TimberWolf Wild and Natural (Dry)

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
TimberWolf Platinum

TimberWolf Wild and Natural dog food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The manufacturer of TimberWolf Wild and Natural claims the recipe meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

TimberWolf Wild and Natural Canid Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 40% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 33%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken, herring meal, potatoes, chicken fat, dried chicken liver, sweet potatoes, herring oil, eggs, kelp, alfalfa sprouts, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, carrots, celery, beets, dried whey, casein, dl-methionine, sea salt, taurine, carnitine, glucosamine, lecithin, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus lactis, Bacillus bifidum, Bacillus subtillus, zinc amino acid complex, choline chloride, iron amino acid complex, vitamin E supplement, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine hydrochloride, biotin, cobalt proteinate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative), citric acid, Yucca schidigera, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.7%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis36%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis40%20%33%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%40%27%
Protein = 33% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 27%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient lists chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The third ingredient is herring meal, another protein rich meat concentrate.

This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Herring are small ocean fish related to menhaden. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, herring are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

We are pleased to note that, unlike most fish meals, this particular item2 appears to be ethoxyquin-free.

The fourth ingredient lists potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient is dried chicken liver, a dehydrated product made from whole chicken livers. Because it contains about 62% protein and 20% fat, this item makes a favorable addition to this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The eighth ingredient is herring oil. Herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

The ninth ingredient lists eggss. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With two notable exceptions

First, the company appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

TimberWolf Wild and Natural Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, TimberWolf Wild and Natural looks to be an above-average dog food.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 40%, a fat level of 20% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 33%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbohydrates when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this is the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

TimberWolf Wild and Natural is a grain-free dry dog food using a significant amount of chicken and herring as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Those looking for other quality kibbles from the same company may wish to check out our review of TimberWolf Dog Food.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

07/17/2010 Original review
09/04/2011 Updated (new recipe)
03/02/2012 Updated (new recipe)

11/04/2012 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. TimberWolf Myths and Misconceptions, 9/4/2011
  • moeknows

    Hasn’t Timberwolf been cited numerous times for the food not matching the ingredient listing? That on top of the fact that they hop from plant to plant seems a little shady.

  • Hi Shameless… I agree. The company’s use of the domain name TimberWolfOrganics.com can be very misleading. I’ll get on these updates as soon as I can. Thanks again for bringing these errors to my attention.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Mike – Thanks for removing the word ‘organic’ from the above dashboard, as well as the word ‘organic’ from the other TimberWolf review page.
    Many years ago, I purchased a bag of TimberWolf Organics, only to discover that it wasn’t organic! I’ll look forward to your updated review of the TimberWolf products.
    According to the company website, protein levels are reduced, so I suspect TimberWolf will no longer be 5*, and will likely be 4* or less.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    On this page, above and below the dashboard, the product name is listed numerous times as:
    TimberWolf Wild and Natural

    On this page, on the dashboard, the product name is listed as:
    TimberWolf Organics Wild and Natural

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Mike – What I was referring to was the product name that was inconsistent with the way the product name was listed elsewhere on this page.
    Similar to inconsistent product names on this page also: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/timberwolf-organics-dry/
    (sometimes the word ‘organic’ is included; elsewhere the same product listing doesn’t include the word ‘organic’)

  • Sara

    Thank you Mike and shameless for your replies. I wish they would have kept to the formula listed above. I look forward to the updated review…I know you have many recipes to review. Thanks again!

  • Hi Shameless… This was the exact name of the product at the time the report was written (7/17/2010). Unless or until someone advises me of a change, I’d have no way of knowing such details.

    As I’ve always stated in my Disclaimer…

    “It is impossible for me to keep each and every article and review updated on a daily basis. For this reason I cannot guarantee the accuracy of all the information you read everywhere on this website.

    “I welcome your feedback and assistance in updating the information I present. I promise to correct any errors as I discover them or as they are brought to my attention.”

    I rely on tips. There’s no other way for one person to scan the 2,000+ recipes covered here without the help of others. Thanks to this reader (who took the time to let me know), I’ve now added the product to my lists of foods to be updated.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Sara, The above ingredient information is old.
    Also, the dashboard name listed above is apparently incorrect: “TimberWolf Organics Wild and Natural Dry Dog Food” seems that it should have ‘Organics’ removed.
    This company’s food, to my recollection, was never certified organic. There was dispute that the company name includes the word ORGANICS; and ‘organics’ remains as part of their website name.
    Court records reflect that the company filed for bankruptcy December 2009.

