7 ways to become a successful pet foster parent

Help an animal find its fur-ever home!
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Fostering a pet can be such a rewarding experience. It’s a great way to give back, particularly for those who may not be in a position to commit to having a pet long-term.

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You can provide a loving and safe environment for a cat or a dog while they’re looking for their forever home.

If you’re thinking about fostering a cat or dog, here are some tips to ensure a positive experience…

image of woman cuddling dog
Fostering can be such a rewarding experience. (Credit: Getty)

1. Understand the commitment

Fostering requires patience and dedication, and you owe the animal your love, time and attention. This is especially true when fostering pets that have traumatic pasts or have been neglected and have received no training and limited human interaction.

2. Prepare your environment

Pet-proof your home to ensure it’s safe for an animal, and have a think about your home and what kind of foster pet would be most appropriate for the space you have.

3. Learn about the animal

Taking the time to understand their history, behaviour and medical conditions can avoid any surprises. Knowing their history means you can give them the time and space they need to adjust to a new environment as well as being aware of any potential obstacles.

image of dog in animal shelter
Get to know your foster pet’s history. (Credit: Getty)

4. Avoid puppies

Puppies are cute, but it’s like having a two-year-old. Walking, puppy school, toilet training and keeping them out of trouble is a 24-hour job. If you’re new to fostering, go for an older dog! Plus, the golden oldies have a much harder time getting fostered and finding homes.

5. Be (very) patient

Many of these animals have been neglected, had their human pass away, travelled a long way, or come with medical issues and stress responses. It takes about six-12 weeks for a pet to settle in. Your foster may test your patience at times but it’s important to keep your cool.

6. Prepare for an adoption

You may think it’s okay to have them sleep on your bed and on the couch, but their forever home may not. It’s your job to help your foster get a forever home and not get returned to the shelter again! A well-behaved dog is the best adoption candidate.

dog at animal shelter wearing adopt me bandana
Prepare your pet for adoption (Credit: Getty)

7. Say goodbye

Letting them go is definitely the hardest part, and possibly why many fostered pets are inevitably adopted by their foster parents. When a temporary home becomes a forever home we lovingly term these pets “foster fails”.

Saying goodbye to animals you’ve bonded with is really tough, but know that you’ve made a difference to their lives. While your first foster may be daunting and nerve-wracking, it’s such a rewarding experience and very worthwhile.

Become a carer…

Find out more about fostering pets in your area by visiting or

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