How to Become a Foster Pet Parent

How to Become a Foster Pet Parent

Fostering one or more dogs is a great way to help make a positive impact and improve the lives of homeless dogs. There is a national and international dog overpopulation epidemic. Foster pet parents give dogs a chance to find their forever home without being exposed to kill shelters. There are a wide variety of non-kill shelters that try their best to hold as many dogs as their capacity allows. Often times the owners and staff of the non-kill shelters go to the kill-shelters to rescue dogs from their fate and give them a second chance at life. If your heart has been touched and you are ready to become a foster parent this helpful information will provide you with details on where to begin.

What do Foster Pet Parents do?


As a foster pet parent you will provide emotional and physical care for a homeless dog until he or she is adopted. By caring for a dog at your home you are providing individualized care that often results in improved social skills and a well-trained dog. These qualities make it more possible for the dog to find a forever home.

Know Your Limits

Sometimes your heart might be bigger than what your house can hold. You may want to foster several dogs, however your schedule limits, room available in your home and ability to give individual attention to each dog might be limited. There are a few questions you need to ask yourself before becoming a pet foster parent:

  • Do you have time to devote to your foster dog?
  • Does your city have breed restrictions?
  • Are you prepared to deal with a dog’s health problems?
  • Are you comfortable with behavioral issues in dogs?
  • If necessary, are you willing to train the dog you foster?
  • Do you have any experience with dogs?
  • How does your family feel about you becoming a pet foster parent?
  • Is your family willing to help you care for the dog?
  • Are you willing to foster a dog with special needs?
  • Are you emotionally able to handle a dog with special needs?
  • Do you have patience to deal with health issues and behavioral issues?
  • Are you able to provide a healthy, safe environment for a dog?
  • Are you willing to keep up with the grooming needs of a dog?
  • Do you have young children that might clash with a dog you foster?

What if You Get Attached to the Dog You Foster?

This question ways heavy on many potential pet parents’ minds.

It is a difficult task to care for, love and provide a good life for a dog and then allow them to go to another family. Some pet parents become attached to the dogs they foster due to them being together for so long. If you feel that you will fall in love with the dog you foster, you always have the opportunity to adopt just like anyone else. You will need to go through the adoption process to officially become the dog’s owner.

What do Foster Pet Parents doIf you find yourself to be strong, you will allow another party to adopt the dog and have a forever family and home. By letting go, you are also freeing up space in your house to welcome a new foster dog, and so the process continues. Depending how frequently you foster dogs will determine the amount of dog’s lives you are able to save.

How Long Does the Dog Stay?

Unfortunately there is not a clear answer to this common question. However, you should be prepared to either take care of a foster dog ranging from 24 hours to a few years.

Adoptions are unpredictable and the right candidate might not come along for a while. This means that you will be responsible for caring for your foster dog long-term. This is quite a commitment and it is a fact that you need to be comfortable with before becoming a foster pet parent.

Who are the Candidates?

You are most-likely wondering what type of dog is sent to foster pet parents. Common candidates are dogs who are mothers with newborn puppies, those who aren’t ready for adoption yet, those who need to get accustomed to being around people and dogs that are recovering from illness and need special care in order to become available for adoption.

What if there are Other Pets in the House?

You will want to discuss with your veterinarian how to quarantine or separate your pets from the foster pets for a short period of time or until you are assured the foster pet does not carry any disease. You will also want to make sure that the pets you have in your household are friendly and welcoming to accept a new member of the family, even though your foster pet is temporary.

Steps to Becoming a Pet Foster Parent

  • Determine if you would like to foster a specific breed.
  • Decide on the size of the dog that you are able to accommodate comfortably in your home.
  • Locate local rescue shelters that are in need of foster pet parents.
  • Contact the chosen rescue shelter for an application and more details about their pet foster parent program.
  • Look over the application carefully. You will be looking specifically for details regarding who is financially responsible for veterinarian bills, food and other necessities for the dog you are about to foster.
  • Make sure you meet the foster pet parent requirements. Some requirements include yards and no children.
  • Provide all information required on the application.
  • Answer all questions honestly during phone and face-to-face interviews.
  • The rescue shelter will then notify you if your application has been accepted and explain further procedures.

Congratulations on becoming a foster pet parent!

This rewarding experience will warm your heart and provide you with an abundance of happiness. Once you experience fostering a homeless dog, you will most-likely want to continue the process as many times as possible. Remember to always consider your limits and start out slowly by fostering one dog at a time.



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Shellie Alyssa

Shellie Alyssa

Shellie Alyssa is a passionate writer that specializes in writing about dogs. She has been published on a wide range of websites that focus on health, nutrition, training and history of dogs. She has experience raising and training dogs and is an animal advocate for a variety of different organizations.
Shellie Alyssa

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