Things You Need to Know Before Fostering a Puppy

A dog is a man’s (or woman’s) best friend, as the saying goes, and there are a hundred wonderful reasons why you might consider fostering a pup.

A foster pet can enrich your life in countless ways, and in many cases, can help to alleviate stress and loneliness—possibly even improving your health in the process.

But whatever your motives, fostering is not something to take lightly.

And while it might only be temporary, foster families play a crucial role in the shelter system by allowing needy rescue animals to relax and recuperate in a safe environment, helping them move one step closer to their forever home.

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First Things First

According to Anna Lai, marketing director for Muddy Paws Rescue in New York City, every foster program is different, from the level of detail covered in the application and home inspection, to how much hands-on support foster homes can expect.

However, for the experience to go well for both parties, both sides need to be clear about their expectations and responsibilities. Work closely with the shelter to find the ideal foster pet match for you and your family.

How Much Time Are You Willing to Foster For? 

Be honest about the length of time you can commit to. Usually, the shelter will be happy to work around you and your timetable. 

Stephanie Coe, foster manager at Operation Kindness animal shelter in Texas, says that: ‘Typical foster stays can last anywhere from two weeks to two months, and it's important to understand that commitment before choosing to foster.’

Consider Your Home Environment. 

Do you have space? Many toy dogs, such as French Bulldogs and Pugs will be absolutely fine in a smaller home as long as they’re taken for walks. Other larger breeds, like Labradors and Greyhounds, not so much!

And while we’re on the subject of home, it’s worth remembering that foster puppies can ruin anything from furniture to your favorite shoes. Do remember that it’s very unlikely the shelter will be able to reimburse you for any damages, so puppy-proof as best you can. 

Are There Children in the Foster Home? 

It’s important to keep in mind that some foster pets come from backgrounds that include trauma or abuse. In some cases, this can lead to aggression when dogs are placed with foster families with energetic children. Consult with the foster manager and determine how well suited a particular foster dog will be in a child-friendly environment first. 

Do You Have Other Pets? 

Think about your other cats or dogs when considering a foster animal and how a new addition to your fur family would affect them.

Woman holding dogs
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Your Responsibilities as a Dog Foster Parent

It goes without saying that you’ll need to provide a safe, loving environment with lots of care and attention, but there’s more than that to consider. 

You’ll need to transport the foster dog to and from the adoption center initially, as well as to any adopa ti2 42.5mm don events and vet appointments.

Provide socialization and cuddle time every day! This includes exercise and a lot of positive stimulation. The Humane Society suggests keeping an eye on your puppy at all times when it’s not in a crate or confined. CACepending on the foster program, the shelter may want to organise a home visit in the first days or weeks of your foster timeline. 

You’ll likely be asked to report back to the shelter with information about your dog’s personality and behavior. This may also involve speaking with potential adopters to tell them about your foster dog and help determine if they are a good match.

And last but not least, you may need to participate in obedience training at home and/or in classes.

The Cost of Fostering

Singer/songwriter Emmylou Harris said that, “As anyone who goes into dog-rescue knows, it is not a for-profit business, but the rewards are priceless for me.”

And we at DoggySupps couldn’t agree more.

While many shelters will be able to provide you with everything you need, a furry addition to your family, even a temporary one, will have some cost involved. Be sure to discuss expected financial responsibilities beforehand.

The shelter will provide clear information on the types of food you should be giving your foster pup.

Some will be very specific and will provide the food—especially if your foster dog has allergies. Other shelters might recommend certain types of food for your foster animals but you may have to pay for it yourself. This will likely be the biggest ongoing cost of fostering.

In the vast majority of cases, medical bills and vet care will be covered by the shelter, but each foster care program is different, so this is something to confirm before fostering.

Leashes, bowls and other fundamentals such as toys should be supplied by the shelter. Toys are crucial for a puppy's development, but they don’t have to be expensive.

Durable, disinfectable toys are good, but clean tennis balls or old stuffed socks also work well.

Top tip: If you’re unable to borrow a crate or bed, and would prefer not to spend money on a new one, a dog carrier with the door removed or a cardboard box will work well. And old towels and blankets are great for providing a soft, warm place to sleep.

Whilst you should be provided with the basics, doggy foster parents might be tempted to splurge on extra toys or treats. Although these expenses are generally not reimbursed or required, they’ll help to make your doggy’s new home that little bit more welcoming.

New environments can be stressful, so for nervous puppies, it’s well worth grabbing these calming treats from DoggySupps if you want to make sure that your new arrival is comfortable in their new home.

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Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Fostering a pup can be very different from fostering an adult dog. Puppies are extremely energetic and curious, so when puppy-proofing foster homes, you must be thorough. By doing this, you’re keeping your foster dog safe, and preventing access to anything dangerous.

Cover and Contain Electrical Cords. 

These chewing hazards can cause burns to your dog’s  mouth or electrical shock, or worse; so make sure the cords are well hidden behind something solid, protected by cable management boxes, or kept off the floor and against the walls using cable ties.

Keep Your Trash Under Wraps. 

Trash provides a plethora of interesting smells for your new foster pet, so it’s important to keep it covered and secured in a bin to prevent animals from eating something toxic, swallowing an object that causes internal obstruction (like a bone), or even getting their head caught in a plastic bag, putting them at risk of suffocation.

Put Away Poisons! 

Keeping all medications and potentially toxic cleaning supplies in high cabinets or secured behind doors with childproof latches.

Set Limits

Inevitably, your foster pet will want to explore as much as possible and it’s important to set up baby gates and close appropriate doors to keep your dog from getting into (or out of) certain places.

No Sharp Objects or Choking Hazards

Keep an eye out for small, sharp items such as keys, jewelry, and paper clips, and make sure they’re well out of reach.

Pay Attention to Plants! 

There’s a whole host of poisonous houseplants that can be dangerous for dogs, so be sure to keep them out of the way.

Don’t Forget the Outside!

Very importantly, if you have a backyard, be sure to double-check that it’s secure. Potential climbing aids (such as outdoor furniture, boulders, wood piles) should be removed.

To deter your pup from going over or under a fence, attach a length of chicken wire (or something similar) to the top or the bottom.

Final Preparations for Fostering

Once you have made the incredibly rewarding decision to become a foster parent to a pup, there’s a wealth of information online for every step of the doggy fostering process, such as the Pets in Need Puppy Foster Care Manual.

You can find details on everything from the stages of puppy development, to how to make puppy formula.

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As a dog parent who wants the very best for your foster pets, it’s definitely worth taking a look at DoggySupps. They offer a curated selection of simple, all-natural dog treats, chews and supplements that cover everything from digestion to heart health, so your new addition will be healthy and happy, and a little bit closer to finding their forever home.

Featured Image: Pixabay by Condoleeza

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