Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?

by | Dog Care Interesting |

Your furry friend is racing around the house as if being chased by an invisible playmate. It started with a play bow and then he was off, doing circuits of the house like a whirlwind. He seems to be enjoying himself, but why is he behaving this way? He has a case of Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs), more commonly known as the “zoomies.” So why does this happen? Keep reading for some common reasons your dog may get the zoomies. 

Energy to burn 

Dogs get the zoomies when they have energy to burn. It may be because they have been in a crate for a while, or first thing in the morning when they wake up. Perhaps they haven’t had a walk or enough mental stimulation. The zoomies help them release their excess energy. 

Stress relief 

Racing around can help a dog relieve anxiety or stress It may be that they have had to stay still for a period of time, or if they have been in a stressful situation, for example, going to the veterinarian.  The zoomies can help them relieve the stress and anxiety they may experience from being contained. 

Read our blog for tips on Keeping veterinary visits fear free® 

“I’m so excited… and I just can’t hide it” 

Zoomies can be a result of a dog not being able to contain his excitement. He could be happy seeing a special person, canine buddy, or simply being in a favourite spot. The frenetic burst of energy helps to settle him and to show his sheer enjoyment. 

Puppies and young dogs may get zoomies more than older dogs, simply because they have more energy to burn. But all dogs, regardless of breed, can get the zoomies. 

Things to consider when your dog has the zoomies 

You may notice a pattern with your furry friend. Certain stimuli may get them whizzing around. The zoomies might strike every night before bedtime to help them settle before they sleep for the night, or after a bath, which may have made them anxious. Some pet parents notice the zoomies even happen after their dog has had a poop. The zoomies are a good way for them to expend their excess energy and burn off adrenaline and demonstrate they feel good. 

“For the most part, zoomies are an exciting release of energy,” says Megan Holmes, Animal and Behaviour Co-ordinator, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. “The only time I would say zoomies would become problematic is if they become constant, or the duration is more than a few minutes. This is where there should be concern for other behavioural problems and anxiety concerns.” 

Another caution is to make sure your dog’s environment is safe for the zoomies. You don’t want them running into furniture and hurting themselves, or if they are outside, running onto a roadway. Chasing them isn’t a good idea and will just get your dog more fired up. To get them under control you could distract with a verbal cue like “walk” or “treat” or redirect their energy into playing with a favourite toy. 

Zoomies are a normal canine behaviour. Be aware of your dog’s safety when anticipating a FRAP attack. And if they start having zoomies more frequently, or if they don’t look like they are enjoying the burst of energy, it could be time to examine other reasons for the behaviour. 

Otherwise, stand back and enjoy the sheer joy and excitement your pooch exhibits during the zoomies. 


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