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Fostering a Pet

For many shelters and rescues, pet lovers willing to foster a dog or foster a cat are incredibly important. They help provide a safe, loving home for pets while they await their forever homes, and can allow the rescue to help more foster pets in need. If you are thinking of fostering a pet, here are our top tips to consider.

Before You Foster

Research shelters and rescues in your area. Look into the responsible animal shelters and rescues near you to find one that is looking for new foster families.

Border Collie on the Beach

Determine which types of pets you are open to fostering. Cats, dogs, seniors, puppies; every pet has their own unique set of needs! Be sure to determine which foster pets you are prepared to care for. Some things to be aware of are:

  • Reactivity: Ensure that you are choosing foster pets that are not reactive or aggressive towards your other household members, like children or other pets.
  • Size: Foster pets come in all shapes and sizes, be sure to choose a size range that works well for your home and lifestyle. If you are in a small apartment, consider a small pet!
  • Activity Level: As you and your foster pet are going to spend a lot of time together, be sure to choose one that aligns with your daily activity levels. If you are not home for most of the day, avoid fostering a high-activity breed like herding dogs or huskies.
  • Special Requirements: Puppies, seniors, and foster pets with special needs all may require additional attention and effort from their foster families. Make sure to set realistic expectations and choose a foster pet whose needs you can accommodate. Remember, puppies are adorable but lots of work!

Stock up on supplies. Depending on the pet you choose to foster, the supplies you need will vary. Be sure to have the basics, like toys, bowls, collars or harnesses, leashes, and beds. Snacks are always essential, so grab a few treat options like these Just Jerky Bites. For some pets, baby gates, puppy pads, and crates will also be needed. If you have a yard, a fence or tether may be required to keep escape artists safe.

Pet-proof your home. Safety is key when bringing a new foster pet into your home, make sure that hazardous materials, toxic plants, and choking hazards are all safely out of reach.

Getting Started

Take it slow. Some foster pets have difficult histories or may have a hard time transitioning, give them time and space to settle in and become familiar with their surroundings. If you have other pets or kids, introduce them slowly as they can sometimes be overwhelming for a new foster pet.

Respect their boundaries. Your new foster may have behavioral issues or sensitivities that you are not yet aware of, avoid touching a new foster’s food or toys while they are eating/playing until you learn more. Also avoid forcing them into unfamiliar situations, like cuddling, hugs, or playing with young children, until you are more familiar with their habits and preferences. These are important steps for creating a comfortable environment for your foster pet and keeping everyone safe.

Create a routine. With everything else in their life changing, foster pets often appreciate a consistent routine they can rely on. This includes consistent mealtimes, daily walks, and frequent potty breaks, especially as they adapt to a new home.

Foster Dog with Stella & Chewy's Stella's Essentials

Set Them Up For Success

Keep them busy. Your new foster pet may be stressed or anxious, so giving them enrichment activities and exercise will help them feel fulfilled and help avoid destructive behaviors. If you suspect your foster dog has anxiety, check out these tips to help manage their anxiety.

Practice good behaviors. Avoid encouraging unwanted behaviors, like going potty inside or counter surfing, that may be difficult for the foster pet to ‘unlearn’ once they are adopted. 

Take lots of photos. Photos and videos of an adoptable pet can help them get adopted! Be sure to snap a photo of your foster pet in their favorite nap spot or being on their best behavior, many shelters and rescues will add these to the pet’s adoption page for potential adopters to see.

Give them lots of love. Finding your forever family is hard, but living in a loving home in the meantime can be a game changer for many pets. Give them lots of love and tasty treats like Wild Weenies to make lots of happy memories.

Learn More From Stella & Chewy’s

At Stella & Chewy’s, we always want pets and pet parents to live happy and healthy lives! To learn more tricks and tips, stay up-to-date on products, or be in-the-know for all things pet, be sure to check out Our Blog: For the Pet Obsessed.