Fostering a Pet Can Change Your Life

if just 2% of pet-owning households fostered one pet a year, we could eliminate unnecessary euthanasia in America’s shelters.

Fostering a Pet Can Change Your Life

If you’ve been thinking of doing it, if you’ve been feeling the need to help, now’s the time. Foster a shelter pet and help save a life!

Shelters and rescues across the nation are looking for foster parents for various pets in their care. Become a foster parent and discover a rewarding experience that will change your life.

"Fostering a pet helps bring us one step closer to creating a lifesaving nation."


Fostering is the future of animal welfare. Opening your home temporarily for a pet in need not only changes a shelter pet’s life, but helps your local shelter or rescue save even more animals. There are over 85 million U.S. households that own pets. The ASPCA estimates that 1.5 million animals are euthanized each year. That means that if just 2% of those pet-owning households fostered one pet a year, giving that pet a temporary home while it waits for adoption, we could eliminate unnecessary euthanasia in America’s shelters. That is pretty incredible!


Hardworking shelters do great work every day, but you can help give shelter pets a great start by fostering.

Worried that you’re not home enough? Lots of foster parents have full time jobs and responsibilities that take them away from home for part of the day. You can still help as long as you can offer your foster pet access to food, water, a comfortable place to rest, some enrichment and adequate bathroom breaks. Keep in mind that by fostering, you can help a shelter pet get used to home life. This allows a pet’s real personality to shine.

Worried you’ll become a “foster fail” or become too attached? While your foster pet will undoubtedly work their way into your heart, in fostering, goodbye is the goal. Your kind gesture prepares a shelter pet for its future loving home and will bring you gratification seeing just how happy it is with its new pet parents.

Having doubts because of the type of pet you’ll get or for how long they’ll stay with you? There are many opportunities to foster. From puppies or kittens to senior pets … or energetic, outgoing pets to couch snugglers, your local shelter can help pair you with the right shelter pet for your lifestyle. Just be specific with your comfort level. You can even start off with a weekend or short-term foster. Not every organization may have the pet you have in mind but consider taking a pet that really needs the help. Take the advice of shelter staff, keep an open mind and you’ll be sure to find the right fit.

Not sure how your family, kids, or current pets will react? Fostering can be a fun, positive, and educational experience for you and your family. Your local shelter contact can help give you tips on how to slowly introduce your current pets to your new pets, or how to introduce kids and other family members. Family fostering is even better because it helps give shelters more information and insight so that they can help find the perfect match for your foster pet.

Even the most experienced foster will tell you that everyone learns as they go, and shelter staff can help you and support you along the way. The best thing to do is just start.

Whether you’ve fostered before, are fostering now, or are considering fostering in the future – thank you. Your act of kindness helps bring us one step closer to creating a lifesaving nation.

The Petco Foundation has launched June as National Foster a Pet month to inspire animal lovers to save the lives of shelter pets nationwide by fostering. Get in contact with your local shelter to see how you can help. Learn more and find resources at petcofoundation.org/foster