The Basics of Being a Pet Foster Parent

There are thousands of stray and abandoned pets that need homes, and shelters are often overwhelmed. Fostering pets provides temporary homes, allowing these animals to receive the care and attention they need while waiting for their forever homes. It also helps them transition from harsh conditions and become better socialised, which will increase their chances of successful adoption.


Is Fostering Right for You?

Before jumping into fostering, ensure it’s a suitable fit for your lifestyle by asking yourself these questions:

  • Can you afford the costs associated with pet care?
  • Do you have the time to care for a pet, especially one that might need special attention?
  • Does your landlord allow pets? Is your home pet-friendly?
  • Does your family or partner support the decision to foster?
  • How will your current pets react to a new animal?
  • Do you have upcoming changes (moving, job change, travel) that could affect your ability to foster?


Preparing to Foster

It’s essential to create a safe and comfortable home for your foster pet.

  • Patience and Time:

Set aside time daily for feeding, walks, and socialisation. Be prepared for extra time if the pet requires special care.

  • Safe Environment:

Pet-proof your home by securing trash cans, keeping food out of reach, and hiding electrical cables.

  • Supplies:

Ensure that you have a kennel or carrier, high-quality food, poo bags or a litter box, and toys to keep your foster pet entertained and comfortable.


Starting Your Fostering Journey

For beginners it’s wise to start with a pet that doesn’t have complex needs. This allows you to develop your fostering skills before tackling more challenging cases.

Fostering puppies typically lasts 2 to 6 weeks. During this time, you’ll provide them with a loving environment before they are adopted.

Some rescue organisations provide assistance with costs and supplies. Contact your local shelter to understand their specific policies and to ensure you’re comfortable with their practices.


Things to Consider

Recovery and adoption can take time, so be patient with the foster pet’s progress. Documenting their journey and tracking their health and behavioural improvements can significantly increase their chances of finding a forever home.

Understand that fostering can be physically and emotionally demanding. Only take on special needs pets if you are prepared for the challenge.

Parting ways with a foster pet can be tough. Prepare yourself mentally for this inevitability, although "foster fails" do happen, and you might decide to adopt the pet yourself.