Where to house your puppies
You must provide a clean, safe environment for your foster dog/puppies. C.A.R.E. recommends that you always house your puppies in a non-carpeted, easily sanitized room in the event that your puppies have a contagious illness that cannot be removed from carpeting. If you end up with a contagious illness in a carpeted room, you will either have to have the carpet professionally cleaned and sanitized, or wait 6 months – 1 year to use the room again, depending on the type of illness. The ideal space for puppies is:
A) A non-carpeted spare room (bedroom, office, etc.)
B) A non-carpeted communal room with secure, dog exercise pen (living room with hardwood floors, etc.)
C) A heated garage with secure, dog exercise pen
Puppy-proofing the space
Puppy-proofing your home is much the same as child-proofing it! That means hiding or removing cords, removing small items that puppies can choke on, etc. If you choose to use a spare bedroom, or another space without an exercise pen, here are some crucial steps you need to take.
To begin, your foster room should ideally be COMPLETELY cleared out and only consist of basic puppy necessities (i.e bedding, food, water, pee pads, and toys). Puppies love to play with anything they can get their paws on and could be injured by heavy or sharp items. They also love to chew and swallow anything and everything in sight!
If you are using a spare room:
- Ideally the room will be empty (no furniture), but we realize this isn’t always possible. If furnished, be sure to “puppy-proof” any furniture they might be able to climb under, crawl on top of, or get stuck behind. Puppies are like little Houdini’s and will get themselves into trouble, get stuck, or possibly even hurt themselves if given the chance. Stuff towels and blankets into open spaces under dressers, close closet doors, etc.
- Consider protecting your furniture with sheets or plastic table covers. Puppies can be messy!
- Puppies might chew on electrical cords resulting in burns or even death. Protect your electrical cords with plastic tubing, or unplug and remove anything with a power cord, if possible.
- Puppies can choke on small items. Keep rubber bands, paper clips, needles, – anything a puppy can swallow – out of reach.
- Keep plastic bags, which can cause suffocation, out of reach.
- Secure any heavy items that could fall and potentially injure them.
- Review the toxic houseplant list and remove all poisonous plants from your household or puppy area.
C.A.R.E. will provide you with a “Baby Bag” as part of your foster supplies. This bag contains an assortment of items including medications. Make sure to put your Baby Bag in a separate room. Please do not leave it out for your foster puppies to get into as the items inside can be very dangerous to them.
How to set up your foster room
At bare minimum, puppies need the following essentials in their space:
- Soft bedding
- Water bowl
- Dry food bowls
- Puppy pee pads
Depending on the age of the puppies, they might also need a heat source, or other necessities as well.
Can my foster puppies interact with my own pets?
For the health, happiness, and safety of all, we ask that your foster puppies (and mom dog if you have one) are kept in a separate location from your personal pets and have no interaction. Puppies have small, vulnerable bodies that are susceptible not only to injury, but also to illness due to their compromised immune systems — so you’ll want to keep them separate from your own animals even if they appear healthy, for the entire duration of your foster period. Moreover, puppies often have an unknown health history and could put your dogs at risk if they are exposed to saliva or feces. Keep your personal pets up-to-date on vaccines regardless, but please keep your litter separated from current household pets at all times.
It is also recommended to wash your hands between interacting with your foster puppies and your own pets, and vice versa. If you’ve been snuggling the puppies, you may also want to change your shirt, especially if your puppies are showing any signs of illness.
Can I let my puppies explore other areas of my home?
It’s recommended to keep your puppies confined to one area of your home and yard for both health and safety reasons. If you do let your puppies explore other areas of your home, please follow the below guidelines and keep the following in mind:
- If you have animals of your own at home, do not let the puppies interact with them. This is with the health of your pets in mind (see “Can my foster puppies interact with my own pets?” above). Also keep in mind any room or space you let the puppies explore will expose that area to potential viruses or illness that your own pet can pick up. Ideally, if you would like your foster puppies to experience other areas of the home, only let them in non-carpeted areas and disinfect any surfaces they touch once they go back to their foster room.
- Do not let the puppies loose in your home, unless they are under supervision. Puppies can dash out of doors, eat/chew on things that aren’t supposed to, and might injure themselves if they are not in a puppy-proofed room.