Frequently Asked Questions about Fostering

 

Below are some commonly asked questions about fostering. Take a moment to read through this great resource if you considering fostering or currently are fostering.

How long does it take a foster pet to be adopted?

This is one of the hardest questions to answer, because there really is no set time frame. There are so many variables – age, health and behavior of the pet, and the quality of the applicants we are getting.


Typically, older, more special needs pets take longer, as there are fewer people applying who have the capacity to provide them with proper care. It can be as short as a few days, or as long as…..well, the life of the pet. We do try to get pets into their forever homes as quickly as possible, in order to minimize the stress on them. If they stay long enough to form a permanent bond with the foster family, it makes the transition into the forever home a bit more difficult.
 

Am I expected to pay for Veterinary Care?

Veterinary care for Lakeshore PAWS foster pets are covered by Lakeshore PAWS. We have a couple “approved” Veterinarians who work with Lakeshore PAWS. Any and all vet appointments are scheduled through Lakeshore PAWS, fosters are not to take this upon themselves to do and any unapproved vets or vet appointments will be at the expense of the foster parent.
 

What if I decide to adopt the pet that I am fostering?

It happens. Some foster parents fall in love with the pets they foster. How could you not? However, please be aware that just because you are fostering, does not mean you are automatically approved to adopt. Lakeshore PAWS works very hard to match the needs of the pet to the appropriate forever home. If you do want to adopt your foster pet, we ask that you notify Lakeshore PAWS of your intentions before a potential adopter meets this pet.

What do I do with leftover medications?

If one of your fosters has to be on medication, and does not finish the drops, drugs, etc… please return those left to Lakeshore PAWS. We will reuse those drugs for future pets should they need it, this helps to minimize the costs for future needs of those same drugs. Never give your pet a medication that was not prescribed for it. When your foster pet is adopted, please do not send any medication home with it unless it is not finished with them and you’ve received approval from Lakeshore PAWS. 
 

How should I prepare for my foster?

Your existing dog will need to meet the potential foster dog first. You’ll need to set up this appointment through Lakeshore PAWS. Because we may not always have a medical history on the pets that come to us, we recommend that your own pets are up to date on all their vaccinations. Make sure your foster pet has their own space to retreat to and they should have their own feeding area if possible. 
 

Do you have any tips for the new pet at home?

  • Consider the foster pet’s history – your foster may have been abandoned, abused or surrendered by their previous family. The pet is going into a new, unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. Being gentle, considerate, kind and patient will help your foster pet ease into their new situation.

  • Take it slow – Your foster pet may be afraid and unsure of their new surroundings. If they appear scared, keep them in a small, quiet area to start, and take it slow. Be sure to give positive reinforcement (treats, petting, helps here). Don’t allow children to bother the pet if the pet is afraid. Fear can result in bites. Instead, give your foster pet plenty of time to adjust to their new surroundings, taking it one step at a time.

  • Expect mistakes – A new foster dog might eliminate in the house if not trained to use the outdoors. Even a potty trained dog can make mistakes in a new setting. He doesn’t know which door to go out or how to communicate with his new foster family. Take him outside on a leash, on a schedule and to the same spot each time. Reward with praise or treats. Feeding your dog on a schedule will also help with house training.

  • Expect a Dog to act like a Dog – Your foster pet had a whole set of different rules (if any) at his previous home. He may have been allowed to sleep in the bed or beg at the dinner table. A new foster pet may jump to greet you. They may have the urge to chew – it is up to you to teach them the rules. For your foster dog, consider crate training to assist with house training and minimize destructiveness, however only use this method if you are familiar with it and know what you’re doing. Crate training does not mean locking the foster pet up for 12-hours a day while you’re at work and then locking him up all night when you go to bed. Please consult Lakeshore PAWS if you are interested in learning more about this method.

  • It will get easier over time – Allow 3-6 weeks to adapt to his new surroundings and up to four months to fully adjust. Remember that adult pets may take longer than puppies to settle in. Set the pet up for success! Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment. Make a patient and concerted effort to achieve a successful placement. Don’t give up! The rewards of adopting a rescued pet are simply immeasurable.

  • When to bring the new pet home? – When possible, plan to pick up your new pet at the beginning of a weekend or your days off work, so you can have at least two full days with him. This will give your pet time to get acquainted with everyone. It’s best not to overwhelm your pet with excitement and noise. And do not let your dogs outside unsupervised, because he may stray away.

 

What if my foster dog/cat is aggressive?

We almost never see outright aggression, but it can happen. Watch the foster pet and your own pet carefully and learn the difference between aggression and noisy play. If things are getting out of hand, step in and separate everyone. If you are seeing outright aggression in your foster pet, notify the Lakeshore PAWS immediately so we can assess what is going on and how to manage it best. Food aggression and resource guarding are common in dogs and is often resolved by feeding your foster dog separately. Also, try to avoid situations where your pet or the foster dog will feel the need to defend their toys. You can avoid a lot of heartache by practicing prevention. 
 

What if my foster needs immediate vet care?

