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WHY TIMBERWOLF?

With all of the hundreds of dog foods on the market some of you must be wondering, "Why make another dog food?" That is a fair question, at least before examining it in further detail.

Most breeders, trainers, kennel operators and even the average pet owner would admit to going from one dog food to another, trying this diet and then that diet, never completely happy with any of them. One food may give good results for a while but then the condition of the dogs fades to mediocrity or worse after only several months. Also, pets fed most "natural" foods produce large stool volume, do not maintain weight, have poor coat quality, yet have a shiny coat and usually display less allergy symptoms. Dogs fed well known commercial super premium foods seem to produce good coat growth, maintain weight, produce little stool volume etc., and yet have a little less shine to their coats. However, they seem to display more dermatologic distress and the foods have less expensive ingredients and are not naturally preserved. Below, we shall try to examine why this may be.

what is the best way to make a dog food?

If one were to talk to one hundred people and ask them what is the best way to make a dog food, they would probably get one hundred different answers. My own experience with selling and using dog food showed me that certain combinations seemed to work better than others.

For example, when I first started in this business, I started off selling a well known natural dog food that used millet (I liked the idea of using multiple carb sources versus one or two and the use of flax and fish for the omega-3s). However, many complaints were lodged of dogs losing weight on this food. Many quickly realized that by putting their dogs on this company's puppy food, their dogs looked much better.

I also noticed that years ago, more breeders used the original formula of a dog food with a hard to pronounce name (at least until they were bought out by a large multinational company) for their puppies than anything else. There were some rumors of it causing a red tinge to the coat, but a lot of breeders swore by it. It was one of the first companies to market a super premium pet food and included high levels of chicken by-product meal and fish meal in its formula. The breeders then switched back to whatever food they liked because they thought it was too high in protein, but they swore by it for their puppies.

I was then interested in a company and its theories that made carnivore specific pet foods in a granular form. Their food was made with a high amount of animal based protein that receives a lot of praise from a loyal customer base. But, here again, they used corn (not that there is anything wrong with corn but a lot of consumers do not like it) and their prices were about four dollars per pound, out of range for most consumers.

I also raw fed and had my butcher mix beef, heart, thymus, pancreas, tripe, bone dust and liver. I would mix this with oatmeal, kelp, wheat germ, herbs, romaine and red leaf lettuce, blackberries and such. I had good results with this but wanted to create a formula as close to this ideal as possible but without the problems (parasites, salmonella, missing vitamins or minerals, etc).

High-Protein VS Low-Protein

The common denominator was that foods that contained a lot of animal based protein, or performance or puppy versions of some dog foods, seemed to get better results than maintenance or "lite" versions, or most commercial grain based foods.

Let us investigate this further. Most commercial dog foods, because of cost considerations, are made predominantly from wheat flour, corn meal or white rice. Another reason for this is that refined flours are high in starch. In the extrusion process, the starches are gelatinized so that they may be digested. The greater the gelatinization, the greater the digestibility. All things being equal, the more starch, the greater the overall digestibility of the kibble. As with most things in this world, that depends. This only applies to the grains or flours in a formula. We have made our food a little differently. We use high levels of a high quality low ash chicken meal that is already very digestible, as are the fats and oils. A high level of starch in a formula does bind the kibble together nicely, but contributes little in the way of nutrition.

Vitamin For Pets

With that said, what refined flours contribute to a formula nutritionally are mostly just carbohydrates. They are lacking in vitamins and minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Whole grains have many times the vitamins and minerals but are still not as concentrated as animal based foods. An herbivore, with its multiple compartment stomach specially designed to extract nutrients from plant matter, eats grasses, grains and seeds. The vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are then concentrated in its flesh and organs.

Chicken meal, fish meal, lamb meal etc., are high in amino acids, essential fatty acids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and vitamins. In fact, we add no extra calcium to our formulas as our ingredients supply enough necessary. Fats and oils supply essential fatty acids as well as some vitamins. Refined flours supply only carbohydrates.

We use only a small amount of multiple sources of carbs and we use only whole root vegetables, beans, seeds or grains, which include the skin, germ, bran and other parts where the vitamins/minerals are most concentrated and are run twice through a high speed hammer mill right before going into the extruder for freshness. Storing and shipping flours can cause them to go rancid, unless the fat has been removed.

Some other "natural" foods use "Potatoes" or "Grain Free" spend a lot to advertise that fact. The problem is that their formulas are comprised of a high percentage of flours just as most commercial foods have a high percentage of flours. However, the WHOLE grain, tuber, or legume contain a high level of fiber and other components that are hard to digest, thereby causing large stool volume, making it hard for dogs to maintain weight, making the dog's coat growth mediocre and other problems. We feel that by using SMALL amounts of freshly ground whole grains, tubers, or legumes, we are providing salubrious benefits to your pet, yet because they comprise a smaller percentage of the total formula, you avoid the above mentioned problems as well.

Not only must there be enough vitamins and minerals, but the amount of balanced nutrients must be correct. For example, the higher the level of omega-6 essential fatty acids, the higher the level of vitamin E. The higher the fat, the higher the protein. Copper and manganese, copper and zinc, zinc and magnesium, zinc and vitamin E, as well as other nutrients, must all be present in the correct ratios.

The other part of the equation is the packaging, the use of quality expensive ingredients and/or probiotics and digestive enzymes, and the use herbs, seeds and unrefined oils.