  • Hi Sara… There appears to be a notable change to this recipe. I’ve added it to my update list and I’ll get to it as soon as time permits. Thanks for the tip.

  • Sara

    Hi,

    I just bought a bag of Timberwolf Wild and Natural, but the ingredients seem to be significantly different from what is listed in the above ingredients list.

    There seems to be a lot of dried vegetables, dried egg product, and “natural flavor”. Does this make it a lower quality dog food?

  • Cathy

    I have a Cavalier King Charles who had a beautiful long coat with long tail feathering until his first shed. His coat has never come back to what it was and he sheds excessively. The same thing happened to a Cocker Spaniel I had. Do all dogs get their first best coat from their mother’s milk and then lose it when their new owner starts to feed them? Will Timberwolf Wild and Natural bring back his coat? I’ve tried Omega fatty acid oil suppliments and it helps a little but there must be more for coats that he is not getting. I have been feeding Blue Buffalo Life Performance Healthy Weight. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Hi Christa… Glad to hear your dog is recovering from her surgery. In general, the higher our star ratings, the higher the protein content of the food. If you’re searching for a quality high protein dog food, many of the 4 and 5-star foods should fit the bill. Hope this helps.

  • Christa Gibson

    Hello Mike,

    My dog was diagnosed with osteoscarcoma, had her toe removed and is doing fine. BUT I’m looking for a good protein dog food to give to her. I’m thinking the TimberWolf Wild & Natural…they are all so confusing. Are your 5* dog foods pretty much the best for high protein and it’s a matter of us to pick and choose. At first I was going with the Taste of the Wild but then read the blogs and am leaning toward the TimberWolf…I know you can’t diagnose or suggest, but I’m looking for the best in protein. Suggestions?

  • Hi Eileen… We haven’t changed our format. Unfortunately, since about 5:00 pm ET Friday, our dog food “dashboard” software has been having technical problems. And we’re working on a solution right now. I’ll have it up and running again as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.

  • eileen streb

    Mike, When did you stop listing all ingredients in dog food? Why have you changed your format? Since no one would answer my question about copper sulfate as opposed to cheleted copper I wrote to the Timberwolf Dog Food Co. Their answer , it was cheaper to use copper sulfate.Still no answer as to how damaging it may be for some dogs.Sorry you changed your format, it use to be very informative.

  • Kandin

    Erin,

    Anytime that an ingredient is controversial, companies will figure out ways to “sneak” it past the uninformed. My dogs do not have a problem with this ingredient, so I don’t mind buying foods that have it. The only reason to avoid it, in my opinion, is if your dog is intolerant to it, or if you yourself just have a bad opinion of it and, for any reason, do not feel safe feeding it.

    Never feed your dogs ANY food unless you feel safe and confident.

  • erin c.

    yes, thank you.

    but I feel it is suspect when they use the scientific name

    I read a lot of labels these days and don’t remember seeing it listed like that.

  • Hi Erin… When any dog foods contain brewers yeast, this is how I currently describe it in my reviews…

    “Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein… and is rich in other healthy nutrients.

    “Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

    “Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

    “What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

    “In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can be considered a nutritious additive.”

    Hope this helps.

  • erin c.

    I thought brewers yeast wasn’t necessarily a good ingredient.

  • Hi Erin… Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the scientific name for brewers yeast. It’s used in dog food as a natural source of protein as well as both vitamins (especially B-complex vitamins) and minerals.

  • erin c.

    Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    What is it?
    Isn’t it fairly high on the ingredient list?

    It looks like they placed it where it would look like a vegetable.

  • Hi Betty… Since each dog responds to a particular food in its own unique way, I cannot provide customized product recommendations. Please visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food” for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Betty Moeller

    Hi Mike. I am looking for a quality dog food that will be good for my 3 dogs, chihuahua, bishon friez, overweight yorkshire terrier. At the present we feed them Iams, but am noticing the chihuahua’s is beginning to shed more than usual and the Yorkshire is developing dry skin, the bishon has loose stools. I have been looking at the review of Timberwolf. The cost is high. Is there another brand that would be similar to Timberwolf that is affordable and still meet our needs? I do like your site very much, my eyes have been opened to several of the brand foods I have fed our dogs in the past. WOW!

