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Halo says the Proof is in the Poop™, but instead of waiting to see evidence of Halo’s quality in the litter box, let’s take a skeptical approach. We’ve taken a close look at Halo cat food and reviewed it on the things that matter most. Find out if this brand is a safe, healthy choice for your cat in our unbiased Halo review.
The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Halo on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Halo and graded it according to the We’re All About Cats standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of these six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 5/10
- Ingredient Quality – 8/10
- Product Variety – 7/10
- Price – 7/10
- Customer Experience – 9/10
- Recall History – 5/10
Overall Score: 6.8/10
We give Halo cat food a 41 out of 60 rating or a B- grade.
Back in the 1980s, Andi Brown’s cat Spot was struggling with a host of health conditions including an unhealthy coat, digestive problems, eye and ear infections, fleas, and urinary tract problems. Prescription drugs and premium foods did nothing to help. When Andi was almost ready to give up, she met someone named Voyko Marx.
Believing that a diet change could relieve his health issues, Voyko cooked Spot a stew of chicken, garlic, peas, carrots, and other vegetables available at the grocery store. Several of Spot’s health problems dissolved during the first week eating the stew.
This experience led Andi to found a pet food company called Halo, a reflection of the idea that pets are “our little angels”. After 20 years of active involvement in the company, Andi sold Halo to a group of investors. In 2008, talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres became part owner of the company.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Halo sources meat and poultry from the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. To support their GMO-free mission, Halo sources fruits and vegetables from Europe, where genetic engineering is stringently regulated. None of their ingredients, including vitamins and minerals, are sourced from China.
Halo’s OrigiNative® sourcing program aims to foster sustainable, natural, and environmentally friendly farming processes. The company sources wild-caught seafood from MSC-certified sustainable fisheries and meat from facilities that meet the Global Animal Partnership’s Step 2 standards.
According to the GAP’s 5-step animal welfare program, Step 2 facilities are defined as those that provide an enriched environment.
For example, a chicken living in a Step 2-certified facility would not be packed into a cage or crate, nor crowded with other chickens. The environment must be naturally-lit and enriched with items like straw bales or hanging branches to perch on.
Halo foods are manufactured in the United States.
Has Halo cat food been recalled?
In 2015, select bags of Halo dry cat food were recalled due to potential mold growth.
What kinds of cat food does Halo offer?
One of the biggest points Halo emphasizes in their marketing is the idea of superior digestibility. Halo’s Proof is in the Poop campaign suggests that Halo foods are ultra-digestible, leading to waste that’s smaller, less smelly, and easier to scoop.
The company is committed to using only fresh meats rather than rendered meals. Rendered meals, Halo explains, are about 30% less digestible than fresh meat and higher in ash content. While not all Halo recipes are grain-free, they’re made without corn, wheat, wheat gluten, and rice. Halo foods are made without any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
The Halo cat food lineup includes both wet and dry food. It’s broken up by life stages and dietary needs. The company makes recipes for kittens, adults, and seniors. They have special formulas for indoor cats, digestive sensitivity, weight loss, and grain-free recipes for people who want to avoid grain.
Halo Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price per Ounce||Our Grade|
|Halo Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Adult||Wet||$0.32||B|
|Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Grain-Free Healthy Weight Indoor||Dry||$0.24||C|
|Halo Holistic Seafood Medley Sensitive Stomach||Dry||$0.29||C|
Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.
This popular canned recipe has a consistency somewhere between paté and stew. It’s a meat-based food with chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver as the first three ingredients. Chicken is a nourishing source of protein and chicken liver is rich in nutrients. In addition to chicken, the food contains turkey as a secondary protein source.
The recipe includes a variety of vegetables, including carrots, green beans, peas, celery, and a touch of sweet potato. These ingredients would look at home in a human’s bowl of chicken stew, but they’re not appropriate for an obligate carnivore like your cat. Nevertheless, Halo says these vegetables provide antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.
It’s thickened with guar gum and xanthan gum, both of which are not species-appropriate but are generally considered safe for cats.
The ingredient list concludes with a series of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and traces of additional fruits and vegetable ingredients.
These include a small amount of pumpkin and flaxseed oil. While flaxseed oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, these fatty acids are not bioavailable for cats. Dried kelp and salmon oil appear near the bottom of the ingredient list.
