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Dog Zoomies: What Are They and Why Does My Dog Get Them?

If your dog is running around your house or yard for no apparent reason (often running in circles) then there's a good chance your pup has a case of the Zoomies. In this article, we look at why dogs get the zoomies, how long they last, and a few things you'll likely want to understand about the behavior.

Amber LaRock

Last Updated: May 24, 2021 | 6 min read

Dog Zoomies

Have you ever settled down for a quiet night and your dog barrels through the room with a sudden burst of energy? How about their sudden need to run in circles after a bath? This strange behavior is known as dog zoomies and seems to affect most of our canine friends.

This behavior is actually quite common, and usually, all dogs get the zoomies from time to time. So what are dog zoomies, and why do they happen? You might be surprised to learn that there are several reasons that may cause your pup to get a sudden burst of energy.

While most dog owners find the zoomies adorable, there are others who would rather have a more calm pup. Let’s dive into the details of this peculiar behavior, and walk through how to stop them if it’s causing you to get frustrated with your pup!

What Are Dog Zoomies Anyways?

White Dog in Bow Position
Dogs need an energy release here and there, and these sudden bursts are what we call zoomies.

The term zoomies refers to when our pups run around like madmen, but what does it mean? Zoomies, or Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs), are simply a dog’s way of releasing built-up energy in one frantic effort. With their tail slightly tucked and a rambunctious look in their eye, a dog will often run in circles until their heart’s content.

Dogs have different zoomie triggers, but it can occur in pups of all kinds. There is not always a rhyme or reason behind them but it’s usually just a way to help them release any pent-up energy they are harboring. Zoomies are normal canine behavior and typically last anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute.

Are They Common in Young Dogs?

Dalmatian Puppy Running
Zoomies are most common in our younger canine friends.

Young dogs often have more energy than senior pups, causing them to experience zoomies if their exercise needs are not met each day. Even if a dog receives adequate exercise, a young dog is more likely to have a sudden need for speed!

Just as you would expect your senior dog’s energy levels to decrease, you can expect the behavior to subside as well. Zoomies take energy, and dogs can simply lose interest as they age. Because of this, you will see them occur more frequently in puppies than older dogs.

Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?

Dogs can get the zoomies for multiple reasons. Ranging from normal excitement to a lack of proper exercise, many things can cause our pups to zoom to their content. To help you better understand the behavior, let’s dive into the many causes below.

Getting the Zoomies Outside

Happy Dog Running Through Field of Buttercups
Being outside in a burst of sunshine can trigger a burst of energy in our pups.

Some dogs get the zoomies each time they step foot outside. A wide-open space serves as the perfect area to let loose, especially if a dog is off-leash. Most dogs truly enjoy being outdoors, and this can cause them to run around erratically.

A dog’s time outdoors may also be their only chance to run around with no limits. Your dog may be aware that your living room does not offer a wide-open range, meaning this is their chance to blow off some steam.

If your dog gets the zoomies each time they are outdoors, this is just their way of telling us they are happy. The more they exhibit the behavior have while playing outside, the easier it will be for them to wind down later on.

Zoomies While Playing

Two Dogs Running With Their Tongues Out
Playing with puppy pals can prompt a blast of unexpected energy.

Does your dog get the zoomies each time you engage in a game of fetch? How about when they are playing with their best canine friends? If so, this is just your dog’s way of saying they are having a good time. Zoomies can be a way to amp up their playtime, especially if another dog is involved.

It is extremely common to see multiple dogs running around with the zoomies at dog parks with other pups. This is because it is just plain fun, and everyone wants to get in on the action! If your pup always gets them each time they are having fun, this is often just their excitement boiling over.

Zoomies After Bathing

Black Lab Mix Getting a Bath
Many dogs are uneasy during bath time, and they like to release those nerves afterward by zooming around the house or yard.

The most common time for a dog to get the zoomies is after bath time. Most dogs go wild after getting bathed, ranging from multiple zoomies to jumping on every piece of furniture. While there is no way to know for sure, many experts believe this is a dog’s way of draining their nervous energy from their time in the bath.