  • Jill

    Found the TimberWolf Ocean Blue a very good formula for my senior Irish setter who was intolerant to most grains. She was quite active (5 to 7 km/day) until a debilitating stroke at almost age 15 ended her life. I did supplement the kibble with additional fresh cooked meat.

  • Hi Dawn… As you probably know, we review our dog foods by “product line”. We analytically represent all the recipes in a given product line by selecting a typical example. However, we only rarely rate individual products… unless they are what we refer to as “outliers”. To us, an outlier represents a dog food product that stand out from its siblings. These formulas can be sometimes be found at either the low end or the high end of the range.

    Wild and Natural is an upper end outlier. Based upon its apparent meat content, it stands a full head above its siblings. So, it is rated 5-stars… whereas its brothers and sisters still deserve a solid four stars.

    By our label-reading standards only, TimberWolf Organics is at the very least an above-average kibble. Yet TimberWolf Organics Wild and Natural deserves special recognition. This doesn’t automatically mean it is appropriate for every dog. But it is ceratinly a fine dog food. Hope this helps.

  • DAWN

    Hi mike. How are you today? i hope well. Thanks so much for getting back to me…im not really sure what your answer means though :O*(
    are you saying ypou removed a 5 star rating for timberwolf? or just the wild and natural? and is the notably higher meat contect good or bad :O/
    so sorry im lacking in brains ha! but hope you can clear up my confusion? Because i really want to know about this compny seen many many mixed reviews of it.
    I will be checking back here everyday :O) Have a great weekend if i dont hear back from ya before it….
    Dawn

  • Hi Dawn… Timberwolf is still a very good dog food. I’ve kept the ratings where they are and pulled out the 5-star Wild and Natural into its own report due to its apparent notably higher meat content. Hope this helps.

  • DAWN

    hi
    im writing about the timberwolf products…the questions atarted off about the product on this page and turned into only q&a’s about phosphorus? I was disappointed because i really wanted to hear reviews on timberwolf.
    i wanted to ask…you rated TW 5 stars…but one reader said they gave up using TW because they changed ingreds and brought the protein level down….Im confused? Now i dont know if you do still give 5 staars even though you agreed that now since they changed thier ingreds and now its lost its good quality? I like the timberwold ocean and wanted to try other proteins but now you made me question the quality of this food? do you still believe its a good food for a growing 2 yr old beagle? (shes mostly fed all raw) but sometimes i forget to defrost her food in time and give her kibble but want ONLY the best kibble no matter the price!
    Thanks for your time

  • pat shaeffer

    When my yorkie developed allergies that all most killed her, she ended up with bowel problems that medicine didn’t correct for over a year. Timberwolf (Bison) was recommended and within 8 weeks her bowel problem began getting better and now for 2 years she has been fine.

  • Judy Shafer

    More figures on phosphorous:

    “Senior Medley dry dog food Phosphorus 1.33%

    Senior Medley canned dog food Phosphorus 0.20%”

    Both are however pretty low in protein at only around 10%

    Judy

  • Judy Shafer

    Mike

    From the DogAware project and the Yahoo Kidney site it appears that for a healthy, adult dog the phosphorous should be between .4 and .9% for optimal levels. Thus, not even the Orgien foods would fit into that profile since their dry food ranges from 1.2 minimum to 1.4% maximum. Certainly they are one of the great dog food manufacturers. They are the closest to the ideal profile and they identify their maximum which is refreshing. Maybe we have such high rates of kidney disease in cats and dogs because they are flooded with too much phosphorous. My only recourse is either a home cooked diet (I don’t even cook for myself), Honest Kitchen Embark or adding a phosphorous binder. I don’t believe ANY of the dry kibble will be low enough in phosphorous to even meet a healthy dogs phosphorous requirements ,let alone the goal of a lower phosphorous diet.

    Thank you for the tip on the bones. You have pointed me in the right direction.
    Judy

  • Hi Judy… Thanks for posting the detailed results of your thorough detective work. Although there may be others, I’m not aware of any other manufacturers who post both their minimum and maximum mineral numbers. As a matter of fact, only a limited number of companies actually post any information about these two minerals at all.

