Halo Dog Food Review: Good or Bad?


In Search for The Best Dog Chow — Halo Dog Food Reviews

Credit: halopets

If you have a pooch or are in any other way involved in the canine world, we’re sure you’ve heard about Halo pet food. How couldn’t you have — the company is almost as famous as its part owner, Ellen DeGeneres!

Halo dog food is known for its holistic approach to food-making, and it enjoys the reputation of being one of the best quality dog food brands currently on the market. The famous TV host was so impressed by the brand that she had to become a partial owner back in 2008.

In the search for the best dog grub, TheDogDigest has stumbled upon some remarkable recipes, for example, Wellness CORE dog food, smallbatch dog food, and Fromm dog food, all of which have pretty impressive ingredients and formulas. Being curious as we are, we simply had to see how Halo dog food compares! Is this dog chow all it is hyped up to be? Can it stand side-by-side with those dog food giants?

We are not sponsored by any businesses and do not promote one dog food brand over another. What you’ll read below are the findings of our own Halo dog food reviews based on expert opinion on dog nutrition.

Our Evaluation Process

When we say expert opinion, we mean it. To get to the bottom of what distinguishes the best dry dog food from the worst dry dog food, we checked:

  1. Vets’ opinions 
  2. The Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) recommendations
  3. Pet food store employees’ experiences
  4. Halo dog food user reviews
  5. How our own pooches liked Halo formulas

We like to learn from the best and most trusted dog experts — and there’s no one more apt and trustworthy to answer our kibble-related inquiries than our pooches’ vets! After all, we put the health of our doggos in their capable hands, so we made sure they were the first people we turned to for advice. They also told us everything we needed to know about the best canned dog food and the worst wet dog food, so that we could assess Halo’s wet dog nutrition as well.

When we check the label of the food we’re reviewing, we want to see whether it follows the AAFCO standards for dogs in both the growth and reproduction stage and the adult and maintenance stage. We studied the AAFCO minimum recommended amounts for all life stages thoroughly and attested that Halo dog food complies with the standards.

How We Selected Our Top Picks

Pet store workers gave us their take on how Halo dog food compares to other brands they hold, and the online dog parent community shared their impressions of this pet grub as well. That helped us select the lines which we would purchase and test at home.

Our furry companions were the final judges. We poured Halo formulas exclusively in their bowls for two months. We switched between different flavors and were able to single out their favorites.

You can find the results of our assessment below. Since here at TheDogDigest, we are all bona fide dog locos, we have dogs galore among us — from the tiniest breeds to the most gargantuan ones! We made sure to give our puppies, mature doggos, and grandpa-dogs Halo formulas appropriate to their size and age, and tried all flavors from each food and supplement line. Here’s what we found.

Category TheDogDigest PicksRating
Best for puppiesHalo Holistic Grain-Free Salmon Recipe for Puppies4.9
Best for adult dogsHalo Holistic Healthy Weight Grain-Free Turkey, Turkey Liver, and Duck Recipe for Adult Dogs4.8
Best for senior dogsHalo Holistic Beef Recipe for Senior Dogs4.9
Best for small breed dogsHalo Holistic Healthy Weight Wild Salmon and Whitefish for Small Breed Dogs4.9
Best for large breed dogsHalo Big Dog Holistic Chicken Recipe for Large Breed Dogs4.8
Best food for protein-sensitive dogsHalo Holistic Garden of Vegan Recipe for Dogs4.7
Best treatsLiv-A-Littles Freeze-Dried Wild Salmon Protein Treats4.8
Best supplementHalo Joint & Hip Support4.7

Best for Puppies: Halo Holistic Grain-Free Salmon Recipe for Puppies

Credit: Halo Pets

Halo Holistic Grain-Free Salmon Recipe for Puppies is one of two flavors from this Halo wet food line. Our puppers loved the chicken recipe as well, but we were more impressed by the nutritional value of the salmon formula. Although Halo also offers puppy kibble in two flavors, we opted for canned meals instead, as they are more appetizing and easier to chew for the youngest of cubs.