There are a number of unique foods on the market which use high levels of animal based protein or use foil barrier packaging, or have innovative ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, probiotics or seeds, but which also seem to be lacking in some manner. No one has brought everything together. Why not combine all of the best properties and eliminate the weaknesses? Why not make a formula that is carnivore specific with high levels of animal based amino acids, but also include multiple grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and herbs? Why not have probiotics and barrier bags but eliminate corn, soy and refined flours? Why not make a food with expensive high quality ingredients but that goes against the grain (no pun intended) of the industry in the way it is made? Finally, why not make a formula with all of these traits included, but make it concentrated and nutrient dense so that you feed less? We feel that with the Timberwolf Organics formulas, that has been accomplished.

Think of Timberwolf Organics foods as carnivore specific, ultra concentrated performance formulas, but with herbs, seaweeds, seeds and gourmet unrefined oils, and packaged in barrier bags.

Our Philosophy

Since 1995, Timberwolf has produced rotational pet foods that simulate the natural diet of wild canines and felines. Studies have shown that dogs and wolves share 99% of the same DNA. Domesticated dogs have the sharp teeth and short digestive tracts of their wolf ancestors, and are therefore able to metabolize higher levels of animal proteins and fats. Cats, true carnivores, have even shorter digestive tracts than dogs. Animals in the wild naturally gravitate toward raw food sources that will provide the amino acids, vitamins and minerals they need

Now, more and more pet owners are shunning the over-processed, chemical loaded pet foods on the market in favor of a more natural diet. While raw foods offer high nutrient levels, they can be time-consuming and expensive to prepare. Timberwolf pet foods combine the health benefits of a raw diet with the convenience of dry food. Our diets include extra levels of beneficial superfoods such as kelp and flaxseed, so you don't have to rely on supplements. Timberwolf has everything your pet needs to fulfill their genetic potential.
Timberwolf's pet foods are guided by the following principles:

Reliance on high-quality ingredients

Too many pet foods are made up of by-products and substandard ingredients that can harm your pet's health. Timberwolf's formulas contain high-quality sources of protein (chicken, lamb, salmon, etc.), fruits, vegetables, nutritional rice, herbs, seeds and gourmet oils. We use no fillers or animal by-products. Our all-natural ingredients come from trusted sources and contain a balanced variety of vital nutrients.

Just as important is what's not in our food. Timberwolf diets are free of corn, wheat, soy, and refined flours. Our food is also hormone-free and antibiotic-free.

Nutrient-dense diets

Our concentrated formulas provide essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, and a complete amino acid profile to bolster your pet's immune system and increase their energy levels. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids promote joint function, healthy skin, and a glossy coat. Probiotics are used to aid in digestion. All nutrients are balanced to fit your pet's dietary requirements.

Reduced carbohydrates to minimize empty calories

Most commercial dog foods are made predominantly from carbohydrates such as wheat flour and white rice. While these ingredients are inexpensive, they lack the vitamins and minerals that your pet requires. Whole grains offer more nutrients, but they don't provide the same high levels of amino acids and protein as meat-based sources like chicken or lamb. Timberwolf's formulas are free of refined flours and grain fractions, and use only a small percentage of whole grains. We even offer three grain-free formulas: Ocean Blue Canid Formula, Wild & Natural Canid Formula and Serengeti Herbal Felid Diet. Timberwolf actually pioneered the trend toward high protein and grain free diets, which are now produced by many pet food manufacturers.

A commitment to freshness

The ingredient label on your pet's food shouldn't resemble the supply list for a science lab. Our food contains no artificial colors, flavoring, or chemical preservatives such as BHA/BHT or ethoxyquin. All Timberwolf diets are naturally preserved with Vitamin E and rosemary extract.

Reduced carbohydrates to minimize empty calories

Our foods are prepared in smaller quantities to ensure freshness. To protect against oxidation, rancidity, or outside elements, we offer only the highest grade of oxygen barrier packaging. Our packaging features a one-way degassing valve to maintain freshness and protect it from environmental contamination.

Why timberwolf

With all of the hundreds of dog foods on the market some of you must be wondering, "Why make another dog food?" That is a fair question, at least before examining it in further detail.

Most breeders, trainers, kennel operators and even the average pet owner would admit to going from one dog food to another, trying this diet and then that diet, never completely happy with any of them. One food may give good results for a while but then the condition of the dogs fades to mediocrity or worse after only several months. Also, pets fed most "natural" foods produce large stool volume, do not maintain weight, have poor coat quality, yet have a shiny coat and usually display less allergy symptoms. Dogs fed well known commercial super premium foods seem to produce good coat growth, maintain weight, produce little stool volume etc., and yet have a little less shine to their coats. However, they seem to display more dermatologic distress and the foods have less expensive ingredients and are not naturally preserved. Below, we shall try to examine why this may be.

what is the best way to make a dog food?

If one were to talk to one hundred people and ask them what is the best way to make a dog food, they would probably get one hundred different answers. My own experience with selling and using dog food showed me that certain combinations seemed to work better than others.

For example, when I first started in this business, I started off selling a well known natural dog food that used millet (I liked the idea of using multiple carb sources versus one or two and the use of flax and fish for the omega-3s). However, many complaints were lodged of dogs losing weight on this food. Many quickly realized that by putting their dogs on this company's puppy food, their dogs looked much better.

I also noticed that years ago, more breeders used the original formula of a dog food with a hard to pronounce name (at least until they were bought out by a large multinational company) for their puppies than anything else. There were some rumors of it causing a red tinge to the coat, but a lot of breeders swore by it. It was one of the first companies to market a super premium pet food and included high levels of chicken by-product meal and fish meal in its formula. The breeders then switched back to whatever food they liked because they thought it was too high in protein, but they swore by it for their puppies.

