The thought of your dog doing this always seems preposterous but let us break it down for a moment.
What happens when your dog is sick?
Do they get special treatment such as more food for instance?
More love and attention perhaps?
Yes. It is true that some dogs fake injuries and even illnesses so as to get food. They may also do the same to get the special treatment their owners give them while sick that they don’t get each and every other day.
This might be one of the factors that may lead your dog to feign illness for that sort of special treatment.
Why is your dog faking illness?
From the introductory part of this read, one can deduce that the reason that your dog is faking illness is to get something that they normally do not get when they are in good health.
Dogs are smart and can be able to see the certain behavioral changes that come about from them being sick.
They may want to experience that all the time hence faking sickness.
Below are some of the reasons they would fake sickness.
1. The undivided love and attention which comes with them being sick, from their owners
It is normal to provide more attention to people and pets who are sick.
It is then normal for your dog to want that kind of attention most of the time hence faking the illness.
2. The many treats they get as they wait to feel better
Dogs like food and sweet treats so if they notice a behavior change in the owner when they get sick and link it to getting more food and delicious treats, they may get the motive to fake illness to get food.
3. They also get to be off the hook a lot
This is where the owners mainly want to see them recover thus not disciplining crude behavior from them.
We can say the owners tend to overlook it a lot and focus on their recovery.
Now that we know some reasons why your dog may want to fake, let us figure out the symptoms to note when one feels like their dog is faking their illness:
Symptoms to look out for when you feel that your dog is faking an illness
Before you get to the main signs to look out for, the most important one is inconsistency.
When dogs are feigning illness, they tend to act normal when no one is looking or suddenly transfer the pain from one body part to another.
Look out for such signs.
The other signs are:
1. Wagging their tails
Most times when a dog is too eager for something, it tends to wag its tail a lot.
Wagging their tail is a sign of excitement, not sickness so it is important to be keen on that as well.
Most of the time when a dog whines, it is usually to attention seek so it is important to note that.
Make sure to check the specific times where your dog has started to whine, instances such as when you don’t do something you particularly do when they are sick.
This is similar behavior to whining, but this one could be because of some pain so it is always important to check in with your vet if you are not sure about it.
This is the sudden loss of interest in the activities your dog liked doing and will instead opt for sleeping for most of the day.
When it comes to this particular sign, it is important to observe your dog when they think no one is in the room which will tell you all you need to know about your dog’s condition.
When it comes to limping, it is easier to spot than the other symptoms.
When your dog starts to limp, it is important to check whether the limp miraculously shifts to the other leg or whether your dog is simply trying too much.
Something that seems like an exaggeration.
What to do when you find that your dog is faking an illness?
Before I start on this, I want to advise you as a dog owner, it is important to always seek guidance from your vet first, in all circumstances.
They are more experienced in these types of situations and will be able to diagnose whether your dog is faking it or not.
Other than that, what can you do when you realize your dog is faking their illness?
The most important bit is to be sure the sickness is not real before you dismiss it.
After that, follow the steps below:
1. Restrain yourself from giving your dog attention however hard it may be
When you feel the need to give them attention to stop them from whining, think against it because this will make the faking illness a habit and that needs more time to correct.
It may also seem like you are rewarding them for faking their illnesses which is not the right thing to do because again, they associate getting rewards to faking illness and will continue to do it more often.
2. When one of your dogs is sick, try to not make it obvious that they are receiving some sort of special treatment
This mainly applies when you have many dogs in your care.
Try to not show other dogs that they will get special treatment when they are sick.
They will, yes, but showing them the association may make them start feigning illness to get the special treatment and that’s not right.
What should you do instead?
Keep the sickly dog in a room where you can give it more care and attention and treats without doing it openly to the other dogs?
In that way they won’t have any behavior to link with being ill thus will not be so eager to fake illness.
Another thing you could do is scare them with a trip to the vet.
Most dogs do not like going to the vet and thus will stop faking the illness to make it seem like they got better.
As we finish up, as much as the above signs may indicate that your dog may be faking their illness and symptoms, it is always important to NOT discredit any of the symptoms until you take your dog to a vet.
Because you may not always know when your dog is faking and yet it could be an illness you know nothing about.