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Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?

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Some dogs simply have more energy than they know what to do with. Even a thirty-minute walk isn’t enough to tire them out – they’re just as energetic when they get home as they were when you left the house. For some dogs, however, excess energy is an occasional occurrence that manifests in the form of the dog zooming around the house. Dog owners affectionately call this “the zoomies.”

Keep reading to learn why some dogs get the zoomies and what you can do to keep your dog safe when he’s racing around like a maniac.

Related: Study Proves Dogs Pick Up Our Behavior

What Are the Zoomies and What Causes Them?

Though the name may sound silly, it is very accurate. The zoomies are when your dog inexplicably starts zooming around the house in a wild frenzy. Technically, these episodes are called Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs) and they usually last a few minutes at most. These episodes occur more frequently in puppies and younger dogs, though they can hit at any time. Before a case of the zoomies hits, many dogs develop a glint in their eyes, and they might play-bow before they take off running. Dogs usually run quickly from side to side, back and forth, or spin in circles.

In most cases, the zoomies are a way for dogs to release pent-up energy. As for the actual cause, however, the exact answer is unclear. There are, however, certain things which seem to trigger episodes of the zoomies in dogs. Many dogs get the zoomies after bath time, after seeing another dog engage in high-energy play, or when they are feeling stressed or confused. When they happen occasionally, they are nothing to be concerned about, but frequent episodes may cause you to consider whether your dog is getting enough exercise on a daily basis.

Related: Why Do Male Dogs Hump Other Male Dogs?

What Should You Do When Your Dog Has the Zoomies?

The zoomies are a strange but natural part of dog behavior and are generally nothing to be concerned about. Though you shouldn’t try to control your dog when he has the zoomies, you can take steps to keep him safe. If he’s inside, make sure he’s on carpet instead of slippery hardwood and try to herd him into a room free from breakables. The best place for him, however, is in a fenced yard. If you know what triggers your dog to get the zoomies, you’ll be able to control his environment when he gets them.

One thing you should never do when your dog has the zoomies is chase him. If your dog gets the zoomies at an inappropriate time – such as when you have dinner guests – you might want to catch him and calm him down. What you’ll actually end up doing, however, is inspire your dog to keep running because he’ll think you’re playing with him. If you want to move your dog away from danger (such as a busy road), run away from him instead and inspire him to chase you.

Though you may not be able to completely prevent the occasional FRAP, making sure that your dog gets plenty of daily exercise is the best way to control his energy. A 30-minute walk is highly recommended as well as active playtime.


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