Contrary to what many people believe, meat sources in "meal" form (as long as they are from a specified type of animal, such as chicken meal, lamb meal, salmon meal etc.) are not inferior to whole, fresh meats. Meals consist of meat and skin, with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. and have the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio required for a balanced diet. They have had most of the moisture removed, but meats in their original, "wet" form still contain up to 75% water. Once the food reaches its final moisture content of about 9-12%, the meat will have shrunk to sometimes as little as 1/4 of the original amount, while the already dehydrated meal form remains the same and you get more concentrated protein per pound of finished product.
This means that in the worst case you are left with only 4 ounces of actual meat content per pound of fresh meat included in a dry kibble, many of which contain less than one pound of meat per 2-3 pounds of grain to begin with. Preferably a food contains quality meat meal as well as some fresh meat.
What to look for:
►Specifically named meats
and meat meals such as chicken, chicken meal, turkey, turkey meal, lamb, lamb meal, duck, duck meal, beef, beef meal, eggs and so on.
What to avoid:
►All generic meat ingredients that do not indicate a species
(meat, meat byproducts, meat byproduct meal, meat meal, meat & bone meal, blood meal, fish, fish meal, poultry, poultry byproducts, poultry meal, poultry byproduct meal, liver, liver meal, glandular meal etc.)
Byproducts of any type are less desirable and only acceptable if they do not make up the main source of animal protein and if the name of the species used is also defined in some manner
(e.g. "chicken byproducts" or "beef byproducts" but not "meat byproducts" or "poultry byproducts"). Byproducts consist of anything but the quality cuts of meat and highest quality edible offal used for human consumption. What this means (on a market with high demand for human snacks like "buffalo wings" and cheaper pet foods requiring flavoring agents like beef or chicken liver digest to make otherwise uninteresting food more attractive), I leave to your imagination.