Whelps grow at an incredibly fast pace. That is why they need a diet that can give them all the essential nutrients they require for healthy development. Proteins are crucial in puppy nutrition — their chow needs to contain at least 22.5% of it on a dry matter basis — and this recipe has over 47% protein inside! That means it’s up to par with the best puppy food we could find.

Given that this is a wet formula, it is slightly on the greasier side. If you stick to the serving recommendations on the can, you’ll successfully avoid having a chubby pupperino. They’ll turn all the fats from this food into calories and use them as building blocks for their growth without putting on excess weight. 

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.)11.0%
Crude Fat (Min.)10.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)1.5%
Moisture (Max.)78%
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (Min.)0.5%
Calorie Count (ME Calculated)1,316 kcal/kg
Typical Analysis (Dry Matter Basis)
Protein 47.4%
Fat 40.6%
Fiber 0.9%
Carbs 6.8%
Calcium 2.0%
Phosphorus 1.3%

Ingredients

Salmon, fish broth, turkey liver, eggs, tricalcium phosphate, flaxseed, agar-agar, potassium chloride, salmon oil, choline chloride, parsley, salt, calcium carbonate, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, minerals, vitamins.

Best for Adult Dogs: Halo Holistic Healthy Weight Grain-Free Turkey, Turkey Liver, and Duck Recipe

Credit: Halo Pets

Halo Holistic Healthy Weight Grain-Free Turkey, Turkey Liver, and Duck Recipe for Adult Dogs was beyond a shadow of a doubt the winner of this round! Our pooches devoured this kibble whenever it found its way into their bowls.

This grub is nutritionally ideal for adult doggos — it has sufficient protein and fat to supply enough energy and strength for active park roamers and human jogging companions alike. It also contains lots of fiber that does wonders for the canine digestive system.

The main ingredient is turkey, which is an ideal meat choice for pooches with beef or chicken sensitivities. That is why it is a go-to ingredient in the best dog food for dogs with allergies. It also contains duck, which is a novel meat source in dog food but praised for its digestibility and nutritive value.

Although this Halo dry dog food is grain-free, it has plenty of carbs. It also contains whole flaxseed, which abounds with Omega fatty acids that are essential for our dogs’ heart, skin, and coat health. 

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.)24.0%
Crude Fat (Min.)12.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)6.0%
Moisture (Max.)10%
Vitamin E (Min.)250 IU/kg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min.)3%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min.)80%
Calorie Count (ME Calculated)3,485 kcal/kg
Typical Analysis (Dry Matter Basis)
Protein 26.2%
Fat 16.3%
Fiber 5.1%
Carbs 44.3%
Calcium 1.7%
Phosphorus 1.2%

Ingredients

Turkey, dried chickpeas, dried lentil, dried peas, dried egg product, turkey liver, dried sweet potato, duck, pea fiber, dicalcium phosphate, whole flaxseed, natural flavor, pea protein, soy protein concentrate, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), calcium sulfate, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, salt, dried blueberry, dried cranberry, dried carrot, calcium carbonate, inulin, potassium chloride, mixed tocopherols (preservative), taurine, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), L-Carnitine, vitamins, minerals.

Best for Senior Dogs: Halo Holistic Beef Recipe for Senior Dogs

Credit: Halo Pets

Halo Holistic Beef Recipe for Senior Dogs is a wet formula that is perfect for elderly pooches. This soft, juicy meal is mouth-watering and aromatic, which is instrumental for aged doggos that are likely to refuse to munch on the less tasty and hard kibble. The older dogs get, the more their appetite decreases, so offering them something as tempting as this scrumptious stew-like meal should get their stomach juices flowing. 

This recipe is based on beef, which is hearty and delicious, but more importantly, packed with iron, which is essential for a grey-haired woofer. Grandpa and grandma dogs are not particularly active, so they benefit from a high-fiber but low-calorie grub. This formula has three times fewer calories than the previous item in our review, and it also has plenty of fiber, which means it is gentle on the old dog’s frail GI tract. 

