Fostering a Pet: Frequently Asked Questions

fostering a pet

Can foster parents adopt their foster pets?

Yes!  As long as foster parents meet the shelter requirements that are necessary for adopting, foster parents often will have an option to adopt their foster pets. Each organization has their own policies and procedures, so be sure to check with the adoption group.

What should I consider if I currently have pets?

It's best to be thoughtful and careful whenever you introduce your pet to other animals, whether at the off-leash areas, day care or other common animal areas.  This goes for your home and foster pets too! If your pets are current on their vaccinations, maintain healthy diets and lifestyles, and are not immune compromised, then the health risk should be minimal.

If someone in your household is immune compromised, consult a doctor before fostering.  If you are pregnant (or someone in your house is) or plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before fostering cats.  You may need to take some special precautions during your pregnancy.


Are purchases made for foster care tax-deductible?

Purchases made for foster care may be considered donations to the shelter and could be tax-deductible. Please reach out the adoption group to find out what they provide their foster homes and what (if anything at all) a foster parent might need to purchase. Consider checking with your shelter or rescue group regarding their tax-deductible status. If the organization is a non-profit and you do end up making any purchases, you may want to keep your receipts.

What do I do if my foster animal needs veterinary care?

It's always best to speak with the specific shelter or rescue about how to handle medical emergencies, as each group may have a preferred way of managing crisis, require notification prior to treatment or have a preferred veterinarian. We've included some rough guidelines below, but it's always best to sketch out a plan ahead of time with your foster contact.

If you have an emergency during business hours, please call the shelter or rescue directly.  If something urgent happens after hours:

  1. If needed, properly and safely restrain the pet to prevent him from hurting himself or anyone in the area.
  2. Evaluate the situation and need for assistance.
    • Is the shelter or rescue's veterinary office open for business with staff available?
      • Call the shelter.
      • Get the animal in to see the veterinarian immediately.
    • Is the animal's life in imminent danger?  Is the animal's airway obstructed or is he having trouble breathing?  Does the animal have any broken bones or open wounds?
      • Call for emergency clearance.
      • Get the animal in to see the veterinarian immediately.
    • Is the animal running a fever of 104oF. or greater?
      • Call for emergency clearance.
      • Get the animal in to see the veterinarian immediately.
    • Look at the animal's gums.  Are they white or healthy pink? Is the animal eating or drinking?
    • Is the animal able to urinate and defecate?  Look at the animal's stool.  Is there blood in the feces or urine?  Are there obvious parasites present?
  3. If the situation is not an emergency, call the shelter veterinary staff first thing the next day.
  4. If emergency medical attention is needed, or if you are uncertain, call for emergency clearance.  Have the animal's name, impound number and any information about the situation available so the staff can advise you of the appropriate steps.
  5. Once you are cleared to go to the emergency veterinary clinic, a shelter representative may contact the veterinarian's office and let them know that you are coming.  In some cases, the medical treatment of the animal will be billed to the shelter. However, some rescue groups may ask you to pay and be reimbursed.

ALWAYS check with the shelter or rescue group staff before making an appointment with a veterinary clinic.  Without proper clearance, the adoption group most likely cannot reimburse you for any medical costs.

Can I name my foster pet?

Through the foster program, your foster pet may already have a name given by the adoption group or his or her previous owners.  Please keep the same name!  The pet may already know his or her name, all the shelter paperwork will be completed under that name and the pet may be listed on websites with that name. It's best to avoid any confusion among shelter staff members, foster families, potential adopters and the pet.  If you choose to adopt your foster pet, you are free to change the name at that point in time.