As a dog lover, you might be tempted to foster a stray dog at some time or other. However, it involves a lot of work, and we will tell you how to smoothly transition a stray dog to your home.
Fostering a stray dog is a great way to help dogs in need. Taking care of an animal you don't know can be challenging, but it also allows you to make a difference in the pup's life and help them find their forever home. When fostering a stray dog, it would be best to keep some things in mind.
Remember That You're a Temporary Caretaker
Remember that you are a temporary caretaker. You are not the dog's owner and are not responsible for his health, behavior, or food. You may have to take him to the vet or call 311 if they are injured or sick. Otherwise, it is not your job to ensure they get vaccinated or fixed.
It is also not your responsibility to find them a home. Although this can be a nice thing to do when fostering an animal, you should never foster with the intent of adopting an animal later.
The most important thing when fostering an animal (especially when taking in a stray) is keeping them safe and protected while they're with you and ensuring they don't get lost again.
If possible, try placing signs around your neighborhood advertising that a homeless dog is looking for new owners nearby (or just come up with cute names for them so people will want one).
Be Prepared For a Medical Crisis
If you've never fostered before, it's essential to know that dogs who have been neglected or abused sometimes seem healthy at first, but they may go through a period of illness as their bodies begin to heal. You should be prepared for this possibility and ready to take your dog to the vet if needed.
Also, don't forget about fleas and ticks. These parasites can carry diseases such as tapeworms or Lyme disease that can be passed on to humans. If your foster has fleas or ticks, treat them before bringing them home so that the animal and your family are safe from infection. Administer good flea and tick medicines like Frontline Plus for dogs, Advantage Multi for Dogs, Revolution for Dogs, K9 Advantix, Bravecto for Dogs, Seresto, Sentinel Spectrum for Dogs, K9 Advantix II, and others.
When taking a stray into your home for fostering purposes (or adoption), try not to make sudden moves that might startle the dog. These types of actions could cause fear responses within dogs, leading to aggression against people they perceive as threatening to them. Since this behavior will likely remain until long after its owner leaves because most strays tend not to leave homes without a perfect reason, why would someone do such things?
Get Ready For Some Behavioral Issues
Some aspects of the dog's behavior may be hard to deal with. Stray dogs will have been abandoned, abused, or neglected in some way. They may be afraid of people and other animals, especially those who have hurt them in the past. They may also be scared of loud noises and sudden movements, making them aggressive toward anyone who makes either sound or movement too close to them. Do use one of the training collars for dogs to keep them under control initially.
Notice that your foster dog is acting aggressively toward other people or animals (including children). It could be because they're scared or nervous around unfamiliar faces and bodies moving suddenly around them. It means it's probably best not to let children play roughly with any new family member until the animal has acclimated more fully into home life.
Remember There Might Be Other Pets in Picture
If you already have pets, ensure they get along with the new dog. If you don't know if your current dog will be okay with a new canine in the house, it's a good idea to bring home the stray and let them get used to each other gradually before introducing them to anyone else.
Some people prefer not to introduce cats and dogs immediately because there's always the chance that they won't get along at first (and then what?). In this case, it's best to keep them separated and meet on neutral ground until you know they'll be fine together; that way, no one gets hurt or scared.
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Also, don't expect your new friend to be perfect. The dog you bring home will most likely be fearful or anxious about its environment, so it may need some time to adjust to being in a home and around people. Don't get frustrated if your new pal is wary of you initially; over time, the dog will learn to trust you. Remember that not every stray has had positive experiences with humans before coming into your care. Hence, it's possible that their behavior could take some time and patience on both sides for them to feel comfortable enough around each other for everyone involved.
Regarding training, don't expect anything more than basic commands (sit/stay/down). Some strays may have had a previous owner(s) who tried teaching them tricks but didn't stick with it long enough, or maybe they didn't have owners. Either way, don't let this discourage or deter you from fostering a stray dog. Know up front what sort of commitment fostering entails before jumping in feet first.
Find Out How Long The Dog Has Been in Foster
A dog that has been in foster care for an extended period is likely to have more behavioral issues than a dog that has just entered the foster program. This is because dogs new to a given environment can adjust and get used to their new living conditions much more quickly than dogs who have been in the same place for months or even years. If the shelter you're considering adopting from has a long waiting list, it might be worth looking into other shelters with less-extended waiting lists.
If you choose a shelter with many animals on its waiting list, it's essential to consider your own lifestyle and how long your chosen animal has already been in the system. For example, if you live alone but would like another companion animal (or two), it might take longer for someone else at your shelter to find their forever home so that yours can be adopted.
Look for Help If You Need It
If you need help with your foster dog, don't be afraid to ask for it. It's important to remember that no one is born knowing how to care for a stray dog; it takes time and practice to learn. If you're unsure what to do, or if something doesn't seem right about your foster dog's behavior or health, seek out someone who knows more than you do! You can call your local animal shelter or rescue group and ask them what they recommend doing in this situation. They will almost always be happy to help out.
When you're fostering a stray dog, there are certain things you should be prepared to give and take. You cannot expect to be the dog's owner, vet, trainer, social worker, or nutritionist (unless you are). The best thing that can happen is for the stray dog to find its way back home, and if it doesn't have one, then it's likely that its home may not have been what was best for them anyway.
If you do become attached to your foster pet and want it as part of your family permanently or at least on a long-term basis, there are ways around the process of adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization.