Puppy Foster Care

Puppy Fostering

The San Francisco SPCA takes in underage puppies who are too young for adoption and need a nurturing environment until they are old enough for adoption. We are looking for volunteers who can commit to fostering puppies in their home for 1-4 weeks. These puppies are young and will require more individual attention and care then they would receive in a shelter setting, making the foster home an ideal placement. Foster volunteers care for the puppies in their home, ensuring that their basic needs for food, warmth, safety, and socialization are met, while closely monitoring their health and growth. As their caretakers, foster volunteers schedule and bring their puppies for regular vaccine appointments. We’ll provide you with food, supplies, and the support you need every step of the way.

Is Fostering Puppies For Me?

Fostering puppies is hard but also rewarding work.  Please ask yourself the questions below to see if fostering is a good fit for you and your family:

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

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

Foster puppies are young and curious and must be kept in an enclosed and easily sanitizable space, such as a bathroom or kitchen. Additionally, foster puppies must remain separate from resident pets and all other animals 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 puppies do make a mess sometimes, and may have diarrhea and/or vomit if they become ill. Your puppy space must also be sanitized between litters of foster puppies. Additionally, puppies can ruin carpeting, and other household items. 

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

A puppy’s foster period is generally 1-4 weeks, depending on their age, weight, and health. When agreeing to take foster puppies we ask that you commit to the entire duration. However, if an emergency or unforeseen situation does occur, you are able to return the puppies to the SF SPCA. 

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

Puppies, much like human babies, often do not sleep through the night. They may be up “crying” in the wee hours for 20 minutes (or longer), which can make it difficult to sleep if they are in close proximity to your bedroom. This is something to discuss with family members and roommates ahead of time.

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 puppies might be a great volunteer opportunity for you.  Here’s how to get started:

How to Get Started

1. The first step in becoming puppy foster volunteer is to attend a Puppy Foster Volunteer Orientation.  Please choose a foster orientation from the dates listed below:

Wednesday September 18th, 4-6pm ~ Mission Campus Community Room 201 Alabama St.

Adult Dog Fostering Orientations:

**Please check back for future orientation dates**

2. Complete a foster volunteer application and include your desired orientation date. Please note that this application is for foster applicants only (register and fill out an application here, you will be automatically registered for your desired orientation date).
3. Read our Foster Puppy Manual (969 KB)
4. Attend the Puppy Foster Volunteer Orientation
5. The Foster team will work with you to schedule your first puppy pick-up!

Read more about foster parent roles and responsibilities

Ready To Adopt?