How to Start Fostering Animals

By  //  March 19, 2022

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Being a foster parent to pets is a wonderfully selfless act. Not only do you give cats or dogs a new home, but you also get to experience the incomparable companionship of a loving animal. But starting a fostering service isn’t as easy as you may think. Because animals who come through shelters often have unique needs, you’ll have to spend months planning before you take on your first foster fur baby.

In this guide, we’ll cover the four most important things to do before fostering a shelter pet.

Lower Your Monthly Expenses

You’ll need a decent budget to cover the initial costs of supplies, as well as veterinary bills and routine care. Not all shelters or rescues can afford to fund an animal’s medical expenses. The foster parent could be responsible for vet visits and prescription medications. You’ll also need to ensure you have plenty of money each month to pay for food, toys, a dog walker, doggy daycare, and anything else you may need.

Lowering expenses is easiest if you work to reduce outstanding debts. This allows you to optimize your income rather than make it smaller by expanding your savings.

Student loans are a major source of debt for adults, and you can lower yours through a student loan consolidation. This is the act of taking out a large loan to pay off all your student debt. Then, you only have to focus on covering one monthly bill.

Research Pet Care

After considering how to remedy any financial baggage you need to work on, you can start researching your perfect foster opportunity. Before you can foster properly, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of caring for cats and dogs of all ages and sizes. Even individual breeds have unique needs you’ll need to be aware of. This is especially true if you want to work as a foster for a breed-specific organization, like a Labrador Retriever or German Shepherd rescue.

Maybe you want to foster senior pets. In that case, you’ll need to understand how senior pets’ needs differ and be prepared to handle their medical needs. You’ll also have to make adjustments to your house so its more accessible for senior cats or dogs.


Volunteering at a shelter can help you get some experience while learning more about how the adoption process works. It’s also a rewarding opportunity to connect with animals in need and give back to them until they find their forever homes. Who knows, you may even wind up finding the first animal you want to foster during your time.

Volunteer experience also helps you appear more reputable as a potential foster parent. Rescues and shelters are meticulous about who they choose. After all, the entire wellbeing of a pet is being placed in your hands.

Learn the Basics of Training

You’ll need to be able to help animals become adoption ready while they live with you. This means putting up with some less than desirable behaviors, ranging from pulling on the leash to barking, chewing and jumping.

Make sure that you are well equipped to handle any challenges, even just basic puppy training. This will make the transition much easier, and it will help the animal in your care become ready for permanent placement.