Fostering 101: How to Be the Best Foster Parent to a Rescue Dog

May 18, 2020 3 min read

Rescue Dog

Congratulations! If you've committed to becoming a foster pawrent to a rescue pup, you'll be helping them live their best life as they await their new forever home, and we have the tips to make you the best foster pawrent ever!

Are you thinking of taking the next step? Download our ultimate guide for new adoptive and foster pawrents.


new adoptive and foster parents


In many ways, raising a foster dog is not unlike raising a child. You have made a commitment to sacrifice your time and resources to ensure your new pup feels safe and happy as they transition and await a placement with their fur-ever family. These tips will help you provide a proper welcome when your foster furbaby comes home. 

Connect with the vet

When you leave the shelter, your first conversation should be with the last veterinarian who treated the dog. The rescue organization most likely had the dog screened for underlying illnesses or conditions.  Find out if the dog is up to date with their vaccines and whether they need a special diet. If you are willing to bring the pup to any needed medical visits and provide proper nutrition and exercise, you are halfway to becoming the best foster parent!

Dog-proof your home

You may have to make some minor home makeovers to ensure your new dog is safe and happy in their new home. If you have any electric cables lying around, some cable management might be required. Store all detergents, medication, and toxic chemicals away from your dog’s reach. Seal off any openings that may tempt your foster pup to escape. Take care with dangling collar tags if the dog will be left alone as these have caused entanglements that left dogs unable to free themselves.

Keep them well groomed

Grooming time can be the best time to bond with your dog. Wash and brush their coat regularly to keep it clean and tangle-free with a safe shampoo and a good deshedding/grooming brush (like Puppington's 2-in-1 Grooming Brush). Read our blog post about whether organic dog shampoo is worth it.  Keep their nose moist and paws comfy and protected against the elements with your choice of Pup Wax, our high quality collection of dog nose balms and paw waxes made from the cleanest ingredients. Grooming helps your new pup feel appreciated and loved and the hands on touch is sure to strengthen your bond. For any grooming needs that you're not comfortable taking care of at home, check with the rescue organization first. Your foster pup may have experienced a lot of changes in a short period of time and a visit to a groomer could be too overwhelming for them if they were just rescued or be contraindicated due to health reasons.

Proper nutrition and exercise for your dog

Come up with a feeding plan for your new rescue dog. Puppies usually need to eat at least three times a day. Large dogs can often make do with one or two meals a day.  Check with the veterinarian to confirm the best recommendation for your rescue dog. Take the dog out for walks every day and schedule a time for play and exercise in your fenced-in yard or at the dog park if the rescue has okayed the socialization. This is important for their physical and emotional well-being - and yours!

Shower them with fun gifts

Provide your foster dog with a clean bed, feeding and drinking bowls, doggie blanket, crate, or dog house. Create some space inside your home for this new pup to call their own while they are staying in your care. There are a lot of fun toys to help keep dogs entertained.  Look for a mix of toys that are safe and also provide intellectual stimulation or promote physical activity such as tugging, chewing, or fetching.

Final thoughts

Becoming a dog foster parent is one of the most rewarding decisions you can make in life. The above fostering tips should prepare you to be the best pup parent to a dog in need of a loving home.

If you are thinking of adopting or fostering, make sure you're prepared to open your home to a rescue and ace the application process with our new ultimate guide.

ultimate guide to adopting a rescue pup

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