Pet fostering – questions and expectations
By Sam Adebayo
Pet fostering is providing temporary care for shelter animals who need to live in a real home before they get adopted. They're many reasons you may want to adopt, such as wanting companionship or just wanting to give back to society.
For an animal, fostering may mean the world to them, but it benefits you too. The foster pet may stay in your home for as long as needed, from a few days to several months. Fostering could help you leave your comfort zone plus, having pets around is good for your mental health, as studies suggest.
In this article, we'll dive deep into all we need to know about pet fostering, whether getting a foster cat or wanting to foster a dog.
Why become a pet foster parent?
There are a lot of emotional rewards surrounding being a foster parent.
For instance, when you foster a puppy, you'll realize they love to explore. This means you'll most likely meet other pet owners, which can be cool if you want community. Thus, you'll broaden your circle.
Getting a foster animal is not all roses, though. Some of them have not seen the good part of life. So, you'll need to treat the animal with extra care. Watching them change from being guarded to being a friendly furry companion will give you higher self-esteem.
Plus, having a foster pet gives you an extra sense of purpose. An animal depending on you for everything means you should start holding yourself in higher regard.
Having a pet also impacts animal welfare.
- Pets feel loved: Many foster pets have been abused and discarded. So, having a home is a good thing.
- You're saving a life: When you foster a pet, you're literally saving a life.
- You're reducing overcrowding at rescue shelters, thereby increasing the quality of life of the animals there.
Also, you're providing amenities like food, water, medicine, and shelter. So, the welfare of the animal is enhanced.
Also, fostering can help you heal. It's no news that pets can form powerful bonds with their owners.
Responsibilities of pet foster parents
So, you want to become a foster parent? Well, there are certain responsibilities you have to take on.
Your daily responsibility as a foster caregiver includes providing your animal food, shelter, water, training, safety, and love.
- As a foster caregiver, you must ensure your foster pet attends all necessary veterinary appointments for health check-ups, vaccinations, and sterilization procedures. Our Lifetime Protection Membership gives you access to veterinary professionals anytime by phone, email, or live chat.
- You must also transport your foster pet to adoption events, which may be arranged through the shelter.
- Always observe your foster pet's personality traits and quirks and give this information to shelter staff and prospective adopters to facilitate successful matches.
- Train your foster pet in standard behaviors and socialization, even if it's only laying the foundations.
Remember that the more well-behaved and socialized your foster pet is, the greater its chances of finding a permanent home. Finally, it is essential to be patient and compassionate as your foster pet adjusts to life outside the shelter.
Tips when fostering a pet
- Potty training: Consistent training and good potty habits are necessary, even for adult dogs, as they may have forgotten their training due to their shelter experience.
- Jump training: Many shelter dogs have learned to jump up to attract attention from passing workers. So, teach your foster pet to wait for affection to avoid scaring away potential adopters.
- Socialization: Socializing is vital to help your foster pet adjust to new animals, people, and settings. Introduce them slowly and cautiously to your other pets and new experiences to help them acclimate comfortably.
- Teach them commands: Teaching your foster basic commands like " "lay down," sit," and "stay" are also important to make their stay smoother for you.
You should know that our Lifetime Protection Membership Plus includes customized pet training. Simple, easy-to-follow lessons for you and your pet (complimentary for 1 year, provided by Petcademy)
Requirements for becoming a pet foster parent
If you're interested in becoming a foster pet parent, there are certain requirements you should be aware of.
Firstly, you must have a spacious and safe home to provide a comfortable living environment for the animal.
Secondly, your lifestyle and schedule must allow you to give the foster pet attention and love. Depending on the animal's needs, you may need to administer medication or take it to the vet for check-ups. You must also be willing to commit financially to cover some of the animal's expenses, including food, veterinary care, and other necessary supplies.
