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Marijuana and Its Effect on Your Pets

With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in California, many cannabis-consuming pet owners find themselves asking one important question: can marijuana use inside the home have an effect on domestic pets? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. When pets like dogs and cats come into contact with marijuana (whether via heavy secondhand smoke or in the form of edibles), marijuana toxicity and even fatal poisoning can occur. In fact, veterinarians in Canada (where cannabis legalization is anticipated within the year) have already reported an increase in the number of dogs treated for marijuana toxicity within the past year.

Symptoms of Marijuana Poisoning in Pets

Pet owners who wish to indulge in marijuana should be aware of the most common signs of marijuana poisoning in pets, which include (but are not limited to):

  • seizures
  • lethargy
  • dilated pupils
  • hyperactivity
  • unusual vocalization
  • walking “drunk”

Pets experiencing marijuana poisoning may also show less obvious signs, such as a lowered heart rate and low blood pressure, though these must usually be confirmed by a veterinarian.

What to Do if Your Pet Shows Signs of Marijuana Poisoning

If your pet shows any signs of marijuana poisoning and you have reason to believe your pet has ingested any amount of marijuana, it’s imperative that you seek veterinary care immediately. While the risk of death from marijuana poisoning is relatively low in larger pets (such as large breed dogs), it is possible for marijuana poisoning to be fatal. This is especially true if a pet has consumed an edible that contains other known toxins, such as chocolate. These toxins combined can slowly shut down your pet’s vital organs and, if not treated immediately, could result in death.

Most often, marijuana poisoning in pets can be effectively treated through the administration of activated charcoal, which reduces the body’s absorption of toxins and speeds up their processing time within the body.

Will Secondhand Smoke Harm Your Pet?

While your pet is unlikely to become affected by small amounts of second-hand smoke within your home, he or she could develop marijuana toxicity or poisoning if subjected to heavy amounts of smoke in an enclosed or non-ventilated space. It’s also important to consider the potential health dangers of any level of smoke inhalation to your pet, as it can be irritating and damaging to your pet’s lungs and respiratory system.

Does Medical Marijuana Work for Pets?

The jury is still out on this; while some evidence has suggested that medical marijuana can help alleviate pain and other symptoms in pets, there have been no widely accepted studies done on the matter. For this reason, pet owners are advised to keep marijuana away from house pets at all times.

Keeping Your Pet Safe Around Marijuana

The best way to keep your pet safe from the risk of marijuana poisoning is to treat marijuana like any other toxin in your home and keep it out of your pet’s reach. This applies not only to marijuana in leaf or bud form, but edibles as well. Keeping marijuana and edibles inside a glass jar or other enclosed container away from your pet’s reach will reduce the likelihood of an accident.

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Submit our website contact form below or call our Santa Rosa location at 707-595-3834 or our Rohnert Park location at 707-206-9000 if you have questions about how to care for your pet.

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Debunking Myths About Dog Food

As a pet owner, you will probably seek out a lot of information on the Internet about caring for and feeding your dog. While there are some great resources online, there’s also plenty of misinformation lurking around, proposing unsupported theories and false claims about what’s best to feed your canine companion and what you should avoid.

Did you know that dogs do not actually like or need “variety” in their food? As long as your canine gets all the nutrients that he needs to be healthy, there’s no reason to vary his food. Scientific studies show that dogs simply do not have the same type of taste buds that we humans have, and they do not crave “something else” occasionally like we do.

Have you ever heard about hypoallergenic dog food brands? Turns out there are actually no 100% hypoallergenic food, and simply cannot be. Studies have observed that allergies in dogs differ based on individual canine: some dogs may be allergic to beef, while other dogs may be allergic to a certain vegetable in the dog food formula.

Top Dog Tips has put together a massive infographic of 32 of these dog food myths, some of which may surprise and fascinate you, disputing them with some credible resources and scientific evidence. Take a look:

Dog Food Myth Infographic

Human Foods That Are Safe For Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats often beg for human food. However, some of these foods can be harmful for pets. In order to prevent illness and other problems, owners need to know which foods are appropriate for their pets and which may be harmful.