I was then interested in a company and its theories that made carnivore specific pet foods in a granular form. Their food was made with a high amount of animal based protein that receives a lot of praise from a loyal customer base. But, here again, they used corn (not that there is anything wrong with corn but a lot of consumers do not like it) and their prices were about four dollars per pound, out of range for most consumers.

I also raw fed and had my butcher mix beef, heart, thymus, pancreas, tripe, bone dust and liver. I would mix this with oatmeal, kelp, wheat germ, herbs, romaine and red leaf lettuce, blackberries and such. I had good results with this but wanted to create a formula as close to this ideal as possible but without the problems (parasites, salmonella, missing vitamins or minerals, etc).

High-Protein VS Low-Protein

The common denominator was that foods that contained a lot of animal based protein, or performance or puppy versions of some dog foods, seemed to get better results than maintenance or "lite" versions, or most commercial grain based foods.

Let us investigate this further. Most commercial dog foods, because of cost considerations, are made predominantly from wheat flour, corn meal or white rice. Another reason for this is that refined flours are high in starch. In the extrusion process, the starches are gelatinized so that they may be digested. The greater the gelatinization, the greater the digestibility. All things being equal, the more starch, the greater the overall digestibility of the kibble. As with most things in this world, that depends. This only applies to the grains or flours in a formula. We have made our food a little differently. We use high levels of a high quality low ash chicken meal that is already very digestible, as are the fats and oils. A high level of starch in a formula does bind the kibble together nicely, but contributes little in the way of nutrition.

Vitamin For Pets

With that said, what refined flours contribute to a formula nutritionally are mostly just carbohydrates. They are lacking in vitamins and minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Whole grains have many times the vitamins and minerals but are still not as concentrated as animal based foods. An herbivore, with its multiple compartment stomach specially designed to extract nutrients from plant matter, eats grasses, grains and seeds. The vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are then concentrated in its flesh and organs.

Chicken meal, fish meal, lamb meal etc., are high in amino acids, essential fatty acids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and vitamins. In fact, we add no extra calcium to our formulas as our ingredients supply enough necessary. Fats and oils supply essential fatty acids as well as some vitamins. Refined flours supply only carbohydrates.

We use only a small amount of multiple sources of carbs and we use only whole root vegetables, beans, seeds or grains, which include the skin, germ, bran and other parts where the vitamins/minerals are most concentrated and are run twice through a high speed hammer mill right before going into the extruder for freshness. Storing and shipping flours can cause them to go rancid, unless the fat has been removed.

Some other "natural" foods use "Potatoes" or "Grain Free" spend a lot to advertise that fact. The problem is that their formulas are comprised of a high percentage of flours just as most commercial foods have a high percentage of flours. However, the WHOLE grain, tuber, or legume contain a high level of fiber and other components that are hard to digest, thereby causing large stool volume, making it hard for dogs to maintain weight, making the dog's coat growth mediocre and other problems. We feel that by using SMALL amounts of freshly ground whole grains, tubers, or legumes, we are providing salubrious benefits to your pet, yet because they comprise a smaller percentage of the total formula, you avoid the above mentioned problems as well.

Not only must there be enough vitamins and minerals, but the amount of balanced nutrients must be correct. For example, the higher the level of omega-6 essential fatty acids, the higher the level of vitamin E. The higher the fat, the higher the protein. Copper and manganese, copper and zinc, zinc and magnesium, zinc and vitamin E, as well as other nutrients, must all be present in the correct ratios.

The other part of the equation is the packaging, the use of quality expensive ingredients and/or probiotics and digestive enzymes, and the use herbs, seeds and unrefined oils.

There are a number of unique foods on the market which use high levels of animal based protein or use foil barrier packaging, or have innovative ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, probiotics or seeds, but which also seem to be lacking in some manner. No one has brought everything together. Why not combine all of the best properties and eliminate the weaknesses? Why not make a formula that is carnivore specific with high levels of animal based amino acids, but also include multiple grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and herbs? Why not have probiotics and barrier bags but eliminate corn, soy and refined flours? Why not make a food with expensive high quality ingredients but that goes against the grain (no pun intended) of the industry in the way it is made? Finally, why not make a formula with all of these traits included, but make it concentrated and nutrient dense so that you feed less? We feel that with the Timberwolf Organics formulas, that has been accomplished.

Think of Timberwolf Organics foods as carnivore specific, ultra concentrated performance formulas, but with herbs, seaweeds, seeds and gourmet unrefined oils, and packaged in barrier bags.

WHY HERBS?

Defined as: A "plant or plant part." Valued for medicinal, savory or aromatic qualities. Once, hundreds of species of wild herbs, grasses, sedges, nuts, berries and seeds grew abundantly over expansive areas of virgin wilderness throughout the planet, untouched by the hand of man.

A vast variety of these seasonal plants are the established daily diet of all species of grazing animals, providing the necessary nutrients that their bodies need to function to their fullest potential. The benefits derived from these nutrients, in turn, become available to wolves and other predatory animals as they prey on and consume them.

Thousands of acres of this native vegetation have disappeared due to man’s development, and lands that were once the domain of all wild animals have now been turned into large-scale agricultural croplands, or have been paved over and urbanized. As a result of modern farming methods, very few varieties of grasses are grown for animals to feed on. Most domestically raised ruminants’ diets consist of just a few different types of grasses, flora and more recently grains, resulting in the further disappearance of indigenous plant life from the food chain, as we rely more and more on modern processed foods for ourselves and our animals.

s a direct descendant of the wolf, your dog still has the same dietary requirements. However, few canine diets contain any form of herbs or grasses.

