Dog’s Bones Crack When Getting Up or Moving [Solutions]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

The sound of your dog’s bones cracking when getting up is something that you may have heard before and thought was abnormal.

In fact, it would probably cause a lot of concern among dog owners, but should that be the case?

Your dog’s bones might crack while stretching or moving around due to something harmless such as air in the joints, or it could indicate an underlying issue or injury that you need to take a closer look at.

In this post, you will learn the warning signs and what you should do.

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Dear Dog Owner

Why Do My Dog’s Bones Crack When Getting Up?

Why Does My Dog's Bones Crack When Getting Up?

Air bubbles in the joints

One common reason for the sounds is that there are small pockets between each joint in your dog’s body where gas builds up as they move around throughout the day.

When they lie down and relax, this gas escapes through popping noises (such as “cracking” or “popping”).

These noises should not be confused with pain.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Should I Buy a Puppy With an Umbilical Hernia?

Luxating patella

It’s not really usual for the knee cap to be making noises, but it can occur in older dogs when there are arthritic changes in the joint.

Small dog breeds are more prone to this problem than larger dog breeds are.

A dog’s ligament, in particular the anterior cruciate ligament, may be simply moving and you hear the sound.

Most likely, it is the fluid in there snapping and causing a popping sound.

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Bones making contact

The synovial fluids between the knees of dogs serve as lubricants and reduce friction.

The meniscus, which serves as the knee cushion, is also present in the knees, which gives the knees support and comfort.

There is a good risk that the meniscus joint will be hurt when the cranial cruciate ligament is damaged and this is also known as a meniscus tear.

Without padding, bones rub against one another and make a cracking noise (meniscal click).

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Hip dysplasia

It is possible that he or she may have developed a condition called hip dysplasia.

This condition is most common in larger breeds and can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort as the dog ages.

Hip dysplasia occurs when there is an abnormal formation of the hip joint itself.

This can occur from birth or develop over time due to injury or lack of exercise.

The result is an unstable joint that does not allow for proper movement, which causes severe pain for your dog as well as potential damage to other parts of their body like their spine and ligaments around their joints.

This condition is most commonly seen in dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, Shetland Sheepdogs, Golden Retrievers, and Labradors.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Accidentally hurt my dog. What to do next?


Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain and stiffness in your dog’s joints, which will get worse over time.

It occurs in older dogs as they age, but it can also occur in younger dogs who have been injured or have another condition that causes inflammation of the joints.

Ligaments moving

Ligaments are tissues that connect your dog’s bones from one to another.

Sometimes, due to friction and these tissues rubbing against each other, there might be sounds being emitted that make you think that your dog’s joints are cracking.

They are very similar to how we crack our knuckles and are generally harmless.

When is It Serious When Dog Bones Crack?

If your dog is limping, showing lameness, or not moving well, get them to the vet immediately.

This could mean a number of issues in one of their joints, which can be extremely painful and cause long-term damage to their body.

Your vet will likely order an x-ray and conduct some tests to determine how serious the condition is.

At this point, the only thing you can do is wait for your vet’s diagnosis and treatment method.

Doggy says, you might be interested to read this too: I accidentally hit my dog in the head

What to Do if Your Dog’s Bones Often Give Out Cracking Noises?

Taking good care of your dog right from day one is crucial to its well-being, and prevents it from developing any serious problems such as joint diseases.

If this is a puppy, you should inform your breeder about this situation so that they can put a stop to breeding from this particular batch of dogs.

They might also have some form of recourse for you too.

During the course of your dog’s life, not only does diet play a huge part, but equally important is giving it sufficient exercise and keeping them active.

These are the best deterrents to joint problems.

As your dog ages, you might want to consider adding supplements to its diet to ensure good joint health.

For dogs with arthritis, you can include glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to help them cope.

Doggy thinks you might be keen to read this too: Can a dog overdose on Dasuquin?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does my dog need a PennHip evaluation?

A PennHip evaluation can determine if your dog has a hip problem. If you notice your dog displaying signs of trouble such as stiffness in the joints, difficulty getting up, a swaying gait, or pain when you touch its hip area, you might want to consider this test.

Why is my puppy’s bone making noises when moving?

Puppies can develop orthopedic issues at an early age as well, particularly if they are acquired from dubious sources where no precautions are made to stop orthopedic issues from being handed down from one generation to the next. These popping or grating sounds could be anything as simple as soft tissue changes brought on by growth, or there could indicate abnormalities with the hip joint, which could be a sign of hip dysplasia.

In Conclusion: Dog’s Bones Crack When Getting Up

I hope this article has helped you understand why your dog might be cracking his or her bones.

More often than not, it is a case of air bubbles in their joints popping off, not unlike us human beings!

That said, if you observe any abnormal behavior and signs of distress, don’t wait to send your dog to the vet.

Check out other dog care articles such as resolving Doberman dandruff, puppy not eating much and sleeping a lot, what to do if you stepped on puppy’s paw, and many more.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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