Are Foster Dogs a Risk to My Dog's Health?

Dog and Foster Dog

Q. I am interested in fostering for a local rescue group. What risks does having foster dogs present to my own dog’s health?

A. Fostering is one of the most generous things any pet lover can do. Many rescue groups have no shelter facilities and little to no access to boarding, and they rely on their fostering volunteers to make their important work possible. Even municipal and nonprofit shelters often have pets who need a little TLC, including kittens who need to be bottle-raised and old, shy, sick or just plain fragile pets who wouldn’t survive the stress of traditional kenneling.

And foster homes do much, much more than simply house these pets. They are also key to evaluating the animals’ ability to adjust to normal family life, as well as socializing these pets and providing them with basic training, such as house training and leash manners. Foster homes not only save lives, they also make many animals more likely to be re-homed successfully.

Is it any wonder that I think people who foster homeless pets are heroes? You can’t personally adopt them all, but when you foster, you can truly help get many more pets into the forever homes they deserve.

Assessing Your Abilities

Not everyone is in a position to foster. Some don’t have the time or the money (typically fosters pay for the food their guest pets eat, but the rescue group or shelter pays for veterinary costs). Some don’t have the room, especially if they’ve adopted a previous foster pet — or two or three or more (this so-called foster fail is one reason groups struggle to get and keep enough foster homes). And some people just burn out after dealing with a steady stream of pets who may have health or behavior problems.


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