Fostering a pet can be a rewarding experience on many levels. Not only does fostering help a pet in need, but it also opens up a space in the shelter for another homeless animal. To make the experience as good as possible for both you and the pet, it’s important to understand the commitment that you are about to make.
Here are the steps you need to take to prepare for your foster.
Check Your Homeowner’s Insurance Or Rental Policy
It’s important to check with your landlord or, if you own, to read your homeowner’s insurance policy before committing to a foster. In some cases, landlords and insurance companies have restrictions on the type and breed of pet.
Choose A Shelter To Work With
Different shelters have different policies. Be sure to contact local shelters to learn more about how to become approved to foster a pet and how their team will assist you during this journey.
Determine What Type Of Animal Best Fits Your Lifestyle
Are you a highly active individual who works from home and commit to a high-energy dog that requires a lot of exercise? Or would a cat be a better fit? If you are unsure, the shelter you work with will help you determine what would work best for your lifestyle.
Remember, you aren’t just providing a home for a foster pet, you’re also helping to prepare them for their next, and hopefully permanent, home. No pet is perfect and each one presents unique challenges. Be prepared to help train a pet and to teach them good manners.
Shop For Supplies
Once you find out what the shelter will provide, it’s important to shop for the remaining materials. This might include:
- High-Quality Food
- Flea/Tick Preventatives
- Food and Water Bowls
- ID Tags
- Cleaning Supplies
Be sure to check with the shelter regarding the pet’s diet. It’s important to continue feeding the same food or, if a transition must be made, to make the transition slowly to avoid an upset stomach.
You may have typical household cleaning supplies on hand but it is frequently a good idea to obtain carpet cleaner and floor cleaner that is made specifically to clean up pet messes.
It might be tempting to purchase toys but you may want to wait until you get to know your pet better.
“Pet Proof” Your Home
Although it’s never possible to 100% pet-proof a home, keep in mind that foster pets may or may not have lived in a house previously. It’s natural for pets to explore their new homes and may cause damage, unintentionally. Keep any important or dangerous items out of the pet’s reach.
Be prepared to supervise your new foster pet. When left alone, the ideal situation would be to crate them or confine them to a quiet and secure area.
Enjoy The Fostering Experience
The challenges that come with fostering only make it that much more rewarding. With a little patience and help from the shelter, you may come to find that you love fostering and helping shelter pets find their new home!
Written by Esme Mailloux, CVT
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