Foster Care

Care for underage, sick or injured animals who cannot immediately be adopted through our adoption program. Sign up for a foster class.

Update: We Need Canine Foster Parents!

Thank you for your interest in fostering! We are currently looking for volunteers who can foster puppies and adult dogs; we have enough feline foster parents at this time. In addition to general dog foster parents, we are especially in need of volunteers who can foster large dogs who are 40+ lbs. A safe outdoor space is a plus!

To become a canine foster parent, click the “Become a Puppy Foster Parent” link below (for adult dog fosters, please attend the Puppy Foster Parent class). Read the FAQs, view upcoming orientation dates, and then sign up for an orientation session.

Questions? Email

Become an Adult Dog or Cat Foster Parent

For adult dog fostering, please attend a Puppy Foster Parent class. For adult cat fostering, please attend a Kitten Foster Parent class. Email for questions.

Is Fostering for Me?

We ask that you spend a minimum of 2 hours per day providing invaluable socialization
and care for your kittens/puppies.

A flexible schedule or varying schedule of household members is ideal for foster volunteering. That said, most SF SPCA foster volunteers do work full time and manage to care for their animals. We don’t recommend leaving foster animals unattended for more than 8-9 hours per day.

The SF SPCA requires foster volunteers to live within 45 minutes of the Mission District campus.

Foster kittens/puppies will need to be brought in for vaccine appointments every two weeks, and for additional medical appointments if they become ill.

Foster kittens/puppies are tiny and curious and must be kept in an enclosed space that can be easily sanitized, such as a bathroom or kitchen with a door. Additionally, foster animals must remain separate and isolated from resident pets at all times.

Foster puppies are prohibited from meeting any animals on the street or park. Because the puppies are not yet fully vaccinated, they are susceptible to contracting potentially fatal canine diseases that are present in the environment, such as Parvovirus. For this reason, they are also prohibited from walking on the ground outside the home.

Foster kittens/puppies do make a mess sometimes, and may have diarrhea and/or vomit if they become ill. Your space must also be sanitized between litters of foster animals. Additionally, they can ruin curtains, carpeting, and other household items.

Please understand that only our medical team can treat foster animals.

A kitten/puppy foster period is generally 2-4 weeks, depending on their age, weight, and health. When agreeing to take foster animals we ask that you commit to the entire duration. However, if an emergency or unforeseen situation does occur, you are able to return them to the SF SPCA. 

It can be difficult to bring back animals once you have become emotionally attached, but there are always more who need a foster home!

This can be very difficult, but the sad truth is that, though rare, it occasionally happens.

Foster volunteering will provide both of these experiences in abundance!

If you answered “yes” to all these questions, then fostering might be a great volunteer opportunity for you. 

Ready To Adopt?