The key to selecting the right dog food is to know how to read the label. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity. The closer an ingredient is to the top of the list, the more of it is present. Meat meal is a perfectly acceptable protein source, but it should be listed by the name of the protein source, such as chicken or lamb. Meat meal listed only as “meat meal” or “meat by-product meal” does not come from a high-quality protein source.
Watch for filler ingredients on the label. A filler is anything that adds bulk to the food with little to no nutritional value. This causes your dog to need to eat more to get the right balance of nutrients. Dogs eat less food if it has fewer fillers in it. They are getting full on fewer, higher-quality ingredients and in turn, getting more nutrients.
The first ingredient on the list should always be meat. Chicken, duck, turkey, and lamb are excellent protein sources. A secondary protein like chicken meal should be next on the list. Any fats or oils should also be listed by their source – for example, fish oil.