Do you take in foster pets? When taking in rescues, strays, or foster pets you need to be careful when introducing new animals into your home, even if it’s only for a short time or you think everyone looks healthy. The following five tips will help make life healthier for both your pets and your foster pets.
1. Movement Control
You know the old phrase, “a place for everything and everything in its place,” this is good advice when fostering animals. Rather than introducing everyone immediately, separate your family pets from their new foster friends. Bring the new animal directly into a room with a solid door; provide private access to food, water, and a litter box if you are fostering a cat. If you can, make it a room with low human traffic that is easy to sanitize, avoid rooms with carpeting. This step is especially important if you are unsure of the vaccination status of the pet you’re fostering. Keeping everyone separate will help stop the spread of any disease.
Wash your hands! After playing with your foster pet, handling kitty litter, coming in contact with any open wounds, or touching toys, food and water dishes wash your hands right away. Meticulous hand washing is a big step towards protecting everyone from contagious disease. Alcohol-based sanitizer can also be very useful for keeping hands clean in between washings.
3. Cleaning and Disinfection
Bleach is a cheap and effective household disinfectant. It will kill almost all viruses and bacteria. Regular cleaning with a 1:10 dilute bleach solution will keep your environment disease free for you and your pets. Put the solution in a spray bottle and use it to wipe down surfaces, pour a little into a disposable tray and use it to disinfect the soles of your shoes, or dump into a mop bucket to clean the floors.
4. Stress Control
Stress depresses the immune system, which makes your pets more susceptible to illness. A stressed pet will get sick quicker and take longer to recover. A stressed cat or dog may become anxious or agitated, which could lead to violent behavior towards you, other pets, or their environment. Keeping a new pet calm and happy will not only keep you safe, it will keep them from accidently hurting themselves as well.
5. Vet Visit
If your foster pet is old enough, vaccinate! Up to date vaccines are a key component to preventive health care. You should also have your pet dewormed. A visit to the vet is a good time to mention any concerns you may have about your foster animal as well as receive any special instructions for foster pet while it is in your care.
These five steps are a great start to a happy, healthy home, but using common sense is the most important element of any program to provide a happy, healthy, disease-free household.
If you are interested in fostering a pet go to PACA for foster information.