Domestic dogs, like their ancestor the wolf, can oftentimes be observed chewing on grass and other plants. Some animal behaviorists see this as a sign of a deficiency in some essential elements once provided by those now rare or unavailable plants. Such forays into vegetarian habits usually result in regurgitation, and so it may be that the consumption is exploited as a purgative. However, caution must be urged: Ingestion of certain kinds of plants may prove toxic.

Timberwolf Organics has chosen specific herbs that have been consumed for thousands of years throughout the many regions of the earth.

THE WOLF IN YOUR LIVING ROOM

During the past decade, a large following has developed in the U.S. and Europe of animal nutritionists, breeders and pet owners who have begun reverting back to the old methods of feeding their pets raw meats, bones and cooked greens, which was the norm before the advent of commercial pet foods. There's much information available of studies pertaining to the use of whole animal meats and organs, essential fatty acids, seeds and some vegetation in the management of the nutritional requirements of our pets. In other words, simulating a "wild & natural" diet as closely as possible. Many people who take a serious interest in pet nutrition have made a decision to feed their dogs a diet that's dictated by their genes, the carnivore diet they truly need.

Dogs and Wolves

Dogs and wolves belong to the order carnivora (or meat eaters) and the family canidae. They also share the genus canis and are of the same species, lupus. Dogs have been reclassified as canis lupus familiaris. Recent tests have shown that the DNA of a dog is the same as that of a wolf. As such, a dog's diet should be as close as possible to a wolf's diet. In the wild, that would include elk, moose, deer, beaver, rabbits, rodents and birds. All of the prey is consumed with relish, beginning with the blood at the incision site, which is loaded with moisture, minerals, salt and amino acids, followed by muscle tissue, which is high in protein. Quickly, they turn to the internal organs: heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, spleen, etc., which are high in vitamins, minerals, hormones and fatty acids. Contrary to popular belief, the stomach and its contents are among the last of the organs consumed. In fact, the intestines and stomach contents are rarely eaten at all, only the fat surrounding the intestines. With smaller prey, they can often be seen eating the head first. Just like their wolf cousins, canids have teeth designed for tearing, a relatively short intestinal tract and a simple single-compartment stomach, which is efficiently designed to extract nutrients and energy from meat rich in complete proteins and essential fats.

However, in our civilized suburbs it's not practical to feed a completely wild diet. Our goal should be to feed a diet that approximates a diet seen in the wild as closely as possible. Timberwolf Organics' Wild & Natural™ formula closely approximates the diet of a wolf, gives you most of everything you could ever want for your dog, and makes the perfect Wolf Dog Food™. Much criticism has been directed against many commercial food manufacturers for what is included in their diets as well as for what is missing. Timberwolf Organics believes in using high levels of animal meat, high levels of kelp and other seaweeds and greens, seeds and nuts, the addition of taurine and the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, high levels of essential fatty acids and only the finest of ingredients in our formulas. There are plenty of pet foods on the market today; however, how many are formulated for the true nutritional requirements of canids? We hope you will find that Timberwolf Organics is the exception, as our present customers do.

MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTION

Some of you have probably heard numerous claims about pet foods using "human grade", "antibiotic and hormone-free", "meat-based", etc., and do not know what to believe anymore. Below I will try to address some of the claims that are really half true and that could be construed as being misleading.

“Our food is antibiotic free and hormone free.”

First let us say that federal labeling law precludes pet food manufacturers from including "misleading" statements on their bags. For example: Some say that they use only antibiotic and hormone-free chicken, lamb etc. That is not exactly true. It is against federal law for chicken to be labeled as hormone-free. That's because growers may not use hormones on chickens. To label your chicken as hormone-free would imply that your chickens are the only ones that are hormone-free when in fact they all are! What happens with other animals used for human consumption is that they must test free of hormones, antibiotics or pesticides before slaughter. It usually takes three to five days to clear their systems of any chemicals. Those animals that are earmarked for slaughter are kept free of chemicals for several days and then butchered. When I think of "antibiotic and hormone-free," I think of an animal that has been raised chemical-free, not just for a few days. A play on words, perhaps, but one that borderlines on fraud. Ask if it is Certified Organic, "pasture grazed only" or imported from a country that restricts the use of chemicals if that is what you want. Of course, you will pay a lot more.

Another one is: "Our meat comes from USDA-inspected plants."

All slaughter houses that process for human consumption must be USDA-inspected.

One natural dog food company claims: "Digest is the full guts, including the manure."

Not true. It is made from whatever it is named for (chicken digest, liver digest etc.) and is digested by enzymatic activity and then dried. We do not use digest in our formulas, but there is nothing wrong with it.

A natural food supplement maker that lists molasses as the second ingredient claims: "We use molasses because it is a nutrient, not a sugar."

Molasses contains many nutrients and is technically not a sugar, but it contains 60% sugars by weight and 20% water. Maybe it is not thought of as a sugar in Fufu Land, but most of the world uses it as a sweetener. Dogs love sugar and it’s added mostly for palatability. If sugar must be used to help preserve a product, then molasses would of course be better than sucrose or dextrose, but only if it’s necessary.

The same supplement maker also claims: "Our product contains natural enzymes and probiotics that are naturally present in food."

Even if that were true, because you are only adding 1 teaspoon of supplement, it would only contain enough enzymes to assist in digesting that one teaspoon. If you ask them what the enzyme levels are, they will not tell you. That is because they are so low, they cannot be measured. If you want to replace the enzymes lost in the food due to processing, you must add enough to assist in digesting the full amount of food you are feeding. However, this is expensive to do.

My favorite is "Made with only 100% human-grade ingredients."