If your foster needs immediate vet care please contact Tracey Owens. Depending on the severity of the condition, we will determine together which one of our regular vets you should take him/her to see. We understand that you may really like your own vet; however Lakeshore PAWS vets have worked closely with many of our rescued animals and are willing to provide desperately needed discounts to our rescue group which allow us to help more animals in our care. Please understand that if you take a pet to your own vet or to an approved vet without prior authorization, it will be at your own expense. 
 

Should I be aware of any poisonous items in my home?

Are you aware of how many things around your household are potentially toxic for your foster pet? Most people don’t realize that the following common items can be deadly:

  • Raisins and/or Grapes- For reasons currently unknown to veterinary science, raisins and grapes can cause irreversible kidney failure in dogs (cats are unlikely to ingest table scraps but be aware that even small amounts can be toxic).

  • Onions and/or Garlic – Ingesting onions or garlic, even onion/garlic powder, can cause serious anemia in dogs and cats. Serious cases can result in hospitalization and even the need for blood transfusions. Should your pet accidentally ingest table scraps, be aware that even small amounts can be toxic.

  • Liquid Potpourri – cats can be seriously injured from the ingestion of liquid potpourri. Liquid Potpourri is often displayed in an open container and curious cats may taste or play with it. Some cats may inadvertently step in it and then groom it from their paws. This can result in serious burns to the skin, mouth and throat requiring intense medical care to help them through their unfortunate experience.

  • Over the counter pain meds – Do not offer your foster pet human medications such as Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl unless you have prior Veterinary authorization to do so.

  • Chocolate – Depending on the type of chocolate, there is a possibility for severe toxicity with even small ingestions. The reason? A chemical in the cocoa called theobromine. Certain chocolates have very concentrated amounts of theobromine, making them very dangerous to dogs. It’s best to avoid feeding your dog ANY type of chocolate.

  • Garden Fertilizers – some contain iron or insecticides or other compounds that can be dangerous to your pets.Coca Bean Mulch – The rich chocolate smell is enough to entice dogs. Sadly eating large amounts of this product can result in signs of chocolate poisoning in many dogs. It is best to use this product in moderation and keep pets away from it.

  • Snail baits -There are many non-toxic methods to deter pests in the garden or lawn, however a large number of commercial garden molluscicides and insecticides do contain ingredients highly toxic to domestic animals. A particular ingredient, metaldehyde, causes life threatening convulsions and seizures when eaten even in small quantities.

  • Tulips – Can be irritating to the skin and gastrointestinal tract. Life-threatening toxicity is not likely, but medications may need to be administered to calm a queasy stomach.

  • Grass Seeds – only dangerous if eaten in large quantities causing a clump and resulting in a gastric obstruction. May result in a trip to the veterinarian.

  • Heat/Humidity – while not poisonous substances, heat and humidity from summer weather can be deadly to pets. Most pets don’t perspire like humans, but use their lungs to get rid of excess heat. As the ambient temperature and humidity rise, their ability to cool in this manner fails and they suffer from heat stroke. Common signs of heat stroke include: rapid heart rate, heavy/noisy breathing, dazed appearance, glazed eyes, drooling/vomiting, collapsing. If your pet shows any of these signs, bathe him with cool, not cold, water and seek immediate veterinary care. Never leave a pet in a car on a hot day or let them ride in the back of open trucks.

  • Flea and tick products – Take the time to read the label before applying topical flea/tick products, especially to cats. There are a number of “spot on” products labeled for use in dogs only. Inappropriate use of these products on cats can result in illness/death. Please do not apply any medication to a foster pet without prior LOHPF, or approved veterinary, authorization.

  • Mushrooms – Many mushrooms are not harmful, but there are a few that are deadly and it is very, very difficult to tell them apart. If your pet eats any portion of a mushroom, contact your veterinarian or pet poison help line immediately. An entire mushroom or at least a good portion should be placed in a labeled brown bag and refrigerated for later identification by a trained mycologist. Signs are not specific and may not develop for hours/days.

  • Plants – Ingestion of poinsettia stems and leaves may cause some mild gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting but is not deadly. Ingestion of all parts of an Easter lily causes depression, vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Left untreated, most cats will die of kidney failure. Tulip bulbs, Lily of the valley, oleander, kalanchoe and azaleas are spring and summer plants that can be deadly to pets if ingested in large enough quantities. Dogs should be watched carefully when these plants are being cared for.

  • Synthetic Fireplace cones and logs – some products have metal salts such as copper. Dogs like to chew these up! Although they are able to cause intestinal tract obstruction, or may result in significant diarrhea, they are not likely to cause toxicity.

  • Ethylene Glycol Anti-Freeze – colorless, odorless, sweet tasting product that nearly all animals find to be tasty. It also happens to be one of THE MOST toxic substances found in the garage. Small quantities ingested can rapidly result in irreversible kidney failure if no intervention takes place. Early treatment is necessary for survival of your pet.

What should I do in the event of an emergency?

  1. Keep calm and try not to panic.

  2. Contact Tracey Maciejko.

  3. They will instruct you to take your foster to the closest vet. If you are not close to an approved vet and it is a life or death situation there are rare exceptions where you will be instructed to take to your nearest vet clinic or animal hospital to receive immediate care.

  4. Carry out any procedures (first aid) advised by your veterinarian.

  5. Transport your pet safely to the veterinarian as directed.

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