FAQS

FAQS

Cat Health

Q: My vet recommended a "senior" diet for my pet. Can I use Halo?

A: All of Halo’s Spot’s Stew adult formulas are formulated to meet the AAFCO nutritional requirements for all life stages. While Halo doesn’t specifically make a senior diet, it can successfully be fed to aging pets. Many times vets recommend senior foods because they are lower in calories and higher in fiber. This makes them appropriate for older pets who have a slower metabolism and are more likely to gain weight and struggle with obesity and constipation. Halo has a lower calorie dry formulation—called Healthy Weight—and most of Halo’s canned formulations are quite low in calories. By adding some canned food to your aging pets feeding plan you can help decrease the overall calories while providing additional water to help your older pet combat dehydration. Halo formulas also contain fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains which are beneficial for an aging pets gastrointestinal health to avoid constipation.

Q: I heard that many essential oils aren’t good for cats. Is that true?

Undiluted tea tree oil or other undiluted essential oils, when used inappropriately, may be toxic to some pets — but we make sure your cat is safe with Halo Herbal Healing Salve and Herbal Shampoo. The tea tree oil we use is a very small fraction of the salve and shampoo; with the Herbal Dip, it is diluted and you may dilute further if you prefer. People across the country have been using these products for twenty years and we truly believe each ingredient to be an integral part of its success. Many natural practitioners, holistic and traditional veterinarians recommend these products without hesitation. Thank you for your concern.

Q: My cat has dry itchy skin. She occasionally gets rashes or bumps. What can I do?

A: This is the single most common question we get! We recommend you try Spot’s Stew Natural Food for Cats and add VitaGlo Dream Coat to her food every day!

We believe many skin problems can be controlled or avoided with a natural diet. Some cats develop skin problems or react negatively to ingredients commonly found in commercial pet foods—things like artificial preservatives, colorings or other additives. Halo has created a natural diet; by definition it cannot contain any artificial ingredients or be highly processed. Halo does not use meat meals; a protein source which can be of questionable quality and digestibility. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have a proven anti-inflammatory affect within the skin and as such play a vital role in skin health. The Dream Coat is an excellent source of EFAs and our cat owners love the results they get.
If the skin condition does not improve within several weeks on the new food and Dream Coat supplement, contact your veterinarian to determine if your cat has an underlying medical condition.

Q: I have an older cat that doesn’t have a lot of energy anymore. Is there anything to perk her up?

A: Many older pets do not drink enough water every day; as a result they suffer from mild dehydration which can cause very low energy levels. I recommend including canned food in each meal and encouraging water intake (ice cubes, new bowls/fountains, broths, etc) to help improve hydration and get that energy back. I also recommend a vitamin-mineral supplement to help supply antioxidants and B vitamins that can help support the immune system and energy levels. For best results I like to alternate the Daily Greens with the Vitamin-Mineral Mix every day.
Sometimes poor energy is a sign of a medical condition and we advise a health check-up with your veterinarian.

Q: I am searching for a food that will be okay for my cat that has a history of urinary stones.

A:  It has been proven that the most important part of stone prevention is to increase the amount of water that your cat drinks every day*.  When cats drink more they make more urine.  This urine is less concentrated (more dilute or watery) so the crystals are less likely to form into stones.  Because they make more urine they urinate more frequently which also helps get rid of the stone-making substances.  I recommend Halo’s canned formulas because they have a higher water content (82%) when compared to many other canned foods (75-78%).  This additional water is excellent for urinary health in all pets.  Halo cat foods also achieve a urine pH of 6.4 which is normal for cats. 
*There are many different types of urinary stones and some types will require very specific medication or dietary recommendations; ask your veterinarian what type of stone your cat has.

Q: My cat has had some recent bouts with urinary problems. My vet says I should look for a low ash diet. Do you have anything for him?

A: A fairly recent research study of cats with lower urinary tract problems (FUS, FLUTD, FIC, idiopathic cystitis, etc) revealed that the only treatment of benefit was increased water intake.  The easiest way to increase water intake in cats is to feed them a strictly canned food diet.  Cats eating all canned food had only 11% recurrence versus almost 40% in the cats eating dry food1.  Halo canned cat formulas perform exceptionally well for urinary problems because of their higher moisture content (average 82%) compared to most other commercial brands (75-78%).  This study proved no change in signs based on varying the ash or magnesium levels of the food.  Experts in this field now agree that foods intended to minimize ash or crystal production have no scientific rationale in the management of this condition. 
1 Markwell PJ, Buffington CA, Chew DJ, et al.  Clinical evaluation of commercially available urinary acidification diets in the management of idiopathic cystitis in cats.  JAVMA 1999; 214: 361-365. 

Q: My vet told me my cat needs a high fiber food? Can I use Halo?

A: While the vegetables that Halo uses provide an excellent source of fiber for digestive health, Halo should not be considered a high fiber food. For cats that require extra fiber in their diet I often use Halo as the primary food and then mix in additional fiber—psyllium, canned pumpkin, carrots, potato skins—a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber for maximal digestive benefit. Ask your vet if this would be appropriate for your cat.

Q: Is it okay for cats to eat the dog food?

A: Although your cat getting a nibble of Halo dog food from time to time isn’t bad (our dog foods are supplemented with proper amounts of taurine for cats), I definitely don’t recommend routinely feeding them food formulated for dogs. Cats (as strict carnivores) require higher levels of protein and fat than dogs and Halo foods are designed accordingly. Halo dog food just doesn’t have the right balance for cats to reach their optimal health level.

Q: Why does my cat eat my houseplants? Does he have a deficiency?

A: Plant eating is not unusual in cats. It is not usually associated with gastrointestinal illness or a deficiency. It is most likely a trait inherited from their wild ancestors in which big cats would consume prey that would have eaten plant material. Eating grass is not bad—just stay away from chemically-treated or toxic plant varieties. Give our Daily Greens a try for the added phytonutrients!

Q: Does Halo have too much protein for my 14-year-old cat? My veterinarian said that high protein diets can cause kidney problems.

A: Cats are carnivores and have a high protein requirement throughout life. While too much protein will not cause kidney damage, too much protein could be detrimental if your cat already has kidney problems. From kittens to seniors, any age cat can eat Spot’s Stew.

Q: I have heard that Taurine is critical to my cat’s health. How do I know that she’s getting enough?

A: Taurine is critical to your cat’s health! Without proper amounts, cats can develop blindness, heart problems and other serious medical issues. Taurine is abundant in muscle meat and our cat foods contain excellent levels of whole meat. Halo analyzes our cat foods routinely to insure a proper amount of taurine is present in every bite! Even though dogs don’t have the same taurine requirements, Halo supplements their dog foods with taurine as well—we know that cats love to steal the dog’s food!

Q: My vet said my cat is allergic to chicken. Is Halo okay for pets with food allergies?

A: True food allergies are actually very uncommon—they account for only 10% of all pet allergies. Pets are often misdiagnosed with food allergy when what they really have is an adverse food reaction or food intolerance. Pets may react to artificial dyes, preservatives and additives in food or they may react to the quality of a protein source. For example, "chicken meal" is a rendered product that can have a variable composition and can vary greatly in its digestibility compared to real whole chicken. Adverse reactions may be more common with diets of lower digestibility. By choosing a natural diet like Halo, artificial ingredients and rendered meat meals will be avoided and thus lessen the potential for any adverse food reactions. The only way to definitely diagnose a food allergy in a pet is to perform an elimination diet trial—blood tests and skin tests are not reliable for this. Read my article about food allergies to learn more.
Some pets do have true food allergies and even high quality natural foods like Halo could cause a reaction because of the type of protein included. Read our labels fully to check all ingredients to be sure to avoid those your pet is allergic to.

Q: My cat is overweight. My vet has recommended a prescription weight loss diet but I don’t like the list of ingredients. Can I use Halo?

A: Halo foods can be used successfully in a weight loss program. Halo donated food for a weight loss challenge to a New York City shelter (Bideawee) and I monitored the progress of 7 obese cats over 4 weeks—all successfully lost the desired amount of weight.  For more information on this study see Dr. Spector’s article.  Two of our formulas fall within the "lite" category as defined by AAFCO (canned cat food <950 kcal/kg):  the Canned Cat Chicken and Lamb formulas.  Dr. Spector recommends reaching for these formulas first when starting a weight loss plan.  Click here for more information on Weight Loss Tips. 

Q: Cats are carnivores and don’t need carbohydrates. Why does Halo include carbs in their cat foods?

A:  You are right…low carbohydrate foods are best suited to the natural biology of cats as carnivores.  Cats reach optimal health levels and may avoid many food-related problems (such as obesity, diabetes, some intestinal diseases) by eating high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods.  Protein (not carbs) should make up the majority of every cat’s diet, however, many cats appear to benefit from a small to moderate amount of complex carbohydrates (fibers) in their diet.  Remember long ago cats hunted for their food (and some still do!) and were exposed to carbohydrates within the digestive system of their prey.  The domesticated indoor cat appears to benefit from the digestive health that COMPLEX carbs (in the form of fiber-rich vegetables, oats and barley) provide. Halo includes only this type of carbohydrate in our cat formulations.  All canned cat formulas are grain-free and Halo now offers a Grain-Free Chicken Formula dry food for cats. 

Q: Is canned food bad for my cat’s teeth?

A: No. While many vets recommend dry food to "keep teeth clean and healthy" it is a fact that many cats do not chew their food well enough to get any abrasive cleaning action from dry food. Whether you feed dry or canned food…the single most important thing for dental health is tooth brushing. It is a fact that by age three more than 70 percent of cats show signs of gum (periodontal) disease and this is because most owners do not give their cats proper dental care (DAILY tooth brushing and annual dental cleanings). Keep the canned food and start brushing! See my article "Getting to the Root of Bad Breath" for more info on dental health.

Q: My cat has a problem with hairballs and vomiting. Will Halo help?

A: There are many things that can cause vomiting or other signs of digestive upset in cats—excessive carb levels, low-quality poorly-digestible proteins, artificial preservatives or other food additives. A natural diet like Halo provides only high-quality digestible proteins and no artificial ingredients—so may help your cat. Halo also makes a Sensitive Cat formula which has smaller protein sizes and increased levels of egg which help to make the diet even more highly digestible than our Indoor Cat formula.
Vomiting may be a sign of a medical problem, especially if present with a decreased appetite or weight loss. If the vomiting persists you should see your veterinarian for a complete examination.

 

Dog Health

Q: My vet recommended a "senior" diet for my pet. Can I use Halo?

A: All of Halo’s Spot’s Stew adult formulas are formulated to meet the AAFCO nutritional requirements for all life stages. While Halo doesn’t specifically make a senior diet, it can successfully be fed to aging pets. Many times vets recommend senior foods because they are lower in calories and higher in fiber. This makes them appropriate for older pets who have a slower metabolism and are more likely to gain weight and struggle with obesity and constipation. Halo has a lower calorie dry formulation—called Healthy Weight—and most of Halo’s canned formulations are quite low in calories. By adding some canned food to your aging pets feeding plan you can help decrease the overall calories while providing additional water to help your older pet combat dehydration. Halo formulas also contain fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains which are beneficial for an aging pets gastrointestinal health to avoid constipation.

Q: My dog has dry itchy skin. He occasionally gets rashes, bumps or hot spots. What can I do?

A: This is the single most common question we get! We recommend you try Spot’s Stew Natural Food for Dogs and add VitaGlo Dream Coat to his food every day! You can also try applying the Herbal Healing Salve directly to the hot spots to soften and soothe the irritated area.

We believe many skin problems can be controlled or avoided with a natural diet. Some dogs develop skin problems or react negatively to ingredients commonly found in commercial pet foods such as artificial preservatives, colorings or other additives. Halo has created a natural diet; by AAFCO definition it cannot contain any artificial ingredients or be highly processed. Halo does not use meat meals; a protein source which can be of questionable quality and digestibility. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have a proven anti-inflammatory affect within the skin and as such play a vital role in skin health. The Dream Coat is an excellent source of EFAs and our dog owners love the results they get.
If the skin condition does not improve within several weeks on the new food and Dream Coat supplement, contact your veterinarian to determine if your dog has an underlying medical condition.

Q: I have an older dog that doesn’t have a lot of energy anymore. Is there anything to perk her up?

A: Many older pets do not drink enough water every day; as a result they suffer from mild dehydration which can cause very low energy levels. I recommend including canned food in each meal and encouraging water intake (ice cubes, new bowls/fountains, broths, etc) to help improve hydration and get that energy back. I also recommend a vitamin-mineral supplement to help supply antioxidants and B vitamins that can help support the immune system and energy levels. For best results I like to alternate the Daily Greens with the Vitamin-Mineral Mix every day.
Sometimes poor energy is a sign of a medical condition and we advise a health check-up with your veterinarian.

Q: Why does my dog eat poop? Does he have a deficiency?

A: Copraphagia (poop eating) is usually a nasty learned habit. While it is typically not caused by a medical problem or nutritional deficiency it is important to make sure your dog is getting a nutritionally balanced diet and not eating a poor quality food. Also have your vet check your dog for parasites or for conditions that could cause maldigestion or malabsorption. Remember if your dog routinely eats poop, they are more likely to acquire parasites and you should have them checked 2-3 times each year. Check out my article on copraphagia for more ideas on why your dog eats poop.

Q: Why does my dog eat grass? Does he have a deficiency?

A: Grass eating is not unusual in dogs. It is not usually associated with gastrointestinal illness or a deficiency. It is most likely a trait inherited from their wild ancestors in which wild dogs would consume prey that would have eaten plant material. Eating grass is not bad—just stay away from chemically-treated lawns and toxic plants. Give our Daily Greens a try for the added phytonutrients!

Q: What can I do for my dog with arthritis?

A: One of the most important things you can do for your dog with arthritis is to keep him lean. Unwanted extra pounds put additional stress on his joints and can increase the pain and discomfort he experiences. Check out my Weight Loss Tips if you needs help getting your dog to lose those pounds. An exercise plan is also critical for dogs with arthritis (swimming is great!)—it keeps them strong and flexible and also helps to keep the weight down. Halo makes a Hip & Joint Supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine has been proven effective at relieving pain in many pets with arthritis. Vitamin C plays a critical role in collagen synthesis and is also included in the supplement. Fatty acids can also exert an anti-inflammatory effect within arthritic joints and Dream Coat is an excellent source. Check out my article on arthritis for more information.
Sometimes limping or joint pain is a sign of a medical condition and we advise a health check-up with your veterinarian.

Q: I am searching for a food that will be okay for my dog that has a history of pancreatitis.

A: Pancreatitis varies in its severity but in general dogs that have had bouts of pancreatitis require a lower fat food. Ask your veterinarian how fat-restricted your dog’s food should be. Halo Spot’s Stew Canned Chicken Formula is our most fat-restricted food and has a 17% (DM%) fat content; followed by the Halo Spot’s Stew Adult Dry Formula with 18% (DM%). Both have been used successfully in dogs with a history of pancreatitis.

