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Caring for your foster dog

Ensure the safety of your foster dog.

  • Dog-proof your home to make sure there are no dangerous items to chew at pet-level.
  • Help a young or energetic foster dog safely satisfy the need to chew (and offer ongoing stimulation!) by providing the dog with a variety of safe and durable toys, such as Kong toys that can be stuffed with kibble or healthy treats.
  • You may want to keep a "doggie toy box" of safe toys. Once your foster dog discovers that he has access to anything and everything in the box, the dog is much less likely to chew items in the house that belong to you.
  • Dogs should be kept indoors. When outside they must be secure in a large fenced area with plenty of shade.
  • Dogs must always be walked on a leash.

Provide for the dog's basic needs: food, water, shelter.

  • The Branch will supply food and toys, however, many foster parents want to pick out their own special toys for their foster dog.

Spend quality time with your foster dog.

  • Dogs are social animals and must be able to spend a good deal of time with you in your home if they are to learn the lessons that will help prepare them for life with their new family.
  • Regardless of age, most foster dogs will benefit from exposure to a variety of positive situations and settings.
  • You must be able to commit time to exercising your foster dog. Your foster program coordinator will help you understand what exercise is appropriate for your dog based on its breed, age and health.


  • Brush regularly, especially long-haired dogs.

Begin very basic training.

  • Housetraining and basic training, such as sit, help teach your foster dog polite behaviour and increase the dog's chance of adoption.

Observe and report any problems with the dog to the foster care coordinator.

  • Watch closely to ensure your foster dog has normal stool and is eating and drinking normally.
  • Closely observe incisions following all surgeries (including spay and neuter) each day for several days. Any signs of illness or infections, such as redness, swelling or oozing from an incision site should be reported to the Branch immediately.

Medicate when needed.

  • If your dog is put on medications, it is important that you follow the directions carefully. Continue all medications as directed. Do not stop giving medications just because the dog looks better.
  • All medications and veterinary care costs will be covered by the Ontario SPCA. It is important that you follow the policies for obtaining medications and veterinary care. The Branch has set procedures in place in order to control costs related to veterinary care for our animals.

Transportation to and from veterinarian when needed.

  • Always use a leash. Please be on time for your scheduled appointments.
  • Dog seat belts or secured crates are recommended for travel.

Maintain medical records and bio for your foster dog.

  • Keep all medical records and provide to the shelter when requested (vaccinations, spay/neuter, deworming etc.).
  • Write a bio about your foster dog's personality, special talents, and unique quirks to help shelter staff find the best home for your foster dog.

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