How to Manage Pets and Foster Children

How to Manage Pets and Foster Children

Having a pet doesn’t mean you can’t become a foster carer. Domestic animals can be an amazing thing for children, but you do have to put boundaries in place to keep everyone safe. If you are about to start looking after a young person and you are worried about this dynamic or what to expect, here are some words of wisdom to make life easier.

Follow Your Agency’s Rules and Expectations

A professional fostering agency like will naturally have its own clear guidelines for what you can and can’t do while actively caring for young people. Following these rules is better for you and the children, and it will help you live comfortably and safely! Most agencies follow the suggestions from BAAF which includes things like your pet having regular worming and flea medicine and generally taking care of pet hygiene in the home.

Make Your Own Family RulesMake Your Own Family Rules

Foster carers meet a lot of young people, especially if they stick with it for a long time. This means you will create your own list of expectations as you find your feet and grow in confidence. There are so many things you will learn to anticipate, and this knowledge will help you get to know what a situation needs fairly quickly. So, you can make your own rules about what you do and don’t accept from your pets and the children in your house. For example, children not going near a dog’s face or touching while they are eating are great ones to have.

Create a Separate Area

Separate areas for animals and kids are always a fantastic idea. Not only does it help your pets feel happier, but it makes the boundaries a bit clearer, too. Just make sure they and child-free to snooze or relax, and you should manage to keep peace and harmony. Your pet deserves some space as well, after all.

Give Children a Role

Pets can be a brilliant way to teach responsibility, routine, and independence to slightly older foster children (3 years and upwards). It is fun to let the child get involved with the feeding routine, walking schedule, and any other kind of thing you normally do with your pet like playtime, etc. Once they have done it with you a few times and they are old enough, they will enjoy looking after the pet more and more by themselves. You will get a sense of when they are ready to do it without you, but don’t forget to ensure there is always an adult close by in case they need support.

Having pets does not mean you have to avoid applying to be a foster carer. They can be a wonderful addition to any foster family, and they teach children so many things along the way. Creating a safe space with pets is easy as long as there are big boundaries and firm expectations.

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