Dog Zoomies explained: Why does your dog get hyper & run around in circles

Does your dog suddenly get “Zoomies”? Does he go from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye? Does he run around in circles after bath time or spin around in dizzying circles when you get home? Don’t worry, your canine has a case of the "zoomies." We know what you're wondering, and yes, they're completely normal.

“Zoomies”- a natural canine phenomenon, where dogs, for seemingly no reason at all, suddenly burst into movement—racing around, spinning in circles, bouncing up and down, or parkouring over the couch. Although there appears to be no cause, those sudden bursts of energy may actually serve a purpose. But what are “Zoomies” exactly?

Zoomies AKA ‘FRAPS’

Scientifically speaking, zoomies are “Frenetic Random Activity Periods”, or ‘FRAPS.’ It has been theorized that FRAPs allow animals to relieve stress, let out stored up energy, and handle excitement and play — but the function of frapping is still unknown.

“Dogs frequently zoom around after bath time, which is probably a way for them to get rid of anxious energy. When there's been some event that's happened and it was stressful or exciting, like taking a bath, zoomies help dogs release that built-up tension." - Lisa Radosta, Veterinary Behaviorist.

Zoomies can happen when dogs get revved up or aroused, when they go out after being inside for a while, when they see another dog, when their favorite person comes home, or in the snow. It’s also common following a few other circumstances: a bath, pooping, grooming, and being released from a crate or any other form of restraint.

“It's common for zoomies to happen at specific periods during the day. It may have to do with their built-in biological rhythms. Dogs tend to have a burst of energy in the morning and in the evening, which probably has to do with hunting cycles in the past.” - Irith Trietsch Bloom, professional dog trainer

Almost always, dog zoomies are a positive event. But occasionally, it could be triggered pain or by a sharp but passing pain in any part of their body. For example, pain from a flea bite or arthritis that's acting up may spook your pup, who then runs to escape it.

How long do Zoomies last?

Most of the time, a case of the zoomies lasts less than a few minutes. Although they have been known to extend upwards of 10 minutes, that is not typical.

Are Zoomies normal?

There is nothing wrong with this normal dog behavior — as long as your dog doesn’t run around in a place that is unsafe, such as near a road or through a part of the yard with dangerous objects.

Should you discourage or stop Zoomies?

It’s hard to stop a dog mid-zoom, so it is usually easiest to wait out these short-lived actions. You can redirect their motion by running away from them so they chase you to a safer spot if need be. Puppies and young dogs may zip around more often simply because they have more energy to burn than older dogs. But pups in their golden years can still get zoomies too.

It’s always a good idea to add some more mental stimulation and physical activities into your dog’s daily routine if you feel that he’s acting hyperactive frequently. Something as simple as a quick 5-minute game of tug or some nose work games can help them burn off all that extra energy.

Dog zoomies are hilarious and entertaining and as pet parents, you should make the most of them.

"When my own dog gets the zoomies, I act like I'm stalking him, that makes him go crazy. He's like a category-five hurricane all over the place and jumping around. So, you can really have a good time with the zoomies." – Priya, student & pet parent

Pro tip: whatever you do, don’t chase a dog with the zoomies as that will only add excitement to the moment and make it harder for your dog to calm down and may cause accidents.

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