The first time you see a case of the zoomies, you might watch in shock as your dog bolts back and forth at lightning speed before collapsing on the floor.
While your panting dog might look like he just ran around like crazy for no reason, you can breathe easy knowing that these outbursts are completely normal.
“There is no reason to be alarmed by the zoomies,” Shelby Semel, head trainer at Animal Haven rescue in New York City, told The Dodo. “They are just bursts of energy being released, often stored up over a period of time.”
What are the zoomies?
Formally known as frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs), zoomies are high-energy bursts of activity that tend to hit puppies or young dogs more often than older dogs, although older dogs can still get a jolt of that zippy energy from time to time.
You can tell your dog is having a case of the zoomies when they jet back and forth across your yard or living room. Some zoomies will manifest in a dog spinning frantically to try to catch their tail until they either succeed or fall.
Why do dogs get the zoomies?
Dogs get the zoomies for all kinds of reasons — like when they’re super excited that you just got home from work, or even from seeing another dog get their own zoomies.
Zoomies can also come when your dog has some built-up nervous energy that needs to be released, like after a long training session or a bath.
Keeping your zooming dog safe
Zoomies are usually harmless — but dog parents are sometimes worried about how clumsy their dogs get while zooming around. In order to keep your dog, other humans and your belongings safe, make sure you get out of the way when they’re happening — and if you can, make sure they happen in a relatively open environment.
“When you have a large pittie or any large breed, you have to worry about them accidentally knocking into things,” Semel said. “So I suggest clearing off your coffee table before and staying out of their way for the couple of minutes it lasts!”
You’ll be able to tell they’re about to start if you keep an eye out for your dog’s rising energy levels — and after a few spurts of the zoomies, you’ll probably be able to know when they’re going to strike.
For example, if you know your dog zooms after a bath (sooooo many do!), it would be a good idea to take your dog to a safe zoom zone immediately after, like the backyard or away from young kids.
Other dogs like to kick things off with a play-bow, which can be your hint to clear out.
According to Semel, some dogs zoom if they’re under-exercised or toward evening hours. “Many do it after something stressful, new or exciting, like after getting a bath or when they’re excited to go on a walk.”
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t discourage or stop your dog from zooming, but instead control the environment that he zooms in to make sure that everyone’s safe.
And don’t forget to pull out your phone camera — zoomies are the best to watch and will leave you with some great videos to look back on.