The potential shortcoming of this chow is that it barely has enough calcium to support bone and teeth health, so you may also need to include a supplement to help with that (hint: Halo has a great hip and joint supplement that we mention below, so stick around!). Alternatively, browse through our selection of the best senior dog food.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.)8.0%
Crude Fat (Min.)4.5%
Crude Fiber (Max.)1.5%
Moisture (Max.)78.0%
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (Min.)0.1%
Chondroitin Sulfate (Min.)200mg/kg
Chondroitin Sulfate (Max.)290mg/kg
Glucosamine (Min.)300 mg/kg
Glucosamine (Max.)360 mg/kg
Calorie Count (ME Calculated)1,070 kcal/kg
Typical Analysis (Dry Matter Basis)
Protein33.6%
Fat 42.5%
Fiber 5.1%
Carbs 13.8%
Calcium 0.8%
Phosphorus 0.6%

Ingredients

Beef, beef broth, beef liver, ground dried peas, oat bran, pea fiber, carrots, tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, peas, potassium chloride, guar gum, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), minerals, sunflower oil, vitamins, choline chloride, agar-agar, glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium carbonate, chondroitin sulfate, salt, L-Carnitine, rosemary extract.

Best for Small Breed Dogs: Halo Holistic Healthy Weight Wild Salmon and Whitefish

Credit: Halo Pets

Halo Holistic Healthy Weight Wild Salmon and Whitefish for Small Breed Dogs took the win for lap and toy dog breeds. The kibble pellets in this food are soft and easy for our tiny-muzzled friends to chew. They are also small enough not to pose a choking hazard as kibble pieces intended for bigger doggos would. 

The nutritional profile of this grub doesn’t leave anything to be desired — the protein-fat ratio is ideal, and the fiber content is more than satisfactory to ensure a healthy tummy. The calorific profile is optimal for small breeds that, although small in stature, have boundless energy. Salmon and whitefish are rich in precious Omega oils, which grants shiny coats, flawless vision, and strong hearts to our pups!

Check out more splendid brands that offer some of the best dry dog food for small dogs.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.)27.0%
Crude Fat (Min.)12.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)5.0%
Moisture (Max.)10.0%
Vitamin E (Min.)250 IU/kg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min.)2.40%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min.)1.10%
Calorie Count (ME Calculated)3,485 kcal/kg
Typical Analysis (Dry Matter Basis)
Protein 32.3%
Fat 17.0%
Fiber 6.0%
Carbs 37.3%
Calcium 1.4%
Phosphorus 1.1%

Ingredients

Salmon, whitefish, dried egg product, chickpeas, dried lentils, dried peas, pea protein, soy protein concentrate, flaxseed, pea fiber, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), calcium sulfate, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried carrot, dried sweet potato, calcium carbonate, salt, inulin, vitamins, potassium chloride, minerals, taurine, mixed tocopherols (preservative), L-Carnitine.

Best for Large Breed Dogs: Halo Big Dog Holistic Chicken Recipe

Credit: Halo Pets

Halo Big Dog Holistic Chicken Recipe for Large Breed Dogs is the only Halo formula tailored for the biggest of woofers. We would gladly recommend it for the likes of Great Danes, Mastiffs, or Newfoundlands. It is also suitable for Labs, Golden Retrievers, or German Sheps, although you can feed breeds of their size with standard adult formulas from Halo’s offer, too. 

This chow is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, both of which are vital for joint and cartilage health. Giant doggos are quite heavy and need strong joints to support their weight, so these ingredients are precious. You can also find them in these best large breed dry dog foods.