As a foster parent, you should be able to cater to the animal's physical, health, and emotional needs. While some expenses may be covered, fostering is an act of love, and there is no financial compensation for your time and effort. You may be required to handle tasks beyond caring for your pets, such as taking the animal to adoption events and speaking with prospective adopters.
Finally, you must prepare your home accordingly, ensuring it is safe and free of any potential dangers for the animal. The requirements will vary depending on the animal's age, size, and training level, among other factors.
Costs of pet fostering
Costs associated with pet fostering, such as food, supplies, and veterinary care, depend on the foster agency, the pet, and the foster parent. Generally, things like meals, shelter, etc., are covered by the pet parent. However, expenses such as vaccinations, emergency care, general wellness, and spaying or neutering aren't supposed to be covered by the foster pet owner but by the rescue organization. Still, what is covered or not covered depends on the rescue organization you're dealing with. So, always contact them.
Tax benefits of pet fostering
There's some tax benefit for pet fostering. You can deduct pet supplies and veterinary expenses from your tax return. However, this only works if the fostering is through an IRS-recognized charitable organization.
Here is a list of eligible deductions:
- Vet bill
- Utility bills related to caring for foster pets
- Cleaning supplies
To ensure this works, make sure you do a lot of accurate record-keeping for all expenses, including receipts and invoices.
Questions you should ask the rescue organization
Here are some questions you should ask before fostering a pet
- Are there any known health issues or medical conditions the animal is currently dealing with or has dealt with?
- Did this health issue ever affect the pet's behavior toward the previous owners?
- Will the organization cover any medical expenses for the animal while it's in my care?
- Do you have any information about the animal's history, such as past living conditions or previous owners?
- Has this pet gone through any traumatic experiences that could impact its behavior?
- Why did the pet leave its past owner (if any)?
- Are there any known behavior issues with the animal in question?
- How can I address these issues and help the animal feel comfortable and safe in your home?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What is the expected time for fostering the animal?
- Is there a minimum or maximum time commitment required?
- What happens if I can no longer care for the animal?
Process of pet fostering
- What is the process for becoming a foster pet parent?
- Will I receive training or support from the organization?
- What are the organization's expectations for me as a foster parent
Pet fostering is a great way to help animals in need while also feeling good about giving back. Fostering can broaden your social circle and give you a sense of purpose. However, it also comes with responsibilities such as providing love, food, water, shelter, training, and socialization.
As a foster caregiver, it is essential to be patient, compassionate, and consistent. While fostering may not always be easy, it is a rewarding experience that can ultimately improve animal welfare.
For added care and support for the life of your foster pet, including 24/7 access to a vet helpline, discount on dog walking and pet sitting services, and lost pet specialists who are available 24/7/365, purchase a Lifetime Protection Membership today!
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about fostering a pet.
Why should I foster a pet?
Fostering an animal is rewarding both for the pet and the parent. You give the animal a home to live in and improve its well-being, and you get to feel fulfilled for taking care of an animal very well. It also helps reduce overcrowding in animal shelters.
What is involved in fostering a dog?
Fostering a dog involves providing amenities like food, water, shelter, exercise, and socialization. You may also need to administer medication and meet up with veterinary visits. Before you foster a dog, both you and your home have to be deemed safe by the rescue organization.
What types of animals are available for fostering?
Some animals available for fostering include:
- Guinea pigs
The animals available for fostering depend on the animal shelter or rescue organization you are working with.
What questions should I ask when deciding to foster a dog/cat?
Some questions you should ask when deciding to foster a dog/cat includes:
- What are the medical needs of the animal?
- How long is the foster period expected to last?
- Are there any resources for pet fostering near me?
- What expenses will the rescue organization or shelter cover?
- What happens if the animal is not adopted during the foster period?
Are there any benefits to pet fostering?
Yes! There are some benefits to pet fostering.
- It can be a fulfilling experience to help an animal in need and to see them thrive under your care.
- Fostering is a good way to know if pet ownership is right for you without making a long-term commitment.
- There may be tax benefits involved.