In this post, I’ll be addressing a question I received from a reader:
“Lately, I’ve noticed that there’s a slight popping noise when my dog lifts his leg to pee. It happens with both legs, so it’s not specific to one leg. I know there are a lot of issues with dogs and hip dysplasia, and lines of treats, foods and supplements aimed at improving joint mobility, etc. How do I know if this popping sound is indicative of a bigger issue? When should I see my vet? And do treats and foods actually help with joint health? Thanks in advance.
Hi Brendan and thanks for your question. I’m glad to see you taking a proactive approach to your dog’s health. I would ask you: Does your dog seem in pain when you hear this popping noise? The fact that it seems to be in both legs and you’re not noticing limping means it could be normal. Only by getting a physical exam with your veterinarian and potentially x-rays, if they recommend it, will they be able to determine if there is a problem or not.
Generally, my advice is that if you are concerned, it would be reasonable to get it checked out before it does get worse. Popping noises in the joints could be partially luxating (dislocating) hips or kneecaps (patellas), meniscal injuries in the knees, or signs of arthritis.
As for treats and foods for joint health… double edged sword. Yes, diets or treats fortified with glucosamine, omega 3 fatty acids, green lipped mussel, hyaluronic acid and other supplements have been shown to be beneficial and can be started before problems show up or at any stage of joint disease. On the downside, over feeding of these foods or treats can lead to weight gain if you’re not watching your pet’s calories, and those extra pounds don’t do the joints any favours!
I hope this advice helps!
– Dr. Llera
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*Please note that specific medical questions about your pet cannot be addressed and you should speak with your personal veterinarian.
Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with two cats, two dogs, two horses, and a rabbit. Dr. Llera also contributes writing to various other animal and veterinary related blogs. You can find more of his writing at www.DRRYANLLERA.com, or see what else he is up to on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Disclaimer: All columns are personally written and my opinion, and may not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.