Preparing to Foster Checklist

Questions to ask yourself and the rescue group before saying “yes” to the foster.

Am I ready to be a foster?

Questions to ask yourself before beginning to foster:

  • What kind of foster dog(s) works best with my lifestyle – Energy level? Size? High-need dogs (puppies, senior dogs, dogs with special needs)? Age?
  • Are my roommates/partners on board with me fostering a dog? What kind of help, if any, will they provide? Do my roommates or I have any dog-related allergies?
  • What will I do with my foster dog when I am away at work or over night- crate/baby gated in an area/in one room?
  • Does my landlord or superintendent have any regulations regarding dogs in the building?
  • How does my current dog(s)/pet(s) get along with other dogs?
  • What kind of financial support can I provide for my foster dog (e.g., toys, food)? What supplies do I need? (Check out our shopping list for tips!) 

Preparing for your foster

Questions to ask the rescue about your foster dog and the fostering process*

General information about the dog:

  • What is the dog's age/breed (best guess)/general weight/temperament from what is known? (Make sure your building allows dogs of that size and breed)
  • Is the dog up to date on vaccinations and tested for diseases like heartworm or parasites? 
  • Do I need to keep him separated from my own pets or other fosters for a period of time (re: kennel cough, mange, etc…)?
  • Is this dog altered (spayed/neutered)? If not, when will he be altered?
  • Are there any medical or behavioral concerns? If so, how should I deal with them? (Ex. medications to administer, medicated baths, training protocol, etc.)
  • Do you know how he does when left alone? Is he crate trained? Is he housetrained?
  • What kind of food does he eat and what is his eating routine – kibble, wet food, brand (if known)?

Rescue protocol:

  • How long will I be expected to foster this dog? If it’s until a suitable home is found, how long do you expect that to take?
  • What happens if I can no longer care for the dog? What if I leave town for one night or a few days?
  • Who pays for medical bills if they arise? Does that include treatments for my pets if they catch something from my foster dog?
  • Is my foster dog allowed to go to the dog park? Have doggy play dates?
  • What should I do if there’s a medical emergency? If I have a problem, whom can I contact?
  • Will I be required to bring him to adoption events and, if so, where/when?
  • Who is responsible for communicating with potential adopters, screening them and introducing the dog to them?
  • Will you provide food, litter, supplies (such as: collar, leash, wee wee pads), medications, etc., or will I be expected to do so?
  • Can I adopt my foster dog if I so desire? What is the application process like in order to adopt my foster dog?

*NOTE: In some cases, the rescue group may not know the answer to all of these questions. However, it’s always good to know as much as you can about your foster dog before he comes into your home. Advocate for yourself and your foster dog each step of they way.