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June 23, 2020
If you are a proud pup parent, then even if you don’t know what the zoomies are, you’ve most likely experienced them. See if this situation rings a bell: you’re sitting on the couch with your dog when suddenly he leaps onto the floor and starts zipping around the house at lightning speed, seeming to follow the same pattern, until just as suddenly he stops and resumes his former resting pose. Sound familiar? This unusual, and often entertaining, dog behavior is one that can catch you off guard, but it’s not usually a major cause for concern. It can happen at any time, for a number of reasons, but what exactly is it?
There he goes again, your dog is tearing through the house like a wild animal with tunnel vision, oblivious to everything and everyone around him. To you it appears as if your pup has suddenly gone mad, racing around the house or yard at top speed until he stops and acts as if nothing happened. In fact, your pup might even collapse right after his energetic display and take a nap. These seemingly unpredictable explosions of energy are called Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs), sometimes referred to as frapping, or more casually, the zoomies. Some dog breeds even have their own name for it, like the Bichon Buzz.
Most of the time, the occasional case of the zoomies is nothing to be concerned about, it’s just part of being a dog, but why does your pup do it? Your pooch can start running in super circles for a number of reasons, including pent up energy, stress, excitement, or even before or after having to poop. Really, there aren’t any definitive causes for the zoomies, and not all dogs get them, it’s more of a pattern for individual dogs. In other words, a dog might get the zoomies after a certain situation, like being in a crate all day if you’re crate training, while another dog gets the zoomies after a bath. Still, another pup might never get the zoomies, even in these same situations.
The zoomies are not a signal that your pup is sick, or unhappy, or about to attack from sudden aggression. In fact, many times, it can be quite a fun show to watch as your pooch zips around in absolute bliss. Most of the time, the zoomies themselves are nothing to be worried about, but they can cause a few secondary problems depending on the situation.
During a case of the zoomies, your pup has a one-track-mind; run, run, run. He doesn’t see you or anyone else around him, he probably doesn’t respond to you, and he has no clue what kind of destruction he might be leaving in his wake. If your pup is small, this might not be a big issue, but if your 200-pound Mastiff or other large dog starts to run like a maniac through your house, well, let’s just say you might want to get out of the way.
If your pup regularly partakes in the occasional case of zoomies, take precautions for these secondary issues, but otherwise, you most likely do not need to be concerned. However, it is important to pay attention to any unusual patterns that surface. For example, if your dog never has the zoomies and all of a sudden he’s engaging in them all of the time, this sudden change in behavior could signal something deeper at play. Your pup might be experiencing a larger behavioral issue, such as boredom, significant stress or anxiety, or lack of mental stimulation.
If you suspect one of these factors could be causing your pup’s random bouts of energy, then talk with your vet about possible solutions. You will most likely need to make some changes in your daily schedule and your dog’s habits.
Although this phenomenon seems to be a more common behavior in younger pups, it can happen to older dogs and puppies alike. Sometimes, you might notice that throughout your dog’s bout of craziness, he is engaging in a play bow, where his front half goes down to the ground and his butt sticks up in the air. This could be a signal that your pup really wants to play, especially if he is a younger dog or a puppy.
If your pup is not causing any harm to himself or anyone else, you can let the zoomies run their course. In fact, trying to engage your dog during his energetic outburst might actually prolong the activity, or lead to more unwanted consequences like broken vases or worse, broken bones (when you end up tripping over the furniture trying to get out of your pup’s way). You especially want to be careful if you have other animals or small children in the house, and at least get your kids and other pets to safety when the zoomies begin.
If you are worried about your dog’s frapping, you can always try to put certain practices into place to try and reduce the occurrences. For example, you can always provide your pup with some interactive toys, like the Roly Cannoli, to help him stay more stimulated and engaged during the day when you are not at home. If you notice that your pup usually gets the zoomies after a bath, you might want to make sure he is outside immediately after so he has more room to run. You can also snap on his leash and take him for an extra walk if you think lack of exercise might be to blame.
However, if your pup only has the zoomies on occasion, or seems to be otherwise healthy and happy, there’s no real reason to make him stop. In fact, the zoomies can even be helpful in letting your pup express his doggy emotions. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior you can always discuss the situation with your vet. If your pup’s sudden laps are frequent and caused by a larger issue such as lack of mental stimulation or a need for more exercise, your vet can help you come up with a plan for getting your dog on a more regular and healthy routine.
Basically, your dog’s random acts of speed, as startling as they might be at first, are rarely a cause for alarm. However, it’s important to monitor your pup during his frantic episode so you can try to limit the amount of potential destruction. To find out more interesting tidbits about dog ownership, check out the rest of our blog! You can find all sorts of great resources from how to care for your pets, what to feed them, how to keep them safe, and much more! Neater Pets is all about providing you with the tools and tips you need to be the best pet parent that you can be!
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