Is Your Dog Faking a Cough - Here's How to Tell
Have you ever heard of a dog pretending to be sick just to get attention from the owner? Do you notice this behavior in your pet? There's a way to tell if your pooch is trying to fool you.

For instance, your dog has dry cough that seems to worsen the more you try to reassure and soothe her. You express worry that she may be ill but then something doesn't add up because your dog doesn't actually appear to be weak or suffering.

You notice that she's eating and drinking well and she's even excited to go for a walk. When you play fetch with her, she's also eager and active with no bouts of a cough at all. You catch her running and enjoying her playtime in your backyard and yet she starts wheezing when you're near her. Is she really sick or faking a cough?

Why Dogs Pretend To Be Sick?

It might surprise you to know that dogs do pretend to be sick. On Reddit, many dog owners attest that they have witnessed this behavior in their four-legged pooches, so it's actually pretty common.

Dogs feign a cough or a sneeze so that they get more attention from their owners and this is a learned behavior, according to Dr. Jill Sackman. Apparently, they manifest this to get a reward from their owner in the form of hugs and cuddles. They also like how their owners take special care of them when they're supposedly not feeling well, so they pretend to be ill.

The Signs of a Real Cough in Dogs

A sick dog coughingDogs extend their neck and then lower their head when they cough, as this helps open their airways. With their mouths open, dogs usually gag or hack because something is irritating their throat. The motion is similar to instances when dogs try coughing out a foreign object stuck in their throat or mouth.

A real cough could also lead to sneezing, snorting or vomiting. If a dog is really sick, she will have fits of a cough whenever she's too excited or if she's running around and exercising. That's how you know she's not faking it anymore.

A dog's actual cough might sound bubbly or moist as well, which is harder to fake. This type of cough indicates that there's mucus in her lungs. Along with this symptom, the dog may also exhibit loss of appetite, a difficulty in breathing, lethargy, and fever.

Treating Cough in Dogs

Real or not, it's always better to visit the vet any time you suspect your dog has a cough. It's better to rule out that she's faking it because treating a cough in dogs can be a challenge, both for the pet and the owner. A dog's cough could persist for 10 to 20 days. But if it's not treated well then it might progress with serious complications.

Some veterinarians usually prescribe antibiotics if it is a bacterial cough. Other doctors give their furry patients human cough medicines that are fine to use for dogs, such as dextromethorphan. There's a number of dangerous human meds for dogs that you must avoid. Cough medicines that contain acetaminophen or caffeine in its ingredients are harmful to our four-legged companions.

Homemade Cough Treatment for Dogs

You could also try giving your dog honey or coconut oil to naturally treat a cough.

Is Your Dog Faking a Cough - Here’s How to TellHoney is universally known for its antibacterial and antifungal healing properties, and it's even been scientifically proven that honey for dogs helps with many ailments. Feed your dog half a teaspoon to a teaspoonful of honey three or four times a day. Remember, however, to brush her teeth to prevent decaying since honey contains sugar.

Coconut oil, on the other hand, contains fatty acids that kill bad bacteria. For a dog that is about 10 pounds heavy, a teaspoonful per day is enough. You may feed this directly or mix it in the dog’s food.

You may combine honey and coconut oil to treat the cough. However, before trying out these natural remedies, make sure to discuss your options with the veterinarian first.

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Rachael is a writer living in Los Angeles and an alum of UNC Chapel Hill. She has been a pet owner since the age of three and began dog-walking in 2015. Her nine-year-old Pug and best pal, Ellie, is the queen of sassy faces, marathon naps, and begging.