Q: I am searching for a food that will be okay for my dog that has a history of urinary stones.

A:  It has been proven that the most important part of stone prevention is to increase the amount of water that your dog drinks every day*.  When dogs drink more they make more urine.  This urine is less concentrated (more dilute or watery) so the crystals are less likely to form into stones.  Because they make more urine they urinate more frequently which also helps get rid of the stone-making substances.  I recommend Halo’s canned formulas because they have a higher water content (80%) when compared to many other canned foods (75-78%).  This additional water is excellent for urinary health in all pets. 
*There are many different types of urinary stones and some types will require very specific medication or dietary recommendations; ask your veterinarian what type of stone your dog has. 

Q: My vet said my dog is allergic to chicken. Is Halo okay for pets with food allergies?

A: True food allergies are actually very uncommon—they account for only 10% of all pet allergies. Pets are often misdiagnosed with food allergy when what they really have is an adverse food reaction or food intolerance. Pets may react to artificial dyes, preservatives and additives in food or they may react to the quality of a protein source. For example, "chicken meal" is a rendered product that can have a variable composition and can vary greatly in its digestibility compared to real whole chicken. Adverse reactions may be more common with diets of lower digestibility. By choosing a natural diet like Halo, artificial ingredients and rendered meat meals will be avoided and thus lessen the potential for any adverse food reactions. The only way to definitely diagnose a food allergy in a pet is to perform an elimination diet trial—blood tests and skin tests are not reliable for this. Read my article about food allergies to learn more.
Some pets do have true food allergies and even high quality natural foods like Halo could cause a reaction because of the type of protein included. If your pet is allergic to certain foods, read our labels thoroughly to identify all ingredients.

Q: My vet told me my dog needs a high fiber food? Can I use Halo?

A: While the vegetables that Halo uses provide an excellent source of fiber for digestive health, Halo should not be considered a high fiber food. For dogs that require extra fiber in their diet I often use Halo as the primary food and then mix in additional fiber—psyllium, canned pumpkin, carrots, potato skins—a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber for maximal digestive benefit. Ask your vet if this would be appropriate for your dog.

Q: Do you have anything for chronic eye discharge?

A: Pets with short snouts ("peke faces"; brachycephalic) tend to have bent tear ducts. Debris can easily accumulate and clog up their tear ducts; causing tears or discharge to spill out on the face. When used properly the Cloud Nine Herbal Eyewash Kit can help keep discharge to a minimum and the eyes clean and comfortable. Read my article on proper eye cleaning.
If the eye discharge does not improve within several days or if your pet develops squinting, redness or pain, contact your veterinarian to determine if your dog has an underlying medical condition.

Q: I’ve heard digestive enzymes are important to help my dog process food better. Do you carry any?

A: Halo does not carry enzymes specifically—but we add prebiotics and probiotics to the dry cat and dog formulas to maximize digestive health. Probiotics are live bacteria that help restore the balance of good and bad bacteria. The prebiotics are essentially a food source for the probiotics and have been proven to stimulate the growth and function of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
If your veterinarian has determined that your pet has a pancreatic enzyme deficiency he or she will require a true enzyme supplement.

Q: My dogs have strong breath. Do you have anything to help with that?

A: We believe that good breath starts with excellent digestive health. By choosing Halo natural dog food you are using the highest quality ingredients and the prebiotics and probiotics in our dry foods will help restore the balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria. Bad breath can also come from mouth problems—you should see your veterinarian routinely to make sure there isn’t a problem with plaque, tartar or something more serious. Daily tooth brushing is also recommend to keep teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Try the new Spot’s Stew Chew Sticks to keep your dog’s mouth healthy and fresh.

Q: Is it okay for dogs to eat the cat food?

A: I don’t recommend routinely feeding healthy dogs the cat formulation of Spot’s Stew. Halo cat formulas are designed with higher levels of protein and fat than what dogs require. This creates a food that is higher in calories and can lead to problems with obesity when fed to dog’s long term. The vitamin/mineral balance is specific to cats as well. Dogs should stick with our canine formulas to reach optimal health.

Q: My dog is overweight. My vet has recommended a prescription weight loss diet but I don’t like the list of ingredients. Can I use Halo?

A: Halo foods can be used successfully in a weight loss program. Halo donated food for a weight loss challenge to a New York City shelter (Bideawee) and I monitored the progress of 7 obese cats over 4 weeks—all successfully lost the desired amount of weight. For more information on this study see Dr. Spector’s article. Our Canned Dog Chicken formula falls within the "lite" category as defined by AAFCO (canned dog food <900 kcal/kg, canned cat food <950 kcal/kg) and Dr. Spector recommends reaching for these formulas first when starting a weight loss plan. Click here for more information on Weight Loss Tips.

Q: Is canned food bad for my dog’s teeth?

A: No. While many vets recommend dry food to "keep teeth clean and healthy" it is a fact that many dogs do not chew their food well enough to get any abrasive cleaning action from dry food. Whether you feed dry or canned food…the single most important thing for dental health is tooth brushing. It is a fact that by age three more than 80 percent of dogs show signs of gum (periodontal) disease and this is because most dog owners do not give their dogs proper dental care (DAILY tooth brushing and annual dental cleanings). Keep the canned food and start brushing! See my article "Getting to the Root of Bad Breath" for more info on dental health.

 

Switching to Halo/Ingredients

Q: Why does Halo refer to its products as natural?

A: Because it is! AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defines "natural" pet food as having ingredients from ONLY plant, animal or mined sources. These foods cannot be highly processed or contain chemically synthetic ingredients, such as artificial flavors, preservatives or colorings.

Q: Why does Halo refer to its products as holistic?

A: The holistic viewpoint that Halo has stems from the belief that health is achieved by focusing on the whole body through natural living. Halo believes that the quality of ingredients a pet eats is the foundation of overall well-being but that elimination of harsh chemicals from food, treats and the environment is also critical to achieve optimal health.

Q: How do I transition my dog or cat to a new food?

A: Many pets require up to 7-10 days to adjust to a new food because their intestinal tracts contain unique bacteria and enzymes that need to adapt to the proper digestion of a new food. Follow these guidelines for changing your pet’s current dry or canned food to Halo dry or canned food*:

Days 1-3 75% old food, 25% Halo
Days 4-5 50% old food, 50% Halo
Days 6-7 25% old food, 75% Halo
Days 8+ 100% Halo

*If you have a pet with a sensitive stomach, transition them even more slowly (over 2 to 3 weeks) to avoid digestive upset.

If your dog or cat experiences digestive upset during the transition (poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea or soft stool, etc.), return to the new food amount that was not causing problems and keep them there for a few more days before continuing with the diet change.  Once your pet is eating all Halo if you change between the flavors, consider a 2 or 3 day transition to minimize stomach upset. 

Q: Do you recommend feeding pets dry food, canned food or a combination of both?

A:  I recommend that pets eat a combination of dry and canned food every day.  Their bodies are made of 75% water and they rarely drink enough water to support excellent hydration and organ function so I recommend that at least 25 to 50% of a pets daily calories come from canned food.  You can feed it all at one time during the day or break it up into 2 meals. 

Q:  How do I transition my dog or cat to a combination of Halo dry and canned food?

