Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies

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Whenever my dogs are running around and going nuts, I would say that they are crazy dogs. However, thanks to social media, I learned that this behavior in dogs is called the zoomies. 

There are a number of reasons why and situations when dogs get the zoomies. Let me share with you what I’ve learned about the zoomies.

An excited Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed dog running outdoors with a happy expression
Photo credit: Adobe Photos.

What are the zoomies in dogs?

The zoomies in dogs refer to a playful burst of explosive energy where a dog suddenly sprints around in circles, chases its tail, jumps, bounces off the walls (or the couch, as is the case with my dogs) or engages in other frantic behaviors.

According to the Cornell University College of Veterninary Medicine, the technical term for the zoomies is Frenetic Random Activity Periods or FRAP. Cornell says that mostly younger dogs get the zoomies. I don’t know — my dog Oscar is 11 and he runs in circles outdoors at least once a day.

My other dog, Sadie, is 10. She’ll reserve the right to zoom around after she’s had a bath. That’s primarily when we see this behavior from her.

Why do dogs get the zoomies?

Dogs often get the zoomies when they have pent up energy or excitement that needs to be released. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs who are done playing or exercising often still have excess energy to burn. So, when they get home, they may take a couple of laps around the yard or the house until they’re tired.

Our neighbor has a greyhound named Wilma. I’ve watched her get the zoomies and boy is she fast. Well, greyhounds are one of the fastest dog breeds on the planet.

When do dogs get the zoomies

Another time that our dogs get the zoomies is when we come home. This is especially true if they’ve been alone or inside for a long time without stimulation or activity. However, be careful with indoor zoomies in these situations. A few months ago, Sadie sprinted off the bed when we got home, and landed and tore her ACL. Her TPLO surgery for that injury cost $8,000.

On the other hand, we can count on Oscar to turn into a crazy dog after he poops in the yard. Once he’s done kicking the grass to mark his spot, he will take one or two trips around the yard at his fastest speed. And, boy, is Oscar fast!

Finally, whenever we take our dogs to our local dog-friendly beach, we expect to see other dogs going crazy, running in circles, in and out of the water. So, I would say that the beach, a dog park or any place with open space is an excellent place for crazy dogs to emerge.

What are some other words to describe the zoomies

As I mentioned, until we learned the word zoomies, we would say things like, “Uh, oh, it is crazy dog time.” We still say that but will often use zoomies synonymously.

Here are some other terms to describe the zoomies.

  • FRAPs, the scientific name for the zoomies
  • The wiggles
  • Zooming
  • The runs (sorry, but makes me think about diarrhea)
  • Crazy eights
  • Midnight madness
  • Demon possession

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