Quarantining is an important step in fostering a rescue dog or cat to ensure the safety of your own pets from possible illness or parasites. By quarantining in a foster home it is possible for the animal to still interact with family members and get socialization on a regular daily basis. This helps the dog/cat adjust to life in a home and enable us to get a sense of its needs for an appropriate adoption.
How can I create a safe place for quarantine inside my home?
One of the best ways to create a safe quarantine place in your home is through the use of a x-pen (training pen) inside a room that you can seal off either with doors or a baby gate to keep your own pets out of the space.
If you do not have an easy to clean floor in this room you may wish to use a tarp, shower curtain, or similar item to protect the floor. This is considered your "first layer of protection." On top of this layer you can then place newspaper or pee-pee pads so the dog has somewhere to go to the bathroom. This is a great first step to house training.
The addition of a crate with an open door is then a great resting place for the dog. Odds are this may be the first time in this dog's life that it has a separate place to sleep & toilet. Placing bowls for food and water will then provide an area for eating and start your foster dog on the road to its great new life.
Is a baby gate enough for quarantining?
NO! It is important to keep a foster dog from being nose to nose with your pets. If you do not have that separation it is possible for any potential parasites or illnesses to transfer to your pets.
If you do not have a x-pen or play yard to use in the room, you may use an extra large crate which is divided into an area for sleeping and an area for pee/poop.
How long do I have to quarantine?
Two Hearts Animal Rescue quarantines our dogs for a minimum of 1 week. During this time we will have you watch your foster dog for any signs of illness (sneezing, coughing, matted eyes, lethargy) or any parasites. We will also have you collect a fecal sample for testing. It is extremely important that you provide this when requested so we can ensure the dog is treated appropriately as soon as possible.
Note this also means that you will be fostering for a minimum of 1 week as we will not arrange any meet & greets until the dogs can safely interact with other animals.
Separation of toileting areas outside
There is one additional step that is equally important - Simply taking them outside at different times is not sufficient to properly quarantine.
Until you get an all clear fecal test from our veterinarian, you will want to have your dogs and your foster dog relieving themselves in different areas of the yard. In addition, it is important to pick up quickly after your foster dog both to prevent any spread of parasites, if present, and also to prevent bad habits from developing.
This can be accomplished either walking your foster dog on a leash in a separate part of the yard or by using a x-pen outside or some temporary fencing to create a special place for your foster.
ALWAYS remain outside with your foster dog, even if it in a fenced in area. This is important for security as well encouraging outdoor "pottying." Use the same phrase as you bring the dog outside to start making the connection. Once the task has been complete make sure you verbally praise your foster to reinforce the behavior.
How do I spend time with a dog that is in quarantine?
You can spend time with your quarantined foster dog in a variety of ways. You do not need to stay in the quarantine room, but you must ensure whatever you do he/she is not nose to nose with your pets.
Please keep your quarantined dog away from high traffic public areas where unknown dogs may have been, especially if he/she is young and doesn't have all of his/her shots. If your foster dog doesn't already have any illnesses or parasites we want to keep it that way.
How should I transport a dog that is or will be in quarantine?
Please use a crate for safety when transporting your foster dogs.