Garlic powder is the second-to-last ingredient. As little as 1 gram (about a fifth of a clove) of garlic per kilogram of a cat’s body weight may result in clinically significant red blood cell damage. One clove could poison an 11-lb cat.
Halo insists that the ingredient is present in a safe trace amount, but some consumers are concerned. In 2015, 235 people supported a petition to remove garlic from Halo pet food, but no changes were made.
The food is packed in BPA-free cans.
Overall, this is a meat-based wet food with high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate content.
Each 5.5-oz can has 132 calories or 24 calories per ounce.
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Turkey, Green Beans, Peas, Celery, Dicalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Calcium Citrate, Potassium Chloride, Sweet Potatoes, Xanthan Gum, Pumpkin, Flaxseed Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Calcium Carbonate, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Kelp, Taurine, Salmon Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Magnesium Sulfate, Garlic Powder, Rosemary Extract.
|Crude Protein||9% min|
|Crude Fat||6% min|
Halo Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Adult Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Turkey
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Carrots, Green Beans, Peas, Celery, Garlic Powder
Common Allergens: Chicken
- Rich in animal protein
- Virtually free of plant protein
- Low carbohydrate content
- Made with named meats rather than by-products
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Contains multiple plant ingredients
- Contains garlic powder, which may harm cats
Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this dry cat food.
This leading Halo recipe is marketed as indoor cat food for healthy weight maintenance. Its reduced calorie content, relatively high fiber, and added L-carnitine may help promote a healthy weight and reduce hairballs. Halo notes that this recipe has lower protein content than their other formulas, presumably to accommodate an indoor cat’s lower energy needs. Since indoor cats and outdoor cats both have high protein requirements, the food’s roughly 37% dry matter protein content isn’t ideal.
Chicken is the first ingredient in this food, followed by chicken liver. Both are highly-digestible and nourishing sources of animal protein. The third ingredient is dried egg product, which is a bioavailable protein source.
These animal ingredients are followed by dried peas, dried chickpeas, soy protein concentrate, and dried potatoes. These ingredients contribute significantly to the food’s carbohydrate content while boosting protein levels. Later on the ingredient list, potato protein is added as another concentrated source of plant protein. The additive “natural flavor” is included to increase the food’s palatability. This additive is usually made from hydrolyzed animal tissue.
The food contains both chicken fat and salmon oil as fat sources. Because they’re animal-sourced, these ingredients provide highly-bioavailable fatty acids.
The ingredient list concludes with a series of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, interspersed with supplemental ingredients like prebiotics, probiotics, and traces of berries, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Overall, this food has moderate protein content from a combination of plant and animal sources, low fat content, and high carbohydrate content.
The food has 397 calories per cup.
Chicken, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Dried Peas, Dried Chickpeas, Soy Protein Concentrate, Dried Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Pea Fiber, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Salmon Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Blueberries, Dried Cranberries, Dried Carrots, Dried Sweet Potatoes, 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 Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, L-carnitine.
|Crude Protein||32% min|
|Crude Fat||13% min|
Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Healthy Weight Indoor Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Liver
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Dried Peas, Dried Chickpeas, Soy Protein Concentrate, Dried Potatoes, Potato Protein
Common Allergens: Chicken, Eggs
- Contains named meats instead of vaguely-labeled meals and by-products
- Relies on animal-sourced fats
- Contains a combination of muscle and organ meats
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- High carbohydrate content
Whitefish and salmon appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
This fish-based dry food is marketed for cats with sensitive digestion. According to Halo, the recipe contains novel proteins and refined grains that are easy on sensitive digestive systems.
At second glance, it’s clear that the food’s primary protein sources aren’t exactly novel.
Whitefish is the first ingredient and refers to a group of fish species including cod, whiting, haddock, pollock, and other fish commonly used in cat food. The second ingredient is salmon, which is also common in cat food. Dried egg product is the third ingredient and, while it’s a bioavailable source of protein, eggs are one of the most common cat food allergens.
Again, this food may be easy on cats’ digestion, but it’s not packed with novel proteins and isn’t a good choice for cats with food allergies.
Animal ingredients are followed by oatmeal, dried peas, soy protein concentrate, pearled barley, and potato protein. These ingredients increase the food’s carbohydrate and protein content, but their nutritional value is questionable.