Dangerous Human Foods

Some of the foods that may be dangerous for pets include:

  • Chocolate, caffeine and coffee – When pets ingest these substances in large amounts, they may experience panting, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and other symptoms. If the dose is high enough, death may occur.
  • Grapes and raisins – Grapes and raisins contain a toxic substance that can cause kidney failure for pets.
  • Xylitol – Xylitol is used to sweeten toothpaste, candy, gum and other products. When pets eat this substance, it causes them to release insulin and may lead to liver failure. Pets who have consumed xylitol may become uncoordinated and lethargic. They may also vomit or have seizures.
  • Dairy products – Pets don’t produce large amounts of lactase, which is required to break down the lactose found in dairy products. When pets eat too much dairy, they may develop vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Chives, garlic or onions – These items can damage red blood cells and cause gastrointestinal upset. Although these substances are most dangerous for cats, dogs may react badly as well.
  • Macadamia nuts – Macadamia nuts are dangerous for dogs. They can cause tremors, vomiting and weakness.
  • Salty foods – Pets that consume too much salt may develop sodium ion poisoning, which can be severe and may be fatal. Pet owners should avoid feeding pets anything containing a large amount of sodium.
  • Yeast dough – If a pet consumes yeast dough, the dough may rise in the pet’s stomach, leading to bloating and pain. In some cases, rising yeast dough may cause the stomach to twist, which may be life-threatening and requires immediate medical treatment.
  • Cooked bones – Cooked bones may splinter in the pet’s digestive system, which leads to internal bleeding, intestinal perforation and other complications.
  • Alcohol – Pets should not consume alcoholic beverages or food products, as alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, tremors, decreased coordination and other problems. Some doses of alcohol may be fatal.

What Foods Are Safe for Pets?

Some human foods are safe for your pet, as long as you feed them to the pet in moderation. Some of the foods pets can eat safely include:

  • Cooked meat
  • Peanut butter
  • Cooked eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Honey
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Pineapple
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Mango
  • Raspberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peaches

Although many pets enjoy human foods, feeding your pet the wrong food can be dangerous and even deadly. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian to make sure a specific food is safe for your dog or cat before you allow the pet to eat it.

Further Reading

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Submit our website contact form below or call our Santa Rosa location at 707-595-3834 or our Rohnert Park location at 707-206-9000 if you have questions about how to care for your pet.

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Is Pet Insurance Worthwhile?

Have you made plans for your pet’s healthcare? All it takes is one accident for you to end up with thousands of dollars in veterinary bills, or the heart wrenching decision of whether or not you can afford to get care for your pet. One way to avoid this struggle is with pet insurance, but many pet owners don’t understand what their options are. Here’s what you need to know about pet insurance, how it works and whether it’s worth it.

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is insurance for your pet that’s similar to your health insurance. Just like your health insurance, your policy will have deductibles, co-pays, maximum payouts, and pre-existing condition exemptions. If your pet is sick or injured, you will be able to get help paying for the problem after these out-of-pocket expenses are covered.

Most pet insurance policies are slightly different than medical insurance in that they reimburse the pet owner for the costs, rather than paying the veterinarian directly. With this setup, you pay the vet’s bill yourself, then get reimbursed from your insurance provider.

Benefits of Pet Insurance

Imagine a scenario where your otherwise healthy pet jumps off of the couch and breaks his leg. You take him to the vet, only to find that he needs surgery to properly repair the leg. You are looking at several thousands of dollars of veterinary care. Can you afford it?

Pet insurance gives you peace of mind, knowing that you can get the best possible care for your pet, without worry for how much it will cost. With pet insurance, you will not face that heart wrenching decision of how much care you can afford for your pet.

Drawbacks of Pet Insurance

Like health insurance, pet insurance isn’t perfect. Your policy will have a maximum payout, and if you that payout is too low, you may still end up with a hefty vet bill. Second, you always have the reality that you may not need the insurance. This means that over your pet’s lifetime, you will pay out hundreds of dollars, with no benefit. There’s just no way to know whether your pet will need the policy until it’s too late to get it. Also keep in mind that almost all pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

If your pet has a serious illness or accident, pet insurance is definitely worthwhile. If your pet leads a normal, healthy life, without a serious event, then you could pay thousands in premiums for a policy that you never use. That’s the risk you take with insurance.

