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What Does it Mean When Your Dog Gets ‘Zoomies’?

Written by FOTP Team


collie enjoying some zoomies

Does your dog make a habit of running in laps with two turkey legs? Losing their senses and hurdling over the couch for no real reason? Don’t worry – it’s normal – in fact, it shows they’re happy! Here’s everything that you need to know (and some stuff you don’t) about Zoomies.

What Are Zoomies?

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick definition: Zoomies are periods of irrational running for dogs. They use Zoomies to release energy that has built up after eating or resting, and it’s completely normal! You might hear Zoomies called Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPS) – not quite as catchy.

How You’ll Know It’s Zoomies

Dogs – especially energetic ones and puppies – love to run and frolic. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a field or a house: sometimes a dog’s gotta run. And that’s great because running around develops their muscles and keeps them lean, for a healthy heart and lungs. 

But one kind of running is special. It’s different from the usual activity. Here’s how you can tell that your dog’s got the famous ZOOMIES:

  • They tuck their bottom in. Sometimes their back also arches. You might notice their back legs moving together (rather than one after the other, as in a normal trot) like two turkey legs getting pulled along by momentum!
  • They have a very silly expression – is it pure joy?! Wide eyes and mouth open for maximum panting.
  • They run in circles or laps. There’s no sense or stopping for exploration. Zoomies are for burning energy. The lap might include your living room, especially if there’s a fun obstacle to leap.
  • Turns are sudden and impulsive. Even a crust under the couch won’t interest them when they are focused on a Zoomie run. 
  • They might spin around… and around. Because they’re releasing energy, they’ll use repetition and speed (rather than thoughtful movement).

What Is the Cause of Zoomies in Dogs?

Good question. Sometimes your dog will get Zoomies because they’ve been kept in for a while, unexercised, and they literally have ‘energy to burn’. Sometimes they’ll get Zoomies when you have been out and they’re bursting with excitement to see you! And sometimes they’ll get excited by other things – like meeting their best canine pal at the park, being shampooed in the bath, or feeling the very first snowflakes.

But bad things can cause Zoomies too. Some dogs get hyperactive as a result of built-up stress. For example, a visit to the vet can create higher levels of adrenaline (like a human waiting for test results), with no outlet to release it. You might notice your dog getting Zoomies after a tense situation like this, or going to the groomer.

If your dog gets a lot of Zoomies on a regular basis, they might need more frequent walks to use up the energy that is generated by their diet.

Should Dogs Bite During Zoomies?

Dogs should not bite people, with one exception – nipping when they’re excited and trying to communicate in the language of play. While we should be strict about teaching our dog that growling and biting humans is not okay, any puppy owner will know that nipping is completely natural.

That’s what happens during Zoomies. Your dog might pass you and nip at you – it’s a way of saying “come and join in!”. You’re right to tell them no and ignore them. They should continue with their fun, regardless. 

Provided your dog hasn’t stopped to growl and threaten you, their nipping is probably just part of the game but this doesn’t mean you should pass up a training opportunity, especially if it’s a puppy. 

How To Deal With Zoomies

Zoomies are normal for excited dogs. They’re symptomatic of happiness and energy, and they enable your dog to deal with their excess energy in a natural and harmless way. 

If your dog gets Zoomies at the same time each day, that probably means they’d benefit from an extra exercise session. So long as your dog is fully grown and no longer a puppy, extra exercise is always a good thing. A walk round the block, a run over the local dog park or even a game of hide and and seek at home are great ways to help burn a little extra energy. 

It’s also important to ensure that your dog has a safe environment for their active periods. So if your dog is doing the Zoomies, assess your home for risks.

In all likelihood, you already have a dog-proofed home. Especially if you have a younger dog, you’re likely to have moved fragile vases and candles out of their reach. But if you have hard floors, consider some rugs if Zoomies routinely result in your pup losing traction and falling over. Even if you think it looks funny or they’ll soon learn, they could be doing long term damage to their joints. 

So if you have a safe space, and assuming you’re okay with your dog racing around the living room, you’re equipped to deal with Zoomies!

Will Your Dog Ever Stop Getting Zoomies?

Yes… maybe. 

Puppies are obviously more likely to have Zoomies, although it’s sometimes indistinguishable from regular running-around-joy. When they do, stop what you’re doing, watch, or video them – soak up their unbeatable happiness. It’s as uplifting for an owner as it is for the dog!

Episodes of Zoomies tend to become less frequent as your dog gets older, especially into their golden years. That doesn’t mean they will stop, though. You’ll still see them get the occasional twinkle in their eye when they dash across the yard to frolic in the new snow…

Which Breeds Get Zoomies the Most?

The special kind of hyperactivity that we call Zoomies is common for dogs of every age, size, and breed. 

However, it is reasonable to assume that higher-energy dogs are more prone to catch the sprinting pox. That includes traditional working breeds like sight-hounds, spaniels, herders and terriers. With higher exercise needs, they consume more calories and if their energy builds up, they’ll zoom around.

Is it really a problem? Not in our experience. In fact, we think that Zoomies can provide some of the most entertaining (and filmable) moments of dog ownership… as long as Mom’s favorite lamp is safely out of the way. 

Tell Us About Your Dog’s Zoomies!

Do you think your dog is Zoomie-mad? We’d love to hear from you! If you have a dog who gets frequent episodes of Zoomies, leave us a comment.