One quick way to determine if this is not true (other than cost) is if the food contains any "meals." Guess what? There is no such thing as human-grade chicken meal or lamb meal. I don’t know of any restaurant where you can say, "Waiter, may I have some beef meal to go with my baked potato?" Or "May I have my chicken meal on a bun, please?" The meat starts out as human grade because, remember, it’s from an inspected plant, but does not receive an inspection sticker because it’s not intended for human consumption and therefore cannot be labeled as human grade.

There are different grades (classifications) of meals, however, and these are graded (classified) by protein content, ash content and price. Some are of very high quality. For example, our lamb meal is imported from New Zealand and is a special low ash high protein (8% ash, 70% protein) lamb meal that we have classified. Most of the bone is filtered out (all lamb, chicken, and beef meals contain a lot of bone because it’s made from what is left over from cutting away steaks or boneless chicken breast, for example). It’s the most expensive and probably the best lamb meal in the country as it’s made from the organs and contains a lot of blood, which gives it a very complete amino acid profile. Is it human grade? Come on, class, I'm listening. Most lamb meals are high in ash and are low (50%) in protein. We searched six different suppliers before finding the current suppliers for chicken meal and for lamb meal.

So you say, "Fine. What about dog foods that list meat?"

Good question! Oh, what clever readers you are! First, only a handful of mills have the equipment to add meat. Some companies may list meat but actually use meal. Of those that actually can add meat, it’s not quite what you would expect. It’s usually mechanically de-boned and mixed with water to make a slurry that is pumped into the extruder. The most you can use in a formula is limited to about 30%, although manufacturers can use as little as 3%. What starts out as chicken with 78% moisture is now perhaps 90% moisture cooked down to 10%. That 30% you started out with is now about 3.3% or less dry matter. To get the protein up, you must now add corn gluten meal or another protein source. Corn gluten meal is a good protein source; it’s high in sulfur-containing amino acids. But a lot of people (myself included) prefer an animal-based protein, which means you must add animal meals, which means it is not 100% human grade.

"What about the other ingredients?" you ask.

The brown rice we use in our Timberwolf Classic Formulas looks just like the brown rice on your supermarket shelf; it’s clean and looks indistinguishable. The only difference is that it doesn’t have an FDA tag on it. Our oats are of exceptional quality. Higher in linoleic and alpha linoleic acid than locally grown oats because of the cold (probably grown organically as well), and they’re the same oats that are supplied to food processors. Growers don’t have separate fields for dogs and people. The point I’m trying to make is that I have trouble believing that a company would pay five times as much for the same ingredient just to get that FDA sticker. Let me give you an example: I buy a chicken fat from a company that supplies soup manufacturers, etc. If we buy a tanker of fat, it doesn’t have to have an FDA tag and my price is $.11 per pound. If I buy less, it must have an FDA tag and the price goes to $.58 per pound. Same product. That chicken fat is apparently human grade, but I cannot call it that. A lot of my ingredients are human grade, some even certified organic, but at the end of the day, I cannot make the claim “100% human grade” because it ‘s not. Neither can any other company (unless maybe they are charging $2 - $5 per pound).

Another example is that if a truckload (40,000 lbs) of frozen whole broilers were purchased for $.50 per pound, and if a custom chicken meal were produced, it would be exorbitant in cost. Chicken meal is made from chicken meat (usually mechanically de-boned) that is put into a vat and is brought to the proper temperature and pH and then enzymes are added. The meat is broken down into a liquid and either spray-dried or roller-dried into a fine powder. Now go back to the truckload of chickens at $.50 per pound. It takes several pounds of chickens to make one pound of chicken meal. So let us say 7 pounds times $.50 equals $3.50 plus the rendering charge. Let us assume $4.00 per pound, okay? I am using about 50% chicken meal, so $4.00/2 is $2.00+ per pound of dog food, my cost. Just for ingredients. Not including herbs, oils, probiotics etc. Does any of this make sense to some of you?

One natural dog food company uses poultry meal but lists on their ingredient label “chicken meal, turkey meal.” AAFCO allows listing animal meals by particular animal if you know what animal was used in making it. If the meal is made from more than one animal or a composite, you may list all the animals used in making it. What they mean, however, is "chicken/turkey" meal for poultry. If you know the exact percentages, then you may list them where they should appear in order of weight on the label, but you cannot list “chicken meal, turkey meal” as the first two ingredients. Doing so gives the impression that the food is meat-based when in fact it is not.

One question you can ask a dog food company to determine if it’s meat-based or grain-based is, "What percentage of your formula is animal meals?" or "What’s the percentage of protein that is animal-based?" or "How many pounds of animal meals are used per ton of your formula?" They probably will not tell you or say, "That is proprietary." We use 48 to 52% chicken, lamb or fish meals by weight, or 900 to 1100 pounds per ton! Put another way, 91% of our protein is animal-based. That is meal, not meat. If someone tells you they use 1000 pounds of meat per ton, that is equal to only 200 pounds of chicken meal or ten percent. Another way is to look at the calcium content. Chicken, lamb and meat meals are usually 4 - 5% calcium (Special "classified" low ash meals with lower levels of calcium can be used but are up to 3 times as expensive), so if a company claims to be using 50% animal meals by weight and their calcium is only 1.2% then you know something somewhere does not add up. Or maybe they are using "new" math. The only reason we disclose this is that it’s VERY expensive. Not many other companies will do this, and those that do will have to raise their prices. Of course, someone may tell you they use a high amount. If so, the kibble should be very dark. Our Lamb, Barley and Apples kibble is almost black.

