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The Truth About Those Dog Zoomies

by Maureen Finn, for Rover

You’ve just settled in for the night with your dog. The popcorn is popped, the movie is cued up, your blanket is tucked around you just right, and suddenly your dog begins tearing around the room like a swarm of bees is after him. He runs into the room, circles around the coffee table at full speed, then speeds off in the opposite direction, thundering down the hall and back again.

With rump tucked and back rounded, he’s running erratically, and for a moment your heartbeat speeds up—has he gone mad? But then you notice his open mouth, googly eyes, and the happy grin on his face, and you know he’s just caught a case of dog zoomies.

Also known as frenetic random activity periods, or FRAP, zoomies are an energy burst your dog just can’t contain. In what seems to be equal parts joy and pent-up energy, this dog behavior is known to affect many different dog breeds.

While most dog owners report the zoomies happening more often in young dogs, it seems to be one of those dog behaviors that crosses all boundaries of gender, age, and breed.

Zoomies are infectious fun, and if you have two or more dogs, one dog’s sudden burst of FRAP can cause the other dog(s) to join in until you have a proper stampede of crazy, wild-eyed dogs running around like they’ve lost all their senses.

It’s all fun and games until your pup takes one turn too many around the coffee table and your favorite vase falls to the floor or your popcorn catapults into the air. Thankfully, dog zoomies are usually short-lived, and with most pets, the behavior is easily curbed: a quick trip outside for some playtime can make all the difference.

Dogs Get the Zoomies Outside Too

A crisp, cool morning in fall or winter, a sunny spring day, or a long summer evening can be a perfect time to zoom around a fenced yard, or the off-leash dog park, in exuberant glee.

Sometimes a certain situation will trigger a case of the zoomies: the first snowfall of the season sends most dogs into an instant case of the zoomies, and I’ve had more than one dog get an attack of the FRAPs on beaches. There seems to be something about the soft sand that sends them into FRAP mode. And certainly, the dog park is rife with dogs getting their FRAP on.

Indoor zoomies usually don’t occur more than once per day, and often it’s at the same time of day. We know our dogs are Zen masters of routine, and sometimes an evening routine (like settling in for a TV program) or bedtime ritual will trigger the need for a quick trip (or six) around the sofa.

Dog zoomies and excess energy

FRAP behavior is especially common during winter months when the weather is bad and trips outside are all about taking care of business and getting back inside where it’s warm and dry. With a new dog or puppy, this might be the first time you really notice the zoomies—all that pent-up energy comes out, and off she goes.

If your dog is having daily FRAP episodes, or even multiple episodes a day, this could be a sign she’s not getting enough exercise. A long walk every day can help tire her out, and if your outdoor space is limited, find a safe place to let her off-leash so she can run all that energy off.

Read the rest of the article and check out the fun videos at ROVER.


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Posted by on April 15, 2021. Filed under CRITTER TALK and OTHER GOOD STUFF. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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Glenn Geist
Glenn Geist(@glenn-geist)
8 months ago

Not as scary with small dogs. It can be hard to tell whether they’re having fun or trying to kill each other, but nobody has been hurt yet. Sometimes I wish I could join it.

Bill Formby
Bill Formby
9 months ago

My dog keeps them, except he gets the “barkies”. Rivers will be lying down about half asleep and suddenly jump up, and starts baying like the hound he is (He is a Weimaraner), growling, and barking at nothing. At least to me, it is nothing, although it may be something he senses that I don’t.

Michael John Scott
Michael John Scott(@madmikesamerica)
Reply to  Bill Formby
9 months ago

As we spoke my Barney and Malakai sometimes do that. It can scare the shit out of you once in a while.