Sick or Injured Foster | PAWS Chicago

Sick or Injured Foster

Pets recover more quickly in a quiet home environment where they receive loving and nurturing care.

You don’t need large amounts of medical experience to host a sick or injured dog. We will work with you to ensure that you are comfortable administering any necessary medications and address any concerns you may have.

It is extremely important that these dogs have a separate place in the home away from any resident animals. This will help ensure they get the rest they need to make a quick and full recovery. If they have been sick, it will also help ensure your resident pets stay healthy.

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 messy puppies and 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.
  • Training
    Training is another important part of fostering. For fully vaccinated animals, we host free foster classes at our Training Center (1933 N. Marcey St.). After your foster finishes basic obedience, we can move on to more advanced classes like Level 2 Obedience, agility class or nosework. Free private classes for fosters might also available for specific dogs. Call 773-475-3322 to sign up for training.
  • Socialization
    Encourage affectionate behavior with food treats or play sessions.

Treating Common Illnesses

Every animal’s situation is unique. Below is information on treating some of the most common illnesses and infections seen in foster dogs. Please refer to the care instructions specific to your foster dog, and let us know if you have any questions.

Illness or InfectionRequirements for Foster ParentFoster Home Cleaning Protocol
URI / Kennel Cough Give medication and keep the animal separated from resident animals. Use Standard Cleaning Protocols, plus:
  • Clean floors and all other surfaces with a 1:10 water-to-bleach solution.
  • Wash dishes, toys and blankets in a dishwasher and washing machine.
Giardia Give medication and keep the animal separated from resident animals.
Note: Giardia can be transmitted to people. Foster parents must wash their hands immediately after interacting with the animal and picking up stools.
Use Standard Cleaning Protocols, plus:
  • Pick up stools immediately after expelled.
Parvovirus Give oral medication and potentially fluids. Keep the animal(s) separated from resident animals, as it can be transmitted to other dogs. Use Standard Cleaning Protocols, plus:
  • Parvovirus can remain in the environment years after the animal is gone from the home. Foster parents must professionally steam clean all furniture (conventional steamers do not get hot enough) and carpeting after the animal is returned to PAWS Chicago. All surfaces will need to be wiped down with a 1:10 bleach solution as well.
Ringworm Give oral medication and medicated baths. Keep the animal(s) separated from resident animals, as ringworm can be transmitted to other animals. It is contagious to people; the young, old, and immune-compromised are more likely to get it. Good hygiene practices can help prevent transmission.
  • Please click here for cleaning instructions and to learn more about caring for your ringworm foster.
Heartworm There is a small chance that heartworm can be transmitted to other animals. Keep the foster animal on bed rest with very little activity. Keep him separated from resident animals.
Keep note of any difficulty breathing or continuous coughing.
Use Standard Cleaning Protocols

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