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Why Your Puppy Joints Are Cracking!

After publishing our article going over why your puppy’s front legs may be shaking, we have seen a number of people reaching out and asking about why their puppy’s joints may be cracking too.

There are a number of reasons that your puppy joints can be cracking so we wanted to publish this dedicated article to try and help as many of our readers as possible who may be having this same problem with their own puppy.

The more common reasons that your puppies joints may be cracking include hip dysplasia, a subluxating patella, and trauma to the pups joint that is cracking.

A less common reason that your puppy may have joints that are cracking can be due to arthritis as well as the breeder not keeping strong breeding lines resulting in genetic defects in the pup.

We have seen some people on social media claim that it can be normal for a puppy to have joints that crack or make a sound when moving and although this is technically correct for the odd crack, most people we see reaching out about this have puppies who have joints that crack often.

The best way to move forward in this situation will always be to book a video call with a veterinarian to have them assess the health of your puppy and to check them over via the camera on your smartphone with this usually being much cheaper than a visit to the local vet.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is already a common problem in dogs and it is becoming increasingly common due to poor breeding lines with hip dysplasia being the most common cause of clicking joints in puppies.

Hip dysplasia can sometimes be treat but it usually needs a full hip replacement in your puppy meaning you will probably have to folk out for an expensive operation unless you have a good pet insurance policy.

You can often get a good idea if your puppy has issues with hip dysplasia causing its joints to crack by listening to where the cracking sound is coming from.

You will often be able to notice that the sound is clearly coming from the puppies ear hips helping to rule out the other potential causes of the sound of the joints cracking.

There are a range of levels when it comes to hip dysplasia too where some may cause minimal discomfort to the dog if any discomfort at all where as others can cause serious pain.

As with the majority of health issues with puppies, the earlier you catch it and start to take action the better the chances of treating the problem will be.

This is why we would recommend that you consider seeking professional advice from a veterinarian as soon as you notice the joints of your puppy clicking as they will be able to diagnose the issue and offer the best treatment plans quickly.

Subluxating Patella

Some puppies can have problems with a subluxating patella where the knee cap slides out of place with a common symptom being a cracking or clicking sound of the joint when the puppy tries to walk.

In serious cases the puppy may not walk at all either due to being in too much pain or the new location of the knee cap making it very difficult to move the leg correctly.

You can usually get an idea of a subluxating patella in your puppy by simply looking for swelling around the knee of your puppy.

You will usually hear the joint cracking sound specifically coming from the knee of your dog too helping to confirm that this is the issue but a professional diagnosis by a veterinarian is still recommended as there are different types of a subluxating patella with treatments ranging wildly.

The less serious cases of a subluxating patella in your puppy where the only symptoms are the joint cracking and the puppy limping slightly can be treat with ice on the joint and plenty of rest. In more serious cases, an operation may be required to correct the subluxating patella and prevent the problem from getting worse.

Keep in mind, even if your puppy does only have a less serious case of a subluxating patella, your vet may recommend surgery to secure the knee cap in place to prevent it from getting worse in the future.


Arthritis is less common in puppies by it is becoming a more common problem due to many puppy mills not keeping strong breeding lines resulting in a number of genetic defects becoming more popular with arthritis being one of them.

Arthritis can make it very painful for your puppy to walk around in some cases and with treatment options being limited, this can be a real problem for any new puppy owner.

It can be difficult to diagnose mild cases of arthritis without the correct training and equipment but more severe cases of arthritis can usually be detected by puppy joints cracking and clicking on a regular basis.

In very bad cases, you may even hear your puppy joints cracking with every step that it takes but this is very rare and unfortunately, if your pet puppy does have arthritis as such a developed stage, your veterinarian may recommend that the puppy be euthanized.

If your puppy has arthritis at such an early age, especially if it is causing the joints of your puppy to crack then it is highly likely that the condition will only end up getting worse as your puppy gets older too.

Although it can be heartbreaking to have to euthanize a puppy, in very rare cases like this, it really can be the best option when your veterinarian suggests it as it is able to save the puppy a life full of pain and suffering.


That brings our article going over your puppy joints cracking to an end and we hope that we have been able to help you get a rough idea of what may be causing problems for your puppy. You really should be getting professional advice from a veterinarian though as the condition causing your puppy’s joints to click may be treatable, especially if you catch the problem as early as possible.