I’ve been fostering dogs for Spaniel Aid UK since the start of 2019. It’s been a whirlwind of an experience so far and I’ve definitely learnt a lot. We’re excited to welcome our fifth foster dog into our home this autumn. I thought I’d share with you some of our foster dog essentials, products that have made our fostering experience so much more enjoyable!
DOGSCLOSURE: This blogpost is sponsored by Furbo and our THECORNISHDOG20 discount is an affiliate link.I receive a small commission for every purchase made via this link, however it does not make the product more expensive for you. I have also received some of the products mentioned in this post as gifts or have worked with them as clients in the past. I’ve included individual DOGSCLOSURES where applicable so you can find out more about each brand partnership!
Planning for a foster dog can be quite tricky. Their arrival is often at short notice, depending on their circumstances and can be stressful, particularly if they’ve been part of a long transport run. Their whole world has been tipped upside down and they don’t always arrive with belongings of their own. Over the past few months, I’ve built a collection of items I’ve grown to rely on to help my foster dogs thrive while they’re with us.
Adopt Me Lead – £9.99
This is one of my more recent purchases. It’s frustrating walking dogs on different length leads, particularly when they’re spaniels and like to pull! I picked up this Dexils Adopt Me Lead at this year’s Dogstival and it’s fast become one of our foster dog essentials. It’s 120cm long, which is a standard mid-length size. It’s the same length as Woody and Hen’s Mable and Merryn leads, so I no longer feel like I’m being dragged in different directions when we’re walking!
The lead itself is durable and lightweight. It’s ADOPT ME motif is embroidered, rather than printed, on the lead so you don’t have to worry about it wearing off over time. The lead is also machine washable. I was a little unsure of the colour at first, as I didn’t want our foster dogs being mistaken as nervous or reactive. The yellow dog system is quite popular in Cornwall, where anxious dogs wear yellow to warn approaching owners that they need extra space. In practice, it hasn’t been too much of a problem though. In fact, it’s often handy to have extra space for our foster dogs, particularly when they first arrive and still settling in.
Spoiler Alert: These photos were taken when Hen was still technically my foster dog. However, we all know I fail fostered and adopted him a few weeks later – it looks like the subliminal messaging on the Adopt Me lead definitely works!
Furbo Dog Camera – £169.00 when you use the code THECORNISHDOG20* at checkout
DOGSCLOSURE: This blogpost is sponsored by Furbo and our discount code is an affiliate link. I have previously worked with Furbo in 2018 on a blogpost about Woody’s separation anxiety (AD)
I’ve been using our Furbo Dog Camera for over a year now and have come to rely on it whenever I’m out the house and have to leave the dogs behind. Being able to watch the dogs in real-time while I’m out is incredibly reassuring. I can tune into a live stream via the Furbo app and see exactly what they’re up to. I even receive a notification on my phone if they’re barking. Surprise surprise, it’s usually at the postman!
As part of my foster assessment, I need to see how each dog reacts to being left alone to make sure they’re not stressed out or suffering from Separation Anxiety. Watching them via the Furbo shows me exactly what they’re up to and takes a lot of guesswork out of the process! I always use our Furbo to record video clips and photographs directly from the app, which I then send to the admin team at Spaniel Aid UK. The admin team is full of professional vets, behaviourists and experienced spaniel owners who are all on hand to help me with any difficult or unusual behaviours while fostering. Sending detailed video clips helps me wonders. They can see how my foster dog is reacting firsthand, rather than relying solely on messages.
K9 Connectables – from £14.99
DOGSCLOSURE: I am paid to create photography for K9 Connectables social media accounts. You can see examples of our previous projects here!
Since starting fostering, Woody has become a bit of a gobbler when it comes to food. He also likes to steal dinners from our foster dogs, so I have to make sure I keep an eye on him at meal times. I’ve been stuffing our K9 Connectables toys with wet food recently, which really slows him down. The toys are dishwasher safe, which is perfect for our hectic lifestyle. They also float on water and the medium toys fit into a ball launcher. Hen loves playing fetch with them whenever we’re at the beach, he doesn’t let his blindness hinder him!
Each toy is interchangeable, meaning you can tailor the difficulty to the individual dog. Hen doesn’t have a huge attention span at all. He does best with individual treat filled toys, scattered around the room. However some of our foster dogs are super smart. I can use our K9 Connectables to create extravagant puzzles that keep them occupied for hours!
Ruff and Tumble Dog Coat – from £26.00
I’m a huge fan of drying coats. Understandably they’re be one of my top foster dog essentials, specifically the Classic Dog Drying Coat by Ruff and Tumble. I’m really impressed with the quality of the towelling. There are two layers, which is perfect for drying water-obsessed spaniels after their walk.
Unlike other brands, Ruff and Tumble use velcro as their fastening. This is super useful for foster dogs, who come in all shapes an sizes. Typically I foster cocker and springer spaniels, with the occasional spaniel cross like Jasper the Springador every now and then. Some of our foster dogs, like Snoop and Hen, have arrived overweight too. Being able to adjust the dog coat to fit them properly round the middle has been wonderful. I opted for size M/L, which is designed for the average springer spaniel but doesn’t swamp a smaller working cocker.
Adaptil Calm Home Diffuser – £18.45
DOGSCLOSURE: I received our Adaptil Calm Home Diffuser through Spaniel Aid when I fostered Jasper. It was a donation they’d received to help their dogs in foster. Their Amazon Wishlist is regularly updated with items their foster dogs need.
Spaniel Aid UK sent me an Adaptil Calm Home Diffuser to help with Jasper’s anxiety at night. He was disturbed by any noise outside, including a set of wind chimes in a garden three doors down. He’d growl and bark in his crate, waking us up multiple times a night. It’s safe to say I was at my wit’s end!
I must admit, I was dubious about the diffuser at first and wasn’t convinced it would work. However, after a few days I noticed Jasper had calmed down significantly. The diffuser contains synthetic pheromones similar to those released naturally by mother dogs to calm and reassure their pups. It’s very discrete and can’t be smelt by humans. Simply plug it in a room your dog frequents via mains electricity and leave it to work. Each bottle lasts up to 30 days and you can purchase refills separately. Just don’t lose the grey lid like I did, so you can store the bottles and avoid leaks between uses if you prefer!
Do you foster dogs or thinking of starting? What are your foster dog essentials?
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