A: Many pets require up to 7-10 days to adjust to a new food because their intestinal tracts contain unique bacteria and enzymes that need to adapt to the proper digestion of a new food. Follow these guidelines for changing your pets current dry or canned food to a combination of Halo dry and canned food*:

Days 1-3 75% old food, 25% Halo (of the 25% Halo; 50% should be canned and 50% should be dry Halo food)
Days 4-5 50% old food, 50% Halo (of the 50% Halo; 50% should be canned and 50% should be dry Halo food)
Days 6-7 25% old food, 75% Halo (of the 75% Halo; 50% should be canned and 50% should be dry Halo food)
Days 8+ 100% Halo (50% should be canned and 50% should be dry Halo food)

*If you have a pet with a sensitive stomach, transition them even more slowly (over 2 to 3 weeks) to avoid digestive upset.

If your dog or cat experiences digestive upset during the transition (poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea or soft stool, etc.), return to the new food amount that was not causing problems and keep them there for a few more days before continuing with the diet change.  Once your pet is eating all Halo if you change between the flavors, consider a 2 or 3 day transition to minimize stomach upset.

Q: My pet seems to have developed diarrhea on the Spot’s Stew. What can I do?

A: First, make sure you have introduced the food slowly over 7 to 10 days. Many times a "cold turkey" switch will cause problems with your pet’s digestive system—it takes the bacteria and enzymes in their intestine time to adjust to the new food. Next, take a look at the other food or treats your pet is getting throughout the day. Avoid overfeeding and eliminate all treat with fillers, artificial colors or flavorings as these may cause diarrhea. Some pets require a little more fiber to maintain their digestive health—try adding some natural fiber to your pet’s new food—pumpkin, psyllium, potato skins, etc.

Q: Why should pets eat both canned and dry food every day?

A: Most pets do not drink enough water every day to stay well hydrated. The addition of canned food contributes the water that is so essential to overall health.

Q: I have an outdoor cat. Can I use the indoor formula?

A: Yes. Outdoor cats do not have different nutritional requirements than indoor cats and the Indoor Cat Formula is perfect for them. If you have an outdoor cat they may be getting calories from other sources (hunting, neighbors food bowls, etc) so make sure to adjust their calories accordingly to prevent obesity.

Q: What is the difference between the Indoor Cat and Sensitive Cat formulas?

A: The Sensitive Cat formula has smaller protein sizes to minimize any adverse food reaction from large proteins. It also has a higher percentage of whole egg in the formula to make it even more highly digestible.

Q: Does Halo make a kitten formula?

A: No. The cat formulas are appropriate for either kittens or adults.

Q:  Why do the Halo canned foods appear to have a lower protein % when compared to other brands? 

A:  AAFCO requires that pet food labels list ingredients on an “As Fed” basis, however, for nutritional accuracy, it is important that diets are compared only on a dry matter (DM) percentage.  Because Halo has a higher moisture content than most other canned foods, it makes the "As Fed" percentages seem less. For example, a canned cat food with 78% moisture and 9.5% protein is equivalent in protein to Halo’s 81% moisture and 8% protein…both of these diets have approximately 42% protein when evaluated on a dry matter basis. Please contact Customer Service if you need more information. 

Q: How many calories are in each formulation?

A:  Please refer to the website description of each individual product for specific calorie information or contact Customer Service.

Q: What are prebiotics / probiotics? Does Halo have these in their food?

A: Prebiotics are specialized forms of fiber that have been proven to stimulate growth and function of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Probiotics are live bacteria that help restore the bacterial balance within the intestine. Halo adds both prebiotics (e.g. inulin, a fructo-oligosaccharide [FOS]) and probiotics (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus species) to all dry formulations for maximal digestive benefits. Read my article about prebiotics and probiotics and Halo’s gastrointestinal health benefits.

Q: Is it okay for dogs to eat the cat food?

A: I don’t recommend routinely feeding healthy dogs the cat formulation of Spot’s Stew. Halo cat formulas are designed with higher levels of protein and fat than what dogs require. This creates a food that is higher in calories and can lead to problems with obesity when fed to dogs long term. The vitamin/mineral balance is specific to cats as well. Dogs should stick with our canine formulas to reach optimal health.

Q: Is it okay for cats to eat the dog food?

A: Although your cat getting a nibble of Halo dog food from time to time isn’t bad (our dog foods are supplemented with proper amounts of taurine for cats), I definitely don’t recommend routinely feeding them food formulated for dogs. Cats (as strict carnivores) require higher levels of protein and fat than dogs and Halo foods are designed accordingly. Halo dog food just doesn’t have the right balance for cats to reach their optimal health level.

Q: My cat is finicky. How can I encourage my cat to eat the Halo cat food?

A: You can try adding our fatty acid supplement (Dream Coat) or some of the Halo Dinner Party protein sprinkle on top of his food to spark his interest.  Also adding a small amount of warmed canned food on top of the dry can entice even the pickiest eater. 

Q: My dog has refused Spot’s Stew. What do I do now?

A: First, make sure you have introduced the food slowly over 7 to 10 days. Sometimes a "cold turkey" switch will turn your dog off. If you were trying only the dry—add in a little of Halo’s canned food to help stimulate your dog’s appetite. Sometimes even just a little chicken or turkey that you have prepared at home can be added to the dry food for a little extra zing! You can also try adding our fatty acid supplement (Dream Coat) or some of the Halo Dinner Party protein sprinkle on top of his food to spark his interest. Keep it up—he will realize how good it is!

Q: My pet doesn’t seem to drink as much water since he’s switched to Spot’s Stew. Is that a problem?

A: Many people notice a decrease in the amount of water their pets drink after making the change to Spot’s Stew canned. The canned formulas have a high moisture (water) content so your pet is getting better hydration from the food itself. When a pet is on a dry food or one that does not have as much moisture, they need to drink more to keep their bodies hydrated. Just like people, pets often don’t drink as much as they should which can lead to mild dehydration—dry skin, dull coats, etc. This is why we always recommend adding some canned food to your pet’s meals every day! —

Q: How long does Spot’s Stew last once opened and in the refrigerator?

A: Whenever you open a can of food transfer it to a food-grade storage dish for safe-keeping in the refrigerator. Generally food stored this way will stay fresh for 3 days.

Q: How long does a bag of Spot’s Stew dry food stay fresh?

A: All of Halo’s dry formulations come in a re-sealable bag—it is important to reseal the bag between each feeding to minimize the food’s exposure to light and air which could cause accelerated degeneration of the food. My preference is to store the resealable bag inside an airtight container to retain maximal freshness. If you have a small dog or cat and purchase the larger bags, it is important to divide the large bag into smaller portions and store them in airtight containers until you are ready to use that portion. Always smell and visually inspect any food that has been opened and stored longer than one month.

Q: Is canned food bad for my pet’s teeth?

A: No. While many vets recommend dry food to "keep teeth clean and healthy" it is a fact that many pets do not chew their food well enough to get any abrasive cleaning action from dry food. Whether you feed dry or canned food…the single most important thing for dental health is tooth brushing. It is a fact that by age three more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of gum (periodontal) disease and this is because most owners do not give their pets proper dental care (DAILY tooth brushing and annual dental cleanings). Keep the canned food and start brushing! See my article "Getting to the Root of Bad Breath" for more info on dental health

Q: Andi Brown always said dry food was not good for pets. Why is Halo making a dry food?

A: It has always been our standing that commercial dry pet foods did not provide enough quality ingredients to allow pets to reach their optimal health level. We have finally created a dry food that closely resembles the quality of our canned Spot’s Stew! We avoid lower quality ingredients (like meat meals, corn, rice, etc) and provide only whole meats and vegetables to make our well-balanced dry diet that provides 100% of pet’s nutritional needs. By nature of being a dry food, the moisture content is low (only 10%) and pet owners must encourage their pets to drink plenty of water to receive proper hydration. The addition of canned food also helps give pets the water they need every day.