However, even with an event, you still need to carefully consider the cost. Each insurance provider has a different payment structure with a combination of co-pays, deductibles, and premiums. It’s possible to invest in pet insurance that ends up being more costly, even with a medical event, than the costs you would have faced without coverage. Before you buy, carefully read all of the details of the policy, and consider crunching the numbers to see what you would pay and save with a $5,000 veterinary bill.

In the end, you must decide if peace of mind is worthwhile for you. If it is, then shop for a policy that will provide it for you. Always read the policies carefully to determine if the savings are worth the cost. In the end, you’re taking measures to protect your pet’s health, and that is the most important thing any pet owner can do.

Further Reading

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Expense?


In addition to buying pet insurance or saving for medical needs, make sure you are planning for your pet’s comfort as well. Paradise Pet Resorts is here to provide grooming and boarding services whenever you need them. Learn more about our services by contacting Paradise Pet Resorts today!

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Benefits of Dog Daycare

Quality dog daycare should be like a supervised play date for your pet. Doggie daycare should give your pet the chance to socialize with other pets and pet caretakers, while enjoying exercise and generally having fun.

Dog daycare should also provide mental stimulation with a variety of activities, rather than just allowing your dog to run around in a dog run. Truly beneficial daycare for dogs lets your dog experience new settings, novel activities and situations. Your dog will also have healthy meals and snacks at a top-notch dog daycare facility.

Pet Daycare Benefits Owners Too

Professional dog daycare (which is available for cats too) gives you peace of mind that your pet is cared for while you’re away from home. It can even be used when you are at home, but need, for instance, time to bond with a new baby, have the house painted or other projects.

With dog daycare, there’s no need to crate your pet, put him outside or isolate her in a separate area of your home when you’re working on something that’s not dog-friendly. When you’re at work or school, dog daycare assures you that your canine companion is safe and well taken care of, so you can concentrate on your tasks at hand.

Dog daycare also saves you time, since your dog gets plenty of exercise during the day, you may not need to take him or her on a long evening walk. If you’re taking a trip, the best dog daycare businesses also offer a comfortable, safe environment for overnight and longer-term stays. All in all, dog daycare and/or boarding can be a better option than leaving your pet alone or arranging short visits from a dog walker.

Choosing the Best Doggie Daycare

For your furry best friend, of course, not just any dog daycare will do. It’s important to make sure your dog has the best possible experience that is superior to being left at a typical dog kennel. To ensure safety and the best experience for your dog, ask the following questions:

  • Ask for a tour of the dog daycare facility.
  • How are the dogs monitored throughout the day? Give extra points if the facility offers a web cam so you can check in. Will your dog be taken off the premises for some activities or walks? If so, how is their safety ensured?
  • Ask about the screening for other animals your dog will be spending time with. Are vaccination records checked?
  • Does the facility appear clean and well kept? Do the caretakers seem to love their jobs and the dogs?
  • What type of diet and snacks will your dog receive? Can you specify a special diet if needed?
  • Does the daycare offer a variety of activities? Is there a pool or other unique and mentally stimulating activities?
  • Are extra services offered, such as monthly teeth cleaning?
  • Are related services that you might need offered at the same location? On-site services ideally include: dog training, grooming and overnight pet boarding.

What About the Costs of Dog Daycare?

Costs vary widely, so you should consider the level of quality care and exercise your pet will receive while at the dog daycare you select. Kennels where pets are simply caged may (or may not) be lower on the cost scale. Choose a facility you’re truly impressed with, to be sure you and your pet get excellent value. If your dog appears happy and a bit tired at day’s end, you’ve likely chosen the right spot!

At Paradise Pet Resorts, we offer a true “pet vacation” experience at our dog daycare, with plenty of exercise and fun for your pet. Submit our website contact form below or call our Santa Rosa location at 707-595-3834 or our Rohnert Park location at 707-206-9000 if you have questions about our pet care services.

