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How to Become a Foster Dog Parent? – Rules & Responsibilities to Be One

As a person, when you choose to foster a dog, you are agreeing to take care and responsibility for a homeless pet by bringing him to your home. It will be like your child, and you need to make sure that you are always available for its needs. Some people choose to go for fostering pets for only a limited period until the dog finds a new home. This does not mean that they lack compassion, as a few of these foster parents choose to take on the responsibility of more than 10 dogs at a time. Hence, managing so many dogs can be difficult, so going for a chosen period to foster is not bad. A dog needs fostering for several reasons, and the prominent one is – rescue groups having a lack of space. Read on to find more information on how to foster a dog.

Why & How to Foster a Dog?

Before we dive into why one should foster a dog, we need to understand why dogs need to have a foster home. There can be many reasons for it, but we have jotted down a few points that will clear your opinion about it.

  • When a rescue group rescues any dog from an abusive parent or from street fight gangs that use dogs and abuse them, they need to provide a shelter for it. But in most cases, these rescue groups do not have enough space as a physical shelter, and these rescued dogs may again land up on the streets. So, until a suitable home is found for the dog, fostering that dog can benefit it.
  • Before going to a forever home, a puppy needs to be taken care of properly. New pet parents may find it challenging to take care of the hourly needs of a newborn puppy. Hence, a foster parent is given enough training and knowledge to handle situations like this so that the puppy is well-groomed and taken care of until it finds a permanent home.
  • A dog will always need a safe place like a foster home if he has been saved from a dog fight gang. He will be ill, injured, and insecure about the people in his presence. The dog will need special care to recuperate from the injuries caused to it.
  • Another reason can be the dog’s psychological condition, which needs a well-trained foster parent to handle. If a dog shows signs of panting, pacing, or hiding in a corner in the shelter, the dog is not ready to be adopted. Hence, fostering such a dog for a short period can be a good initiative.
  • A dog will also need a lot of training in socializing if it has been rescued from the street and has never had a home to begin with. The dog will not be comfortable in the presence of people or other dogs and will need proper training provided to it by a foster parent.
  • Last but not least, a shelter may be running out of space for adoptable dogs and needs to find foster homes to provide the dogs with a safe space.

How Does Fostering a Dog Work?

Now that you are clear on why dogs need a foster home, we can understand why you should foster a dog and what rewarding experience you will receive as a foster parent.

  • By helping an animal in a dog, you are helping society by freeing up another spot in the shelter for a homeless dog to be taken in and cared for.
  • Provide your foster dog with the necessary training, help, and time to be ready to get adopted by its forever parents.
  • You will also be providing daily or weekly updates to the shelter home so that they may learn more about the dog, its needs, and habits. This will help them understand the foster dog’s behavioral patterns in exchange for providing a suitable home for it as soon as possible.
  • The most notable reason to help the dog is to get used to living in a home around people and other pets. It will help the dog socialize and be open to its new pet parents.

What Kind of Dogs Get Fostered?

The most honest answer to this question will be ‘all types of dogs,’ but particular preference is provided to dogs that need the utmost care, which a shelter may not be able to provide exclusively. Some of the most common dogs usually given away for fostering have been listed below.

Dogs Needing Fostering

  • Foster care requires for dogs that are too stressed after being saved by an abusive parent.
  • Dogs that may need individual attention like puppies.
  • A too shy dog needs to learn how to come out of its shell.
  • Dogs recovering from some medical condition or illness or are sick, injured, and need complete care.
  • A senior dog needs someone to take care of it for its daily needs.
  • A dog suffering from some psychological disorder makes it challenging to be around other people or pets.

How to Foster Puppies or Dogs (Foster Parent Responsibilities)

As a foster parent, the primary responsibility will be to provide the dog with a safe, clean, and loving home. It means caring for your foster dog as if it’s your pet, tending to its needs like providing food at regular intervals, vaccination schedule, socializing with it, providing the dog with enough exercise to keep it healthy and happy, and lots of affection. Below, you will find a list of the usual responsibility guidelines provided to every dog foster home by a shelter.

  • As a foster parent, you will be responsible for transferring the dog to and from its adoption home or events until it finds its forever home.
  • Take the dog for necessary training like obedience or behaviour training. Certified classes usually provide this training, or you can do it yourself at home.
  • You will also have to provide daily, weekly, and monthly reports to the rescue or shelter home about the dog’s well-being, behaviour, lifestyle changes, and personality. These will help them understand the dog and find a suitable parent for it.
  • Another duty as a foster parent will be committing to talk with potential adopters, tell them about your foster dog, and determine if they will be a good match for it.

How Much Does it Cost to Foster a Dog?

If you are a person who is new to fostering – the first question that may come up in your mind will be ‘Will I get paid for fostering a dog?’ You need to remember that most of these shelter groups are running on a tight budget. If you choose to become a foster parent, it will be as a volunteer to help society and the welfare of the dogs. It will be a rewarding experience, but you will not be paid for it.

Shelter homes need to make sure that the person volunteering has all the needs of the dog prioritized so that the foster animal does not face any problem living with you. You will have to make sure you have a vet nearby or have access to it, enough space for the dog in your house, food, and medicine supply. You will be rewarded with lots of snuggles, playtime, and affection from your dog.


How long do you foster a dog?

Fostering dogs might last for 2 to 4 weeks.


Being a foster parent comes with a lot of responsibilities. You have to make sure that your house is well-equipped to provide a safe space for the dog. Also, you need to have some basic training on how to take care of a dog in foster care. Because most of the time, these dogs need special care, and it cannot be provided until and unless you are adequately trained in it. You won’t be paid for this service. But it will surely help society create and provide better adoption parents to homeless dogs in need.