The only thing we take issue with is the number of calories in this Halo kibble. Our big furry boys can wolf down a whole lotta food, so it needs to be less calorie-dense than the small breed kind. What we did to prevent our pooches from overeating on it and still feel full is douse the kibble with water (or a topper we know they love), so it increased in quantity but not in the number of calories.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.)26.0%
Crude Fat (Min.)13.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)4.0%
Moisture (Max.)10.0%
Vitamin E (Min.)225 IU/kg
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min.)0.80%
Glucosamine (Min.)800 mg/kg
Chondroitin sulfate (Min.)650 mg/kg
Calorie Count (ME Calculated)3,623 kcal/kg
Typical Analysis (Dry Matter Basis)
Protein 29.9%
Fat 16.7%
Fiber 2.1%
Carbs 43.6%
Calcium 1.6%
Phosphorus 1.2%

Ingredients

Chicken, oat groats, dried egg product, pearled barley, pea protein, soy protein concentrate, dicalcium phosphate, natural flavor, dried sweet potatoes, flaxseed, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), calcium sulfate, salmon oil, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried carrots, calcium carbonate, salt, inulin, vitamins, minerals, mixed tocopherols (preservative), taurine, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C).

Best Food for Protein-Sensitive Dogs: Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan Recipe for Dogs

Credit: Halo Pets

While the raw dog food trend is taking a swing (as this chow is based on raw meat, bones, and organs loaded with proteins that dogs love and need so much), some pooches are intolerant or allergic to meat-based protein. The usual suspects are beef and chicken, which can easily be substituted for eggs and dairy products that are just as protein-packed. Owners who have pups that are sensitive to those proteins too find themselves in a pickle — how do they feed their dogs AND meet their protein requirements?

Enter Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan Recipe for Dogs. This is a vegan dog food tailored for such sensitive tummies that cannot process any animal-derived amino acids (protein). It is made from non-GMO veggies (such as various beans), whole grains, and fruit that supply the plant-based proteins these delicate pooches can digest with ease. 

The best part is that this recipe is entirely rice-free (brown rice is typically the main ingredient in vegan pet food, but it is hardly any good for animals). Garden of Vegan Recipe for dogs meets the AAFCO nutritional requirements to a T (which is a rarity among vegan dog food), even without having any animal-sourced ingredients.

This formula is also favored among vegan dog owners who want to implement the same nutrition ethic on their meat-tolerant furry family members — it was voted the 2018 Veggie Awards winner.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.)20.0%
Crude Fat (Min.)10.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)8.5%
Moisture (Max.)10%
Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min.)4.25%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min.)1.75%
Calorie Count (ME Calculated)3,400 kcal/kg
Typical Analysis (Dry Matter Basis)
Protein 24.7%
Fat 12.6%
Fiber 5.2%
Carbs 52.0%
Calcium 0.9%
Phosphorus 0.7%

Ingredients

Non-GMO Green Peas, chickpeas, pearled barley, oat groats, pea protein, whole flaxseed, sunflower oil, dried plain beet pulp, potato, sweet potato, alfalfa meal, dried carrot, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dicalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, dried kelp, natural vegetable flavors, flaxseed oil, carrots, dried apple, dried blueberry, dried cranberry, chicory root, taurine, rosemary extract, L-Carnitine, potassium chloride, DL-Methionine, salt, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, vitamins, minerals.

Best Treats: Liv-A-Littles Freeze-Dried Wild Salmon Protein Treats

Credit: Halo Pets

Liv-A-Littles Freeze-Dried Wild Salmon Protein Treats is a single-ingredient, holistic snack or treat that our pups adored! Wild salmon abounds in protein and essential fatty acids that can do a world of good for our furry babies!

But our choice was made primarily on the enthusiasm we observed in our pooches when they expected this reward. The hopeful tippy taps, pleading eyes, and drooly smiles were loud enough signals to point to the winner in this category.

There’s one downside, though — these schmackos are crazy protein-packed, so you want to reserve them for special treats and use them sparingly. Freeze-drying is an excellent nutrient saving-method, and we commend Halo for using it. Still, go for a less caloric snack for your dog, and give them these crunchies only a few times a week.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.)77.0%
Crude Fat (Min.)4.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)1.0%
Moisture (Max.)6.0%
Calorie Count (ME Calculated)3,352 kcal/kg

Ingredients

100% salmon.