Q: What is the difference between just plain "meat" (like "chicken" or "lamb") and "meat meals" (like "chicken meal" or "lamb meal")? Following are AAFCO definitions:

A: Meat is the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals and is limited to the part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, diaphragm, heart or in the esophagus; with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and portions of the skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels which normally accompany the flesh. Meat meal is the rendered product from flesh and other mammal tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Q: What are meat by-products? Note: Following is the AAFCO definition:

A: The non-rendered (non-cooked), clean parts, other than meat derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed from their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs.

Q: What are poultry by-products? Note: Halo does not use poultry by-products!

A: Non-rendered (non-cooked) clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice.

Q: Why doesn’t Halo use meat meals (like ‘chicken meal’ and ‘turkey meal’) when it seems that many other pet food makers do?

A: Halo has chosen to use only high quality ingredients in its pet foods.  Meat meals do contain meat and can be of high quality, however, they may also contain 4-D meats (dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals) and other waste products.

Q: Halo does not have as high of protein levels as other foods…why?

A: Halo does not use meat meals as a concentrated source of dried protein and uses only whole real meat ingredients. It is more difficult to achieve very high protein levels when using whole real meat instead of a meat meal. Halo uses eggs and peas as an additional source of highly digestible protein to support protein levels in all formulations. We feel this is a healthier alternative to meat meals.

Q: Why is Halo more expensive than other foods?

A: Halo has chosen to use only the highest quality ingredients which are more costly than other less superior ingredients. Although it is more expensive at the check-out it may help save you money in vet bills.

Q: Why does Halo use so much egg and peas in their formulations?

A: Halo uses eggs and peas as an additional source of highly digestible protein to support protein levels in all formulations. Halo does not use meat meals as a concentrated source of dried protein and uses only whole real meat ingredients. It is more difficult to achieve very high protein levels when using whole real meat instead of a meat meal. We feel the eggs and peas are healthier alternatives to meat meals.

Q: Why does Halo avoid rice and corn in their foods?

A: Halo defines corn and white rice as "fillers". These are carbohydrates that may raise blood sugar levels rapidly and create hormonal signals that may have negative long term effects on metabolism and weight gain. Although corn and white rice are often thought of as staples of an American diet, they are not healthful for pets in the large quantities used by many pet food companies.  Corn and rice are often the main ingredients in other foods and treats because they are a less expensive way to fill up a bag and still meet basic energy requirements.  This has led to industry-wide creation of pet foods and treats which are high in carbohydrates, relatively low in meat protein and are a major factor in the pet obesity epidemic.  These corn and rice based diets may also contribute to chronic symptoms of maldigestion, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. 

Halo makes healthier carbohydrate choices by using whole grains such as barley and oats and vegetables like sweet potatoes.  These carbohydrates are nutrient-dense because they supply energy as well as high levels of fiber for digestive health and high levels of vitamins and minerals for overall health. 

Q: What is Halo’s philosophy on grains / carbohydrates for cats?

A:  Low carbohydrate foods are best suited to the natural biology of cats as carnivores.  Cats reach optimal health levels and may avoid many food-related problems (such as obesity, diabetes, some intestinal diseases) by eating high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods.  Protein (not carbs) should make up the majority of every cat’s diet, however, many cats appear to benefit from a small to moderate amount of complex carbohydrates (fibers that are not broken down to sugars) in their diet.  Remember long ago cats hunted for their food (and some still do!) and were exposed to carbohydrates within the digestive system of their prey.  The domesticated indoor cat appears to benefit from the digestive health that COMPLEX carbs (in the form of fiber-rich vegetables, oats and barley) provide. Halo includes only this type of carbohydrate in our cat formulations.

Halo does offer grain-free options as well.  All Halo Spot’s Stew canned cat foods and the Hearty Chicken Recipe Dry food are all grain-free formulas.

Q: Are Halo foods gluten-free?

A: Gluten is a protein found in many grass-related grains, most notably in wheat, barley and rye and is problematic in the small percentage of people who have gluten-intolerance (celiac disease). This condition is exceedingly rare in dogs and cats and providing gluten-free foods offer no other proven health benefits to pets. All Halo natural dog food products (canned and dry) and the dry natural cat food (with the exception of the Grain-Free recipe) contain gluten in the form of barley and/or oats.

Halo does make several gluten-free products including: canned cat food formulas, the Grain-Free dry cat food, Liv-a-Littles Protein Treats, Healthsome Peanut ‘n Pumpkin Vegetarian and Well-Being treats for dogs, and Healthsome treats for cats.

Q: My vet recommended a "senior" or "lite" diet for my pet. Can I use Halo?

A: Halo foods can be used successfully in a weight loss program. Halo donated food for a weight loss challenge to a New York City shelter (Bideawee) and I monitored the progress of 7 obese cats over 4 weeks—all successfully lost the desired amount of weight. For more information on this study see Dr. Spector’s article. Several of our formulas fall within the "lite" category as defined by AAFCO (canned dog food <900 kcal/kg, canned cat food <950 kcal/kg): the Canned Dog Chicken and Canned Cat Chicken and Lamb formulas. Dr. Spector recommends reaching for these formulas first when starting a weight loss plan. Click here for more information on Weight Loss Tips.

Q: Why do your foods contain garlic?

A: The original Spot’s Stew formula created in a kitchen over 25 years ago used garlic for its anti-oxidant properties. It is very common that herbs or natural treatments are beneficial. Garlic is a safe ingredient when used in small amounts.

Chicken Meal

Q: Is Halo saying that chicken meal is terrible for animals?

A: No, we believe that chicken meal can provide good nutrition.

Q: Isn’t chicken meal higher protein than chicken, pound for pound?

A: It can be, and often is. So it’s important to check the protein level of the food (especially the dry-weight protein level), and the quality of ALL the ingredients. Companies like Halo that avoid chicken meal have to put in much more real chicken to get the same protein level as a company using chicken meal – a much more expensive proposition. All else being equal, chicken is a far superior ingredient.

Q: If a brand uses chicken meal, but has a terrific reputation for quality, can’t we assume they avoid 4D and waste products?

A: They may choose to avoid 4D and waste products. But chicken meal may legally contain 4D and waste products.

Q: Some companies use chicken AND chicken meal – is that better?

A: Yes, it’s certainly better to have real flesh meat than not having any. Instead of using any meals or other rendered meats, Halo uses real flesh meat plus ingredients like eggs and pea protein as additional high-quality sources of protein.

Q: What about meat meals, such as beef meal, lamb meal or salmon meal?

A: Like chicken meal, other meals are rendered ingredients which may legally contain 4D ingredients and waste products.  Halo’s philosophy is not to use those ingredients.  Also, if an ingredient does not specify the species, for example "meat meal," it will not be clear exactly which animal flesh was used in manufacturing.  Halo’s fresh ingredients are always identified by species, i.e. "lamb.

Q: What about by-product-meals?

A. Like chicken meal, by-product meals are rendered ingredients which may legally contain 4D ingredients and waste products. Halo’s philosophy is not to use those ingredients.

Q: Why does Halo use so much egg and peas in their formulations?

A: Halo uses eggs and peas as an additional source of highly digestible protein to support protein levels in all formulations. Halo does not use meat meals as a concentrated source of dried protein and uses only whole real meat ingredients. It is more difficult to achieve very high protein levels when using whole real meat instead of a meat meal. We feel the eggs and peas are healthier alternatives to meat meals.

Q: Why are you introducing a vegan diet for dogs?

