Love dogs but not sure if you can make a long-term commitment to one? Then fostering might be for you. Foster care for dogs involves providing food, shelter and support for a designated period of time. This way shelters and NGOs can reduce overcrowding and people who cannot be full-time pet parents can help out dogs. It’s a win-win for all! If you’re ready to become a dog foster parent, start by heading over to your local NGO or shelter. But first here are some tips on how to foster a dog:

Foster care for dogs tip #1: Learn the basics
Older dogs - Specific dog foster responsibilities and training

If you’re a first time dog foster parent, talk to experts and read up all you can about caring for dogs. This includes buying essentials, toilet training, teaching commands and more. Speak to a shelter, NGO or even a trainer to understand how to foster a dog.

Foster care for dogs tip #2: Choose your dog
How to foster a dog - Puppy being comforted

Different dogs have different needs. Puppies are fun but need supervision and regular clean-up. Abandoned dogs might have separation anxiety issues. If you’re working with rescues, you will need to understand how to foster a dog with special needs.

It’s important to be clear about how much care you can provide for the dog and also communicate that clearly to the NGO or shelter you are fostering from.

Foster care for dogs tip #3: Factor in your time
Foster care for dogs - Going out for a walk

Some people foster for a week while some commit to months or years at a time. It all depends on what you can do.

Ask yourself how long you would be able to provide foster care for the dog. If the dog has no adopters, would you be willing to extend care? Explain your limitations so that the shelter can assign dogs appropriately.

Foster care for dogs tip #4: Check compatibility
Foster care for dogs - Dog living with cat

Responsible foster care for dogs includes providing a safe environment to them. If you have an existing pet or young children around, you will need to see if the foster dog can get along with them.  Arrange for a short visit to assess compatibility.

Foster care for dogs tip #5: Make a new schedule
How to foster a dog - Playing with ball

While foster care for dogs is a short term commitment, you will still have to take care of his or her basic needs. Make sure your dog foster responsibilities have regular walks, healthy meals and play time on the list. Plan ahead to free up time for the same.

Foster care for dogs tip #6: Evaluate finances
How to foster a dog - Keep bed ready

This depends on the NGO or shelter you are working with. You might be expected to cover certain costs such as food and medical emergencies. Discuss this in advance to get an understanding of how to foster a dog with your budget.

Foster care for dogs tip #7: Keep important contacts
Dog foster responsibilities - Visiting the vet

For this, you need to get a detailed history of the dog. Your dog foster responsibilities may include vet visits, obedience training, going to adoption drives, screening potential adopters etc. Make a list for emergency contacts as well as boarding houses to avoid last minute confusion.

Foster care for dogs tip #8: Be emotionally ready
How to foster a dog - Interact with dog

Dogs need love and attention so emotional bonding is going to one of your default dog foster responsibilities. Fostering dogs can be emotionally rewarding, but you’ve also got to be prepared to eventually say goodbye. It’s natural to grow attached to a dog you’ve been taking care of but at the end of the day, if you’re unable to adopt yourself, then the dog should go to the best possible home there is.

Fostering can always be a first step for those who want to become full-time dog parents. With our guide on how to adopt a dog, one can easily assess if they’re finally ready to get a fur baby home!