Now that you have read this page, at least you'll know what is in the food. If I decide to put in goat's eyes, tongue of wren and pickled fish pan-fried in roasted sesame oil, you'll know it. None of my formulas contain 4D animals, simple (read: white) carbohydrates, dextrose or other sugars for palatability enhancement, soy, BHT, BHA or Ethoxyquin. We personally have sold and used a lot of specialty and super premium foods and have seen more positive results and heard more positive feedback with this food than any other. I invite you to go to the testimonials page and read some of the testimonials. I hope I have answered some of your questions, but don't take my word. Call the FDA or AAFCO or some feed ingredient suppliers and see what they say.

-Mark Heyward, Founder of Timberwolf Organics-

ALL LIFE STAGES

In the wild, animals can't choose between puppy, adult or senior formulas. There's no "lite" formula for the wolf that is prone to weight gain. Rather, wild dogs and cats instinctively eat more or less based upon their age, activity level and other dietary needs. They also consider external factors such as the level of animal protein and the scent of the food.

We kept their natural feeding habits in mind when developing our holistic pet diets. Timberwolf Canid Formulas and our Serengeti Felid Diet are formulated to meet AAFCO guidelines for "All Life Stages." No matter your pet's age, our diets provide all the necessary nutrients that dogs and cats would naturally obtain in the wild.

Puppies and Kittens

The first year of a puppy or kitten's life is a time of rapid growth and development. Their nutritional requirements are at their peak during this stage. Timberwolf and Serengeti contain high levels of amino acids to provide energy and build muscle. They supply appropriate levels of calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D for strong bones and teeth. Furthermore, they offer vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids for immune support. Our nutrient dense diets create a solid foundation for the years to come, helping your puppy or kitten to grow into a strong, healthy adult.

Adult

Maintenance is the key to feeding an animal that has reached maturity. The ideal formula provides fuel for the day's activities and helps maintain a healthy body. Timberwolf and Serengeti diets are packed with protein to preserve strength and aid in tissue repair. They contain probiotics for a balanced digestive system, and antioxidants to fight cell-damaging free radicals. Serengeti includes the amino acid taurine, a nutrient cats need for good vision and heart health. All of our formulas are complete and balanced to promote the long-term vitality of your pet.

Seniors

Studies have demolished the old myth that senior dogs require a low protein diet. As dogs age, their bodies become less efficient at metabolizing protein. They actually require a higher level of protein to replenish their supply. Older dogs do best on smaller amounts of a high protein diet with moderate fat and calories. Timberwolf diets are formulated for easy digestion to keep your older pet comfortable and satisfied, plus they include essential fatty acids to promote joint health and brain function.

Weight Management

Even overweight dogs can benefit from Timberwolf diets. Dogs and cats convert protein into energy and muscle. Replacing protein with carbohydrates, as many "lite" formulas do, can have a negative effect on an animal's health. Carbohydrates have less nutritional value than protein, and they are not as readily absorbed. Our formulas provide more of what your pet actually needs. As with older pets, overweight and less active animals should be fed smaller amounts of a high protein diet. You can adjust to feeding smaller quantities because our diets are nutrient dense. Alternately, you can transition to a mid-level protein diet such as Dakota Bison or Wilderness. If a pet continues to maintain its weight, it can be transitioned to a formula that is even lower in protein, fat and calories. All of our formulas are designed for "All Life Stages."

Please see our Feeding Instructions for guidelines on how much to feed your dog or cat. Keep in mind that every animal is different, so nutritional requirements and feeding amounts will vary according to your pet's individual needs.

ROTATIONAL DIETS

ROTATIONAL DIETS

We don’t eat the same food at every meal, so why should our pets?

A growing number of pet owners and breeders worldwide are realizing the benefits of a rotational diet. Rotational diets involve rotating formulas and protein sources every few weeks. Rotation feeding is designed to provide improved nutrition and a more satisfying feeding experience for your pet by employing different flavors, ingredients and nutrients.

Timberwolf was the first pet food company to offer rotational formulas. Early in our history, we began to suspect that the “one food for life” philosophy touted by other pet food manufacturers was an inadequate approach to animal nutrition. Limiting your pet to one particular diet could lead to food allergies and nutritional deficiencies in the long term. Rotating formulas ensures that your pet is receiving a complete array of vitamins and minerals.

Many other companies have since jumped onto the rotational diet bandwagon, but Timberwolf is still the original and the best. We have spent years perfecting our rotational diets to create a feeding system that is both delicious and completely nourishing.

Rotational diets offer a number of distinct advantages:

Allergy Prevention

Just as humans can develop food allergies, so can animals. Feeding the same formula for a prolonged period increases the likelihood of your pet developing a food allergy or intolerance. A diverse diet with a wide range of protein sources can keep your pet from becoming sensitive to a particular food. Timberwolf rotational diets offer a choice of flavorful lean proteins, including bison, chicken, venison and lamb. All of our protein sources are rich in essential amino acids, the building blocks of life.

Avoiding Adverse Eating Behaviors

A pet that is accustomed to a certain flavor may be less likely to try new foods. Providing a variety of flavors broadens your dog’s palate and maintains interest at mealtime.

Maintaining a Strong Digestive System

Wolves in the wild do not consume the exact same food day after day. Instead, they enjoy diversity in foods. Their digestive systems are designed to absorb nutrients from a wide variety of food sources. Dogs share 99% of their DNA with their wolf ancestors and therefore require the same diversity. Each Timberwolf formula provides optimum amounts of quality meat protein, fruits and vegetables and essential herbs. Rotating formulas allows your dog’s digestive system to do what it does best, as nature intended. By processing the same ingredients day after day, your pet’s digestive system gradually adapts to digest only that food. This could lead to a potential illness if your pet accidentally eats something he or she is not used to eating. A rotational diet keeps the digestive system alert and functional, not lazy and limited.