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Adopting a Dog? Read Our Checklist

Adopting a dog is a great way to add a new member to your family, but it’s also a lifetime commitment. Before you take the plunge and pay that adoption fee, go over the checklist below to make sure you’re ready.

Dog Adoption Checklist

  1. Know what to expect.The first few days with your new dog may be challenging. Your dog may feel scared and confused until he gets comfortable in his new environment. Don’t expect everything to be perfect immediately. It will take some time for your new pet to fall into a routine and build a relationship with each member of your family. Be patient with your pet and help him ease into his new life.
  2. Prepare your home.Before you bring your new dog home, you need to make sure your home is ready for his arrival. Dog proof the area where he will spend the majority of his time by removing anything that could be hazardous to his health. You should also remove any fragile items from this area that your dog might decide to chew. Use baby gates to block your pet out of areas he shouldn’t be and make sure that all of your family members know how to operate the gates.
  3. Purchase supplies.Make sure you have everything you need for your dog before you bring him home. Some of the items you may need include a collar, a leash, food and water dishes, a crate, toys and treats. You will also need to purchase dog food. To ease your dog’s transition into his new environment, ask the adoption center what type of food the dog is currently eating so that you can keep his feeding routine the same for the first few days or weeks.
  4. Be prepared to train.Your dog’s training should begin as soon as he comes into the house. Decide what methods you will use to train the dog before the adoption, and make sure that all of your family members are familiar with your training plan. To improve the effectiveness of your training program, develop a schedule for your dog and stick to it from the beginning. Keep in mind that it may take some time for your dog to understand what is expected of him, so be patient.
  5. Find a veterinarian.Find a qualified veterinarian before you bring your new family member home. Even if he had a checkup and shots before you adopted him, it is still a good idea to have a veterinarian in mind in case your dog shows any signs of illness.

Old BeagleAdopting a pet can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences, but it is important to be prepared. By following this list, you can be sure that you are ready to bring your new friend home.

Thinking about adopting an older animal?  Consider these reasons to adopt an older pet.

October is ASPCA’s National Adopt A Shelter Dog and American Humane Association’s Adopt a Dog month and we support the work of these two organizations that have joined forces on a national campaign to bring awareness to the many pets in shelters or left homeless or abandoned all over the country. We partner with many local pet adoption agencies and shelters to find homes for Sonoma County’s dogs and cats.

Please contact Paradise Pet Resorts with any questions you may have about adopting, caring for and training your pet.

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How to Read Your Pet’s Body Language

Have you ever wished your pet could really tell you what she’s thinking? While dogs and cats can’t talk, they do give us a lot of clues to go on through their body language. Dogs and cats use different signals, but both send out a lot of non-verbal communication. We just need the tools to recognize the signs.

What Your Dog Is Saying

Black DogA dog’s mouth communicates a lot. A dog who is happy and relaxed may allow his mouth to hang open and maybe his tongue to loll out. When he is holding his mouth closed and tight, however, it can be a sign that he is tense or upset. Panting can be a sign that your dog is overheated or that he is stressed.

Dogs do a lot of their talking with their tails. A tail that is wagging back and forth doesn’t always mean a happy and friendly dog. Some dogs wag their tails when they are feeling aggressive; use other cues for a dog who you don’t know. When a dog is relaxed, his tail will hang down into its natural position.

A dog’s posture can be one of the best communication tools, especially for an animal who you don’t know. A dog who is trying to look smaller may feel scared or submissive. A relaxed demeanor shows that the dog is happy and contented. If a dog is standing stiffly, it may feel threatened or by showing aggression for other reasons.

Communication from Cats

relaxed catMuch of a cat’s body language is the opposite of what you’ll see from a dog. A cat who is relaxed, for instance, will hold her mouth closed.

A cat’s tail can indicate many moods. A smooth tail that is straight up indicates a cat who is friendly and happy. A bit of a bend near the end says that she is unsure. When a cat holds her tail down and under her body, it can mean that she is afraid. A tail that twitches back and forth indicates an agitated and angry cat; the faster the twitch, the angrier the cat is. A puffed out tail means that the cat is angry or frightened.

