First time fostering a dog - helpful tips and advice most welcome!

(13 Posts)
LadyTurmoil Mon 30-Sep-13 21:50:49

I will be picking up my first foster dog on Saturday. Excited and nervous in equal measure. I've been organising all the equipment I'll need - bed, crate, collar lead, bowls, food etc

Question about pet insurance - have got several quotes from companies (think I'll go for the £20/month via John Lewis as they got good reviews from MN on a different thread). Do I need to tell them it's a foster rather than an adoption and do I just cancel the insurance when/if the dog is finally adopted? Is this allowed? (I will call them tomorrow to try and find out...) Also, Is there a way of transferring the insurance to another foster dog if I was to get a 2nd straight after? I'm guessing not as breed/size/age would be different, therefore changing the price quoted.

Have been reading up a lot on how to introduce a rescue dog to the family/house/environment but if you have any helpful tips I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

Congratulations Lady - well done on being a foster!

It's very unusual for a foster carer to need pet insurance - normally foster dogs' bills are covered by the rescue who is responsible for rehoming them, and their public liability insurance should also cover any 3rd party type incidents. Before you spend any money, check this with the rescue.

Do you have an existing dog or any other animals that the dog would need to get along with?

Most rescues will do what is effectively a "homecheck" for new foster carers - so fences and garden security checked, and a discussion about how vets bills/visits are to be managed, reporting arrangements, support that is offered to you etc.

See if you can find out what food the dog has been on (if known) so you can continue with that for at least a few days.

Is the dog coming from a relinquishing owner, a pound, a kennel or directly from abroad? It's useful to know things like whether it's housetrained, any previous experience of living in a house, and anything known about its nature. Even if the dog is housetrained, you should be prepared for accidents in the house over the first few days. Marking wees are normal and upset tums are too as the moving/stress can affect digestion. Make sure you have good wee cleaner stocked up. grin

Check what ID tags the dog will be wearing and if is already chipped. Make sure you have a note of chip number, and who to contact if dog is lost etc.

Remember that the first few days are when the dog is most likely to bolt, run or escape and when it is most vulnerable since it does not know you or the area. Make sure therefore that you and all family members are fully briefed on keeping doors/gates shut, that dog is wearing well fitting, breed specific collar and sturdy lead, you don't let dog off lead, and that you are super careful in gardens, open spaces etc.

If a bitch, you may or may not know spay status. It's very typical for season to start after moving house - seems to trigger it v often. Rescue should be able to advise you on how to manage/proceed with this.

Take things v gently for the first few days - concentrate on building a routine for the dog and don't over-fuss (no matter how tempting!). As dog relaxes and becomes more confident, you can gradually interact more.

Good luck!

LadyTurmoil Mon 30-Sep-13 23:16:31

She is coming from Croatia via Action Aid for Animals. I was just about to contact a local UK rescue about fostering but then saw her - she was a "death row" dog and looked so lovely that I offered to foster her. She is about a year old, spayed, has been in a shelter but taken for walks weekly by volunteers (lots of photos with people, children and other dogs). She always looks relaxed and is usually lying down after the walk! I talked directly to the lady in Croatia and she gave me good feedback about her behaviour/temperament so I decided to go ahead. I know that I don't have experience to deal with a dog with issues like food aggression or fear aggression so it was important to find an "easy" dog (or perhaps better to say one that doesn't have obvious problems) and she seems a good fit.

Have had a homecheck done which was fine. Don't have other dogs or cats in the house but hope she will (once settled) go on walks with friends/family who have dogs. Have looked after their dogs for weekends and holidays so have some experience! Am prepared to do training, especially recall and expect to have some accidents in the house in the first few weeks. Planning to feed chicken/rice during first few days and homechecker suggested J Wellbeloved Ocean Fish and Rice, although I might go for raw feeding. Homechecker also lives a couple of roads away and has rescued Rommies so I know there's someone nearby to ask if necessary! Asked rescue tonight about microchip as I want to know if it should go on ID tag (presume they swop it from Croatian one to UK but awaiting answer from them).

This is what they say about insurance and other stuff: ^"During the dog or cats stay with you, we would expect you to take out pet insurance , and if a trip to the vet is needed to do so. We would also expect you to feed the dog or cat regular nutritious meals, give him or her regular exercise and plenty of positive human interaction.

