How to Know if Your Family is Ready to Foster a Pet

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be searching for a way to volunteer, or to help ease your community’s burdens in the midst of such a crisis. If you have free time while sheltering in place, consider showering a homeless pet with love and care, while they wait for a permanent home.

Before sending out your pet foster-parent application to every local shelter and rescue, our team at Southfork Animal Hospital wants you to ask yourself if you have the means to care for another pet, as well as the following questions:

  • Do I have the time to devote to a foster pet? If you already have a pet, ensure you have time to care for her needs first. Current pet ownership will also help you gauge exactly how much time you need to devote to walking, feeding, grooming, and training a foster pet. While you may have plenty of time during quarantine, consider your normal schedule when determining your resources.


  • Is my pet comfortable around other pets? If your current pet is not fond of strangers, whether two- or four-legged, being a pet foster parent may put your furry pal in an uncomfortable situation. Cats are especially reluctant to welcome strange cats into their territory, while many dogs battle reactivity and aggression issues with other dogs. 


  • What health considerations can I accommodate in a foster pet? Caring for pets with special medical needs can be challenging, so ensure you can accommodate daily medicating routines, and regular veterinary exams, to keep your foster pet healthy.


  • Can I handle a foster pet’s behavioral issues? Roughly half the pets surrendered to animal shelters are cited as having behavioral problems that the owners can no longer manage. This is a key consideration since behavioral issues can be time-consuming, difficult, and emotionally draining to manage, but the rewards of changing a pet’s life are incredible.


  • Does my foster pet need to be comfortable around small children or other animals? Similar to considering your own pet’s needs and comfort level around other pets, determine if your potential foster pet needs to be able to handle other animals or small children, depending on your household. For example, if you have small children, a large dog who has been surrendered to the shelter because of aggression toward kids is not a good choice for your family.


If you’re considering fostering a pet, call us to schedule a wellness visit for your current furry friend, to ensure their vaccinations and parasite prevention are current, to avoid disease transmission.