You’re hanging out at home, enjoying a relaxing evening, when your pooch suddenly starts sprinting around the house. They can run repeatedly in the same path, make circular movements or dash without any direction, like a furry maniac on all fours. It doesn’t take long to determine that you are witnessing a case of dog zoom.
But what are zoomies, and why do they seem to take over even the calmest dogs? Learn why dogs sometimes take off in a frantic race or whirl around in a frantic spin, and find out what to do when the zooms take over.
What are zoomies for dogs?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), “zoomies” may also be referred to as Frantic Random Activity Periods or FRAPs. The first time you see dog zooms can be cause for concern for pet owners.
A dog with zooms typically displays repetitive behavior. For example, they can run around the living room or sprint around the perimeter of the backyard as if they were on a running track. The puppy will usually tuck its hindquarters in, round its back, and stay low to the ground as if crouched or curled up.
Their eyes will be wide and rather wild, their mouth will likely be open in a doggy smile, and their tongue might even stick out of their mouth. They will accelerate as if something is chasing them.
As crazy as your dog may seem, you can rest assured that dog zooms are not a sign of illness or discomfort.
Why Do Dogs Get Zoomies?
Many causes can trigger zooms in dogs. They are often a response to pent up energy that can occur after spending several hours in a crate, resting all night, or missing a walk.
Your pup may have a case of zooming in after a nerve-wracking situation, like a bath, a vet appointment, or a visit to the groomer. Their fight or flight response triggers a release of adrenaline, making them full of energy.
“These are bursts of energy like a volcano,” certified applied animal behaviorist Jill Goldman, Ph.D., told the AKC. this energy.”
Zoomies can even be the result of canine peer pressure.
“Sometimes they can be triggered by watching other pets, children, or people exhibit playful and energetic behavior,” Dr. Rachel Barrack of New York Animal Acupuncture told Chewy.
But dogs can get zooms just because they’re happy.
“It’s their best expression to be happy,” Dr. Zac Pilossoph, consultant veterinarian at Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, told People. “The term ‘zoomies’ is a familiar one and describes behavior that many pet owners have experienced. Yet your dog may get the zoomies during a few scenarios, such as when an owner comes home or uses a toy. Zoomies can be defined as a dog’s most excited expression of happiness.
How to Handle Dog Zooms
There is usually nothing to worry about dog zooms. You can let your four-legged friend run until he runs out of extra energy.
However, it is essential to keep your dog safe during a burst of zoomies. For example, try to keep them away from stairs, slippery surfaces, and other places where they could slip or fall and hurt themselves. Instead, direct your pup to a surface with better traction, such as grass or carpet.
If your dog takes the zoomies outside, keep them from running into the street. However, try to avoid chasing them, as they may think it’s a game. Instead, offer him a treat or a favorite toy, then slip him on a leash or take him to the interior.
You can also try running in the opposite direction if your pooch is particularly elusive. Your lively pup will think you want to play and will probably chase you.
It can be helpful to protect the puppy area before stressful situations, like bath time. Then you can sit back and laugh as your silly dog runs through the house.
Do other pets get zooms?
Many other animals can get the zoomies. For example, cats may run wild across the house or yard after a long nap or when training for the hunt.
Some cats run after using the litter box. This behavior can be a sign of discomfort caused by infection, inflammation, or constipation, so it’s wise to check with your vet if this is happening.
Rabbits are another pet that usually gets the zooms. When happy and energetic, rabbits run, jump, twirl, and “binky,” which can be a high jump as the rabbit slightly twists its body and head, or a jerk of the head accompanied by a slight ear movement.
Generally speaking, when your dog, cat or other pet has the zoomies, there is nothing to worry about. But if other physical symptoms or behavioral issues accompany your pet’s zooms, a quick call to your veterinarian is always a good idea.