Like a dog, a cat’s body posture communicates a lot. A cat that is lying down and relaxed is content. One that is lying down but growling may be getting ready for an attack. When a cat arches her back, she could be waiting to be pet. A cat with an arched back and fur standing on end is angry or upset.

By watching your pet for a long period of time, you can begin to understand his or her moods based on body language. Be cautious of pets who are showing anger or fear; this gives them a chance to become more comfortable. Responding to friendly overtures can help strengthen your bond. Over time, you will understand what they want to say, even though they don’t have the words.

Further Reading

How to Keep Your Pet Safe From Summer Heat

One of the scariest sights to any pet lover is to see a dog (or other animal) locked in a car on a hot summer day. Many studies have been conducted showing how quickly the temperature can rise inside a vehicle, even if the outside temperature isn’t ridiculously high. As a precaution, we’ve put together a bit of information about what you can do to keep your pet and others you may encounter safe, healthy and happy during the heat of summer.

Take Precautions

Malinois in the sunIf you take your pets on the road with you in summer, don’t plan on leaving them in an uncooled car – not even for a few minutes. Even when you leave the windows cracked, the temperatures can rise quickly. Make sure you can bring your pet in with you wherever you go, or at least have it where you can leave the air conditioner on as well. Bring along some water and your pet’s dish, so you can keep him or her hydrated too.

What to Do If You Encounter a Trapped Pet

Tabby cat in the sun
If you see a pet that has been left in a hot car, contact the owner immediately. There may not be time to lose. Call the police  if you can’t find him or her.

In California, Bill 797 or “The Right to Rescue Act”, is a new law that is being considered. This legislation would make it legal for you to smash a window to save a pet without fear of facing a civil lawsuit over your actions. That’s a law that all pet lovers can certainly agree with!

Treating a Pet for Heat-Related Ailments

If your pet is overheated or you encounter a pet that has been left in a hot car, it is important to get him or her to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Get the pet out of direct sun and into the shade. In the meantime, do what you can to cool the pet’s body temperature but don’t cool the pet too quickly or hypothermia can occur.

Pet Care Available from Paradise Pet Resorts

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when it comes to keeping pets safe and comfortable in the heat of summer. If you have any other questions, the animal experts at Paradise Pet Resorts would love to help. We are 100% committed to keeping your pets healthy and happy – in summer and all year round!

Our Rohnert Park location has an outdoor swimming pool that will be sure to keep your dog safe from the heat of summer. We offer overnight pet boarding as well as pet day care in both of our locations.

Please contact us with any pet care need or question.

Have a happy and safe summer!

How Pets Make Our Lives Better

Thousands of pets are euthanized every year because shelters simply do not have the capacity to look after them. Despite the many shelters nationwide, they struggle to re-home animals.

But there is something we can do about it. Adopting an animal will not only give a pet a new lease on life, but also change the lives of those who decide to save one.

Six Ways A Pet Can Change Your Life Forever

  1. Pets Save You Right Back.
    Man and DogMaybe not in the Lassie kind of way, but in the emotional kind. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I can tell you first hand that my cat Sphinx is my personal therapist. While I strongly suggest going to a real doctor for help, animals seem to almost have healing powers when it comes to making you feel a little bit human again.The internet is full of viral videos and stories of pets who support their owners through Asperger’s attacks, breakdowns and depression. Sometimes just having someone there who can’t talk to you through words but who will be there for you can be very healing.
  2. Pets Provide Unconditional Love.
    Golden RetrieverLove comes in different forms and the love you receive from your pet is unconditional. They do not care if you are having a bad hair day or showing signs of aging. They might not be there for the rest of your life, but they will forever leave a mark on your heart.
  3. Pets Are Furry, Hairy, Feathery Teachers.
    Pets teach us many lessons, including responsibility and compassion. They can also show us how to live in the moment, how to overcome anger, how to play, how to be loyal, and how to love openly and fully. Ultimately, these lessons help us to be better people.
  4. Pets Help Us Meet New People.
    Child and PuppyWalking your dog, or taking them to a park is a great way to strike up conversations with other people. I walk shelter dogs sometimes and when I take them to the dog park, I often end up chatting with the other dog owners. Plus, I get to play with their dogs too, which is always a bonus! Even ‘stay at home’ pets can help your social life. Having a pet is a great ice-breaker and who doesn’t love looking at animal photos!
  5. Pets Encourage Us To Go Boldly Into Adventure.
    Woman Running With A DogPets are magnets for adventures, big and small. Imagine all the fun things you can do with your new furry friend from the shelter. Camping, hiking, dog beaches, or simply going to your local café can be exciting.
  6. Pets Help Us Get a Beach Body Without a Gym.
    Pets keep you active. Whether it’s a morning or an afternoon walk, or simply getting up to feed them, groom them or clean their habitat, having a pet can improve your health. Even Goldie the goldfish can encourage you to get off the couch to feed him!