We will be introducing Spot’s Stew Vegan Garden Medley as a choice for people who are Vegan or otherwise cannot feed their dog meat (due to allergies, etc.). Like Halo’s Spot’s Stew meat-based diets, the Vegan Garden Medley is a complete and balanced diet made from natural, real-food ingredients and provides adult dogs with all the essential nutrients they need (based on nutritional levels established by AAFCO).

We continue to proudly offer chicken, lamb, beef, salmon and other meat-based Spot’s Stews. We will not be offering a Vegan diet for cats (who are obligate carnivores).

Q: My vet recommended a "senior" diet for my pet. Can I use Halo?

A: All of Halo’s Spot’s Stew adult formulas are formulated to meet the AAFCO nutritional requirements for all life stages. While Halo doesn’t specifically make a senior diet, it can successfully be fed to aging pets. Many times vets recommend senior foods because they are lower in calories and higher in fiber. This makes them appropriate for older pets who have a slower metabolism and are more likely to gain weight and struggle with obesity and constipation. Halo has a lower calorie dry formulation—called Healthy Weight—and most of Halo’s canned formulations are quite low in calories. By adding some canned food to your aging pets feeding plan you can help decrease the overall calories while providing additional water to help your older pet combat dehydration. Halo formulas also contain fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains which are beneficial for an aging pets gastrointestinal health to avoid constipation.

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Chicken Meal

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Q: Is Halo saying that chicken meal is terrible for animals?

A: No, we believe that chicken meal can provide good nutrition.

Q: Isn’t chicken meal higher protein than chicken, pound for pound?

A: It can be, and often is. So it’s important to check the protein level of the food (especially the dry-weight protein level), and the quality of ALL the ingredients. Companies like Halo that avoid chicken meal have to put in much more real chicken to get the same protein level as a company using chicken meal – a much more expensive proposition. All else being equal, chicken is a far superior ingredient.

Q: If a brand uses chicken meal, but has a terrific reputation for quality, can’t we assume they avoid 4D and waste products?

A: They may choose to avoid 4D and waste products. But chicken meal may legally contain 4D and waste products

Q: Some companies use chicken AND chicken meal – is that better?

A: Not necessarily. However, Halo chooses not to use chicken mea in its products.  There are specific protein requirements for pet food, and Halo’s philosophy has always been to comply with those requirements using only whole ingredients like real chicken and eggs as the source of animal based protein."

Q: What about meat meals, such as beef meal, lamb meal or salmon meal?

A: Like chicken meal, other meals are rendered ingredients which may legally contain 4D ingredients and waste products.  Halo’s philosophy is not to use those ingredients.  Also, if an ingredient does not specify the species, for example "meat meal," it will not be clear exactly which animal flesh was used in manufacturing.  Halo’s fresh ingredients are always identified by species, i.e. "lamb.

Q: What about by-product-meals?

A. Like chicken meal, by-product meals are rendered ingredients which may legally contain 4D ingredients and waste products. Halo’s philosophy is not to use those ingredients.

 

Grooming

Q: What is the shelf life of the natural pet grooming products you make?

A: All of the pet grooming supplies have a 2 year shelf life. The herbal extracts and botanical oils are a form of natural preservative which gives these products an extended shelf life.

Cloud Nine Herbal Healing Salve

Q: Where can I apply Cloud Nine Herbal Healing Salve?

A: Anywhere on your pet’s body! We particularly love it for soothing hot spots or other skin breakouts. If you live in a cold weather climate, try it on your dog’s foot pads during the winter—it helps keep them softer to prevent cracking and bleeding.

Q: My dog likes to lick the Cloud Nine Herbal Healing Salve when I use it on his skin. Is this bad for him?

A: No it is not bad for him…but we do recommend applying the salve and then distracting your dog with a nice long walk or some other activity to allow it time to absorb into the skin and work its wonders! You can re-apply it liberally and frequently to problem areas without concern.

Cloud Nine Herbal Earwash Kit

Q: My pet gets greasy smelly ears. Do you have anything that might help?

A: We recommend at least weekly examination and cleaning of the ears to keep them healthy. Debris and wax can accumulate in the ear canal and can predispose to infection if not removed routinely. The Herbal Earwash is not medicated and won’t cure an infection but is a good weekly maintenance cleaning solution. Read my article on proper ear cleaning.
If your pets ears are have a significant discharge, are red, painful or very malodorous you should see your veterinarian.

Cloud Nine Herbal Eyewash Kit

Q: Do you have anything for chronic eye discharge?

A: Pets with short snouts ("peke faces"; brachycephalic) tend to have bent tear ducts. Debris can easily accumulate and clog up their tear ducts; causing tears or discharge to spill out on the face. When used properly the Cloud Nine Herbal Eyewash Kit can help keep discharge to a minimum and the eyes clean and comfortable. Read my article on proper eye cleaning.
If the eye discharge does not improve within several days or if your pet develops squinting, redness or pain, contact your veterinarian to determine if your dog has an underlying medical condition.
 
Cloud Nine Herbal Dip

Q: I don’t like putting harsh chemicals on my pet, and prefer natural aromatic oils. How much Cloud Nine Herbal Dip should I use to make an herbal spray for my pet?

A: Use 1/2 teaspoon with 16oz of water in the spray bottle! You can also apply the dip to fabric collars on bedding as a natural repellent. Enjoy!

Cloud NIne Shampoo

Q: What are the advantages of Halo’s Herbal Shampoo for my pet’s coat?

A: The Herbal Shampoo contains only natural herbal extracts and botanical oils—no detergents, foaming agents or other harsh chemicals that may strip your pet’s haircoat of its natural oils or cause dry skin.

 

Natural Treats

Q: Why are Halo treats better than other brands?

A: Halo uses the same high-quality ingredients as in our pet food—whole meats, vegetables, fruit and whole grains ONLY. No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sugars like so many commercial pet treats. Our Liv-A-Little protein treats are freeze-dried chunks of whole meat. That’s it! Ellen refers to these as "crack" for your pet—only good for them! Our Liv-A-Littles Healthsome Treats are baked treats that come in a variety of exciting shapes and flavors to appeal to all pets. Halo is combating the obesity trend by printing the calorie per treat information on our packages and recommending a "Smart Treating" approach to daily treating. See my articles on Healthy Snacking for your Dog or Healthy Eating for your Cat.

Q: Do you think your Dinner Party could be added safely to my dog’s food to increase her appetite?

A: Dinner Party is simply a protein sprinkle and our customers report that it helps stimulate the appetite of even the most finicky pet! The VitaGlo Dream Coat supplement can also be added to your pet’s food with excellent palatability results.

Supplements

Q: Why are Halo supplements better than other brands?

A: Halo has the same high-quality standards for our supplement ingredients as we do for our pet food. No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or other non-nutritive fillers like so many commercial pet supplements.

Q: Do I need to use your supplements to balance my pet’s diet—is the Halo food lacking something?

A: Halo foods are complete and balanced to meet AAFCO requirements for all life stages of dogs and cats. Supplements are still recommended to allow you to complement a healthy pet’s diet to allow them to achieve optimal health levels.

Q: How do I know if my pet needs a vitamin supplement?

A: You should give your pet a daily vitamin for the same reason you take one—it is just good common sense. I recommend a vitamin supplement for all pets as an "insurance policy" of sorts. Pets may not get enough nutrients every day as a result of many factors: 1) In a multiple pet household one pet may challenge another for food resulting in that pet not eating his or her daily nutrient requirement, 2) If a pet has a picky or poor appetite they may not eat enough nutrients, 3) If a pet has a medical condition such as kidney or intestinal disease they may not be absorbing all of the nutrients they need from the food. Even if a pet is eating adequate amounts of a well-balanced diet, additional nutrients have been proven to benefit age-related conditions. For example fatty acids exhibit anti-inflammatory effects in a number of inflammatory disease conditions, Vitamin B can counter fatigue and improve appetite, and Vitamin C and glucosamine can often benefit arthritic patients.