Best Supplement: Halo Joint & Hip Support

Credit: Halo Pets

We’ll let the facts speak for the benefits of Halo Joint & Hip Support:

  1. Coconut is just as pleasantly aromatic to dogs as it is to humans, but its oil is super beneficial to our pup’s weight control, energy levels, thyroid health, digestion, skin and coat, and allergy resilience
  2. Sweet potatoes are loaded with iron, calcium, and numerous vitamins that will keep your furball’s joints and hips healthy
  3. Glucosamine is vital for your doggo’s joints — it plays a role in their mobility, repair, and pain and inflammation reduction
  4. Tart cherries also help with joint inflammation, muscle recovery, and issues related to arthritis
  5. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that soothes joint inflammation, aids digestion, and supports your dog’s heart and liver health
  6. Anise is a favorite spice for canines — they relish its aroma but only benefit from it in small amounts that don’t upset their stomachs
  7. Blueberries are renowned for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  8. Serrapeptase is also known as “the Miracle Enzyme” that calms the inflammatory processes after injuries and strains, promotes joint and tendon health, and has many benefits to the respiratory system, too

Since there are only these eight ingredients, you can rest assured that your pooch is taking in only the 100% natural products that can’t harm them but can only help them have stronger and more flexible joints.

However, like all supplements, this one is entirely at the mercy of your doggo’s metabolism, and you can never be sure how much of it is getting ingested and absorbed. To avoid investing in rather pricey dog pee, we recommend consulting your vet beforehand and having them track your dog’s health while they are on the supplement to see if there are any effects.

Active Ingredients per 3.3g (app. 1.5 tsp.)
Coconut1365 mg
Sweet potato1188 mg
Glucosamine HCl (shellfish)500 mg
Tart cherry100 mg
Curcumin95 mg
Anise50 mg
Whole blueberry20 mg
Serrapeptase (natural enzyme)10 mg

Can You Mix Dry and Wet Halo Dog Food?

This brand advocates the simultaneous use of canned dog food and kibble, especially for dogs that don’t drink enough water. 

Halo recommends that the diet of our doggos should consist of 25%–50% wet food. All of their formulas keep to the AAFCO nutritional requirements for dogs, so you can replace ¼ cup of kibble with about 4 oz. of wet food — it will make your dog’s meal juicier and tastier but equally nutritious.

Is Halo Dog Food Good for Your Dog?

Overall, we found this dog food brand makes an above-average chow that provides healthy and nutritious meals for our pooches. They sure loved gobbling it up, and we couldn’t be happier about it. 

To round the review up, here is a bit more about what distinguishes Halo holistic dog food:

  • Sustainably-sourced, cruelty-free ingredients
  • No meat meals — only named ingredients
  • Non-GMO fruits and veggies
  • Exceptionally digestible food — “the proof is in the poop” that is firmer, smaller, and easier to pick up as your dog utilizes more food
  • BPA-free cans and recyclable bags
  • A food with a cause — for every sale made, Halo donates a bowl of food to animal shelters

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_food
  2. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-best-way-to-mix-wet-and-dry-dog-food
  3. Olivry, Thierry, and Ralf S. Mueller. “Critically Appraised Topic on Adverse Food Reactions of Companion Animals (5): Discrepancies between Ingredients and Labeling in Commercial Pet Foods.” BMC Veterinary Research, vol. 14, no. 1, 2018, doi:10.1186/s12917-018-1346-y.
  4. “Estimated Metabolizable Energy Requirements of Adult Dogs.” Canine and Feline Nutrition, 2011, pp. 521–521., doi:10.1016/b978-0-323-06619-8.10043-x.

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Kevin Bentley

Hi, I’m Kevin Bentley, a dog lover and enthusiast. Though I started out as a cat person, my wife quickly set me on the true path of dog love. Now I’m full-on obsessed with dogs and everything related to dogs. I’ve purchased every dog accessory you can think of, so I decided to collect my thoughts about them on this site.

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