Halo Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Halo Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Halo Grain Free product line includes 7 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Halo Holistic Grain Free Surf and Turf [M]
  • Halo Holistic Puppy Game Bird Medley (3.5 stars) [G]
  • Halo Holistic Small Breed Game Bird Medley (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Halo Holistic Grain Free Senior Wild Salmon and Whitefish [M]
  • Halo Holistic Grain Free Senior Turkey, Turkey Liver, and Duck [M]
  • Halo Holistic Healthy Weight Grain Free Turkey, Turkey Liver, and Duck [M]
  • Halo Holistic Small Breed Healthy Weight Wild Salmon and Whitefish (3.5 stars) [M]

Halo Holistic Grain Free Surf and Turf recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Halo Holistic Grain Free Surf and Turf Recipe for Adult Dogs

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Whitefish, dried egg product, dried chickpeas, dried lentil, dried peas, turkey, dried sweet potato, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), turkey liver, duck, soy protein concentrate, pea protein, whole flaxseed, pea fiber, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, calcium sulphate, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried blueberry, dried cranberry, dried carrot, calcium carbonate, salt, inulin, potassium chloride, dried golden algae, taurine, mixed tocopherols (preservative), vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, biotin, zinc methionine complex, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%17%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%35%41%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 41%

The first ingredient in this dog food is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

Although it is a quality item, raw fish contains up to 73% 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 dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The third ingredient includes dried chickpeas. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried chickpeas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient lists dried lentils. Dried lentils are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried lentils and peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:

  • Dried chickpeas
  • Dried lentils
  • Dried peas
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Pea protein

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

The sixth ingredient is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains up to 73% 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 seventh ingredient is dried sweet potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried sweet potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.

The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

Although it is a quality item, raw organ meat contains up to 73% 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.

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 six notable exceptions

First, we find soy protein concentrate, what remains of soybeans after removing the water soluble carbohydrates from the beans.

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.

Next, this recipe includes pea protein, another plant-based protein booster. Pea protein is what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

In addition, 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.

We also 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 Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Halo Grain Free Dog Food looks like an 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 28%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the legumes and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Halo Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

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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Dog Food Coupons
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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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Notes and Updates

04/05/2018 Last Update