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Well, as far as I understand it the "meal" isn't bad at all. In fact, when a named meat source is the meal, it tends to have more actual meat content than the fresh stuff. This is because the fresh stuff is weighed before it is dehydrated, and most of that weight is actually water. Here's what I learned, from dogfoodproject.com

"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."

http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=betterproducts

So what I would avoid is when it is "generic" such as "poultry meal," as this can contain animals who were sick before they died, roadkill, anything.. or "byproducts" which have all that nasty stuff you're talking about.
Meat meal isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's good!
meat meal is just meat with water content already removed.
Ingredients are listed by weight, not amount. An ingredient that lists a meat meal as #1 or 2 on the list is in fact accurate. An ingredient list that lists a meat at #1 or 2 is not accurate at all. After the water content is ermoved, which happens during processing, the ingredient would more accurately be listed at fourth or fifth on the list.
Does this make any sense because typing this is confusing the heck out of me!
That is my understanding as well; meal is NOT "by-products" but the actual meat with the water content removed, and so if it is listed first it means the meat content is relatively high, while the actual meat (such as de-boned chicken) is mostly water and so the real content can be lower in comparison to the dry goods "behind" it in the ingredient list.
Spencer eats Lotus - Puppy Formula. It's made near where we live and it's considered an ultra premium food.

http://lotuspetfoods.com/
Our first corgi had a severe itching problem -- chewed sores in her skin -- that disappeared after putting her on 100% raw meat. Grain allergy?
There is now a Seattle area company, Darwin's, that delivers frozen bricks of raw meat to your door. I don't even want to know what we're paying for this.
We also feed them Wellness sweet potato & whitefish kibble -- much simpler travelling or in the backcountry -- and lately I'm experimenting with 2 daily meals of 0.5+ cup of ground raw meat with as little as 6-12 pellets of Wellness kibble jus tto soften their poop.
One plus for raw meat: if you live in the city and have to pick up, it makes hard odorless turds that are easy to pick up.
Great; I'm a connoisseur of dog poop.
Mac was on nutro light (for less active dog) for a year and he actually lost 7 lb. I decided to upgrade his food to Innova Senior (he's not a sr yet but I chose it becasue of the low fat content) and I guess either because he exercised less or it because of the new food..he gained 3 lbs in 3 months! Also he's lost his waist line :o) So I'm concern that the Innova has too much calories per cup vs Nutro light?? I'm now at the point where I'm thinking about switching to a different brand..would hate to keep switching all the time. The sales rep convinced me to buy Precise Plus...haven't open the bag yet but I'm having doubts about it..may have to return. Deciding on what kind of dog food to feed your corgi is not easy in my opinion. Perparing and feeding him freshly made food out of Dr. Pitcairns' book is ideal..but come on I don't even have time to cook my own food.
Any suggestions on good quality food, best ingredients yet not too much protein and fat content to keep his weight down??
I prefer a food with meat or meat meal (not by-products) as the first ingredient. Most of the light foods have grains as the first, and sometimes second and third, ingredients. So I used regular food and just reduce the amount.

When Jack needed to lose weight, we cut him back to 2/3 of a cup a day and mix in some canned pumpkin or green beans, or sometimes yogurt, in the evening to add bulk. Now I think he might be on the verge of getting a bit too thin, so I'll probably bump him back up a bit, to maybe 1/3 cup AM and 1/2 cup PM with a crunchy treat or two every day for his teeth.

We also got Charlie Bear 3 calorie treats, and the first few times I gave them to Jack he looked at me like I was crazy. "Where's the rest?" was the clear message of his expression. Now he likes them, but is still happier if he gets a full-sized treat.

As for brands.... ugh, I hate to even get into that conversation. For example, the breeder of my parents' Chessie both shows and field trials. She has tons of champions, most of them in hard condition, and she feeds Iam's. Now some people will say Iam's is horrible food. A lot of breeders feed Eukanuba, and again some will say it's junk. Some insist on staying away from all grains, some say stay away from corn but rice is ok.... you get the picture. Personally Jack did not do so well on chicken-and-corn based feed; his stools were a bit looser than I would like and he made a mess of himself if he'd walk off before he was done. He does better on lamb and rice. I have yet to be able to tell how his coat is on that formula, though, because he's still finishing up his shedding and so has a fair amount of loose coat at all times.
i switched to Blue Buffalo, primarily because it is a high quality dog food and it is made in the USA ! my lab mix had horrible allergies and they have all cleared up with the Blue Buffalo. i have also gotten rid of the corn filled treats, and i now feed real apple slices, carrots and other veggies! i am spending a little more on dog chow, but not on the vet bills and allery meds! my dogs never looked better, nor felt better! good luck! kim k
used to feed Nutro - kept their coats shiny. Then purina beneful. And now Diamond. I was mixing in semi-moist (tubed dog food) but stopped. I need to go back to doing that.
I've been feeding Stella 2/3 cup of Hill's Science Diet Puppy per day and I supplement at least one meal with a mixture of boiled chicken, brown rice (or sweet potato) and green beans. Sometimes I'll add a tablespoon of plain yogurt or cottage cheese to a meal as well. I was worried about the "commercial" dog food not being good enough, especially living in a fairly rural area with little options (the closest PetSmart is an hour and a half away). But so far her coat has been growing in beautifully (she's 15 1/2 wks old).
Anyone heard of K9 Natural?

http://www.k9natural.co.nz/

I hv been feeding Keke for 2 wks and her poop is hard and almost odourless. She finishes her meal in less then 1 min :)
Thanks for the recommendation. I don't think it's sold in the USA just yet. I'll be looking for it.

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