by Crafted Kibble, the high-protein “wild” diet of the Champion Petfoods brands Orijen and Acana, or the leaner diet preferred by your “modern dog” at Jinx, the options for high quality dog food brands are plentiful!
In the end it comes down to your pet’s caloric and nutritional needs, what you are willing to pay - and their tastes.
Again, when transitioning your dog between recipes, be sure to really take notice of his subtle and more glaring cues that indicate whether the new food is working for him. Keep an eye out for changes in:
- His Appetite
- His Energy Levels
- Poop Quality
- Skin and Fur Health
Has your dog tried any of these brands?
Comment below and share with us how they liked it!
And if they haven’t tried any yet, take advantage of the introductory offer from Jinx and save on your first order now!