Halo dry dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Halo Dog Food Spot’s Stew product line includes eight dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Spot’s Stew Wholesome Lamb
- Spot’s Stew Wild Salmon Adult
- Spot’s Stew Wild Salmon Puppy
- Spot’s Stew Grain Free Surf & Turf
- Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Adult
- Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Puppy
- Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Small Breed
- Spot’s Stew Small Breed Turkey, Duck and Pheasant
Halo Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Adult Recipe was selected to represent the others 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 lists 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 actual 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 stock, a broth made from various vegetables simmered in water. Stocks are nutritionally empty. Yet because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in canned and wet products.
The sixth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
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 mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, like pea protein previously discussed, peas are high in protein (about 25%), a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is dried chicken liver, a dehydrated product made from whole chicken livers. Because it contains about 62% protein and 20% fat, this item makes a favorable addition to this dog food.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
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, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Halo Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, this Halo line appears to be 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbohydrates when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the notable protein-boosting effect of the peas and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a moderate amount of meat.
Halo dry dog food is a plant-based kibble containing a moderate amount of chicken, salmon or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a quality wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Halo canned dog food.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
02/22/2010 Original review
09/26/2010 Review updated
02/20/2012 Review updated (added 2 new recipes)
07/26/2012 Last Update