Halo Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating rating of 4 stars.
The Halo product line includes ten dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles growth, two for adult maintenance and six for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Halo Spot’s Stew Wild Salmon Adult
- Halo Vegan Garden Medley (2 stars)
- Halo Spot’s Stew Wild Salmon Puppy
- Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free Surf & Turf
- Halo Spot’s Stew Wholesome Lamb Adult
- Halo Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Adult
- Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free Healthy Weight
- Halo Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Puppy
- Halo Spot’s Stew Toy/Small Breed Wholesome Chicken
- Halo Spot’s Stew Toy/Small Breed Turkey, Duck & Pheasant
Halo Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Adult Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Adult
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, eggs, pea protein, oats, vegetable broth, pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), whole peas, chicken liver, salmon, flax seed, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea fiber, sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, green beans, carrots, cranberries, zucchini, alfalfa, inulin, calcium sulfate, potassium chloride, taurine, salt, vitamins (folic acid, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement ,choline bitartrate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, ascorbic acid, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, cobalt proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, magnesium proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.2%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||18%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||37%||37%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 second ingredient is eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The third ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient is vegetable broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The sixth ingredient is pearled barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. The term “pearled” means the grain has been processed to remove its outer hull and bran, unlike whole barley. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient includes chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, salmon 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, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
In addition, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
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.
Halo Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Halo looks like an above-average dry 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.
Not counting the Vegan recipe, as a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea products and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Halo is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those looking for a quality wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Halo canned dog food.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
02/22/2010 Original review
09/26/2010 Review updated
07/26/2012 Review updated
02/06/2014 Last Update