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Fostering Puppies

Everyone loves puppies! They are cute, fun, and curious. Ever wonder what special elements are needed to foster puppies? We’ve compiled a guide on some important things to keep in mind. Read below and reach out to us if you have any questions. And a big thank you to all who foster these little friends!


In order to consider fostering a puppy or two, you must be able to provide a healthy & safe environment, puppy food, pee pads, regular interaction time, activity options, and socialization beyond normal adult dog needs. Above all, be up for the challenge. Every pup is different and needs a variety of tools to become a happy, functional dog. What works for one, may need to be tweaked for another.


Fostering this stage of life does require schedule flexibility, as puppies need food, water, and attention multiple times a day. Sometimes puppies come to us sick, and need to be medicated also. Many puppy foster parents note how rewarding this work is; saving lives plus the joy of puppyhood without a full lifetime commitment are just two of the perks!


One of the most important things about fostering puppies is their lack of a completely developed immune system to fight potentially fatal canine diseases. This means puppies must stay at home until they are fully vaccinated. This is typically around four months of age. If other dogs are in the house, foster puppies should be separated, plus toys, food and water bowls not shared, for at least two weeks.


After this age, socialization is essential. Between the ages of 3–12 weeks, puppies form lifelong bonds and internalize their interactions with people, dogs, and other animals. Lack of exposure and/or bad experiences can lead to fear and aggression problems later. It is best to safely bring puppies around a wide range of people and other animals, especially cats, if possible. This kind of positive exposure is also important with common household sounds such as appliances and televisions.


Finally, patience, patience, patience. Puppies, much like human babies, are constantly learning. Sometimes this means testing boundaries. While their intentions are pure, frustrations can arise. Stepping away from the situation for a moment is always helpful, as well as knowing when to ask others for help.


Fostering puppies is not for everyone but if you are interested, check out how you can help with Friends of Dogs today! Being a foster parent is such a rewarding experience and has a real impact on many lives.

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