Rescued dogs that live in dog shelters lead quite a stressful life. The new smells, sounds, and seeing new dogs and people all the time makes them anxious. Also, the provisions usually run out and the living conditions are not exactly great. A foster home is a savior for homeless dogs. The love, care, and better living conditions are conducive for their well-being. So, if you are a dog foster parent or want to become one, know that you are saving a life! Not just this, fostering a dog is a highly gratifying and fulfilling experience.
Advantages of becoming a dog foster parent
- If you love dogs, but are not ready for a permanent commitment, fostering is a good option.
- You can choose which dogs you want to foster – puppies, or dogs with special needs.
- The dog you foster has a better chance at life and also at adoption in the future.
- If you want a pet in future, and want to test the waters first, fostering is a good way to see how it works out for you.
- You fostering one dog translates to space and resources at the dog shelter being freed up for some other sick or homeless canine.
- You get to bring home a friend that will keep you company.
What is required for fostering a dog
You need not necessarily have experience in having a pet. Just the willingness to foster a homeless canine and a little bit of patience and kindness is enough. Even though a house with adequate open space for the dog to play in is ideal, it is not mandatory. Some dog shelters are only too happy to let people living in apartments become foster parents. A dedicated space for the pooches, where they can eat and rest is generally good enough. Of course, a few chewable or stuffed toys for them to play with are always a good idea. Appropriate dog food and vet support might be provided to you. However, this depends on the dog shelter. If they do not provide this, you might have to make alternate arrangements according to the dog’s needs.
Apart from this, know your boundaries. Evaluate your experience in handling dogs, if any. Ask yourself whether you would be able to take on the responsibility of fostering the dog. Can you handle dogs with special needs or dogs with behavioral issues? Can you take out enough time to devote to fostering? Understand that becoming a dog foster parent is a huge responsibility and be mentally prepared for the challenges that might come!
Getting your place ready for the new member
When getting a foster pet, you can never be too sure about what kind of life it has had before coming to your house. If it has previously lived with a family as a pet, chances are that it is used to the usual ground rules. However, if it has special needs, or is a small puppy, you might want to be extra careful.
- You need to essentially dog-proof your house for the dog’s as well as your own safety. So, keep away any sharp objects lying around the house. If there are exposed, live electrical wires, consider covering them to prevent any chewing.
- Cover trash cans or keep them out of bounds.
- Keep cleaning materials and other toxic chemicals or medicines locked up.
- Keep washers and driers closed at all times.
- Keep toilet lids closed. You can even use safety latches that are available for child-proofing, in case the dog you have brought home is especially curious.
- If you have any potted plants inside the house, move them to a secure place where the dog cannot reach them. Some plants could be poisonous.
- Check for and block any nooks or tight spaces that the dog can get into.
- Keep any food items out of reach.
- Keep your shoes locked up, if you don’t want them to be thoroughly chewed on!
- If you have a yard, make sure there are no escape routes.
- Check for any other hazards around the house and make sure the house is safe for the dog.
- If you have kids or a baby – read this
Already have pets at home?
- Inform your vet about your plans to become a dog foster parent and see if they have any advice for you.
- Make sure your pets have had any vaccinations that are due and get them additional vaccination shots if the vet recommends. Similarly ensure that the dog you are going to foster is vaccinated.
With this, we hope that if you choose to foster a furry friend, the experience is smooth and rewarding!