Posted by: petsweekly | November 18, 2008

Puppy Fostering 101

Let’s start the week out with some information that we recently garnered on Puppy Fostering! We currently have two pups we’re fostering and they are, as of today, only days old. The momma was in AZ Rabies Animal Control and was just so sad… I wonder if animals go through postpartum depression? If so, she was in the throws of it.

And who could blame her. I’m not sure of her story, but she started with a litter of five pups, two died the first day and one more passed away on Day 4, when we picked up the newest members (albeit temporary) of the PetsWeekly Pack. The momma was not caring for the pups, likely due to her own hard life. She had given up – you could just see it in her eyes… So we relieved her of her puppy burden and pray that she will soon feel much better.

The Pups: In the meantime, Pup 1 and Pup 2 (both males) are doing amazingly well. They are feeding well, sleeping a lot, and whining when they are supposed too. We, however, have had a quick lesson in Puppy Fostering 101!

We hope that this week’s posts will provide you with some insight into caring for a new foster and we dearly hope that it inspires you to contact your local shelters and learn how you can provide a temporary home for puppies or kittens who have been abandoned or orphaned.

Down and Dirty:
The first thing about puppies is that they sleep, eat and poop. In that order. That’s all they do. They are like human infants, but their eyes and ears are sealed. At the age of 5 days, they operate solely on touch and smell.

These two are eating about 0.50 – 1 oz of fluid (we use Esbilac for Puppies) each, every 2 hrs or so. This works well for me, because it’s hard to get me away from the computer that often. If I hear a puppy crying, it forces me to get up and attend to them. Good for me, good for the pups. We’ll discuss more about feeding tomorrow.
Esbilac Liquid by Pet Ag

Heat is very important to these little ones. Right now, we have them in an enclosed room with no drafts, away from the other pack members (despite our pack’s affinity for new arrivals, we opted isolation for safety reasons). We use an electric blanket on low placed on the floor, the small crate they are kept in are kept on that, and if they still get chilly, we add a magnetic heat pack under the box towels they sleep on. This way, they can decide where they want to be. They can crawl pretty well…

Pooping and Peeing:
Since they can’t even do this on their own, we have to use a warm, wet cotton ball of paper towel to “copy” the mother’s licking/cleaning response. This is the bad part of the event. Puppy poop is sort of disgusting… I would get into other poops, but you know… We do this twice, before and after feeding, in order to cover our bases.

Although these guys are too little to play, we learned a lesson from the numerous squeaky toys that we bring in for our other pets. They’ve learned that if it squeaks, it’s a toy. Not a great lesson for your pets if you’re trying to foster… We’re working on establishing the difference between live pups and chew toys with Cheiss right now.

More to come… And please consider taking some fosters of your own in. Tomorrow we’ll discuss feeding methods and get into a little more detail on the heating, pooping and things to look out for in your new puppy foster! Meanwhile, be sure you’re signed up for PetsWeekly’s newsletter. We’ve got tons of great deals, new product reviews and everything an animal lover could love in our next issue!


  1. I live way off in Ohio but these stories simply break my heart. I have emailed previously regarding the animals shown on the E list and are hoping for homes. I, of course, cannot foster way back here but would like to sponsor one and nobody has ever emailed me back on how I can do this or what is required. I am especially concerned about these puppies, but also, the poor mother dog. Will you please let me know how she is doing? Animals, especially dogs and horses, are so close to my heart. All say I care for animals more than I do humans….well????? Would appreciate a reply although I realize you are quite busy.

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