DC SIR’s Raw Feeding

DC SIR: Three Types of Raw Feeding

1DC SIR acknowledges and uses three types of raw feeding approaches for our rescues.  WPMR/BARF is used for our severe allergy and special needs dogs by experienced raw feeders to ensure nutrient-dense complete and balanced meals over time. This is typically in conjunction with other therapeutic feeding and usually involves preliminary medical tests for specific diseases and deficiencies. The second type of raw feeding is prepackaged frozen raw, and we require new fosters to feed a modified version of this option. The third type is dehydrated and freeze-dried raw and we use this option as treats.  Our emphasis is in supporting a diverse microbiome through nutrient-dense, species-appropriate, low-inflammatory foods.

1.      Whole Prey Model Raw (WPMR)/Bones and Raw Food (BARF) -  Fresh Food

These types of feeding involve meats in their natural, unprocessed state. WPMR is generally an 80/10/10 model of feeding 80% meats, 10% bones (for appropriate calcium/phosphorus ratios) and 10% organs with 5% of those organs being liver. BARF tends to allow for vegetables and herbs and may include ground meats as well. For example 70/10/10/10 with the latter with remaining 10% from nutrient-dense, low-carb greens. There are various schools of thought on what is optimal but the idea is to mimic the evolutionary diet of dogs.


PROS: Control over sourcing for highest quality foods. Not relying on ethics of manufacturers. Keen knowledge of nutrition. Cost effective if effort and research into sourcing. Optimal diet with fastest results seen in DC SIR Allergy Program.

CONS: Both require knowledge of basic nutritional requirements and may easily result in nutritional deficiencies if not educated on the importance of variety and balance of such essentials as 10 essential amino acids, essential EFAs, 11 essential vitamins, and 12 essential minerals along with nutrient interactions.


  • Feeding inappropriate bones (damage teeth or choking hazard).
  • Not taking caution in prepping protein (freeze time to neutralize parasite).
  • Which cuts should be organic (liver/kidney and fatty meats).
  • Time-consuming in preparation.
  • Knowledge of additives in foods, ability to read and understand issues with labels (plumping/sourcing if from grocery store).
  • Requires on-going education.
  • Finding affordable and quality sources.
  • Freezer space.
  • Bulk purchases.

2.      Frozen Prepackaged

If you can read the instructions on the back of a bag you can feed raw! There are now many companies that offer Association of American Feed Control Officials  (AAFCO) complete and balanced raw foods in the frozen section of high-end and boutique pet stores. You just match the weight of the dog to the portion indicated on the back of the bag and feed. It is that simple. DC SIR still requires variety and rotation of proteins over time.


PROS: If you can read the instructions on the back of a bag you can feed raw! Easy to feed time-consuming. Minimal research required. Mimics moisture content of natural diet 70 -90% moisture so less strain on kidneys. Easy to find and rotate a variety of proteins. Comes in High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP)*and Fermentation as a means of managing pathogens.

CONS: Can be expensive compared to WPMR. Takes up freezer space. Remember to defrost in fridge or on counter prior to feeding time. Does not provide dental cleaning and mental stimulation of chewing as WPMR does. Relies on ethics of Manufacturer for optimal sourcing.

3.      Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Raw

Has the look and feel of kibble without the high heat extrusion process, synthetic additives or other issues of kibble (acrylamides, PBDEs, mycotoxins, heterocyclic amines, high-carb content, aflatoxins, questionable sources, and ingredients). Comes in ‘complete’ options. DC SIR uses dehydrated raw as mid-value treats at events, basic training in the home and for enrichment games (Kong Wobbler, puzzles, other treat dispensers). Great for treat dispensing, but some cons put this food at the end of 3 three options for lifetime feeding.


Pros: This is the most convenient of the 3 forms of feeding. Food may be stored on the counter when properly sealed after each use (no freezer space). Time is minimal – just pour into bowl. HPP and non-HPP options. Convenient for trips, hikes and as training treats. Great for puzzle games and enrichment toys. Easily purchased online.

CONS: Since the moisture is taken out of the food, this creates a strain on the kidneys over time, therefore, DC SIR does NOT recommend this form to be the sole source of raw feeding. DC SIR only uses this for treats, travel or rotated in a moisture dense diet (such as, when on sale).  Can be expensive. May not be as palatable to dogs. Not ideal for teeth cleaning and mental stimulation (chewing bones).

DC SIR's Ideal Feeding for Beginners


Raw feeding optimal nutrient dense foods is the foundation of the rescue.

DC SIR provides ALL foods and treats to our fosters to ensure that they do not receive inflammatory foods that disrupt or hinder our optimal nutrition program.

We use varying techniques based on underlying issues along with therapeutic anti-microbials, ketogenic diets, intermittent fasting (IF), calorie reduced optimal nutrition (CRON) and interim supplementation. So instructions for individual dogs may vary.

Here is our blanket recommended feeding regimen for beginners in our DC SIR Wellness Group:

Feed complete non-HPP frozen prepackaged food but feed ½ to ¾ of recommended amount on the back of the package. Supplement half or a fourth of the remaining food with real whole foods with guidance from DC SIR and resources.

Recommended:  DC SIR recommends diversity through complete and balanced prepackaged frozen raw with proteins/brands rotated frequently. We recommend supplementing with appropriate fresh food as an addition to the complete prepackage diet (Decrease amount of package to allow for fresh food). See our attachments for recommended frozen prepackaged foods near you. Variety! When adding whole foods, please see “Beginner’s Guide to Prey Model Raw” for appropriate proteins and bones. We primarily use dehydrated foods for training but up the criteria (dehydrate our own fresh food) when learning new behaviors or training in high criteria areas. Learn more.

Regularly change protein (beef, chicken, sardines, lamb, goat, quail eggs, chicken eggs, emu eggs, duck, rabbit, etc.) to ensure the exposure to a variety of nutrients. Changing brands (buy what’s on sale!) will also ensure variety in nutrients from different environments.

Regularly change protein (beef, chicken, sardines, lamb, goat, quail eggs, chicken eggs, emu eggs, duck, rabbit, etc.) to ensure the exposure to a variety of nutrients. Changing brands (buy what’s on sale!) will also ensure variety in nutrients from different environments.

Disclaimer: This is not an instructional raw feeding guide for the public. This is an explanation of DC SIR’s successful 100% raw feeding rescue and what our rescue does. Please consult a competent and educated veterinary nutritionist if you plan to feed raw and have not done any research. Learn more.

DC SIR is a non-profit, volunteer-run network of foster homes in the Washington, DC area.

DC SIR does not have a shelter facility. To meet our adoptable dogs, interested adopters can attend one of our monthly adoption events.