Most foster programs have no problem with a rescue dog or cat joining a home with a resident pet, as long as everyone is vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
Learning to get along with other animals is an important social skill for the rescue animal, and, of course, it’s always nice to have a few furry playmates around the house. However, Feldman notes that fosterers should be sure to introduce the animals to each other in the right way, and take things slow at first.
“If you are bringing in a dog, and you have a resident dog, I would say that they need to meet on mutual territory,” Feldman says. “The best thing to do is to have a friend bring your dog down, and have them meet and go for a walk immediately. It’s non-threatening, the dog’s not going to get possessive and that’s the best way to establish a relationship.”
If all goes well on the introductory walk, it’s still a good idea to exercise caution at home. “When you bring the animal into the home, I would definitely keep the foster dog on a leash for a period of time, so if they do something you don’t like, you can pull them away quickly,” Feldman says.
When leaving a foster pet and resident pet alone together, make sure they each have their own territory. “Keep them separate for the beginning while you’re away, either in two separate rooms or with a crate or baby gate,” Feldman advises. “You never know what’s going to happen when you’re not there. The same goes if you’re fostering a cat.”