Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free product line includes 4 dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and two for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Spot’s Stew Grain Free Hearty Surf n’ Turf
  • Spot’s Stew Grain Free Pork, Peas & Potatoes
  • Spot’s Stew Grain Free Healthy Weight Whitefish & Salmon
  • Spot’s Stew Grain Free Healthy Weight Turkey Liver & Duck

Spot’s Stew Grain Free Hearty Surf n’ Turf was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Halo Spot's Stew Grain Free Hearty Surf n' Turf

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Whitefish, whole peas, pea protein, potato, eggs, pea flour, turkey liver, vegetable broth, turkey, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), flax seed, pea fiber, duck, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, green beans, carrots, cranberries, zucchini, alfalfa, inulin, calcium sulfate, monocalcium phosphate, 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) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%18%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%37%37%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 37%

The first ingredient in this dog food is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw whitefish 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 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 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 potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The sixth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component. However, raw liver 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 eighth ingredient is vegetable broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The ninth ingredient is turkey, another quality raw item inclusive of water.

The next item 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.

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 five 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, pea fiber is a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

In addition, we find alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, 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 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 Spot’s Stew
Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free looks like an above-average dry product.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Above-average protein. Near-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, flaxseed and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats and egg as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Halo Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

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Notes and Updates

01/28/2017 Last Update

  • SheLovesCountry

    I wanted to give a heads up on a possible problem with the Halo Spots Stew grain free Turkey Liver Duck Recipe. I ordered a 28 lb bag on April 21, 2016 from Chewy.com. I received the bag on April 23, 2016. Box arrived fine, no damage to box or bag. The 28 lb bag was intact inside the box. I began feeding to my Border Collie that date. Husband & I both had sinus problem this date & did not note odor upon opening the bag. But on the 2nd day, I noted the kibbles had a chemical odor. I stopped feeding this food to my BC. Two days later, we found vomit in our formal living room where we do not visit daily. I contacted Halo. Returned some of the food to Halo for inspection. I reported to the FDA as well. Halo has sent a new bag to me and there is definitely a difference in the two bags. The new bag smells normal. My BC is doing fine. She only got approx 1/2 cup of the bad food at 3 different meals because I add fresh cooked foods to her meals as well. Due to finding the vomit and seeing her eating grass that weekend as well… I am sure she did get sick from the food. No vet visit has been required. It is possible things may have been different if I continued to feed her this food. As of this time, we do not know what is wrong with the food, but I wanted those that buy this food to smell it and make sure it smells right and be aware there may be a problem.

  • Shea

    I was interested in the healthy weight formulas. Has anyone tried this?

  • Shea

    Nevermind, I don’t like that it has citric acid. Going to stick with Acana for awhile!

  • Shea

    My little terrier is doing great on Acana but it’s high in fat and calories. She is getting chubby on it. I’ve cut down on the amount I give her but she isn’t losing anything. I was going to try the Halo healthy weight for rotation with the Acana. Just wanted to see some reviews on this food to consider.