Pet Foster Series: Adult Dogs

There are many different situations in which an adult dog will need a foster home. Please keep in mind that there are many more reasons than I will share in this blog, so keep an open mind, and ask plenty of questions! Adult dogs may need a foster home due to: an injury they need support recovering from, an illness that they need help controlling, they are too stressed in the shelter environment, need socialization, or they are a hospice foster needing a cozy place to call home in their last amount of time they have left.


Common injuries that dogs may be recovering from are broken limbs. Commonly, shelters take in previously-owned animals who have broken a limb because the owners cannot afford the veterinary care. This is an all too common situation where a foster home can be of help. The dog will most likely need to be kept on strict bed rest for the broken limb to heal. Depending on the size and energy of the dog, this may be a hard job to take on, but it can also be a really rewarding experience.

You will need to provide proper nutrition and any necessary medication. Most likely, if the dog needs bandages replaced, check-ups, or more care, you will bring them to the clinic. You will not be required to provide any veterinary care. These cases could range from a week to a few months of care. Depending on the injury, they may be a great temporary addition to your home! If the dog is a puppy or a large size breed, this could be a little bit tough, but not to say you will not be able to get through it.


Dogs that come from living on the streets may face many illnesses, some being mild and some very severe. One of the most severe illnesses is parvo, also called distemper. Parvo is a highly contagious disease causing gastrointestinal issues. Parvo is more common in puppies, but older dogs can still be affected. If you are caring for a dog or a litter of puppies suffering from parvo, you will need to keep them 100% quarantined from any other animals in the home, even if they are fully vaccinated. As parvo is highly fatal, you do not want to risk spreading it amongst your pets.

Other illnesses that shelter dogs may have contracted are canine influenza and coronavirus or kennel cough. These illnesses need to be treated with medication and proper care for the animal to make a full recovery. When you take on a foster dog with an illness, you should expect to spend about an hour every day making sure they have their meds and have enough nutrients. You will also need to monitor to make sure that they are not getting any worse.


Another reason where a dog may need foster care is for stress. Sometimes when animals are too stressed, they stop eating and drinking water and lose hair weight, which leads to worse or even fatal complications. Some animals need a little bit of TLC in a comfortable and loving home to be ready for adoption. Most of the time, these animals will be slightly shy to begin, but really, they simply want a lot of love and relaxation! These are great foster animals if you are looking for a short-term companion or would like to show a stressed-out animal some love!


A large number of dogs surrendered to shelters because the owner did not properly train them or could not meet the animals’ expectations. This is a very sad reality but a great place for a foster parent to step in. You can be the person that helps gives these dogs a chance to a forever home with a great family. Some dogs need a little bit of time to work on their training and manners for them to be more adaptable. As their foster, you will work with them to gain trust in humans, proper commands, how to play appropriately, and other normal household dog expectations. This is a great foster home for someone who truly wants to see an animal’s personality shine and go to their forever home.


Hospice dogs may be struggling with many issues such as old age or cancer. Hospice fosters are not for the faint of heart. When taking in a foster dog, you have to be aware that their time here on earth is limited, and they need a comfy and loving home to spend the rest of their days. I call hospice fosters our rescue angels because they take on the grief and loss of an animal to provide them comfort at the end of life. If you are feeling like one of these amazing people, this is a great way to show animal love in the time they have left. I have not had a hospice foster in my home yet as I am not emotionally prepared for that yet, but I hope that one day I am!


As you now know, there are plenty of reasons an adult dog may need a foster home. Some situations are easier foster situations than others, but for the most part, they are not very time-consuming. They simply need love, food, a cozy home, and sometimes medical care! If you are interested in fostering dogs, there are a lot of great avenues available for you. Fostering a dog can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, and you will be able to take those skills into your pets or even further volunteer work.

I would highly recommend fostering a dog if you have never had a pet of your own and are looking to add a new furry family member. Many people adopt or buy dogs without understanding the animals’ needs and do not keep them, which adds to our already full shelter populations. Fostering a dog will give you realistic expectations of the time commitment and the living situation required for a dog as well as connecting you to resources like veterinary care and knowing how much an animal can cost. Comment below if you have fostered an adult dog and tell me about your experience!

Image via @WeResq on Facebook – they are a local nonprofit foster-based rescue providing lifesaving care for dogs in Northern Nevada and California.

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