Halo Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Halo Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

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

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

Use the links below to check prices and package sizes of Halo dog food at an online retailer.

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

Halo Adult Surf and Turf Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

Ingredients: Whitefish, dried egg product, dried chickpeas, dried lentils, dried peas, turkey, dried sweet potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), turkey liver, duck, soy protein concentrate, pea protein, flaxseed, pea fiber, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried carrots, calcium carbonate, salt, inulin, vitamins (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), potassium chloride, minerals (zinc methionine complex, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide), dried golden algae, taurine, mixed tocopherols (preservative)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red denotes controversial item

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.

It’s important to note that the next three ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas

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.

In addition, dried legumes contain about 27% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is turkey, another quality item inclusive of moisture.

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 Halo product.

With 7 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 booster that contains over 80% protein. 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. But flaxseed also contains about 19% protein.

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.

This recipe also includes taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

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 Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Halo Grain Free looks like an average dry kibble.

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%.

Which means this Halo product line contains…

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

But when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried legumes, flaxseed, soy and pea concentrates, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Halo Grain Free is a dry dog food using a moderate amount of dried egg product as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

Halo Dog Food
Recall History

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

A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

Notes and Updates

09/22/2019 Last Update