Why Are Your Puppy’s Joints Cracking?

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Written By Editorial Staff

Veterinary Experts

Have you recently observed that your puppy’s joints are cracking, clicking, or popping? You may be concerned about why this is happening and what you can do about it. There are many reasons why your puppy’s joints may be cracking. In this blog post, we will look at some of the most common situations when your puppy’s joints will crack when performing some activity, such as getting up from a lying position or walking.

Why Your Puppy’s Joints Are Cracking?

Why Are Your Puppy’s Joints Cracking?
Why Are Your Puppy’s Joints Cracking?

Joints of the bone usually contain synovial fluid, which contains gases like O2, CO2, and Nitrogen. This fluid performs the lubricating barrier so that the joints do not touch each other when moving and operate smoothly. The popping, clicking, or cracking sounds from your puppy’s joints are usually due to these gases escaping quickly. This is perfectly normal, and there is no need for concern. 

As veterinarian Dr. Loretta puts it – “Cracking noise from joints is from ligament moving (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). It indicates that the fluid in the joint is being snapped and thus the noise. It is similar to humans popping finger joints.”

Joint cracking or popping can occur due to various bone health conditions as well. Therefore, you must keep an eye for issues. If your puppy is experiencing lameness while walking, then it may be an indication of an underlying bone or cartilage problem which needs to be checked by a vet.

Hip Dysplasia

A genetic disorder, Hip Dysplasia is a disorder or deformity of the hip that can often cause the joints to crack. It occurs during the growth stages of a dog’s life and causes the loosening of the hip joint. It is common in larger dogs (Great Dane, German Shephard, Labradors, for example) and starts from their puppyhood. 

The common symptoms of Hip Dysplasia include pain and weakness in the legs (hind legs). Your puppy may refuse to climb stairs or get up from a sitting position. These are all indications of the underlying manifestation of Hip Dysplasia. It can occur in dogs at any age; more commonly, it is seen during the growth phase 0 – 3 years. Note that it may develop into Arthritis in later stages of life, and you may not notice any clinical symptoms till 6 or 7 years.

An experienced vet will be able to tell you if your puppy is suffering from this genetic disorder so book an appointment with a vet today if you suspect that your puppy is experiencing increased lameness that cannot be explained.

Source: Hip Dysplasia in Dogs By Dr. Tammy Hunter, DVM; Dr. Ernest Ward, DVM https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/hip-dysplasia-in-dogs

Luxating Patella

Luxating Patella is a disorder that causes the kneecap in puppies to slip out of place frequently, causing cracking or clicking sounds. It may impact your pup’s ability to walk and can cause too much pain and agony. So, if you see that your puppy’s knees are swollen, seek a vet’s opinion at the earliest to diagnose this issue. Your vet will work the puppy’s legs back and forth to check if the knee is slipping from its place or not.

Grade 2 and above Luxating Patella usually requires surgery to fix the problem.


Arthritis usually occurs in older dogs, but sometimes due to a genetic abnormality, even younger pups may get affected by this dreaded bone disease causing cracking or clicking of the bones. There is no cure for Arthritis, but it can be managed with advice from your vet. Arthritis can be a painful disease and impact the mobility of your pet. The cracking and popping of the bones usually occur when the disease has reached a slightly advanced stage.

As we said earlier, it is rare in puppies, but if Arthritis does manifest in your puppy, then your vet may recommend that you get the puppy euthanized instead of treating it as the pain will keep increasing as the dog gets bigger and older.

It can be tough to take this decision and heartbreaking to let your puppy go. Still, in such rare cases, you should do as your veterinarian suggest because they are professionals and understand that something like Arthritis in small puppies will lead to a miserable life as a dog gets older. Sometimes these decisions are taken to spare the pain and suffering of the animal.

Crepitus in puppy

Crepitus means that ligaments or bones are grinding against each other. It results from soft tissue injury that produces a crackling sound when the puppy gets up or moves. The sound occurs due to friction between joint surfaces or when the tendons snap after stretching over bony cartilage. First, take your puppy to a vet, where x-rays can confirm if your puppy has Crepitus or not. The most common symptom is the cracking sound along with pain and swelling. 

Severe Crepitus may cause discomfort to your little puppy, so have it examined by a veterinarian.

These are the most common bone diseases found in dogs that have cracking joints. There are still other diseases that are extremely rare. Your vet will look for the above conditions first.

How Do You Stop Puppy Joint Cracking?

A puppy’s joints may crack simply because they are in the growth phase of their life. But it is important to identify whether or not your puppy is suffering from any of the bone diseases listed above. 

Please pay attention to the cracking sound to identify when and where is it happening. For example, sitting down, getting up, moving, stretching, etc., and looking for bone diseases signs.

We had a 5-month golden retriever puppy with bones in the hip cracking every time she got up after lying down. Upon x-ray, the vet identified the issue to be Hip Dysplasia.

So early identification of this issue is important to address the problem of puppy joints cracking. The top symptom to look for is lameness and avoidance of taking stars or any activity that may involve the hips or the joints, such as not wanting to take stairs, not wanting to get up from a sleeping position frequently, and wobbling while walking, etc.


Puppy joint cracking may not always be a severe issue, and it could be part of their growth phase. However, as a pet parent, it is natural to be concerned. I hope this post has helped you identify possible root causes of why your puppy’s joints are cracking. This brings us to the conclusion of this topic. Thanks for reading!

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