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Does Your Dog Get “The Zoomies”? Here’s What It Means

Written by: Amber King
| Published on September 12, 2017

When your dog goes from standing still to a full-speed sprint, you’re dealing with a case of “the zoomies.” Look out for crazy eyes, a bent-over running posture, and repeated play bows (elbows down, butt up).

Dogs with zoomies lose all control of their body and mind, and they race around you with no concern for what’s in front of them or what you say. If you’re worried your pup has suddenly gone mad, take a deep breath. Zoomies are a completely natural way for dogs to express their energy.

Little dog zoomies

What are Zoomies?

Dog parents call crazy bouts of energy “zoomies,” but professionals have another term. Frenetic Random Activity Period (also known as “FRAPs” or “frapping”) is the biological, yet self-explanatory, way to describe it.

Younger dogs that need to release pent-up energy are the most likely to experience frapping. Yet, they’re not the only ones. Dogs of all ages and breeds might do it. Even a laidback Bulldog can get zoomies, but some dogs never show signs of it.

It depends on the dog, but it’s completely normal behavior. Sometimes it starts with a specific trigger, like their favorite game or after bath time. It can also be completely random too.

What Causes Dog Zoomies?

If your pup takes the occasional zoom around the house, try thinking about what was happening right before they took off. Were you extra excited about something? You could have encouraged the behavior without realizing it. Also, consider the time of day and how your pup spent the last few hours. So, why might your dog get the zoomies?

Dog play running

Showing Excitement and Releasing Energy

Most zoomie attacks happen in the early evening when you get home from work. After spending all day inside with nothing to do, zoomies occur when pent up energy finally bubbles out of control. Dogs are also more likely to run around if they’re kept in a crate or confined to a small area while you’re away. So, running around is the perfect way to stretch their legs. Most dogs cannot contain their excitement when their humans get home, so zoomies are a way to express that.

Drying Off After a Bath

Zoomies are common after your dog takes a bath too. Oftentimes, this occurs because they want to dry off. Most dog parents only have towels for drying, which could leave dog coats damp afterward. Some dogs never get used to baths, no matter how frequently they’re washed. Thus, your dog will likely sprint around the house to feel dry and comfortable again. The same could be true if they get wet during a rainy day.

Feeling Relieved and Free

Not all dogs get zoomies when they’re excited. Some get them when they’re anxious instead. When your dog is stuck in the bathtub for a while, they’re often not happy. So, when you let them out, they might take off as an expression of relief and freedom. It’s their way of cheering that they’ve conquered their fear. Then, they’re ready to be happy and playful once again.

Zoomies vs. Regular Energy

You can usually tell when your dog has a case of the zoomies versus a simple burst of energy. Start by looking at their posture when they run. Frapping is a strange kind of run that makes it look like your dog is crouching or cowering. They stay low to the ground and keep their butts tucked under. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s easy to recognize at the moment.

Yorkie play bow

Another obvious sign of the zoomies is what dog behaviorists call a “play bow.” Puppies use this pose when they’re playing, but a dog caught up in the zoomies will do it abruptly. They’ll pounce toward you with their front paws outstretched and their bottom in the air. Together, these behaviors reach an extra level of excitement that’s fun to watch.

Are Dog Zoomies Safe?

As long as there are no dangerous obstacles getting in your dog’s way, the zoomies are harmless. It doesn’t last long, and afterward, your dog will have expelled enough energy to bring them back to normal. But if they’re banging into furniture and knocking things over, try directing the craziness outside. Opening the door is usually the only invitation they need to go do a few super speedy laps around the yard.

Your dog loses all sense of impulse control during their FRAP attacks, and some might nip and play-bite. If this happens, immediately stop interacting with your dog. Encourage them to calm down if you can, but if they’re not listening, let them burn through it on their own. Daily exercise and training sessions can help keep the zoomies at bay.

A dog with the zoomies will be crazy and clumsy, but they’re not in danger of a mental breakdown or physical harm. If they’re big and you have a small apartment, take it outside. But if they’re small and they’re not doing any damage inside, let them run around as they wish. They’re happy and having fun, so you can smile and laugh while they have a few minutes of unrestricted joy.

Watch Some of the Most Adorable Dog Zoomies Below:


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