Puppy food (2-3 months)


Sorry for making a separate post about puppy food, but the posts I’ve read so far on the forum have been for puppies older than 3 months old. I’ve started to educate myself on different types of dog food, but I admit I’m still a bit confused and would appreciate some recommendations.

I got my puppy 1.5 weeks ago (he’s now 9.5 weeks old). The breeder was feeding him Eukanuba dry food, and recommended it to me, so I originally kept him on Eukanuba. Then I read about the benefits of grain-free foods, and I eventually switched him to a diet of mostly “Akela 80:20 - Original Recipe”. I am mixing it with a bit of Eukanuba as well, as I’m still not clear on whether grains, in small quantities, might be good for puppies (though most people seem to indicate that they are of no real nutritional value. Also, my partner is allergic to fish, and mixing the Akela food (which contains a bit of fish) with something else, is the only way that he can tolerate the smell.

I am happy with Akela, but I’ve read negative comments about Eukanuba, so I’m considering switching it (mixing Akela with another brand). What would you recommend please, considering it can’t be something with a fishy smell? A better grain-based dry food? Or another grain-free food?

(Another option I am considering is mixing the normal Akela one with “Akela Suffolk Duck”, which does not contain fish, but that doesn’t sound like a very varied dry food option)

Thank you.

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Hello and welcome to the forum. You don’t say what breed your puppy is but I have picked out the review for Eukanuba Puppy Medium - link. It scores 2.5 and contains grain, some of it indicated as a red ingredient. The review on Akela is here. The Akela website is here. The Suffolk Duck version would be a good choice. Gradually transition from the Eukanuba over a period of, say one week and your pup should be fine. If needed, contact Akela helpline for further information. Use a small digital scale in 1g divisions to weigh the food. Sometimes dogs need less in quantity when given good quality products like this one. Weighing the food gives you a baseline for adjustment of quantity. You can soften the kibble with warm water and then crumble it up - it will be easier for pup to manage.

You mention variety in food; products such as Akela are complete but that doesn’t mean that you cannot give pup a change. There is a thread here about substituting dry food with home cooked. Have a look at it to see if it would be something that might interest you.

On the subject of grains in food, not all are bad. Brown rice and oats are two that have nutritional benefits, particularly the former. There are some dogs that are intolerant of certain types of grain but many are fine with them. However, the pet owner might want to avoid the ones that are indicated in red on this website.

Well done for taking time to search for a good quality food for your pup. I hope that the transition goes well and would you please let us know how you get on? The experience of our members may well help someone else further down the line.

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I am presently happy enough feeding Akela.

I feed the fish recipe one (but accept you effectively say it cannot be fed due to partners dislike of fish smells).

Personally I would rather feed one decent food at a time. I would not mix foods.

I personally would not feed the 2.5 star rated food mentioned here, whether on its own or mixed with another food.

Plenty of better foods out there than the 2.5 star rated item mentioned…you should be able to find one acceptable food that suits dog and feeders.

Good Luck.



Congratulations on your new puppy! When I got my pup I went through a journey with food starting with James wellbeloved and going through barking heads, barking heads grain free, Aatu and finally Akela which I feed for breakfast then she has raw for tea.

I feed Akela (all 3 varieties) because it’s a really good food and one of the cheapest of this quality (There are some great treats on their website too). However depending on your budget you could try Aatu - it is quite a bit more expensive than Akela but the 3 varieties are single source protein so you can avoid fish - the varieties are Salmon and Herring, Free run Chicken and Free run duck. It’s not so expensive if you are thinking of mixing with your other food or using it as a bit of a change.


Thank you everyone :smiley: Also apologies for forgetting to clarify the breed of the puppy. He’s cross breed: mini schnauzer with jack russell ( abbreviated to “schanck”).

I am happy with Akela, so I plan to stick to it (the original + mixing it with the duck one to reduce the fishy smell). Based on what you are saying, it doesn’t seem there are any nutritional benefits to the Eukanuba one.

Thanks again

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Akela duck would be my choice in your circ’s… Simpsons 80/20 & Eden are a couple of others to consider but dont change for sake of it. Personally for me the Eukenuba would be in the dustbin.


I am now feeding the puppy a mixture of Akela original and Akela duck. He loves it.

I may be over-analyizing things a bit, but during the most recent visit, my vet emphasised the importance of having the correct amount of calcium and phosphorus in the food. I love the fact that Akela is grain-free and rich in protein, but I hadn’t thought to check that.

They don’t have a specialised ‘puppy food’, but I think this is the case with most grain-free foods. I use the ‘small paws’ variety, which they say is for puppies and small sized dogs. I think that they only difference to the other ones is the size of the kibble.

