Halo Dog Food 2021 Review, Rating, & Recalls
Halo, Purely for Pets markets itself as a company with a better way to source and manufacture dog food and they claim the evidence bears itself out in healthier food that dogs love more.
Broadly speaking, they do appear to be more concerned with high-quality ingredients and transparency about the sources of their ingredients than your typical pet food company. But can we take them at their word across the board?
Which Halo Dog Food Sub-Brand is Right for You?
What are the best Halo products, and what are the unique strengths of the company as a whole? In this Halo dog food review, we’re going to take a deep dive into their product line and draw some conclusions about the company as a whole so you can decide whether their food is right for the canine companion(s) in your life.
- COMPLETELY PLANT-BASED – We proudly provide your dog with a delicious meat alternative that’s protein-rich, made with a completely plant-based recipe, and is nutritionally balanced for daily...
One of very few fully vegan dog food options on the market, both the Ocean of Vegan and Garden of Vegan recipes pack a high-protein punch and deliver nutrients such as fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Non-GMO, no artificial flavors or preservatives
- Made in the USA with sustainably sourced ingredients from Europe, the USA, Canada, & New Zealand
Best for Puppies
2. Halo Puppy Food Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe
- ONLY WHOLE MEAT HERE – We proudly give your puppy delicious and healthy whole meat - never any of that rendered "meat meal," like "chicken meal" or "fish meal"
Although it’s the same flavor available in adult and senior dry dog food products from Halo, this puppy formula has 1% more protein for growing pups. Pet parents who want to make sure their youngest furry family members get enough nutrients will love the way Halo tailored their signature whole meat protein for this puppy food.
- Contains healthy fats for fur & skin health
- Added antioxidants for an immune system boost & brain and eye development
- ONLY REAL WHOLE MEAT HERE – We proudly give your dog delicious whole meat - never any of that rendered “meat meal”, like “chicken meal” or “fish meal”
Owners of small-breed dogs can help their little buddies maintain a healthy weight with the nutritious Wild Salmon and Whitefish flavor of this Halo pet food product.
- 3 flavors available including 2 grain-free formulas
- More digestible vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin D
- Designed for smaller bodies and higher metabolism
4. Halo Adult Dog Holistic Dry Dog Food
- ONLY REAL WHOLE MEAT HERE – We proudly give your dog delicious and healthy whole meat - never any of that rendered "meat meal," like "chicken meal" or "fish meal"
This product meets all the nutritional requirements for mid-to-large-size dogs as set out by the AAFCO. The surf and turf medley is a solid grain-free option that still delivers plenty of crude fiber and crude protein from dried egg product, peas, and whole meat sources.
- 4 available flavors including 2 grain-free formulas
- Contains soy protein concentrate
- Extra digestible
Best for Seniors
5. Halo Senior Dog Grain-Free Turkey & Duck
- ONLY WHOLE MEAT HERE – We proudly give your dog delicious and healthy whole meat - never any of that rendered "meat meal," like "chicken meal" or "fish meal"
Dogs heading into their twilight years will benefit greatly from the added vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate in this Halo recipe.
- Varied protein sources
- Additional fiber for senior dogs
Who Makes Halo Dog Food?
Halo’s largest claim to fame is its famous co-owner Ellen DeGeneres, but she probably doesn’t have much hands-on experience manufacturing their final products. That’s done at factories in the USA, according to their website, although it doesn’t go into much more detail than that. Their headquarters are in Florida and Better Choice Company, Inc., is their parent company, having purchased it in 2019.
Has Halo Dog Food Ever Been Recalled?
By all accounts, Halo has only ever had one recall on any of their products and it was for some cat food in 2015. Even that recall was voluntary, following reports of some mold on some of the product.
Halo Recipe Ingredient Analysis
Halo Holistic Ocean of Vegan was chosen for this ingredient analysis because it encapsulates Halo dog food better than any of the other options. However, before we get into the ingredients list of that particular product, a word on the food that does contain animal-based products.
Halo prides itself in maintaining only whole protein sources in its non-vegan food. They don’t use animal by-products or meat meals. Many dog food brands that use meat meals tout its higher protein concentration, but Halo has taken a different approach.
They claim that dogs can only digest a certain amount of protein in chicken meal and other types of meat meals because of the way their body processes it, while whole meat sources provide more protein than the dog can actually digest.
Additionally, the amount of ash in their food is limited. Ash is the term used to refer to minerals left behind by bones and non-muscular meats in dog food. Since Halo uses whole meats, they have less ash. That’s the case for all their products except their vegan line. Everything else is fairly uniform across their entire product line.
Halo has two vegan flavors: Garden of Vegan and Ocean of Vegan. The ocean flavor is a very interesting use of plant sources that grow in the ocean, such as marine microalgae. The first ingredient in the Ocean of Vegan dog food is chickpeas.
It’s a whole food ingredient that serves as a particularly dense protein source. After that, we have pearled barley, a low-cholesterol high-fiber source of plant protein. So far, it’s clear Halo is trying to give its canine client base plenty of the protein they need from some fairly common plant sources.
Next on the list are oat groats, which are basically unground oats and serve as a nice alternative carbohydrate for dogs with wheat and grain sensitivities. Pea protein follows oat groats to give a bit more protein. Our next ingredient is brewers dried yeast, a source of essential amino acids that makes up for the incomplete pea protein that preceded it.
Sunflower oil follows, providing a boost to your dog’s immune system and helps the heart and other organs function better. You’ll also notice mixed tocopherols are used as a natural preservative. These are nothing more than a family of vitamin E compounds that occur naturally in fish, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and vegetable oils.
Lentils and dried plain beet pulp are next after sunflower oil. Lentils are a great source of fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and carotenoids. Plain beet pulp is mainly a source of fiber. Tapioca starch is a highly digestible source of carbohydrates and also helps the kibble keep its shape.
Ground flaxseed is a stellar superfood ingredient that contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy. It’s also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid, which fights inflammation and boosts the immune system.
Grinding up the flaxseed makes it more fibrous and better for digestive health than flaxseed oil. Natural vegetable flavoring is the next ingredient and, although vague, is most likely a concentrated version of natural non-GMO vegetables like the ones already used in this formula.
According to the AAFCO, if this is a natural flavor it must come from an organic source, in this case, vegetables since the product itself is vegan. Dicalcium phosphate, or DCP, is added to dog food as an additional source of calcium, to control tartar on your pooch’s teeth, and to give the kibble more texture. Marine microalgae and dried kelp give this variation its oceanic flavor base.
Additional Vitamin & Mineral Content
After that, the rest of the ingredients are natural seasonings like salt and turmeric or else one of many vitamins and minerals. Among the more scientifically named of these is pyridoxine hydrochloride, a form of a B vitamin supplement that’s important for dogs to digest protein.
Potassium chloride is also present on the ingredients list, but it’s an extremely common ingredient in dog food because it helps balance alkalinity and acid levels so that dogs’ hearts can beat more regularly. The manganese sulfate in this food will get used up by your dog’s system to build amino acids and maintain bone and cartilage in joints.
Niacin may jump out from the ingredients list because its name is a bit threatening, but it’s important in dog’s diets to prevent something called “black tongue disease,” which can lead to even more serious health problems. Folic acid is yet another B vitamin in this dog food and it helps on a molecular level and also helps form amino acids.
Halo provides the following nutrient contents for their Ocean of Vegan dry dog food:
- Crude protein (min.) 20.00%
- Crude fat (min.) 13.00%
- Crude fiber (max.) 5.00%
- Moisture (max.) 10.00%
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (min.) 1.00%
- Docosahexaenoic Acid [DHA] (min.) 0.20%
- Caloric content: 3,675 kcal/kg, 386 kcal/cup
According to the Guaranteed Analysis of dry dog food, which is basically the dog equivalent of the percent daily value we see on our human food, adult dogs need nutrients in the following ranges to stay healthy:
- 18% protein
- 9 – 15% fat
- 3 – 5 % fiber
According to these numbers, Ocean of Vegan is well within the proper range and even exceeds the Guaranteed Analysis numbers in crude protein. The moisture content should be taken into account to get a more accurate picture of the percentage of these nutrients in the dog food.
In the case of this product, you need to divide each given number by 90 (100% theoretical – 10% moisture content) and then multiply by 100 to get a more realistic amount. So for this product, we get the following numbers:
- 22.22% True Protein
- 14.44% True Fat
- 5.55% True Fiber
All the true numbers increased, but even where they exceed the limits it’s only in protein and fiber by a slight amount. In any case, your dog can always use a bit more fiber and protein to stay healthy.
Our Rating of Halo Dog Food
Overall, Halo does appear to legitimately care about crafting the best possible dog food with high-quality ingredients that are sustainably sourced. They’ve taken the time to come up with four vegan products that give doggos comparable nutrition to animal-based foods.
Their vegan food fits well within the Guaranteed Analysis range and they also have plenty of other products for dogs at all life stages and with or without food allergies and sensitivities. Non-GMO vegetables and whole meat proteins where animal sources are used both illustrate the concern for quality at Halo.
For the majority of dogs, Halo has a couple of products that can help them have a varied but delicious and nutritious diet. Until they expand their product line, dogs and their humans will have to mix and match with other companies.
Since pups can’t be completely sufficient on Halo alone, we’re taking some points away. But it’s still some of the best dog food out there. For their commitment to quality, avoidance of artificial colors and preservatives, and legitimate pursuit of the holistic view (which, admittedly, does just sound like some marketing ploy) we give Halo Purely for Pets 4.5 stars.
What Do Others Say About Halo?
We think this review from Amazon, where Halo’s Natural Dry Adult Dog Food has a 4.7 out of 5 stars, speaks for itself:
“My two Cairn Terriers have eaten this food for the last four years. They both have more energy and mental clarity, their costs are thick, shiny, and never dry. Most important is their digestion, meaning poop is normal. They are both rescue dogs and one was severely starved: a normal weight is 16 pounds and she weighed 4 pounds.
After trial and error with other dog foods, this was the only one she could eat. Sophia is now a healthy 16 pounds and has stayed that way for three years with no digestion problems. They both love the taste. They both “dance” and get so excited to eat.“
Perhaps the Halo brand is primarily linked to its famous co-owner Ellen DeGeneres in public, but after careful review of its ingredients and the care they have put into their vegan and whole animal protein dog foods, it’s hard not to view it as one of the best dog food brands out there regardless of who owns it.
Any dog should be happy to see Halo in their bowl – the only problem might be getting them to slow down before they inhale it all in one bite.