A slight breeze moves in making the evening ideal for a vigorous walk with your best furry friend. Grabbing his leash you eagerly head out for a 2.5-mile walk believing the exercise will help expel some of your dog’s excess energy. During the walk, Fido is right by your side keeping your pace with his nose in the air attempting to search for odors floating in the wind. Once home you snap off Fido’s leash and before you realize what has happened, Fido is racing around the house as if his fur is on fire. What gives?
If you are a pet parent then you may have at one time or another witnessed this type of behavior from your dog. Your dog is not crazy or demon-possessed. It is a perfectly normal canine phenomenon and nothing to worry about, except well, there’s always an exception, but I'll get back to that in a little bit. What your dog is experiencing during these episodes is called FRAPs, which stands for Frenetic Random Activity Periods otherwise known as berserk mode, demon possession, crazy eights, midnight madness, and my personal favorite, zoomies. You may have your own name for this behavior.
Now you might be asking, what exactly do all these idioms mean? Well, it simply means your dogs are experiencing a spontaneous surge of excess energy that is alleviated by running back and forth, spinning in circles, or chasing their tails until they are spent. This activity usually lasts for a mere few seconds to a few minutes. Dogs of all ages are prone to the zoomies however younger dogs tend to experience more episodes.
What causes zoomies in dogs? Generally, it occurs when your dog is happy or excited, but can also mean your dog needs more mental stimulation or physical activity. Think back to the walk at the beginning of this blog. Our hypothetical dog went on a 2.5-mile vigorous walk. While that may be enough physical exercise, it is not necessarily enough mental stimulation. Because it was a fast pace, Fido probably did not have a chance to explore or sniff his surroundings which most likely led to the frantic dashing in circles once he was released from his leash.
Other reasons for the zoomies are to release tension and anxiety, to warm up after a bath or swim, to exhibit happiness or excitement, or to relieve pain. The last one is the exception I referred to earlier. If your dog experiences a sudden sharp pain it is possible it could have spooked him resulting in a frantic run to escape the pain. This can occur in dogs who are stung by bees, fleas, or other insects as well as dogs who are afflicted with arthritis or other conditions causing pain. If you have dogs like mine, they may get a case of the Zoomies anytime they poop and get a little stuck to their butt fur.
While watching a dog with the zoomies can be comically entertaining, be mindful of any obstacles that your dog may encounter, like furniture or other animals that can harm them. Anytime your dog's zoomies are becoming unmanageable and you cannot find a cause be sure to talk to your veterinarian. Zoom Zoom Zoom...
Written by Louisa Redman