Can I Foster with a Full-Time Job?

Can I Foster with a Full-Time Job?

We received the following request from a new foster parent, via our Facebook foster support page: “I think it would be cool to do a feature on how people make fostering work with their schedules! I know a lot of people feel like they can’t foster because they work outside the home, so maybe people could share how they handle walks and such?”

Keep reading to hear what our foster forum had to say! 

Fostering a Mama and Babies

Written by Maria Myrtil, for Foster Dogs

In April of 2016, while I was scrolling through instagram, I saw a rescue group looking for a foster to take in this young little mama dog. She was about to give birth to an unknown number of pups. I had only just started fostering a few months prior, yet I couldn’t help but feel my heart tug for this poor mama who had been dumped in the shelter to no fault of her own. I was on the phone with the rescuer less than ten minutes after I first saw that post. That call changed everything for me. 

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Since that first mama, I have taken in five mama and pups litters, as well as three other smaller litters without mama, each one leaving me with a new story to tell in just under ten weeks. There weren’t many other fosters parents that I could turn to at the time, and I have become obsessed with providing support to other foster parents who are considering doing the same to make the time feel a lot more manageable.

Here is some of the advice that rings true for most litters of puppies, and why litters can be the easiest fosters you can have:

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  • Mama does it all. Even a first-time mama has her instincts kick-in and she goes straight into mothering mode. For the first four weeks, she feeds them, bathes them, and even eats their poo and slurps their pee (yes, you read that right). You will only need to go in to their area to change their blanket as often as needed. I also recommend weighing them from birth and then weekly (or daily if there are any inconsistencies or medical concerns) just to be sure everyone is in the same weight range and gaining at a similar pace.
  • They aren’t really mobile until about 5 weeks old, making them really easy to be contained in one pen area with just mama coming in and out to eat and go potty. Depending on the size of the litter, you can confine them in a large crate, upgrading them to a playpen once they start to run around.

  • You don’t need to be home all day to care for this many pups. While mama is doing everything for them, she will be drinking and eating more than normally, so she’ll need frequent potty breaks (short though- no vigorous exercise in the beginning), unlimited access to water and lots of food to be happy. Once puppies are older, they entertain each other by learning how to play and someone will only really need to be there for clean up and feeding times, every 4-6 hours.

  • It’s not as messy as you imagine. Because the pups are going potty on mama for the first 5 weeks, you won’t need to deal with pee pads and such until weaning begins. I’ve also found that when the times get tough, posting in the Facebook Foster Forum will get so many replies because most people will opt to help clean for a bit, and then enjoy a good puppy cuddle.

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  • These aren't the puppies that will chew up your books, shoes and furniture. They can't! Even when their teeth finally develop, they don't have that “puppy energy" that we've all come to know and love until about 7 weeks old. Pups under 7 weeks of age spend most of their time sleeping and eating, with short play sessions with each other and then back to sleep.

The time goes by so quickly, and in what feels like no time at all you will have saved the lives of an entire family from their fate.

There is no greater reward.


Want to learn more about fostering a litter of puppies and/or a pregnant mama dog? Complete the Contact Form on our site, and Puppy-Raising Foster Expert Maria will be in touch!


Professional photos by Abigail H. Davis & Nikki Tappa

Ask the Fosters: First Time Foster Advice

Ask the Fosters: First Time Foster Advice

Welcome to Foster Dogs! Whether you’re fostering for the first time, considering becoming a foster, or you’re a seasoned veteran of the foster world just looking for a community, you’ve come to the right place. Foster Dogs has a ton of resources and seasoned volunteers full of advice and experience. We wanted to launch our new website with a first blog post about firsts—what do we wish we knew before taking our first foster dog?

Ask the Expert: Foster Hacks

Ask the Expert: Foster Hacks

Tips From a Foster Mom and Rescuer

As a former foster mom who has fostered a hundred, maybe more dogs/puppies in the past decade, I have realized some pretty neat tricks and tips to help save some time and money with foster dogs. In this post, I am going to share five of my top “foster hacks.” Keep in mind: I am not a vet or professional and these are just personal tips and tricks that have worked with the foster dogs that I have cared for. The tips listed are based on common questions I have been asked, what I have found most useful as a foster, and what knowledge makes things easier on the rescue organization.

Welcome to Foster Dogs' New Website!

Welcome to the new and improved Foster Dogs website! We redesigned this site with you, the current or prospective foster parent, in mind. Please check out all of our helpful resources, gather information on our upcoming events, and get involved volunteering with us or join the Foster Roster!

We are currently working on migrating our helpful blog articles and content over to this new layout, and we are also cooking up brand new content to help you in your fostering experiences. Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page to be notified about new blog posts and events! 

Have ideas for content you'd like to see? Contact us and let us know. We can't wait to hear from you and keep educating the world about fostering.