Looking at one website, it said that the ideal calcium level is 1-1.8%. Another one said 1%, with a max value of 2.5%. Both sites though do not specify the size of the dogs. Presumably they are for medium size. I don’t know how these values may differ for small breeds. Akela original has 2.6% calcium, which is quite high according to those values. Akela duck has 1.9%, so the average (2.2%) is still high but hopefully still OK (?)

According to the same link, it should be 0.8-1.6%. Akela original is 1.6% and Akela Duck is 1.4%, so the average is 1.5%

Calcium to Phosphorous ratio:
I am not sure why people generally refer to this ratio rather than the individual values for calcium and phosphorous. Apparently the ideal ratio is 1.2 to 1. According to the values I estimated above, the ratio in the case of the food I am giving my puppy is 1.47.

Am I giving my puppy too much calcium? Has someone looked into these values in more detail?

Thank you.

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I cannot give you any specific advice about your query regarding calcium and phosphorous. Although this thread was about protein in giant breeds, in it David advises about these two minerals so you might find it useful:

.....Overfeeding and excessive calcium, on the other hand, have been consistently shown to contribute to the development of joint problems in puppies, especially in large breeds.

Most nutritionists now recommend a diet with roughly 0.3% calcium and a calcium to phosphorus ratio between 1.1:1 and 1.5:1. This information is not always available on the packaging and I’m afraid the Dog Food Directory doesn’t yet allow visitors to filter products by calcium content of calcium:phosphorus ratio (although it is in the pipeline) so it might mean contacting the manufacturer directly.

Getting the amount right is also key as even a small amount of excess weight can mean a lot of additional strain on the joints. Have a look at our feeding guide for some tips: Dog Feeding Guide | All About Dog Food

There is a very good article on the subject here: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

The best advice that I can give is to contact the company’s nutrition advisors - they should be able to advise. If you do get in touch with them, please could you let us know the outcome?

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Hi Dottie,

Thank you for the information. Obviously the situation is a bit different here, as we are talking about a small breed dog. I must say, 0.3% sounds dramatically different to the numbers I ran into by doing some quick research. Also, the problems associated with excessive consumption of calcium are mainly mentioned in relation to large breeds - I don’t know if they are limited to them (presumably not), or whether it’s an issue (albeit to a lesser extent) with smaller breeds as well.

I did actually email Akela after my previous message. I simply mentioned that 2.6 % of calcium seems high compared to what I read about ideal calcium intake and asked them whetehr I have misunderstood something. Of course I will report back :slight_smile:

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Hi, here is the reply:

“Thank you for your e-mail. The recommended guidelines were drawn-up on the basis of grain-based foods that have to be fed in high quantity, mostly containing the minimum of 4% meat and animal derivatives with calcium having to be added as a nutritional supplement into their recipes. As Akela is 80% meat/fish and fed in lower quantity, the amount of calcium is proportionally more but physically less or equal. We are actually in the process of changing our production technique to bring the level technically within guidelines as we know some owners treat the figures as gospel and, understandably, don’t look at their basis. Our Fish Feast and Duck recipes are lower in calcium at 1.9% and our Original recipe is slightly higher in calcium at 2.4%. The recommendations for calcium are guidelines rather than legal limits that are applied to elements such as copper, zinc and vitamin D (the limits for which are quoted in mg rather than percentage terms). Please let us know if you have any further questions and we will be happy to help.”

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Hi MarioLuigi and apologies for the slow reply.

Both the absolute levels and the ratios of calcium and phosphorus are important to a dog’s health and are particularly critical during puppyhood to ensure healthy growth. Too little or too much of either has been shown to contribute to skeletal and muscle problems and excessive calcium can be particularly detrimental.

The figure I gave in the previous thread was specifically referring to large breed dogs who are especially prone to joint problems and should not be applied to smaller breed dogs.

The current FEDIAF (The European Pet Food Industry Federation) guidelines are as follows:


Taken from http://www.fediaf.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PetNutrition/FEDIAF_Nutrtion_Guideline161214.pdf

So, for your puppy (11.5 weeks old and an adult weight below 15kg?) the recommended levels would be:
Calcium: 1.0% (max 1.6%)
Phosphorus: 0.9% (no maximum given)
Ca:P ratio: 1/1 (max 1.6/1)

However, Akela are quite right that these levels don’t take into account feeding amounts so a food that is low in calcium but has very high feeding amounts could end up providing a dog with more calcium than a food with a high calcium percentage but lower feeding amounts, if that makes sense. It’s all a bit complicated I’m afraid but there is one other, more accurate method for measuring calcium and phosphorus levels…

On page 16 of the same document there are recommended nutrient levels not as percentages but as grams per 1000kcal of food. These figures allow you to bypass the feeding amount issue but do require a certain amount of maths to use. I don’t have a kcal value for Akela but if you can get one from them, I would be happy to make the calculations for you.