Improved Nutrient Uptake

From apples to zinc, every ingredient offers different nutritional benefits. For example, both flaxseed and sweet potatoes are good sources of fiber. But flaxseed is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, while the sweet potato contains more Vitamin C. While each of our formulas is complete and suitable for long-term use, a rotational diet allows your pet to reap the widest possible range of amino acids, vitamins and balanced essential fatty acids.

Each Timberwolf diet is formulated for all life stages, breeds and sizes, so you can choose the formulas that work best for your pet. Our formulas are designed to complement each other. We recommend that you rotate formulas every two to three months, making a gradual transition from one food to the next to avoid stomach upset. Over time, your pet will adjust more easily from one Timberwolf diet to another.

It’s never too early or too late to start your pet on a rotational diet. Try Timberwolf rotational formulas today, and set your dog on the path to improved nutrition. After all, a healthier pet is a happier pet.

PALATABILITY

The taste and smell of food is important to your pet. It's the reason why dogs salivate at the family dinner table, or the family cat tries to sneak into the garbage. To them, human food tastes and smells good. It scores high in palatability-that elusive quality that makes the taste, smell and texture of food pleasing to the palate.

Timberwolf understands this basic fact, and we pour a great deal of money and effort into making our diets more appealing to the senses. Unfortunately, some pet food manufacturers take a backward approach. Instead of relying on healthy, naturally flavorful ingredients, they formulate their products with inferior ingredients and add artificial taste enhancers to compensate. The food may taste good, but it's loaded with cheap grain fillers and animal byproducts that ultimately deprive your pet of the essential nutrients needed for optimal health. With bland ingredients like corn gluten and peanut hulls, it's no wonder these foods have to rely on chemical additives to be palatable.

Chemical additives not only cover up the taste of the food, they carry potential health risks. Artificial flavorings such as monosodium glutamate and propylene glycol have been linked to allergies and adverse health effects in both humans and animals.

The plain truth is that no chemical can substitute for the savory taste of real meat protein. We do not add artificial flavors, colors or preservatives to our pet diets. Instead, Timberwolf formulas rely on higher levels of fresh meats and meals for flavor. Our meats and named animal meals are derived from animals raised for human consumption, and we only use fresh meat tissue-no byproducts. The end result is a concentrated source of protein that is both healthy and mouthwatering. Our fresh meats are sourced from trusted suppliers in the United States and New Zealand. With Timberwolf diets, your dog can choose from a veritable smorgasbord of meats, including lamb, bison, elk, chicken and salmon.

We utilize a proprietary herbal blend to naturally enhance and enrich the aroma and piquancy of our pet diets. The herbs we include are embraced for their nutritional value as well as their distinctive flavors. The health benefits of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, fenugreek and fennel seed have been well documented through the ages. Our Ingredients Glossary lists the nutritional properties of every ingredient we use, so you know exactly what goes into our food.

Timberwolf and Serengeti formulas contain everything your pet needs for a balanced diet, with nothing to mask the natural taste of the ingredients. We are confident that our holistic pet foods nourish the body and please the palate. Please visit our Taste Testers page to hear from our many satisfied customers.

OXYGEN BARRIER PACKAGING

Because we use such high quality ingredients in our formulas, we want to ensure that our content stays fresh for as long as possible. We view packaging as a critical element in the production of our natural pet diets. The right packaging, made of the most durable materials, will provide exceptional protection from the potentially damaging forces of environment and transport.

We are proud to offer the highest grade of food grade oxygen barrier packaging. Food grade packaging does not transfer toxic substances to the food within it. The plastics used in food grade packaging are required to be of a greater purity than those used in regular packaging. Food grade packaging is water and fat resistant, and has been deemed safe for human use according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Our special protective bags are superior to traditional paper and plastic packaging in several ways:

Prevention from oxidation and rancidity

Air is a natural enemy of food. Too much air inside a package can cause food to spoil, making it stale or unpalatable. Pets may refuse to eat kibble that has gone bad. Even worse, spoiled food can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria or molds that thrive on oxygen. Our oxygen barrier bags feature a one-way degassing valve to lock in freshness and keep air out.

Protection from environmental contaminants

A bag that is exposed to air is also vulnerable to environmental contamination. Once bacteria have latched onto the food, they can multiply rapidly and sicken any animal unfortunate enough to ingest them. Timberwolf packaging slams the door on bacteria and other harmful substances that can be introduced externally. Our barrier bags are sealed to prevent chemicals, toxins, fungi, viruses and bacteria from infiltrating your pet's food.

Mylar Foil-Lined packaging to maintain freshness

Just as wrapping your food in aluminum foil keeps it fresh, our food grade foil-lined bags protect the integrity of our pet diets. Foil packaging provides a barrier against air, aids in maintaining the internal temperature of the bag, and helps retain the natural moisture balance of the food. Thinner packaging materials such as paper let air in, making the food susceptible to spoilage and environmental contamination.

Easier transport

As your Timberwolf purchase makes its way to your doorstep, it is subjected to the normal rigors of shipping and handling. Our thicker ply bags are tear resistant and designed to withstand impact. They provide an additional layer of protection to ensure that your Timberwolf purchase reaches your doorstep in optimum condition.

We pride ourselves on the fact that every product we produce is created with your pet in mind. We like to think that every Timberwolf package is sealed with our commitment, integrity and love for your pets.

TESTING

At Timberwolf, we value your pet’s health just as much as you do. Since our inception, we have committed ourselves to using wholesome ingredients from trusted sources to provide your pet with a natural, nourishing diet. That devotion to quality extends to our manufacturing process. We hold our food to the highest safety and quality control standards. Our diets exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for pet food. Our manufacturing facility is USDA-inspected, and is one of the few that is APHIS (Agricultural Plant Health Inspection Service) certified.

