Can Dogs Fake Injury?

Can Dogs Fake Injury?

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Apr 12 2023


Dogs are cute animals, but simultaneously, they are masters of deception. From an early age, many of us can't say no to those puppy eyes they use to get food from our plates. Dogs and puppies are always looking to get what they want. Someone asked us recently: Do dogs fake injuries? and it got us stunned.

When we think about it, it perfectly makes sense that dogs can fake injury to get what they want. Shortly after we first heard this question, we noticed our dog start to limp on her hind leg. After the vet visit, we really were shocked. Our vet simply told us: „Congratulation, your dog just faked a paw injury to get attention.“

Because of this, we decided to help other dog owners understand why dogs could have the urge to fake an injury and how you should react in that situation.

Can dogs fake injury?

Yes, dogs can fake an injury just to get what they want. Just like humans, dogs could act like something is bothering them just to get additional attention, pets, or even treats. They can sometimes be very manipulative. This could be very frustrating for the owner trying to determine if something serious is bothering their dog or if their dog is just seeking attention.

Why would dogs fake an injury?

To better help you understand what dogs are capable of, we decided to list a few reasons why your dog could fake an injury.

1. To get attention

The first and the most obvious reason why your dog could fake an injury is to get additional attention from you. Dogs are social animals and thrive on your attention and attention from other people. If your dog feels left out or ignored, he may fake an injury to get your attention.

This usually happens when we have serious things to do, and we simply forget to provide our dog with the attention he regularly receives.

puppy eyes in dogs

2. Sympathy

Dogs are very intelligent creatures and can quickly understand something is wrong. They can easily sense that you are upset or stressed, and by faking an injury, they know that you will refocus your attention on them and that you will for sure feel better after spending some time with the dog.

How great is that?

3. To avoid something

Like humans, dogs don't always want to do certain things that you are planning. In most cases, that includes some "scary things "like bathing or even nail trimming. If your dog senses that it is time for one of those „scary things“, he may fake an injury just to postpone certain activities.

How to tell if your dog is faking an injury?

Now that you have discovered why your dog could fake an injury, you must be able to recognize when your dog is really hurt and when he is faking injury just to manipulate you.

The first step you should do is to closely monitor your dog. If your dog is feeling lethargic or even in pain and is reacting to your touch of the infected area, you should take him to the vet. In this case, it is not so likely that your dog is faking.

However, after the vet examines your dog, he will be able to tell if some medical condition is bothering your dog or if he is just one great actor.

puppy eyes in dogs

One of the best things you can do to determine if your dog is faking or not is to distract them. Take his favorite toy and make your dog start playing. Once they get excited about playing, they will completely forget they are faking an injury and quickly expose themself.

If you notice that your dog is only faking an injury when you are around, most probably, he is faking an injury just to get something. If your dog constantly seems like something is bothering him, he may, in fact, have some medical problems, and the best thing you can do is to take him to your vet and let him take it from there.


Dogs are capable of faking an injury, and there could be many reasons behind it. Some dogs will fake an injury to get your attention, while others will want to avoid doing something they don't feel like it. Either way, you must distinguish fakes from a real injuries because if your dog is hurt and you postpone going to the vet, the injury will only get worse, and your dog could end up with some serious problems.

World Dog Finder team

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