While we can’t save all the animals, I’d really encourage you to save one. That one animal is going to experience all the love you can give, and it will give it back a hundred times. You can change their life and they can change yours as well.

Of course before you adopt your new friend, you must be in this for the remainder of their life. Pets are not just there for when they are young and cute, or when they are healthy and easy to deal with. They are family, and you stick by your family no matter what.

This is a guest blog by Eliska Jeffrey. Eliska is an Open Colleges Vet Nursing student. A passionate campaigner for animals, when not studying, Eliska is found volunteering at the Sydney Australia Cat and Dogs Home, rehoming local stray cats, or hanging at home with her own feline friend Sphinx.

Read another perspective on how pets can improve your life from the Huffington Post.

Adopting a Pet in Sonoma County?

Paradise Pet Resorts is always on the lookout for loving homes for pets. Sometimes they are pets in our care, and sometimes we work with local pet adoption agencies like the Sonoma Humane Society. Talk to us about what pet would be best for you, and we can help you find the right one. Find Paradise Pet Resorts contact information here.

Fostering Dogs: Here’s What You Need to Know

Foster A DogFostering a dog is a great way to help out your local animal shelter and pets in need. If you don’t have the time to adopt a pet, or need space to heal after the passing of a favorite pet, fostering can fill that much-needed animal connection. Yet it’s not all snuggles and long walks. When you foster, you take on the responsibilities of caring for a pet and addressing any underlying issues that affect that dog’s chances for adoption. Here’s what you need to consider before you sign up to be a foster pet parent.

  • Will your existing pets and family members welcome the new addition?

    If your dog dislikes high-energy dogs, fostering a pup might place more stress on your own pet. That’s not fair. If you have babies or toddlers at home, introducing a poorly socialized pet can cause trouble. In a worst case scenario, that dog could snap at a curious toddler who pulled his ears.

    From including her on leash walks to spending time playing with her or teaching her basic obedience skills, fostering is a lot of work for you and your family. Only agree to foster when it’s in the best interests of your whole family, human and animal.

  • Do you have the time and money to care for this dog?

    Many of the pets who need fostering have been abandoned by their owners or may have never had a home. They might not be housebroken or socialized. Some may have been abused and still carry trauma from that experience. Others may need surgery before they can be adopted. Even puppies and kitties need special care and training.

    Before you agree to foster a pet, make sure you have the time to work with your foster pet on any underlying issues so she can become adoptable and the money to spend on her care and enrichment. The shelter will often pay for medical care, but may not pay for needed supplies like puppy wee pads or special food if you have a picky eater. If you do not have the time and money for fostering an animal, there are other ways to support pets in need.

  • Are you prepared for the realities of fostering?

    In a best case scenario, your fostered pet will find a good home quickly, but this doesn’t always happen. Some pets stay with their foster parents for months. You could become attached while fostering. No matter how long the pet stays with you, you will have to say goodbye when she’s adopted. Can you give up your foster pet when it’s time?

Spend time thinking through these considerations. After reading this, if you feel ready to become a foster parent, go ahead with confidence. There are many rewards that come with fostering a pet, from knowing you made a difference to that animal to creating an empty kennel at your local shelter so another pet can find a forever home.