Q: Can all of your natural pet food supplements be used together or will I overload my pet?

A: Natural pet food supplements should be chosen for your pet’s individual nutritional needs. The vitamin supplements we promote work very well together—we often recommend an alternating daily plan of the Daily Greens (an excellent all-around vitamin supplement) and the Vitamin-Mineral Mix (an excellent source of B vitamins). You may use all the pet supplements at once, or chose the ones that fit your particular pet’s needs. Call or email us with your questions and we will help you consider products that are most appropriate for your pet’s needs.

Q: Someone recommended Flax Seed Oil as a good supplement for my pet’s skin and coat. What do you suggest?

A: We recommend VitaGlo Dream Coat as an excellent fatty acid supplement for skin and coat health. It is a natural blend of six cold-pressed oils and provides many essential fatty acids (EFAs) that pets are not capable of making themselves. These fatty acids are known to play a vital role in skin health by creating a lipid barrier to block irritants and infections. These EFAs also have proven anti-inflammatory effects in numerous inflammatory medical conditions (allergies, autoimmune conditions, arthritis, skin disease, etc.).

VitaGlo Dream Coat

Q: Someone recommended Flax Seed Oil as a good supplement for my pet’s skin and coat. What do you suggest?

A: We recommend VitaGlo Dream Coat as an excellent fatty acid supplement for skin and coat health. It is a natural blend of six cold-pressed oils and provides many essential fatty acids (EFAs) that pets are not capable of making themselves. These fatty acids are known to play a vital role in skin health by creating a lipid barrier to block irritants and infections. These EFAs also have proven anti-inflammatory effects in numerous inflammatory medical conditions (allergies, autoimmune conditions, arthritis, skin disease, etc.).

Q: How long does it take see a difference in my pet’s coat when using VitaGlo Dream Coat?

A: Every pet is different but often owners report changes within 7 days. Don’t be alarmed if it is taking longer—significant improvements may take up to 8 to 12 weeks. The Dream Coat label dosage is per day. You can divide the dose between multiple daily meals or give the full dose with one meal.

Q: I’m starting my animals on Dream Coat and I’m wondering if the serving suggestions on the bottle are for daily servings or should be given at each meal?

A: Dream Coat label dosage is per day. You can divide the dose between multiple daily meals or give the full dose with one meal.

Q: Should Dream Coat be refrigerated after opening?

A: You do not have to refrigerate Dream Coat once opened. We recommend you keep it out of direct sunlight and heat to prevent degeneration of the oils. If you do decide to keep Dream Coat in the fridge it may appear cloudy or thick when you remove it. This is the normal—just take it out and place it on the counter for a few minutes before you need to use it. A quick stir later and all is well.

VitaGlo Vitamin Mineral Mix

Q: How do I use the Vitamin Mineral Mix?

A: Our Vitamin Mineral Mix can be used with dry, canned, raw, or any kind of food. Mix it with water or broth and then add into canned food or pour over dry food.

Q: I noticed you use Montmorillonite in your Vitamin Mineral Mix. What is it?

A: Montmorillonite Clay comes from the seabed that kelp grows in. We include it as a wonderful source of trace minerals but many other beneficial properties have been documented in people. It may help alleviate the signs of constipation and its natural antibacterial properties make it beneficial for treatment of other bowel problems in people. Other effects include the adsorption and removal of hazardous chemicals and toxins from the digestive system.

 

Pet Health Q&A

Responds to our Readers

Q: Why do your foods contain garlic?

The original Spot’s Stew formula created in a kitchen over 25 years ago used garlic for its anti-oxidant properties. It is very common that herbs or natural treatments are beneficial. Garlic is a safe ingredient when used in small amounts.

Q: Why is there liver in Halo? Liver cleans toxins out of the body so y do you want 2 then give the liver to dogs?

Thanks for your question. We are of a very different opinion regarding the butcher-quality liver that is included in Halo food. Liver is known to be an exceptionally nutrient-dense food. It provides high levels of many vitamins, and is an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids that contribute to excellent overall health. We feel it is a great benefit to our foods as it is a natural meat that helps us provide pets with their many requirements.

Q: Confused about DreamCoat – it has garlic oil but I thought garlic was bad for felines?

Exposure to large amounts of fresh whole garlic has been reported to cause stomach upset and possible damage to feline red blood cells (which may result in anemia). Halo uses only garlic OIL in small quantities that have not been associated with adverse effects. Halo includes garlic oil in the Dream Coat recipe as it is an excellent antioxidant which helps support immune function and is good for maintaining cardiovascular health. It also has natural anti-bacterial type properties and is an excellent flavoring for pets.

Q: Do kittens usually lose teeth & at what age? What behaviors will they exhibit when they are loose?

Kittens do lose their baby teeth (called deciduous teeth)! They are replaced with adult teeth usually between 11 and 16 weeks of age (although it may take up to 24 weeks). Usually by 24 weeks of age, all teeth will be permanent adult teeth. Some kittens exhibit no signs of \teething\", while others become very \"mouthy\" and try to chew and pull on everything. They may also exhibit \"testy\" or slightly aggressive behavior during this time. Hope that helps!

Q: Are mouth tumors in cats ever curable? I don’t know if the tumor is benign or cancerous. Don’t have much info yet.

Unfortunately, the majority of mouth tumors in cats are malignant cancers and not curable. However, not ALL masses in the mouth are cancer–we see a lot of inflammation and other gum issues–so make sure your vet gets a sample (biopsy) for a definitive diagnosis. If it is documented cancer, there are a number of procedures which can be done with these tumors (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc), however, most of these treatments have significant side effects and you must weigh the pros and cons of each with your veterinarian. Keep us posted.

Q: What do you think of testing my dog every six months for heartworm instead of giving monthly heartworm pills?

This practice is not advised. To understand better, read the following scenarios.
If you get a positive test result on your dog, this means your dog has already been infected for 5-7 months and by definition, has adult worms living in their heart and/or lungs. A positive test result means you and your dog must face treatment of a potentially fatal disease. The treatment is expensive and dogs can have severe side effects from the medications used or from the dying heartworms.

If you get a negative test result, most likely your dog is not currently infected, but remember – no test is 100% and although uncommon, false negative heartworm test results can occur. This most often happens if dogs are infected with very few worms, the worms are still immature (common if you miss the right date for testing), only male worms are present (the test is only accurate for female worms), or the test was done incorrectly. This may mean that your dog goes incorrectly diagnosed as \heartworm negative\", increasing his risk for fatal complications from heartworm disease and serving as a source to infect other dogs.

No one likes to give medication unnecessarily, however, heartworm disease is prevalent in every U.S. state (except Alaska ) and kills dogs and cats every year. The best news is it is completely preventable. There are many options for heartworm prevention and many of the available medications also include routine dewormers for other common parasites affecting dogs and cats. Ask your veterinarian what prevention plan is best for your dog or cat."

Q: What is Halo’s philosophy on grains for dogs and cats

What grains does Halo use? Are certain grains better than others?

Halo uses only the whole grains of oats and barley in their natural cat and dog foods. Whole grains are preferential to refined grains (e.g. white rice) because they provide a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, oils and proteins. When a grain is refined by the removal of the bran and germ, the remaining grain is mostly carbohydrate and lacks the majority of other nutrients. Refined grains are cheaper and thus are commonly used in the pet food industry, however, are not nearly as healthy as whole grains. Whole grains are found in Halo canine dry and canned formulas and the feline dry formulas. Halo feline canned formulas are grain-free.

