7 Important Things When Fostering a Pet for the First Time

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Fostering a pet is rewarding and a lot of fun. Having the liberty of offering a needy cat or dog a safe, comforting environment as they await adoption is a great experience, but not for the faint of heart.

There are certain factors to consider before you foster a pet. Even though most pet owners and shelters provide their fosters with training and information about the pet’s nature and medical needs, there are other important things to consider when fostering a pet, especially if it’s your first time. 

Photo credit: Helena Lopes

1. Make sure you have all the essentials

The majority of pet owners and animal shelters will provide you with essential supplies you will need to care for the new animal. If it is a cat, it’s vital to stock up on pet food, cat litter and cat toys. You will also need a proper bed and carrier. If you are fostering a dog, crates will help house train and keep an eye on your new foster. 

Pets coming from harsh environments such as the street generally have poor nutrition. It will be helpful to begin your foster pet on a high-quality diet. You can feed meals in crates if the dog is having a rough time adjusting to the new environment. 

2. Time

Some foster pets may have been lost, abandoned, abused, or recovering from surgeries. Pets with these kinds of issues need some extra love, attention, and patience. Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to bond and take care of the foster pet. Match yourself with a pet that fits your lifestyle.

Also, consider the time frame as to the length of the fostering period. 

Photo credit: Andreja Mihevc Skala

3. Existing pets

Do not introduce your foster pet immediately to your other pets. Keep the foster pet in an isolation space for two weeks. Then, introduce your new foster to the other pets slowly.

All foster pets usually undergo veterinary checks before placements. However, there is always the possibility of your foster becoming sick later due to an undetectable ailment. Isolating your new foster will be helpful in monitoring the pet’s condition and preventing any undetected illness.

4. Start socializing gradually

After your foster pet has comfortably settled in its new environment, start exposing him/her to the wide world under close supervision. Observe their performance and reaction to the new surroundings. 

5. Cost

You may wonder, will you be making money by fostering pets? Pet owners and pet organizations try as much as possible to make sure your foster home has the required resources. Still, as a pet foster, you will have to supply your new pet with some essential requirements. It’s important to discuss and agree with the pet owner or organization to what cost you will cover before fostering the pet.

You will not make money from fostering pets. However, you will have the indescribable feeling of knowing you are helping to save a life. Plus, all the playtimes, snuggles, and emotional attachment with this new pet.

Photo credit: Pablo Nidam

6. Keep good records

Take good notes on your foster pet’s health, vet records, bill, and any information regarding the pet’s wellness. This will be of much help, especially to your foster’s pet permanent owners. 

7. Always remember that your foster pet is a temporary guest

If your foster pet is from an animal shelter or rescue, start to visualize the perfect home for them. Sometimes pet fosters become so attached to their animals and end up legally adopting them. This is lovingly called foster failure.

Photo credit: Ekaterina Abramova

Constantly remind yourself that you are fulfilling a significant role to this pet, eventually helping them find a permanent home. If you end up falling in love with your adorable pet, there is no shame in becoming a foster failure.

Pet fostering is a perfect way to help pet parents or your local animal shelter while enhancing your own life with the companionship of a furry friend. Now that you know these 7 important things to remember when fostering a pet for the first time, you are ready to try this wonderful thing. 

Ready to help a foster pet? You can search for pets in need on 911FosterPets, just visit https://app.911fosterpets.com/animals


Hey, I’m Amy Davis and I’m in love with my pets! I have a diverse variety, including 3 cats, 1 dog, 1 rabbit, 1 guinea pig, and a beautiful macaw. I love writing about everything pet-related and spend as much time as I can sharing my personal experiences on my blog SmartCatLovers.org