Questions to Ask Before You Foster A Dog
Fostering pets has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and is something I encourage everyone I know to do. But I’ve learned some big lessons along the way.
- How did he come to be with the shelter or rescue group and how long has he been there?
- Why does he need a foster home now?
- Does he have any medical concerns or need medication?
- Has he been neutered (or spayed, if the dog is female)? If not, when will he be?
- Is he up to date on his vaccinations and has he been tested for diseases such as heartworm?
- Since conditions such as kennel cough and upper respiratory infections cannot be tested for, how long should I keep him separated from my own pets?
- Does he have any behavioral issues or concerns? How are they dealt with?
- Do you know how he is with kids, cats, dogs and/or strangers? Can my children or pets meet him before I commit to fostering him?
- Do you know how he does when left alone? Is he crate trained?
- Is he housetrained?
Questions about the fostering process:
- How long will I be expected to foster this dog? If it’s until a suitable home is found, how long do you expect that to take?
- What happens if I can no longer care for the dog?
- Who pays for medical bills if they arise? Does that include treatments for my pets if they catch something from my foster dog?
- What should I do if there’s a medical emergency?
- Who is responsible for communicating with potential adopters, screening them and introducing the dog to them?
- Will I be required to bring him to adoption events and, if so, where/when?
- Will you provide food, litter, supplies (such as a leash or a litter box), medications, etc., or will I be expected to?
- If I have a problem, whom can I contact? If I leave a message, how quickly will that person get back to me?
- Could my foster dog be deemed unadoptable and, if so, what happens then?
- Can I adopt him if I choose?
Even the best-prepared foster parent should expect the unexpected. But it’s so worth it. Like Marge, the cat with cerebellar hypoplasia whom I planned to keep for two weeks as she recovered from an upper respiratory infection — but who stayed for four months when it became obvious that she wouldn’t do well in the shelter.