    Regarding min/max reported percentages, that’s actually the format mandated by FDA with each Guaranteed Analysis. Protein and fat are reported as minimums whereas moisture and fiber are listed as maximums.

    Not very reassuring, I know. But it’s all we’ve got.

    By the way, when bone is included you can expect higher mineral content (notably calcium and phosphorous).

  • Judy Shafer

    Mike
    Thanks for the reply about the upcoming article on phosphorous in dog foods. I look forward to it.
    I am sending information on to you and others on the phosphorous in foods I have researched since others may be interested also:

    “Thank you for your interest in Stella & Chewy’s. Something to keep in mind when looking at our freeze-dried products is that the levels in the dry products will be significantly higher than those in the frozen product. This is due to the fact that the moisture has been removed. If you were to rehydrate the patties, per our recommendation, the levels would be almost identical to those in the frozen. The levels in our frozen and freeze-dried dinners are shown below.

    Phosphorus (%)
    Frozen Stella’s Super Beef Dinner
    0.42
    Freeze-Dried Stella’s Super Beef Dinner
    1.21
    Frozen Chewy’s Chicken Dinner
    0.59
    Freeze-Dried Chewy’s Chicken Dinner
    1.80
    Frozen Duck Duck Goose Dinner
    0.66
    Freeze-Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner
    1.95
    Frozen Dandy Lamb Dinner
    0.54
    Freeze-Dried Dandy Lamb Dinner
    1.37”

    The problem I am encountering is that with only one exception the manufacturers only lists the Minimum phosphorous percent and not the maximum. Which means the actual percent could be off the charts! Are you aware of any of your 4 or 5 star kibble other than Ogrien that actually lists the maximum too?

    I can pass on other phosphorous percentages as they are sent to me but I’m thinking this is meaningless research since it is not the minimum that is important to a lower phosphorous diet but the maximum.

    Other than meat protein (flesh) it there a key ingredient(s) that significantly raises the phosphorous content? Bone meal or meat meal that includes bones and the flesh? If it is the bones, then I can look for foods that don’t include the bones.

    Thank you. This site is fantastic! Wish I’d found it sooner.

    Judy

  • Patti D

    Dohs with renal problems should not be fed a high protein diet as protein is a problem with this condition, you vet can recommend a special renal diet to help with this.

  • Hi S Connors… You’re right. Whenever you lower protein and fat proportions of a dog food (meat) you automatically increase its carbohydrate content. High carbs mean a high glycemic index. And that can be detrimental to maintaining satisfactory blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes.

  • Kelly G.

    I used to sell Timberwolf when it first came out about 5 yrs ago. My dogs ate it for about 3 yrs and we had the best results EVER from this food. They had perfect stools and the best coats I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately after they started playing w/the quality and switching position of the ingredients and jacked the price up to almost 3x what it was before we quit using it. To this day I still haven’t found a food that’s given as good results and we rotate between TOTW, EVO, Nature’s Variety (kibble and raw ), Core, Orijen and Acana.

  • S. Connors

    Seniors actually need MORE meat and HIGHER protein contrary to popular belief. There is excellent information on this if you go to http://www.dogaware.com

    I myself do not believe in the gimmicks known as life stage formulas. It’s a myth that dogs cannot subsist on an ALS formula. You just need to research and find the formula that works for your dog. Most “senior” formulas can actually be detrimental to the health of older dogs and they contain far too little protein and too many carbs.

  • Hi Pat… My reviews are posted according to “product lines”, some of which can contain numerous dog foods. So, your searches return reviews for brands that contain at least one “senior” product.

    We are not fans of most senior dog foods. Most of these recipes reduce calories by decreasing meat content and replacing this vital nutrient with non-essential carbohydrates.

    Why not find a quality dog food and simply feed less of it? Be sure to run this suggestion by your veterinarian (or an experienced breeder). Hope this helps.

  • Pat Mackey

    I am trying to find a Senior dry food that is low in phosphorus (as an alternative to Innova Senior which is relatively low) for my 12 yr. old terrier with early stage renal problems. When I used the search function on your site and entered “Senior” the brands that came up were not the Senior variety. Any suggestions?????