If you have to ask what zoomies are, chances are your dog doesn't get them. If you know, you know. If you're unfamiliar, read on for all answers to all those dog zoomies questions you may have: Why do dogs get the zoomies? What causes zoomies in dogs? Should you be concerned by dog zoomies?
- What are dog zoomies?
- What causes dog zoomies? Why do dogs get the zoomies?
- When do zoomies occur?
- Should I be concerned about my dog's zoomies?
- Tips on stopping zoomies in dogs
What are dog zoomies?
Zoomies are also known by their more descriptive and accurate name – Frenetic Random Activity Periods or FRAPs. According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, in real life, they appear as your dog suddenly going warp speed and running around like crazy in an explosion of energy. Hence, zoomies.
These sudden bursts of energy may see your dog running in circles with their butt tucked in, charging at full throttle around the garden or through the house, or spinning in tight circles chasing their own tail. Whatever form the zoomies take, they usually don't last too long. In fact, your dog will be all tuckered out after and might plop down for a power nap after.
If you're the lucky owner of an interactive pet camera, chances are you may have caught your dog on camera having the zoomies while you're out. This natural dog behavior isn't anything you need to be particularly worried about; it's a very natural canine behavior.
What causes dog zoomies? Why do dogs get the zoomies?
The explosion of energy that we know as zoomies in dogs usually results from a buildup of excess energy. Zoomies are kind of like the release valve on a pressure cooker.
But why do dogs get the zoomies? There's no clear reason for dog zoomies, but there are some likely reasons why dogs get zoomies:
- Releasing tension – typically, your dog will blow off steam after a stressful time. Coming home after a vet visit, a visit to the groomer, and even after guests leave.
- Getting warmed up – in colder temperatures, your dog may zoom around the house to warm up after being outdoors. They can also do this kind of zooming to warm up after a refreshing dip in a chilly pool or lake.
- Celebrating – feeling good is always worthy of celebration. This type of zoomies often follows a poop. It's also known as poo-phoria, like the euphoria that follows a poo.
(NOTE: sometimes, it may seem like regular poo-phoria when in fact your dog might have some poop stuck on them. In this case, it isn't classic zoomies but more their way of trying to shake the poop off.)
- Acting on instinct – times of day like dawn and dusk can elicit a bought of FRAPs in some dogs. This may be due to their built-in clock that tells them to get going. So, in the wild, prey is usually more active at dawn and dusk, so your dog might be instinctually hardwired to be more energetic to capitalize on this.
- Show excitement - your dog may go bonkers and run around like crazy because he's happy or excited. Cue musical track playing "I'm So Excited" by the Pointer Sisters.
When do zoomies occur?
If you've suspected that your dog seems to get the zoomies more at certain times, you're not wrong. Some occasions and times are more likely to result in your dog getting the zoomies:
- After eating: dogs commonly celebrate their meals with an episode of the FRAPs. This is particularly noticeable in very food-oriented dogs.
- Before bed: your daily routine of getting ready for bed lets your dog know that a long period of rest (and being still) is imminent. In preparation, your dog will blast out any remaining energy to get ready for a solid snooze.
- After bath time: yeah, you know this one. As soon as you're done bathing your doggo, he shoots off in a celebratory lap of supercharged elevation at being clean. This often, and to the dismay of their parents, involves trying to dry off by rolling around and rubbing themselves on the carpets or even on the grass if they manage to get out (thereby undoing all the hard work of getting them clean in the first place).
Should I be concerned about my dog's zoomies?
Dog zoomies are a normal part of dog life and, for the most part, are nothing to be concerned about.
If your dog gets the zoomies frequently, this might be your cue to ensure they get enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout their days. Maybe try going for longer walks or changing up the routes you take. You can even investigate puzzle toys and snuffle mats to give your doggo a mental workout.
One of the more common concerns among dog parents when it comes to the zoomies is when you're out on a walk and let your dog off the lead for a bit of free-roaming, and they suddenly go bonkers with zoomies and stop responding to your commands.
It's a frightening one to be sure, but if your dog tends to do this, instead of running towards your dog (this looks more like a fun game to your dog and will more than likely encourage them to continue) try running away from them. Make sure you're carrying some of your pup's favorite treats too. Your dog will most likely follow in your direction and when they do this, give them a tasty reward to encourage this behavior more in the future.
Tips on stopping zoomies in dogs
As zoomies in dogs are a common and natural behavior, there isn't much you can do to stop the zoomies entirely. These bouts of electric energy don't usually last long anyway.
What you can do is redirect your dog's motion. This is a handy one to know, especially when the area is unsafe. To redirect your doggo mid-zoomies, start running in the direction you want them to go – they'll more than likely follow you – or throw their favorite toy in the direction you wish them to run in.
We mentioned this before, but don't chase after your dog during a fit of zoomies. This only worsens things as your dog thinks it's a great game and will get even more excited and find it harder to slow down.
Why is my dog spinning in circles?
Dogs spin in circles for several reasons. Mostly, this is pretty normal canine behavior. The most common reason for dogs running in circles is the zoomies or FRAPs (Frenetic Random Activity Periods), which result from built-up excitement or as a release of tension.
If the spinning in circles becomes compulsive or repetitive to the point that your dog isn't eating or sleeping, it may be time to get to the vet, as this may indicate something more serious.
Why does my dog get zoomies after a bath?
Dog zoomies after bath time result from many things. First, from the relief that your dog no longer has to sit still while you or a groomer does the washing, combing, and drying.
Secondly, that freshly cleaned feeling can bring on some happy feelings worthy of celebration. Lastly, a wet dog will zoom off to try and air dry by running as fast as it can. This may also be accompanied by some rolling around on the carpets, bed, or garden.
Puppy zoomies at night – is this normal?
Puppy zoomies at night are a thing. Most likely, a pup that hasn't burned off all their energy during the day will flame out with the zoomies before bed. Often, puppies are kept in small areas like crates or pens, so they don't always get rid of all that mischievous puppy energy.
At what age do puppy zoomies stop?
There's no easy way to tell you this, but sometimes they never stop. They will calm down as your pup grows. Usually, by age 6 or 7, you'll notice a decline in dog zoomies, but some dogs can keep on zooming until 10 or 11. Just less often.
What's up with dog zoomies after pooping?
Poo-phoria is very common in cats and dogs, but there's no clear reason for this behavior.
One theory is that in the wild, an animal would need to get far away from their waste as this would alert predators to their location, so they tend to leave the scene of the 'crime' fast to throw off their pursuers.
Another theory is that after doing a number 2, your doggo feels so light, free, and relieved that a celebratory lap of the house or garden feels like the right thing to do.