Both incoming raw ingredients and finished products undergo a battery of tests, including tests for the naturally occurring toxins aflatoxin and vomitoxin. We test moisture, protein, dry matter, ash and fat. We also do a visual inspection and an aroma check. Peroxide Value (PV) tests, a good predictor of shelf life, are run to determine lipid quality and freshness. Checks are also performed on fats, tallows, digests and oils. Raw ingredients are not allowed into the facility until they have passed all tests.

In production, we monitor kibble length, expansion, appearance and smell. Checks are conducted on the flour mix for density, moisture, fat, ash, dry matter and protein. These checks are performed again on the extruded and finished kibble.

Our facility employs skilled personnel with years of quality control experience. The Quality Assurance supervisor has a degree in biology and several years of experience in the medical device-manufacturing field. Our lab technicians oversee documentation and export testing.

We swab designated production areas and send these samples to Siliker Labs to check for salmonella, enterobacteriaceae and APHIS testing. Other outside lab testing includes Midwest Laboratories for proximate, gelatinization, and levels of trace minerals. With over 30 years of experience, the Midwest Laboratories Feed Department is one of the largest feed labs in the country. Midwest of Omaha, Neb., specializes in the testing of general feed products, as well as domestic pet food. The laboratory offers microbiological and antibiotic testing, along with testing for melamine and related compounds. All feed and pet food testing uses standard wet chemistry testing methods. Midwest offers fast turnaround times and accuracy through BAXTM, the DuPont Qualicon System of testing.

Midwest began as an independent environmental laboratory with a focus on the analysis of soil, plant tissue, and feeds. The laboratory has since expanded its testing capabilities to include pesticide analysis, nutritional and microbiological analysis for foods, water analysis, petroleum and hazardous waste. Midwest Laboratories continues to expand in the areas of new methodology development and state of the art instrumentation. Scientists at Midwest are able to address new analytical challenges using the latest instruments and testing methods.

OUR ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT

Our facilities

At Timberwolf, our belief in using all-natural ingredients goes hand in hand with our concern for the environment. Our warehouse facility is located deep within the largest underground business complex in the world, which was carved out of old limestone mines underneath hills and bluffs in the late 1800s. More than 150 feet under the earth's surface, there are miles of clean white painted passageways supported by gigantic 12 feet thick rock pillars.

Using underground space offers several environmental advantages, including naturally controlled humidity levels (within 1-2% year-round) and constant cool temperatures. We don't have to deal with the elements, and being so far down provides a naturally cold, energy-efficient environment ideal for food storage. In addition, our facilities utilize electric forklifts instead of the exhaust-emitting propane-powered variety. We are located close to neighboring rail and transportation services to increase energy and fuel efficiency.

Our facilities are FDA-compliant food grade facilities. They feature State-of-the-Art technology, including bar coding and full electronic data interchange (EDI) capabilities.

The environmentally friendly vehicles that deliver our food rely on low-sulfur diesel fuel, which is cleaner burning and produces less carbon dioxide than gasoline. Using domestic ingredients reduces fuel consumption, one of the leading causes of global warming. And because we don’t need to ship over long distances, we are able to reduce transportation costs, enabling us to keep our prices under control.

We firmly believe that our environment is very important. In the development of our products, every consideration is given to the environment wherever possible.

Recyclable glass

We obtain our fish from sustainable sources, i.e., "in quota" stocks. These fish are not identified as being under threat.

An astounding 50% of fish is considered "waste" by the food industry. Although just as nutritious as the rest of the fish, this 50% is simply thrown away. Our products were developed after many years of research into better utilization of whole fish. Better utilization makes better use of our natural resources and reduces landfill.

Recyclable glass

Our Wild Salmon Oil is packaged in amber glass bottles, which are better for the environment than their plastic counterparts. Plastic is a petroleum-based product that causes environmental pollution during its production. By using glass bottles, we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and help to reduce global warming.

Biodegradable

We are continually reviewing the availability of biodegradable packaging for our products. However, due to the naturally occurring oil content in fish and the limited packaging that is available, paper and plastic packaging is not suitable for our food products.

With all of the hundreds of dog foods on the market some of you must be wondering, "Why make another dog food?" That is a fair question, at least before examining it in further detail. Most breeders, trainers, kennel operators and even the average pet owner would admit to going from one dog food to another, trying this diet and then that diet, never completely happy with any of them. One food may give good results for a while but then the condition of the dogs fades to mediocrity or worse after only several months. Also, pets fed most "natural" foods produce large stool volume, do not maintain weight, have poor coat quality, yet have a shiny coat and usually display less allergy symptoms. Dogs fed well known commercial super premium foods seem to produce good coat growth, maintain weight, produce little stool volume etc., and yet have a little less shine to their coats. However, they seem to display more dermatologic distress and the foods have less expensive ingredients and are not naturally preserved. Below, we shall try to examine why this may be.

TIMBERWOLF GIVES BACK

We at Timberwolf are passionate about animals, and one of the ways we show it is by helping homeless animals. Timberwolf has donated thousands of pounds of food to shelters all around the country.

Most homeless animals arrive at shelters in very poor physical condition and the fastest and easiest way for them to find new loving homes is when they look like they clean and healthy once again. Timberwolf food is crammed full of robust, nutritious, wholesome performing ingredients and is a fast and sure way to help these show their full potential as wonderful devoted family pets.

While we are proud to have been a part in helping feed our nations homeless and neglected animals we would like to extend our most grateful thanks to the thousands of volunteers on the front lines who daily give so much of themselves and their time each and every day.

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