How To Become a Successful Foster Parent

Some great tips for fostering:

– If you have your own resident dog(s), take him/them to your veterinarian for a thorough check-up and update his/their vaccinations, particularly bordatella (for kennel cough) prior to introducing your foster dog. If you have foster dogs on a continuous basis, routine deworming of resident dogs is recommended (every 6 to 12 months).

– Invest in a dog crate or ask the rescue if it can provide you with one. Crates are invaluable tools for potty-training, and keeping the foster dog and your valuables safe when you’re not around to supervise. If you’ve never used a crate, you might review the information provided here.

– Decide, as a family, what the foster dog will/won’t be allowed to do and enforce the rules from the beginning. Does the foster dog have access to the entire house? Is the foster dog allowed on the couch? On the bed? Where will the foster dog sleep?

– Feed the best quality dog food you can afford. Rescue dogs have experienced a lot of stress and many enter rescue showing signs of poor nutrition and food allergies. A quality kibble can reduce food allergies, bring back coat luster and feeds the mind as well as the body. Find out What’s Really in Pet Food.

– Keep dogs separated at meal times and avoid free-feeding. This eliminates the possibility of fighting over food and helps you monitor if and how much the foster dog is eating.

– Pick up and prevent access to all toys, bones, balls and chewies, initially. This eliminates the possibility of fighting over possessions. In a few days, once the dogs have adjusted to each other, you can slowly introduce toys. It is recommended that bones and other high-value items NOT be introduced.

– Pick up and dispose of dog waste daily. This reduces the spread of disease and parasites.

– Keep in mind, most dogs are on their best behavior for the first week. It can take up to a month for a dog to show his/her true personality.

– Learn as much as you can about pet care. Before you bring your foster Golden home, learn as much as you can about caring for that dog. Read about feeding, grooming, and training. Study the warning signs that may indicate the animal needs veterinary attention.

– Make your home pet-friendly. Before you bring your foster dog home, make sure you “pet proof” your home. For example, remove poisonous plants and protect furnishings.

– Recognize your limits. Fostering requires time and energy — both emotional and physical. Don’t overextend yourself by fostering animals too frequently; you may burn yourself out.

– Enjoy being a foster parent. Although fostering takes time and commitment, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You are temporarily providing a needy animal with a loving home environment and helping that animal become more suitable for adoption into a responsible, lifelong home.

NOTE: Read Becoming A Foster Parent for a great article in PF format about the general fostering of pets.