How Long Do You Foster a Dog?

Dog fostering is one way to help animals and communities with overcrowded shelters! It frees up valuable space and resources for them to welcome more dogs in need.

If you think you’re ready to be a dog foster parent, you might want to consider first, how long do you foster a dog?

The answer depends on so many factors. We discuss with you how long dog fostering lasts and how long before your foster dog gets put up for adoption.

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foster a dog

The Role of a Foster Dog Parent

The primary role of a foster parent is to take care of a dog while they acclimate to domestic life.

You may also be taking care of a dog whose owners are currently away or recovering from a disaster. 

So, you need to learn the dog’s personality and behavior before they go to their forever family. 

You’ll feed, shelter, and groom your dog, although their supplies will usually be provided by the shelter group,

You may also need to teach the dog some basic etiquette and behavior so that they can be more adoptable. 

It’s not easy, but it surely is rewarding! Your commitment to your furry guest will determine how successful their adoption will be. 

Remember that you need to know your limits. You will invest a lot of time and effort in them, but you will eventually have to part with them. 

If you get easily attached to a dog, then fostering may not be for you.

How Long Do You Foster a Dog For?

Fostering a dog can be flexible and it can last anywhere from one day to several months. 

This depends on the organization and the needs of the dog. 

Many dogs need to be fostered to help alleviate overcrowding in the shelter. If this is the case with your foster dog, they may be with you for several months.

Meanwhile, some are too young to be adopted so they need to be fostered first. 

Dogs may also need foster parents because they are currently recovering from an injury or surgery. These injured dogs need a safe space away from kennel stress.

This may mean that recovering dogs will only need to crash on your couch for a few weeks. 

In many organizations, the norm for the length of time to foster is two weeks. 

Some foster programs in organizations also let you commit to a year-long period of fostering different dogs with breaks in between each.

This means that you can foster about one to ten dogs over the course of a year. The time commitment for each dog depends on their needs.

This type of fostering is usually called full-time fostering. If you’re too busy for a year-long commitment, you can still volunteer when you have time.

Shelter homes may call you when a foster dog’s current foster is on vacation, or when an emergency occurs in the shelter.

How Long Before the Dog is Put Up for Adoption

Most dogs get fostered before they are put up for adoption. 

The foster care provider and the organization need to get a picture of the dog’s personality and disposition before they can be adopted.

This usually takes 10 to 14 days, depending on the shelter and the dog. This means it’s ideal to have a dog in foster care for two weeks before they get put up for adoption.

However, some animals that go into foster are already up for adoption.

The dog may stay with you for up to two months before they get adopted.

Factors that affect the length of time include:

  • breed
  • disposition
  • temperament
  • training needs
  • medical needs.


Can I Foster a Dog if I Work Full-Time?

Yes, but it will take time for you to adjust to your new priorities and schedule.

If you’re a first-time foster parent, you’ll have to undergo training and background checks from the shelter organization.

They will decide if you’re fit to foster a dog while working full-time.

Learn how to successfully foster while you’re working full-time!

What Does it Mean to Foster a Dog?

To foster means to temporarily bring home a dog and take care of them until they find a family who will permanently take care of them.

Dogs need to be fostered because the shelter may be running out of space or the owner is currently going through something, like a disaster.

Learn the requirements of fostering a dog before you commit.

How Many Dogs Can I Foster at Once?

This depends on the laws of your state and the city’s ordinances.

Usually, states limit dog fostering to three or four at a time to avoid neglect caused by too many dogs as well as noise and smell complaints from the neighbors.

Find out more about how many dogs you can foster at once

Do You Get Paid to Foster Dogs?

Dog fostering is an unpaid activity done by volunteers.

But it costs less than adopting because the shelter usually provides the needed supplies for your pooch.

They may pay for their food, supplies, and veterinary care. Sometimes, they even pay for the damages that the dog makes in your house.

If you want to get paid for fostering a dog, you may also set up private fostering arrangements.

Learn more about compensation, costs, and reimbursements for fostering a dog

What are the Pros and Cons of Fostering a Dog?

Saving a life is enough reason to foster a dog. It’s one of the most rewarding experiences any animal lover can do.

However, it also comes with as much hard work as it does cuddles. You’ll have to train, feed, and groom them.

Parting from your foster dog is also one of the hardest parts of fostering.

Weigh the pros and cons of fostering a dog before arriving at a decision!

Be the Best Dog Foster Parent!

Dog fostering is all about commitment. You need to be committed to giving a dog access to food, water, shelter, and love for a few days, weeks, or months.

Make sure to discuss the length of time you will foster with the shelter organizations to prepare yourself for the job.

Learn what each dog needs so you can identify which ones you can foster and which you can’t.

Want to foster more than one fur baby at once? Learn how many dogs you can foster now!