Most dogs don’t enjoy bath time, causing them to be a bit anxious about the process. Running around can help them not only release any pent-up anxiety but even dry off throughout the process. Zoomies may just be a dog’s way of saying “thank goodness bathtime is over.”

Zoomies After Bathroom Breaks

Curly Haired Dog Peeing in a Park
Zoomies are how some dogs mark their territory after taking a potty break.

Zoomies after bathroom breaks have been a mystery in the dog and cat community for years. While staring is common due to vulnerability, many canines run around frantically in the moments after they poop. This leads to many questions about the details of this post-bathroom behavior.

Similar to other zoomie triggers, we don’t know for sure. But it’s quite common to find your pup kicking their feet and running frantically around your yard after they’ve gone to the bathroom.

Experts believe there are a couple potential causes of bathroom zoomies in dogs. The first possibility states that some dogs are just relieved once they do their business. It may feel good to finally go potty after holding it, leading to a quick victory lap.

The next possibility involves a dog’s need to mark its territory. Dogs have scent glands on the pads of their feet, leading them to kick up the first around the area in which they go potty. This may also lead them to run around the yard, marking every inch of grass in their path. Bathroom zoomies may always be a mystery, but they sure are fun to watch!

Zoomies Due to Lack of Exercise

Lazy Basset Hound Sleeping on a Chair
Dogs that aren’t very active need to release their energy somehow…enter zoomies.

Dogs can also have zoomies if they are not receiving enough daily exercise. Most dogs require a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise each day, with some breeds requiring up to an hour. This is especially important for young dogs, as they will have much more energy to burn each day.

It’s important that dogs get enough exercise each day, or zoomies may be the least of your worries. Unstimulated dogs will often resort to other behaviors, including digging, mouthing, or even aggressive behaviors.

If your dog is having zoomies multiple times a day, especially while indoors, this may be a sign they require a bit more exercise or stimulation each day. You can do this by increasing their time spent outdoors, playing more interactive games, investing in mentally stimulating games, or participating in other activities that your dog enjoys.

Can You Prevent Dog Zoomies?

ABPT Running Outside
There are a number of ways to release your dog’s energy and decrease how often it gets the zoomies.

Some dogs will experience zoomies no matter what, but there are a few ways to reduce their frequency in active pups. This active behavior can be a result of pent-up energy, meaning the best way to prevent it is by making sure your pup stays active. You can do this by:

  • Taking your dog on daily walks
  • Playing games of fetch until your dog is tired
  • Offering mentally stimulating games such as sniffing games
  • Going on basic hikes with your dog
  • Playing tug of war
  • Playing with other dogs that they get along with
  • Taking your dog to a dog-friendly pool or swimming area

There are many ways to exercise your pup based on the type of activities they enjoy. If it gets your dog moving, it can help to prevent dog zoomies.

Should I Try To Stop The Behavior?

Boston Terrier Leaping in the Air
As long as your dog’s zoomies aren’t a nuisance, it is totally fine for your dog to get them.

Dog zoomies are completely normal. There is nothing wrong with this behavior and can be a wonderful way for your pup to drain their energy. Many dogs truly enjoy zoomies, making it a staple in their daily routine. When they don’t cause any disturbances in your home, this curious canine behavior can also be an adorable activity to witness.

If your dog’s zoomies become a burden, you can always attempt to limit this behavior by increasing their daily exercise. The frequency can be decreased when a dog receives more mental or physical stimulation, making this a behavior that can easily be diminished. However, as long as your pup is not stirring up trouble, the behavior is nothing to worry about.

Final Thoughts

Zoomies are a normal canine behavior most dogs experience. It’s not something that you need to be worried about, other than if you have a large dog and are worried they may knock someone over. Be sure to review the above information, and you can better understand your dog’s zoomies, as well as how to stop them if you aren’t happy with the behavior.

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