Fostering
a Dog

Not all dogs are as loved as your family pet and it is a sad fact that many dogs end up in dog homes, especially when the owners find that they can’t cope or when their personal circumstances suddenly change. Many dogs are simply abandoned or are from an unplanned litter. Some might be recuperating from operations, be too young to rehome or simply can’t cope with dog centre life.

Animal charities such as the RSPCA or the rehoming and adoption charity Dogs Trust are always on the search for volunteers to help give dogs a compassionate and friendly new home where they can, with the right environment and patience, develop into wonderful, loving family pets, either in their foster home or where they go on to live with another family. There also smaller charities that wouldn’t manage without foster carers.

Why do people become dog fosterers?

All sorts of reasons! Some for temporary companionship, or a trial run to see if they could adopt full time, or for most people it is simply to look after a dog until they find their forever home.

Pauline works in our sales admin team and she fosters dogs, as well as having 7 of her own, which include 3 rescue dogs, along with 3 cats! In her own experience, adopting a dog is such a rewarding thing to do:

“It’s so important for a dog’s wellbeing to be fostered in a home. Not only can they get one to one support from you and your family, but they are in an environment with people and pets, which helps when they go to their ‘forever’ home. I am able to access the pup or dog in my home and this information is valuable in matching up their perfect home. I love doing it, but it’s always a little sad when they leave me, even though I know they are going to their new family!”

Here are some tips about fostering a dog and the sorts of things the charities will expect from you.

Becoming a dog foster carer – what you need to know

Becoming a Dog Foster Carer means you are providing invaluable support in caring for lost, abandoned and unwanted animals that really need a second chance with a new family. Fostering is more about helping the dog find a new home with another family as opposed to adopting the dog. Some people become regular dog foster carers.

Becoming a Dog Foster Carer means you are providing invaluable support in caring for lost, abandoned and unwanted animals that really need a second chance with a new family. Fostering is more about helping the dog find a new home with another family as opposed to adopting the dog. Some people become regular dog foster carers.

As part of becoming a foster carer the charity may want to do a home check to ensure there foster home is a safe living environment.

What type of dogs will I foster?

Most dogs tend to require a foster home for either medical or stress reasons. A charity should always ensure a dog is suitable for you and your situation and should discuss all the details of the dog with you first so you are fully informed.

What do I need to do as a Dog Foster Carer?

A foster dog’s needs are exactly the same as any family dog. So you will be fully responsible for its feeding, walking, grooming, training, and socialising. Some charities require your foster dog to be kept on a lead or long line but always check and make sure you have a dog tag and the chip is up to date with address and contact details.

Many charities will provide guidance on training and handling, especially where the dog has had a disruptive past. You will become involved in rehoming the dog where they are going on to another home.

You might also need to keep records of your dog’s progress.

What are the requirements to become a Dog Foster Carer?

The main requirements are compassion, understanding, enthusiasm, and bags of patience!

All dogs are different with individual personalities, so being patient with them is essential for gaining trust and bonding.

At the beginning of the foster period, it is important that you are with the dog most of the time, again to build your relationship with the dog.

Some charities prefer you not to have young children – so it’s always worth checking what their preferred policy is.

Similarly, some prefer you not to have other pets, although clearly this has not been an issue for Pauline so again best to check what the policy is.

Each individual foster case will vary; they can range from days, week and months sometimes even longer if the dog is struggling to find a home.

What does a Dog Foster Carer get?

Depending on the charity, many will provide:

  • Training in dog behaviour and welfare
  • Veterinary and behavioural support
  • Cost of food
  • Day to day support and advice as required
How do I prepare my home when I decide to foster a dog?

Of course, your chosen fostering charity will give you full guidance on preparing your home if you are inexperienced or unsure where to start.

Things you need to consider are:

Ensure any pets you already look after are protected from possible infections or infestations from the new fostered dog. Talk to your veterinarian about fostering and follow their recommendations about any precautions you need to take. 

Dog-proof your house! Never underestimate your foster dog’s ability to hide in small spaces (or get into tumble dryers or even toilet bowls), leap over fences or dig under them to escape from the garden. Accidents happen!

Think carefully about the areas your dog will live in, removing any small or dangerous objects that could potentially harm them. Remember, dogs like to chew, especially if they are feeling a bit insecure, so remove anything you don’t want ruined and even more importantly, anything that might be harmful such as an electrical cable, cosmetics, chemicals or human foods.

If they do have a mishap, such as getting into the bin and ripping open a bin bag, it’s not really their fault! Just make sure you are more thorough next time!

Keep all foods out of reach and/or in cabinets. Even if the food isn’t harmful the wrapper could be.

Some houseplants are poisonous, so move these out of reach too.

What are the benefits of fostering a dog?

By helping a dog to have a new lease of life in a loving home will reward you in buckets! Just think what a happy life that dog will lead in the future because of your love and care! Although you won’t get paid, as we said earlier, many charities will help with some of the costs, so as before, check with the charity what you can expect.

If you do decide to become a dog foster carer we wish you every success! And don’t forget, there’s a full range of tasty, meaty Butcher’s products designed to suit the needs of every dog!

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