Are "grain-free" diets always low in carbohydrates or "carbohydrate-free"?

Many owners assume incorrectly that \"grain-free\" means \"carbohydrate-free\". A grain-free diet is simply one that does not contain any cereal grains (either whole or refined grains). Grain-free diets may actually be quite high in carbohydrates as carbohydrates are not only found in grains. They are also found in a number of other vegetables and foodstuffs.

Carbohydrates are classified as either simple or complex. The simple carbohydrates (also called simple sugars) supply the body with a quick jolt of glucose for energy. The more complex fiber-rich carbohydrates are not broken down to glucose for energy, but instead play an important role in gastrointestinal health by supporting digestion and absorption and helping the body eliminate toxins and waste products.

Halo’s feline canned food is a grain-free formula, however, contains fiber-rich complex carbohydrates in the form of vegetables. Halo always avoids simple carbohydrates which spike blood sugar and only uses vegetables and whole grains as a source of complex carbohydrates.

What are "grain-free" diets and are they better than pet foods with grains?

A grain-free diet is simply one that does not contain any cereal grains (either whole or refined grains). Refined grains (e.g. white rice) should be avoided in pet food. These grains are over-processed and have lost most of their nutritional value. These same grains often lead to blood sugar spikes and hormonal signals that have long-term detrimental effects on metabolism. Many feel the use of excess amounts of refined grains have contributed to the pet obesity epidemic in the United States.

Pets may also have food allergies to cheaper grains used commonly, such as wheat and corn, and these grain sources are best avoided. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance (also called celiac disease) is exceedingly rare in dogs and cats, so gluten-free diets are rarely necessary in pets.

However, most pets do not require a completely \"grain-free\" diet. Grains should not be the primary ingredient, but the inclusion of alternative whole grains (like oats and barley) provide a nutritionally rich source of fiber which is beneficial for digestive health without the detrimental effects on metabolism and weight gain.

My veterinarian says cats shouldn’t eat carbohydrates and should be on grain-free foods. Why does Halo have grains in their cat food?

Low carbohydrate foods are best suited to the natural biology of cats as carnivores. Cats reach optimal health levels and can avoid many food-related problems (such as obesity, diabetes, etc) by eating high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods.

Protein, not carbohydrates, should comprise the majority of every cat’s diet, however, many cats appear to benefit from a small to moderate amount of carbohydrates in their diet. It is important to remember biology and evolution when it comes to cat nutrition. When cats hunted for their food, they were exposed to whole grains and carbohydrates within the digestive system of their prey. The domesticated indoor cat appears to benefit from the digestive health that complex carbohydrates (in the form of fiber-rich vegetables or whole grains) provide. Carbohydrates as simple sugars should always be avoided. Only these complex carbohydrates (that are not broken down to sugar) should be used in cat foods to impart digestive benefits.

Are Halo foods gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found in many grass-related grains, most notably in wheat, barley and rye and is problematic in the small percentage of people who have gluten-intolerance (celiac disease). In individuals affected by this condition, gluten causes the intestine to become severely inflamed and there is interference with nutrient absorption. Affected patients have syndromes of chronic maldigestion and diarrhea. The only treatment is a diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten containing grains.

This condition is exceedingly rare in dogs and cats and providing gluten-free foods offer no other health benefit to pets. All Halo natural dog food products (canned and dry) and the dry natural cat food contain gluten in the form of barley and/or oats.

Halo does make several gluten-free products including: canned cat food formulas, Liv-a-Littles Protein Treats, Liv-a-Littles Healthsome Vegetarian, Skin and Coat and Well Being treats for dogs and Liv-a-Littles Healthsome treats for cats.

Q: How can I encourage my cat to eat the Halo cat food?

You can try adding our fatty acid supplement (Dream Coat) or some of the Halo Dinner Party protein sprinkle on top of his food to spark his interest. Also adding a small amount of warmed canned food on top of the dry can entice even the pickiest eater. Good Luck.

Q: What is your recommended treatment for canine Lick Granuloma?

Lick Granulomas can be very difficult to treat – they often have a medical and a behavioral component to them. Often the granuloma is caused by an injury and then the dog continues to lick it (due to pain, irritation, etc) and they get a \high\" so to speak from the licking process. So even if the underlying problem is gone, they continue to lick -essentially because it feels good. The most important thing is to make sure there is not a deep infection or an underlying problem causing the lick granuloma – a deep culture and even xrays are sometimes necessary to assess for draining tracts and bony changes. Most dogs require 4 to 6 weeks of oral antibiotics, the diligent use of an Elizabethan collar (head cone!) and possibly even topical creams. Even if your dog appears to not be licking the area – they must wear a cone – most dogs secretly lick the area (at night, when you aren’t home, etc).

Often there is no medical problem causing a lick granuloma – it can be just a behavior issue. Many of these dogs are very anxious and often there are environmental triggers that can be identified -such as separation anxiety, new children or people in the home, social conflicts with other animals in the home, lack of appropriate outlets for normal \"doggy\" stuff. It helps to identify and address any possible stressors. A gentle leader head – collar with a drag line should also be used to allow you to redirect your dog when he licks without punishing him and then rewarding him for the right behavior. Hope these things help … keep us posted. "

Q: What can you tell me about pea protein and the benefits of this protein source in Halo Dog Food?

Halo uses eggs and peas as an additional source of highly digestible protein to support protein levels in all formulations. Halo does not use meat meals as a concentrated source of dried protein and uses only whole real meat ingredients. It is more difficult to achieve very high protein levels when using whole real meat instead of a meat meal. We feel the eggs and peas are healthier alternatives to meat meals.

Toy and Small Breed

Q: Why do toy and small breed dogs need their own formula?

Small breed dogs have much higher energy requirements than those of larger breed dogs (sometimes more than twice as much). Halo Spot’s Stew Toy & Small Breed formula is ideal for dogs weighing 6 to 25 pounds and has nutrient adjustments including more calories per cup than a normal canine formula to meet these higher energy requirements.

Q: Do I have to feed my puppy the Halo puppy food and then move to the Toy & Small Breed Formula?

No, this food is formulated for all life stages of toy and small breeds—puppy through adulthood. As an added benefit for puppies, this recipe is enriched with DHA GOLD*, a natural sustainable vegetarian source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) omega-3. DHA has been proven beneficial to puppies during brain and eye (retina) development.
*DHA GOLD is a trademark of Martek Biosciences

Q: How is the Toy & Small Breed Formula different?

In addition to the nutrient adjustments to meet the higher energy needs and the added DHA GOLD omega-3 fatty acids, there is a smaller kibble size to better fit small mouths and teeth. This formula also does not contain visible dehydrated vegetables which may be too large for toy and small breeds. Parsley is an herb added to naturally help freshen breath. The food is packaged in smaller bag sizes in order to address the smaller daily volume that small breeds eat—the 4 and 10 pound bags are convenient for households for one or more toy or small breed dogs.

Q: Does the Toy & Small Breed Formula meet Halo high quality ingredient standards?

As in all Halo formulas, the Toy & Small Breed Formula provides excellent natural nutrition in the form of recognizable ingredients—fresh chicken, eggs, peas, whole grains, whole vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits. There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and Halo never uses chicken meal or rendered meats in any formulation. All Halo formulas provide minerals in a highly absorbable (chelated) form for the best digestion and use by your pet. Added prebiotics and probiotics help promote and support intestinal health.

 

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