Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?

Your dog is suddenly acting normal, walking around the house, when boom! He starts frantically running like a maniac. Dog owners call this a case of the zoomies. Why do dogs get the zoomies?

It seems to happen randomly and out of nowhere. If your dog is having a sudden burst of energy, learn why.

What Are the Zoomies?

happy dog with a toy

The proper name for the zoomies is “Frenetic Random Activity Periods,” also known as FRAPs.

“Zoomies are defined as short periods of hyperactivity when a dog literally ‘zooms’ around in crazed activity for a bit, and then calms down and resumes normal activity,” Sarah Wooten, D.V.M., a Colorado-based veterinarian, told Better Homes & Gardens.

This type of dog behavior is not only cute; it’s also funny and highly entertaining, especially if more than one dog is going at a time. Typically, puppies and young dogs are more prone to having this big burst of energy, but it can also happen to dogs of all ages, including senior dogs.

Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?

dog on a beach in a dog life jacket

You may be wondering why dogs get zoomies. There are a few different scenarios that will trigger zoomies.

If you keep your dog in a crate for a certain period of time, then his energy will be building up while he’s in there and he’ll exit the crate at full speed. He will also have a buildup of energy if he’s been sitting around the house all day and hasn’t had enough exercise through a walk or playtime.

If you have a high-energy dog breed, then you may notice that he gets the zoomies often. If you have an older dog, you’ll probably notice that his zoomies have slowed down as he’s aged.

Dogs also love to run around the house after bathtime. They have excited and nervous energy after getting bathed that they want to release. When they’re zooming about, they also shake off the water and dry their fur. 

You may notice that your dog gets the zoomies after he eats (or even poops!). This is because he gets a rush from eating his food and he wants to burn off some of his energy.

Are Zoomies Normal?

Yes, it is completely normal for a dog to get the zoomies. If your dog has excess energy often, then it’s a sign that you need to give him more exercise by increasing the amount of time he gets for walks and playtime. You could also take him to an off-leash dog park to play with other pups to release a lot of his energy.

What Zoomies Look Like

white dog doing a play bow

When dogs get the zoomies, they may be totally relaxed one minute and then start zooming around your house the next, stopping briefly to pose in a play bow. He will run low to the ground and his bottom will be tucked down.

You might notice that his eyes are wide open. Your dog could make quick turns, jump on the furniture like your sofa and coffee table. His could wag his tail and he could bark too.

If you try to get him to sit or calm down, you’re not going to have much luck. 

While dogs don’t tend to get aggressive when they have the zoomies, your dog might nip or ‘play-bite’ you; you could use positive reinforcement training to curb that behavior.

When your dog is finished running about, he will lay down and pant, and may even fall asleep if he’s tired.

Controlling Your Dog’s Zoomies

why do dogs get the zoomies

You may have fragile items in your home or be scared that your dog is going to hurt himself when he gets the zoomies.

If you notice he has a sudden burst of energy, don’t run after him to try to control him, because he will enjoy the attention and likely keep it up.

Instead, take him to a safe place to run around, like an enclosed dog park or your fenced-in yard. Make sure there are no sharp objects on the ground, like a sharp stick, so that your pooch doesn’t get hurt. Then, you can watch your dog zoom safely and happily outside. 

It’s important to ensure that your dog gets enough exercise, too. Zoomies usually happen in the early morning or early evening, so it’s best to exercise your dog around those times. You can play with him throughout the day and let him run around the yard as well.

Keep in mind that if you take your dog on a hike on a mountain or another area that is not safe, then keep him on the leash at all times. You don’t want to risk him getting the zoomies and accidentally falling or hurting himself.

If your dog’s zoomies are out of control and you’ve done everything you’ve can to try to curb them, then call up an animal behaviorist or dog trainer for help.

Playing With Your Pup

Your dog needs a certain amount of physical and mental stimulation every day in order to release his energy and stay healthy. Invest in some toys that you can use to play with him or he can play with on his own.

One thing that keeps the zoomies at bay is squeaky toys, like Outward Hound’s Squeaker Ballz Dog Toy. Your dog will love fetching these colorful, squeaky tennis balls that range in size from XS to large, depending on your dog breed and size. You can pair them with a launcher to extend playtime and make sure your dog gets enough exercise throughout the day. 

Another good toy for your dog is the MultiPuzzle Interactive Dog Treat Puzzle Toy, which will encourage mental stimulation.

Your dog will enjoy trying to find his favorite treats by completing a series of steps. There are moveable green tiles, a spinning wheel, orange locks, and center sliders, so your dog will stay busy looking for these treats for a long time.

Enjoying the Zoomies

dog rolling in grass

It’s fun to watch your dog get the zoomies. But if you think it’s happening too often, or it’s occurring at inconvenient times or leading to destructive canine behavior, then you should increase your dog’s exercise and playtime. He’ll be excited to release his energy and feel happy and healthy at the same time.