We all love some attention sometimes, we can even fake illness or a crisis just for some attention. Some people can call such behavior toxic but well, once in a while is not all bad. The question which however arises is, can dogs fake sickness too?
Animal behavior specialists think dogs can fake sickness or even injuries just to get some attention. Sometimes if the only time your dog gets to spend time with you is when they are sick. Then they could fake sickness just to get the attention they want.
For dogs, your attention is very important and they will go all the way for some. Even if they have to fake sickness. So if you suspect your dog might be faking sick, there are two possibilities.
Your dog could be truly sick or he just wants you all to themselves. There are a few ways that can lead you to know whether he is faking sick. Here is how you can know.
Consult a vet to confirm
Before you even rule out the possibility of sickness and treat his actions as fake. Consulting a vet will go a long way in helping you come to a good conclusion. Hence if your dog is truly sick, you don’t get to ignore the signs.
When you ignore your dog’s condition thinking he is faking, you might end up with a very sick dog. A vet will ensure the state of all the vital organs of your dog is taken into account.
If the dog was trying to fake an injury to the limbs or any body part. Also among the condition which most dogs fake is coughing. The vet will check the same. At the end of the consultation, you will go home with your dog knowing what his intentions are.
Looking at you
Let’s say your dog is using a cough as his attention-seeking tactic. You will notice him looking at you when he is coughing. When a dog is truly coughing, the least of the actions he might want to do is look at you as they cough.
However, when the cough is fake, he knows if he coughs as he looks at you he will capture your attention. Therefore you will spend more time with him and keep petting him. Dogs are aware when they are sick you might drop everything just to be home with them.
Therefore if he misses your company around the house for some time, he knows what exactly he should do. The attention you get to give him when he is sick more so when he is sick can get addictive. For dogs, they get to associate behavior and treats.
Therefore for them, they are aware they tend to get what they want much easier when sick than healthy.
Coughing hard when you are petting him
Maybe you have spent the entire day at work. You just got home and you choose to give your dog a few minutes of your time before you go rest. Then as you pet him on the couch you realize he starts coughing.
He might cough slowly then when he notices you are not paying attention he starts coughing hard. If he coughs hard he knows you will turn to check what the problem could be. If you realize your dog has such a tendency, then he could be faking sick.
For the coughing part, you can even choose to secretly watch. Right after he has had his cough, leave him on the couch and go to the kitchen. Find a way to peep without him noticing and watch if the cough is persistent.
If you notice he goes back to his normal self. Then you know you have your suspicions right. Now return to the couch, if he starts to cough again, just ignore him. He will realize you are not falling prey to his theatrics and give up.
Spy on him
Your dog getting sick is not to be taken lightly. However at times if you are suspecting his sickness is fake. You should try spying on him.
Maybe your dog fakes a limp whenever you are around him and you don’t trust him at all. Pet him to make him relax and show care towards him. After spending time with him, you can leave him maybe at his favorite playing spot in the yard.
Step into the house and stay by the window. Watch to confirm whether he walks in the same way he did while you were around. If the limping persists even in your absence, your dog could be having an injury.
Therefore you should get him to the vet. If you notice he was only limping because you were around. Those were just attention-seeking tactics.
Starts acting sick even after receiving treatment
When your dog is sick, you will try as much as possible to give them the attention they require. However, once they heal, you will want to go back to work.
Your dog might not like the change of events. The idea of not having you around might push them to mimic the symptoms of sickness or an injury. If you have been to the vet and you are sure your dog has gotten the right treatment to restore his health.
Then he might be just acting using sickness to have you home again. Ignoring him might help get him back to his normal self hence avoiding guilt-tripping you.
Constant attention seeker
If your dog is a serial attention seeker. He will always go to whatever heights just to get your attention including faking sickness. Know to what extent you can allow the behavior. Pet him but don’t tolerate the habit. Ignore him sometimes and he will give up faking sickness.
Only acts sick when you are around
If your dog only acts sick in your presence but is perfectly fine when you leave him under the care of other people. Just ask his caregiver how he acts while you are away and you now have an answer.