Chicken fat is the food’s primary fat source. The food contains “natural flavor”, an additive typically made from hydrolyzed animal tissue. Along with the standard variety of synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, the food contains trace amounts of dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried carrots, and dried sweet potatoes. It’s supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics for digestive support.
Overall, this is a fish-based food with moderate protein from a combination of plant and animal sources, low fat, and high carbohydrate content.
Each cup of the food contains 414 calories.
Whiteﬁsh, Salmon, Dried Egg Product, Oatmeal, Dried Peas, Soy Protein Concentrate, Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Protein, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Pea Fiber, Calcium Sulfate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Blueberries, Dried Cranberries, Dried Carrots, Dried Sweet Potatoes, 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 Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate.
|Crude Protein||32% min|
|Crude Fat||16% min|
Halo Holistic Seafood Medley Sensitive Stomach Dry Cat Food Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken Fat
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Oatmeal, Dried Peas, Soy Protein Concentrate, Pearled Barley, Potato Protein
Common Allergens: Fish, Chicken, Eggs
- Primarily made from named meats rather than vaguely-labeled meals and by-products
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- High carbohydrate content
- Fish-based foods aren’t ideal for cats
What do customers think of Halo cat food?
People love Halo cat food. Halo recipes receive excellent reviews on Amazon and Chewy. The brand even gets positive feedback on ConsumerAffairs.
Here are a few real customer reviews of Halo cat food on Chewy:
“Our cat, Bert had been on a prescription diet of Science Diet I/d for loose stools, ever since we adopted him. It helped a little bit not much. He started scratching and bathing relentlessly so we thought he may be allergic to chicken. Found this and switched over the course of 2 weeks. By the end of the 2 week period his stools are firm like they should be, he’s not bathing or scratching near as much as he was, and his coat is very soft and shiny. Went ahead and ordered a 6lb bag, as we’re very happy with this. Seems to have much more energy too, now that he’s fully digesting his food.” – Benji, reviewing Halo Holistic Seafood Medley Sensitive Stomach Dry Cat Food
“Sophie is a finicky cat. She only eats food that is smooth. After a year I’m still learning which flavors she likes. I’m happy that she likes Halo, which I consider a high quality, nutritious food. She likes the chicken flavor.” – SophiesMom, reviewing Halo Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Adult Canned Cat Food
“Well I am very disappointed in this product. It is obvious by the consistency that you have changed the recipe. This is not even close to a pate it is the most disgusting mess and my cats won’t even touch it. This is not a pate and I have wasted my money. It is very hard to find something cats like and when you mess with it you make it hard on cat owners. If it is not broke don’t fix it.” – Rescuecatmom, reviewing Halo Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Adult Canned Cat Food
“I used to only feed Halo to both my cats and dogs. They liked it and did well on it. Then they changed the formula. Why would they change a perfectly good food and adulterate it with soy. I would never feed soy to any animal.” – kariS, reviewing Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Grain-Free Healthy Weight Indoor Cat Dry Cat Food
How much does Halo cat food cost?
Halo foods are moderately-priced. Here’s how much it would cost per day to feed a 10-lb cat various Halo recipes.
According to the company’s recommendation of one ounce of food per pound of body weight, their grain-free wet food would cost about $3.20 per day. Their dry foods would cost between $0.48 and $0.58 per day.
Overall, is Halo a good choice?
Halo’s doing some things well. For example, they stand out with a commitment to sustainable ingredient sourcing. They refuse to use rendered meals and meat by-products. None of their recipes contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
But Halo isn’t perfect.
Like most dry foods, Halo kibble is loaded with carbohydrates and plant proteins that don’t belong in a carnivorous meal plan. Their wet food selection is a superior option. Despite a colorful smattering of vegetables, some canned Halo foods have less than 10% carbohydrate content on a dry matter basis.
Overall, Halo is a slightly above-average cat food brand and may be a good choice for some cats.
Where is Halo cat food sold?
Halo cat food is sold in pet specialty retailers and natural grocery stores around the United States, Canada, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. In Canada, Halo is sold exclusively through PetSmart.
You can buy it online through Amazon, Petco, PetSmart, Chewy, PetSense, Jet, Vitacost, Thrive Market, and other stores that sell cat food.
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.