Why Do Dogs Get The Zoomies?

by Amber

If you’ve ever seen your dog sprint in circles, spin endlessly, or dash around the yard at random, you know exactly what zoomies are. When the zoomies take over, dogs turn into these crazy energetic blurs of fluff that can also be pretty hilarious. They’re fun to watch, but have you ever wondered why dogs do it? And if your dog doesn’t get the zoomies, is there something different about them? Understanding dog zoomies is part of being a dog person, and we have all the answers you need.

What Do the Zoomies Look Like?

Even though different dogs express their zoomies in different ways, identifying a case of these crazy bursts of energy isn’t hard. Some dogs will run in near-perfect circles for no apparent reason. Others will jump and spin like they’re chasing invisible bugs around their heads. My dog, Bailey, hops into a dramatic play bow before sprinting about 20 feet, bowing again, and then sprinting back the way she just came. 

Most of the time, zoomies involve some kind of frantic and repetitive action. It usually happens at top speed and can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

What are The Zoomies Exactly?

Now that you can identify the zoomies in your dog, you need to know what’s really going on. There’s even a scientific term for it: frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs). This phrase relates to the way dogs get sudden bursts of energy. And that’s exactly what the zoomies are.

When a dog starts running around like crazy, all of their pent-up energy is exploding at the surface. For one reason or another, they suddenly can’t help but let loose and allow that energy to escape in whatever way feels best.

When Do Zoomies Happen?

Animal behaviorist Jill Goldman, Ph.D. tells AKC that these bursts of energy usually happen after a dog is physically contained (like when they’ve been crated) or after they’re released from an uncomfortable situation (like a bath). They were forced to suppress their energy for an extended period of time, and when they finally get a chance to let loose, they do so in a spectacular way.


Dogs can also run around like crazy when they get suddenly excited by something. Bailey almost always gets the zoomies when she’s allowed to play in the snow. Her excitement bubbles over, and she just can’t help herself.

Other dogs get excited when their humans come home from work or when they know dinner is on its way. All they need is a little spark of excitement to push their energy level over the edge.

Do All Dogs Get the Zoomies?

While zoomies are common in dogs, it doesn’t happen with all of our furry friends. For example, sudden bursts of energy are more likely to happen with younger dogs than seniors. As a dog matures, they’re better at self control, and they’re usually less hyper. But that doesn’t mean your senior pup can’t get a case of the crazies. Bailey is eight and still zooms alongside her younger friends.

Dogs with generally low energy are also less likely to get the zoomies. Some dog breeds are naturally less energetic than others. They still get excited, but their chill personalities don’t usually result in running around like crazy.

If you’ve never seen your dog get the zoomies, it’s nothing to worry about. In fact, it could mean that you’re doing a great job at keeping your dog physically exercised and mentally stimulated. 


Should You Be Worried?

As long as your dog isn’t at risk of hurting themselves, zoomies are perfectly normal and safe. They can happen to any dog, and there’s generally nothing to worry about.

But before you take out your phone to catch the crazies on camera, you should try to steer your dog to a safe area. A wide-open room or fenced-in yard will be best. You don’t want your dog bashing their head against the coffee table or falling off the couch. It’s also important to realize that when your dog is caught in this spiral of extra energy, they’re not likely to remember their basic training. You can call their name and yell out commands, but there’s a good chance they either won’t hear you or won’t want to listen. For this reason, you don’t want your dog to get the zoomies in an area where they could run away or run into other kinds of trouble, like traffic. 

On another note, getting the zoomies too often could mean your dog needs more physical exercise or mental stimulation. A longer walk or mental puzzle toy will do them good.

When your dog is gleefully zooming around the house or yard, the best thing you can do is let the episode run its course. You can join in and play or watch in amusement as your dog has the best time of their life.

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