What You Need to Know About Fostering a Pet


Many animal rescues depend on foster families to keep their pets safe and well cared for while they wait for their forever homes. Volunteering as a pet foster parent is a great way to assist your local rescue. If you’ve ever considered fostering a cat, dog, or other animal, here are some things to help make your decision easier.

Who needs the most help?

In the springtime, rescues are often inundated with kittens and puppies. It’s also not uncommon for these organizations to take in pregnant cats and dogs. These pets will need homes for the duration of their pregnancies, and then they’ll need a safe place to live with their babies until they all find homes.

Foster homes for sick and injured animals are also in high demand. Rescues usually prefer to take care of a pet’s medical needs before placing him or her into an adoptive home. This ensures that the animal receives proper treatment and doesn’t depend on the adopters paying for expensive veterinary care. Dogs going through heartworm treatment, kittens in need of eye surgery, and other medically fragile pets depend on the kindness of their foster families to get them ready for their new homes.

How much work is involved?

Fostering a homeless cat or dog is at least as much work as having your own pets. In many cases, it’s even more challenging. Pet foster parents are the ones who handle vet trips, medication, and birthing for the animals in their care. They are also often involved in setting up meetings between homeless pets and their prospective adopters.

Foster dogs may need training. They may not understand commands and may not be housebroken.

Having pets is a labor of love, and that’s doubly true for foster pets. However, the emotional rewards are tremendous. Pet foster families get the pleasure of knowing that the work they put in helped to keep a beloved cat or dog safe from harm. They get to see the animals they’ve cared for find forever families. In many cases, they can stay in touch with the adoptive family afterward to watch the pet grow and thrive in his or her new home.

What do I need to do to get started?

Get in touch with your local rescue or a breed-specific rescue you love, and let them know you’re interested. In many cases, the fostering process may be similar to adopting a rescue animal. You will probably need to describe your living situation and family structure, and you may need to provide references.

Animal shelters and rescues rely heavily on volunteers to provide services for their homeless animals. Fostering a pet is a wonderful way to make a difference in an animal’s life and aid a local rescue at the same time.

Click here to learn more about how LaunchPaw is helping rescues and shelters to find homes for homeless pets.