What is Animal Fostering

Animal Pet Fostering

Fostering is first and foremost being an Adoption Ambassador. You will serve a key role in helping pet to be exposed and adopted. You will also be providing a temporary home for a homeless pet, who for whatever reason, needs to be housed outside of the shelter. Fostering is truly lifesaving.

Foster commitments range from just a few days to several months, so you can choose foster options that fit with your lifestyle.

Foster families should be compassionate, caring and patient. You will be informed of your foster animal’s known history, medical and behavioral health before they are placed in your care, and our foster Mentors will help answer questions and provide resources and information.

All animals in foster care are the property of Animal Services and are subject to all applicable policies, rules and restrictions. All medical care shall be provided by medical staff or approved outside hospitals only and must be approved by your Mentor in advance. No care for your household animals is provided. Fosters assume all risks associated with fostering.

In order to be a successful foster parent to a pet in need you must be emotionally invested; you have to genuinely care about your foster pet’s progress and well being. That said, you need to realize that there may be tears when you ultimately relinquish your foster dog to move onto a permanent home. Try to focus on the positives. Focus on how you’ve helped find a home for an homeless dog. Focus on the feel good emotions that come with doing a good deed, discovering and nurturing potential, and look forward to the opportunity to continue to change lives for the better by fostering another dog in need. Fosters always have first right to adopt their foster dog, but keep the big picture in mind, as we’d love you to continue to foster more dogs in need.

Benefits of Fostering

Each animal fostered in a home opens up a cage or kennel space for us to save another animal! Getting a homeless pet ready for adoption by giving your love, time, and friendship is such a rewarding feeling.

The addition of a (foster) dog brings immeasurable richness and joy to the household. Foster pets will repay you for your patience and love by giving back ten times more love of their own. And when the dog goes off to a loving new home for life, your heart will swell with joy. What could possibly be more gratifying than to save a life and create a “happy ever after” ending? (source: Maddie’s Fund)

  • Expenses associated with fostering may be tax-deductible, though check with your tax professional.
  • Make new friends by fostering! It’s a great way to meet new people who care about animals.
  • Fostering can also provide individual attention that certain special needs animals require.

Top Tips for Foster Parents

Check in regularly with your Foster Mentor.

Ask for advice if your puppy/dog has stopped eating. If your dog seems sick, check immediately for hydration, he/she should be drinking water, urinating, have elastic skin tone and a moist mouth.

Wash your hands and change your shirt after handling sick animals to prevent spread of illness.

Never let your dog run loose outside; guard against escapes.

Dog park visits are never allowed for any foster dog/puppy.

Don’t leave your foster dog unattended with any resident animals or any children under 18.

Feed your foster dog separately from other pets in your home.

Foster care providers are expected to follow and abide by all guidelines and protocols regarding proper care of foster animals, including giving them proper food, access to water at all times, daylight, socialization, health care, etc. Foster animals must be kept in climate controlled homes with the temperature kept between 60 and 80° F.

Children under the age of 18 should not be left unsupervised with any foster animals.

Your foster dog may not display any signs of illness until quite ill. Therefore, it’s up to you to observe your dog closely each day. Call immediately Veterinary and  your Foster Mentor if you see:

  • Unusual discharges from the eyes, nose or other body openings
  • Abnormal lumpsnary
  • Limping
  • Difficulty getting up or down
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal waste elimination
  • Other abnormal behavior


Foster parents for vet visits can be given for any of the following:

Puppies under 12 weeks of age:

Diarrhea that lasts for more than a day Vomiting and diarrhea for more than 6 hours Vomiting more than once in an hour

Not eating for more than 12-24 hours Lethargy without fever for more than 12 hours Lethargy with fever

Dogs older than 12 weeks of age:

Diarrhea that lasts for more than 1-2 days

Diarrhea and occasional vomiting for more than a day Vomiting more than 2-3 times in an hour

Not eating for more than 24 hours Lethargy without fever for more than a day Lethargy with fever


Parvo is a very serious illness in puppies and young, unvaccinated dogs and can result in death. Puppies under 4 months old are not allowed to visit any parks, dog parks, or be placed on any ground outside of your own premises until the full puppy vaccine series is complete. Parvo attacks the intestinal tract, white blood cells and heart muscle. Signs of infection are depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, severe diarrhea, fever and sometimes kennel cough symptoms. The illness is contracted through contact with the infected feces of another dog. Call your Mentor immediately if you believe your foster dog may have this illness.

Learn more about parvovirus:



Parasites can cause diarrhea, stomach bloating or vomiting. Parasites include tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, giardia, coccidias, whipworms and mange. If you suspect a parasite, you will be asked to bring a fresh fecal sample to the CCAS medical clinic. Tapeworms will look like pieces of rice coming out of your foster dog’s anus or in his stool. Round worms and hookworms may be vomited, and roundworms look like spaghetti (hookworms are smaller and rarely distinguishable without the aid of a microscope). Both round and hookworms are usually detected under a microscope.

Mange is an infestation of tiny mites that bite and can cause intense scratching, reddened skin and loss of fur. There are two types of “mange” mites, Sarcoptic and Demodectic. Sarcoptic is itchy, demodex is usually not. Sarcoptic is highly contagious (even to humans though precautions can be taken), demodex is not. It is not easy to determine the type of mange without a thorough medical exam and use of a slide and microscope. If you suspect your foster dog has any type of parasite or mange, call your Mentor immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself.

Vaccination & Worming

Your foster dog’s vaccination and worming history are available in the shelter’s records. Your dog has most likely been vaccinated for Rabies, Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo and Bordetella. If you’re fostering a puppy, you need to return the pup to the shelter every 2 weeks, until 20 weeks for boosters. Or at minimum 3 consecutive DHPP 2 weeks apart, if over 20 weeks.

8-10 weeks: DHPP and Bordetella 11-13 weeks: DHPP

    1. weeks: DHPP

Annual boosters recommended and a schedule will be provided for any follow up boosters.

Most likely, your foster dog had one dose of wormer upon arrival to the shelter. If you see worms in the dog’s stool, call your Foster Mentor as you may be asked to return to the shelter for more wormer. You will be instructed on the correct dosage and frequency.

These tips can help keep your home free of infection: www.aspcapro.org/infection-control-foster-homes

Learn about household toxins that cause seizures:



Spay and neuter surgeries are generally done prior to going to a foster home or prior to adoption, but any time a dog has to undergo anesthesia for a procedure, he should be altered at the same time if safe to do so.

Loyal Dog Breeds: Golden Retriever | West Highland White Terrier | Rough Collie | Great Dane | German Shepherd | Pug Dog | St. Bernard | Pekingese | Havanese | Old English Sheepdog | Great Pyrenees | Labrador Retriever | Miniature Schnauzer | Chihuahua | Beagles Dog | American Cocker Spaniel | Irish Wolfhound | Kuvasz Dog | Akita Dog | Bichon Frise


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