As a shelter we are constantly bombarded with litters of young pups every day whether it be to loss of dam/no interest in this particular litter/picked up from off the road side/dumped at our gates. Because puppies/kittens demand the attention of a mother for feeding, cleaning itself and passing waste; the challenge falls onto us to foster these young lives until they are old enough to survive on their own. This is very demanding on our current staffing and as such we ask YOU the public to become foster parents to these lives.
Fostering can be very rewarding, but it does entail long hours and a bit of patience initially. These little lives are equivalent to babies but with perks. Today, we’ll discuss the process of fostering and what to expect of your furry baby!
You can help care for puppies less than 4 weeks old without requiring much space. Most landlords that don’t allow pets wouldn’t mind puppies at this age, so it’s a great way to get a dose of fluffiness without being homeless. They will happily live in a 2x2ft box or cat litter tray. When they start eating on their own and running around however, it may be time to bring them back to the shelter. Remember fostering isn’t a permanent arrangement and the shelter would be glad you helped them, even if it was only for a couple days or weeks.
Puppies are smart; at 1 week old they can tell subtle differences with temperature, taste, smell and they will choose what they like and tell you what they don’t like. It’s best to divide their living space into a nice soft heated area for sleeping and a paper litter for excrement. After a couple times of placing them on the paper while stimulating them, they will know where to go. They can feel the difference between the bed and the paper. They are that smart!
Puppies are well oiled machines. EAT, POOP, SLEEP, REPEAT! At 1 to 2 weeks of age you are required to dedicate 5 to 10 minutes per puppy every 3 hours for feeding and stimulation of excrement. At 2 to 4 weeks you need roughly 15minutes per pup every 6 to 8 hours. They will poop within minutes of feeding when stimulated, but if they don’t right away that’s okay. Be sure to leave a poop pad or paper near their bedding because they will wake up to poop and search for the pad…. No pad means they will poop where ever the puppy is standing when it is tired of searching and that’s usually in its bed.
Your puppy can’t see or hear much up to about 3 weeks old but can sniff and feel your touch from day 1; so no need to tiptoe around your foster puppy. Talking loud or turning on the lights won’t wake it. Just don’t put your hands near if you don’t intend on waking them because they will be up and crying in no time.
There are a lot of DIY videos to help you learn how to burp, feed and build DIY heating pads and if you are lost you can always ask your vet for help. In no time you will get the hang of it and really enjoy bonding with your foster.
At most shelters, ours included, it is policy not to keep young puppies or kittens that cannot look after themselves due to lack of staffing to provide round the clock care. This means without a foster stepping forward, puppies under the age of 4 weeks are readily euthanized. In fostering you have given this puppy a chance to grow up, know love and develop positive social skills that will ensure its adoptability in its future; and that in itself is the greatest reward ever! If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or you have concerns or queries you can contact our office at 639-2567/309-0219 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.