Hospice Foster | PAWS Chicago

Hospice Foster

A hospice dog is suffering from a terminal disease but is not in pain.

We rely on our network of hospice fosters to provide these canines with a comfortable, loving home to spend their last days, weeks or months.

These animals will need the foster parents to administer medications, assess their health and alert the foster team of any serious changes.

Stock Up on Supplies

PAWS Chicago will provide:

  • Food
  • Crate
  • Collar and leash
  • Any necessary medications

You will provide:

  • Food bowls: You will need two bowls—one for wet food and one for dry food. The more dogs you have, the more bowls you will need.
  • Water bowl: Use ceramic, porcelain or stainless steel bowls, which are heavy and impossible to tip. Do not use plastic; it is difficult to disinfect. It’s important that every dog has access to clean water at all times.
  • Bedding: Old towels make the best bedding! We suggest making a nice, warm sleeping area in your foster pup’s crate.
  • Toys: Disposable and easily sanitized toys are a must! Good choices include Kong-brand toys stuffed with treats and edible toys.
  • Pee pads (optional): Most foster dogs will need some help being housetrained. Keeping pee pads next to the door can isolate unwanted elimination to one area.

Set Up Your Foster Room

You will need to keep your foster dog in one room. The foster room is where your foster will eat, drink, sleep and play.

Choose a room in your home that can be easily temperature controlled (no drafts or open windows). We highly recommend that this room have floors that are easy to wipe up and mop. The room should also be able to withstand playful dogs who may knock over a food dish, spill their water or tear up their pee pads.

Make Sure It’s Safe

Puppies and dogs are curious, playful and often mischievous. Don’t leave anything out that your foster pet can chew, swallow or break (electrical cords, hair ties, glassware, etc.). Look for places where your foster can hide and be sure to block access to those areas.

One tip: Lie down on the floor and look at your safe space from your new foster’s point of view to ensure it’s completely safe.

Caring for Your Foster Dog

  • Isolation
    Keep your foster dog isolated from any other animals in the home unless otherwise discussed.
  • Health checks
    It is crucial that you monitor your foster dog’s appetite, attitude, energy level and appearance every day. We encourage our foster parents to keep a log. If something seems off or different, it’s easy to go back and pinpoint when the problem began.
  • Feeding
    Dogs should be fed at least twice daily. Please feed your foster dog the food we have provided. If he refuses to eat his food, please contact us. We will help you determine your next steps. Wash his wet food dish between servings. If you have multiple foster pets, always be sure to feed them in separate crates or separate parts of the house. If your foster dogs (or your foster and resident pet) are fighting over food or toys, contact us immediately.
  • Housetraining
    At the beginning, take your adult foster dog outside 20 minutes after he has eaten or has had water and every hour that you are home. Take him to a designated “potty spot” and praise him every time he goes with a happy voice and a treat. Note stool consistency. If you can’t supervise your new foster dog, he should be crated.
  • Enrichment
    All foster dogs crave playtime. We recommend at least four 20-minute play sessions spread over the course of the day. Include fetch, hide and seek and scavenger hunts. Change your foster’s environment daily by adding new objects and toys.
  • Socialization
    Encourage affectionate behavior with food treats or play sessions.

See Animals in Need of Foster

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