How to Become a Dog Foster Parent - Doggy Brace

How to Become a Dog Foster Parent

Dog foster parents are some of the best people out there — it’s extremely rewarding to provide the pup with a temporary home, raise them, and prepare them for their forever home. You’re not only helping the dog, you’re helping the shelter and non-profit, and their future family by giving the pup the chance it deserves to thrive. 

If you want to foster a dog, this blog is for you. In it, we’ll walk you through exactly what to expect during the application process and let you in on some things you should know before you apply. Without further adieu, let’s begin! 

Why Are Dog Foster Parents Needed?

Some dogs don’t do well in shelters, some need time to get socialized, and others need a home before they go into special training programs. 

If a dog doesn’t do well in a shelter or if they’re unsocialized, that doesn’t mean they’re bad dogs. It usually means that they came from a neglectful rescue situation, were a stray, or are stressed out by the other dogs. Most of the time, these pups need a little time, love, and patience in a calm home before they’re ready to be adopted. 

Other situations, like pregnant pups, young puppies that need to be bottle fed, or senior dogs may need extra support that a shelter can’t provide. If you choose to become a foster provider, you give these dogs an environment and extra care they may need as they wait for their forever home.

Some foster parents take in puppies that will be trained for special services as well. They give them a home, give them basic training, and in 12-18 months, that puppy will move on to their new home and training regime. Such as Paws With a Cause®, which helps a person living with a disability by raising a dog that will enhance their independence and quality of life.

How Do I Become A Foster Care Provider?

The good news is that becoming a dog foster parent is usually pretty simple. You can apply online or at your local shelter. They’ll likely conduct a background check and schedule an in-home interview to ensure the safety of their dogs. 

Online Applications

If you want to apply online, the first step is visiting Petfinder to find an animal shelter or rescue group near you. We recommend Petfinder because you can filter your searches by breed, location, and find different adoption organizations who specialize in specific dogs, such as senior pups or ones with special needs. 

Once you’ve found an organization that interests you, contact them requesting an application for fostering. Review the application carefully and review all of their requirements. 

Some adoption groups may require foster parents with fenced-in yards. For certain dogs, a foster parent who is home all day may be required, or a home without cats or children.

The shelter or rescue group may require a veterinary reference and/or a printed application and one or more telephone or in-person interviews.

You should also ask them all of the following, if it’s not stated on the application: 

  • Who pays for the vet bills?
  • Is Pet Insurance required?
  • Do you have to use a specific vet?
  • Who is financially responsible for the dog’s food, microchip, leashes, crate, medical items, etc.? 
  • Where will the dog be introduced to prospective adopters?
  • Are you responsible for training the dog and if so, to what level?

In-Person Applications

If you want to apply to your local shelter or rescue organization in person, then all you have to do is pay them a visit. Some of them may have open spots and others may work with a nonprofit to give their dogs a foster home. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering

Can I Foster if I Already Have a Pet? 

In most cases, yes! There are some exceptions, such as if the foster dog doesn’t do well with other animals. This includes cats, birds (due to noise), ferrets, bunnies, and other free roaming pets. The second common exception is if your pet(s) or the foster has a communicable disease and you are unable to quarantine them. 

Can I Foster a Dog if I Have Kids? 

Yes! Many foster dogs will get along great with children. If you have kids, make sure you tell the shelter or rescue organization so they can connect you with the right dog for your family. 

Do I Need to Have a House to Foster?

No! Some shelters and rescue organizations may require a fenced-in yard, but not all of them. If you have access to an outdoor space or fenced-in dog park, that may be sufficient. 

Keep in mind that not all dogs will do well in an apartment, however. Larger breeds, energetic breeds, or dogs with low noise tolerance may not be the right fit for you. So if you have your heart set on fostering a Saint Bernard, understand that an apartment may not be spacious enough for the breed. 

I Have a Full-Time Job. Can I Foster?

Yes! If you have time to give the dog the care it requires, then you can foster. Be sure to inform the shelter or rescue organization about your time obligations, such as your job, and they will be able to find the right pup for you. 

Do I Have to Train the Dog?

The level of training you have to do depends on the shelter requirements. Be sure to ask them before you apply! 

Good luck! Give your foster dog extra pets from us.