Decoding the zoomies! 5 essential answers for dog paw-rents

Zoomies - the popular name for those sudden, tail-tucked, bum-under, ear-flapping, nose-pointing, wild-eyed, flat-out, crazy-circling chases that leave dogs happily-exhausted. And their humans either bewildered or delighted in equal measure!
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But are zoomies in dogs normal? Why do they have them? What do they tell us about how they are feeling? What should we do when our dog gets the zoomies? Are there any dangers, and when should we worry? Read on as this article looks at why dogs get the zoomies and what we can learn from them. 

Are dog zoomies normal?

Zoomies are absolutely normal. Not only are zoomies normal, but they even have an official scientific name – Frenetic Random Activities Periods (FRAPs). 

Almost all dogs get the zoomies at some time or other. They’ll happen most often in puppies and young dogs, but age is no barrier to zoomies (joints permitting). Our 3-year-old lab may regularly flatten the flower beds with his daft turns. But the miniature dachshund was still having his own ‘cracker-dog’ zoomies around the garden aged 17 (much to the bewilderment of his young upstart pal).

bouncy dachshund happy 1 edited
Age is no barrier to Zoomies

Zoomies can last for anything between 30 seconds to 30 minutes. And they can happen at any time of the day or multiple times a day.

And guess what? It’s not just dogs, but a wide variety of animals, from cats and rabbits to elephants and ferrets. They all have their own versions.

So don’t worry if your dog suddenly takes off in the long grass, creating corn circles with their zoomie antics. It’s perfectly normal!

Why do dogs get the zoomies?

Quite simply, they’re having fun. Dogs get the zoomies because they’re feeling happy and releasing pent-up energy. This might happen in the park, on the beach, in the garden or in the house (someone grab the breakables!). And there can be all sorts of triggers. Any one of them may set your dog off on a cracker-dog zoomie of their own.

dog zoomies
“I am one with ice and snow”

For example:

  • After being let out of their crate
  • Seeing you coming home
  • After pooing
  • Being let off the lead
  • Playing a game
  • After a bath
  • Absolutely nothing!
happy dog mid jump 1 edited
Whatever makes you happy…

After the zoomies, most dogs will flop down in a contented and exhausted heap!

What do zoomies tell us about how dogs are feeling? 

Zoomies are a sign your dog is feeling happy – full of energy and fun. They are letting off steam in the best way they know how.

Sometimes dogs do run frantically when they’re afraid. The tail and bum will be tucked under and eyes wild. But in these cases, their posture is tense, often trembling. And the tail stays tucked under when the running stops. They may even be crouched right down to the ground with a tucked-in tail. And still with wild eyes and ears down flat.

Dogs with zoomies are bouncy, loose and capering when they slow down. Their tongues loll, ears come up, eyes soften and they may bounce around you or bow down playfully. The body language of a happy, contented dog.

If there is a negative side to zoomies, it may be when frustration, stress or boredom beforehand triggers the zoomie. This may result from:

  • Being left alone for long periods
  • Lacking mental stimulation and challenge 
  • Becoming bored with the same walk and no new smells or things to explore
  • Becoming frustrated with lack of exercise

Zoomies themselves are happy things for dogs. But it’s best to make sure our furry friends get all the care, exercise and attention they need and deserve the rest of the time.

What should I do when my dog gets the zoomies?  

Another simple answer here: stand back and enjoy the adorable show! They may even want you to join in.

terrier zoomie edited
Oh boy Oh Boy! Did somebody say “ball”?

Indoor zoomies may present some challenges to the safety of ornaments, furniture and human limbs. When your puppy gets bigger, it’s probably time to encourage them to take the zoomies outside! 

Are there any dangers? When should I worry?

Zoomies themselves are not dangerous. They are not a health problem and an actual zoomie won’t harm your dog in any way. 

But when your dog is lost in the exuberance of a zoomie, they won’t always watch where they’re going!

If you know the triggers, be careful to avoid them where FRAPs could be hazardous to your dog or to people around:

  • Near roads
  • Cliffside walks
  • Busy areas with small children
  • Littered areas (broken glass)

Older pets or pets with arthritis may be stiff after a particularly energetic zoomie. Be prepared for this and rest them as long as necessary. Call a vet if you have any concerns.

Call a vet immediately if your dog suffers an injury while having a zoomie.

Joii can help with advice on:

  • Stiffness and lameness in dogs
  • How much and how to exercise your dog
  • Toys and games to keep them entertained

Dogs give us unconditional and unquestioning love. They’re our companions through thick and thin.

Seeing your dog lost in the uninhibited, innocent and energetic delight of a zoomie is one of the most wonderful experiences shared by doting dog owners all around the world.  

Enjoy! 

poodle zoomie edited scaled

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