Whatever you pay out for the pooch or pussy cat please keep the receipts and when the dog or cat is adopted we will reimburse you... We are talking about basic care, health and safety. If you do find they have any behaviour problems etc we are there to support you, with on hand advice and a behaviourist to give top training tips etc . We hope to make your fostering experience as easy as possible."^

Thanks so much for your advice Scuttle, I know you've got tons of experience so it's really helpful. (apologies for length of post)

LadyTurmoil Mon 30-Sep-13 23:25:43
Iamaslummymummy Tue 01-Oct-13 06:29:58

I've fostered with action aid for animals.

You pay the insurance and they reimburse you. You simply cancel it when the dog is adopted. You call up pet log when you get the passport which has the chip number on and they register the dog to your details. It's best to use a harness as they often don't like having the collar and lead.

Good luck and enjoy!

Iamaslummymummy Tue 01-Oct-13 06:31:26

She's lovely!

LadyTurmoil Tue 01-Oct-13 10:09:31

Thanks slummy I was hoping you might come along. smile

Just having a look, Lady. She looks gorgeous!

Right, MAKE SURE you have 3rd party liability as part of your insurance. Easiest and quickest way to do this if ever unsure is to join Dogs Trust - it's part of hte membership package. And don't skimp on hte medical insurance.

You might find if she has been chipped abroad that the chip is in a different place - mention this to your vet on first visit so tehy know to scan more widely. Also mention her origins to your vet as it means that she will have possibly been exposed to illnesses that are not endemic here and if there are curious symptoms this will help vet to consider possibilities. Hopefully you won't need this, but it's useful for vet to have whole picture.

James W is fine as a kibble - I love raw feeding but don't try to do too much too soon - just concentrate on getting her settled in before you start getting into dietary changes. Give her sardines a couple of times a week - brilliant for their coats.

Don't rush into doing the training - for the first few days just concentrate on establishing a routine. She will have a lot of new stuff going on to cope with. If you feel she is settled after a few days, then just do a few minutes a day with your clicker in the garden to start with. Keep a few tasty treats in your back pocket and if you call her, whenever she comes to you, give a treat. I often do this with ours, as part of just the daily household routines - anything which helps build up the picture that you are the source of all good things, and responding to calls gets rewarded.

Keep us all posted - we want lots of pics grin (looks sternly over spectacles) and progress reports.

LadyTurmoil Sun 06-Oct-13 00:35:20

Phew - after a 5 1/2 hour wait at South Mimms with some other lovely ladies picking up dogs (one was driving 4 hrs back to Wales after, poor thing), the van arrived!

Aga seems lovely, considering the tough last few days she must have had, she was fine in collar and lead, had a good sniff around the car park, poo in the crate on the way home. Gave her a bit of chicken and rice, she drank tons of water, had a wander round the garden, sat nicely for a few treats.

Others went up to bed, she went outside again, when she came in I ignored her and she went into her crate and has gone to sleep. I just need to close the crate now...

Will try and put up a couple more pics tomorrow but so far so good. The only thing is I just realised that the transport people gave out the pet passports to the other ladies and didn't give one to me shock. Will contact AAFA in the morning, suppose they can post to me

Hope it continues to go well! Look forward to your updates x

LadyTurmoil Sun 06-Oct-13 22:52:40

Well, first day has been good! Clean crate in the morning, I think she slept better than I did - kept waking up straining to hear if all quiet downstairs. Went out for a walk, she's pretty friendly to people and was fine when a couple stopped to chat and pat her. She met a few dogs more cautiously but perfectly well. She does pull like heck sometimes but will start a bit of training tomorrow or the next day.

Has followed me upstairs a couple of times (we decided she should stay down), is a bit more nervous of my husband but is very sweet overall. Still a bit stinky from the shelter and travelling so it may be bath time tomorrow. Now curled up on rug while I catch up on Downton!

Aww she is lovely and that all sounds really positive for the start. Best of luck smile

LadyTurmoil Thu 10-Oct-13 14:33:01

First few days have been fine. She's extremely friendly to everyone, enjoys her walks. Has a dodgy tummy since Sat when I picked her up so have only been giving her chicken and rice.

Decided to let her sleep without crate as really difficult to get her into it at night. Typically, OH went down first today and she'd pooed over floor, blood in it as well. She'd also chewed wireless computer mouse to bits!

Vet has prescribed Metronidazole tablets twice a day for 7 days and Fucithalmic eye drops for conjunctivitis (also 7 days). £70 for consultation and medicine! Shock at cost of vets as a new fosterer!

On a positive note, decided to take her to the groomers yesterday rather than do bath myself and she smells so much better now!

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