Thank you so much David, this is incredibly helpful!

Also, thank you for offering to do the math for me – that’s really very kind of you.

I have actually just done them for the variation of the dog food which has the highest percentage of calcium and it doesn’t look that great.

The original recipe has metabolisable energy of 364 Kcal/100g, which means that 1000 kcal would amount to around 275g of food. Since calcium for that is 2.4%, this would mean 6.6 g of calcium. According to the table, the minimum recommended for my puppy is 2.5 and the maximum 4 :-\

I wonder if there’s something I’m missing. I quite like Akela as they produce high protein food that my puppy loves but this particular figure don’t seem good.

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After the post above I emailed Akela again. If they reply again, I will be impressed. If I was in their shoes, I would probably label me as a nutter and stop bothering :stuck_out_tongue:

If they do reply, I expect them to say something along the lines of the metabolising energy not being the only factor in regards to how much food the dog eats.

Leaving that aside, I am coming to the conclusion that for puppies, the duck or fish variations are better. I still have a big bag of Eukanuba dog food whose calcium content is 1.2%, a big bag of Akela duck and one of Akela original. The plan I am thinking is to be feeding the puppy mostly Akela duck, mixed with some Eukanuba (only enough to bring the calcium levels down a bit) and when the puppy is old enough to go into the next bracket of max calcium values, incorporate the Akela original more. Does this sound good to you?

Thanks again

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Your maths looks sound so it will be interesting to read their response when it comes in


Unfortunately Akela has not replied and it doesn’t seem like they are going to. (I am contemplating whether to be super - annoying and chase them up on it). But not to reply, to me seems that there is no argument against the calculations above. It’s a shame, I was quite supportive of the brand and the dogs like it. The fish / duck varieties are probably stilll good, but the fact that they ignored the second email may have put me off them. I also noticed that there is a nearly identical exchange of information (and the exact same cut off point) at the comments under the review of the dog food (at this website).

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Well that is a shame. Of course, they may still come back to you - if so, do please let us know.

FYI, this year will see a comprehensive review of the algorithm we use for rating products. Currently, only the stated ingredients are taken into account but soon other factors including nutrient levels like calcium and phosphorus will also be reflected in the score.


Hi David. Thanks again for all your help and the information you have provided. Also, great news about the algorithm.

I just sent Akela another email. I do wonder if I’m not doing them justice based on the discussion on this thread, but on the other hand I find it a bit frustrating that they did not reply.

This is what I wrote them:


Nearly a week ago I sent the email below and I have not received a reply.

I understand that it’s not an email you receive all the time and it may be an inconvenience, but I would like to know whether what I described below is correct or whether there’s something I’m not factoring in.

According to the calculations below, and the attached document, Akela original (‘small paws’) seems to have too much calcium for puppies. ‘Small paws’ is considered dog food for small dogs as well as puppies, according to the website. The fish and duck varieties seem to be fine for puppies over 14 weeks, but for less than 14, they too seem to have significantly more calcium than the max value recommended.

Are there factors not taken into consideration according to the calculations below? If so, what are they?

This, as well as whether I receive a satisfactory reply, will determine whether I remain a customer or not. Othen than this issue, I am actually very pleased with Akela, as my dogs love the food and the protein content is very high.

Thank you.

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Akela has replied:

“Sorry for my delayed reply, we are very busy with shows at the moment. Like I have said before, the industry guidelines are not legal limits, they are only guidelines. The guidelines were drawn-up based on the cheaper (volume) end of the market where most foods are made of a majority of grain and other cheap fillers. Not all manufacturers’ feeding guidelines are proportional to each other based on the kcal/100g figures. Many humans take supplements for themselves and their pets that far exceed recommended daily allowances, they are not gospel. Problems could only potentially occur in theory for giant breed dogs significantly overfed by their owners beyond our recommended feeding guidelines for prolonged periods of time. We recommend Fish Feast or Duck for anyone concerned (unnecessarily). There is really nothing to worry about with your small breed puppy. Feel free to contact the abundance of owners on our social media pages if you think I’m just biased. If you have any further questions please let us know though.”

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Apologies, there was a typo by us in that reply, it should read “giant breed puppies” not “giant breed dogs”. For giant breed owners concerned about overfeeding, we state “for large breed adults” next to our description of the Bigs Paws Original kibble versus “for large breeds” for Fish Feast and Suffolk Duck. Giant Breeds would not usually eat small kibble which this question was about.

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Hello. Thank you for the reply :slight_smile: