Have you ever seen a small puppy run around a million miles per hour for a minute or two and then just… crash? This phenomenon is called the zoomies and it happens to almost every dog. We learned all about this fun (and generally harmless) behavior.
What are the ‘zoomies’?
The scientific term for the zoomies, Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs) is actually a little more descriptive of what you see when your dog has one. You might see your dog run as fast as they can through the dog park, your back yard or even your living room. You also might notice your dog running in circles or spinning themselves around.
These FRAPs come from energy that your pup might hold on to and then release in one big burst. This bank of energy may come from spending too much time in their crate or a stressful situation like a trip to the vet or seeing a scary skateboard coming down the street. Another time you might see your dog get a case of the zoomies is after a bath! For some dogs, getting a bath can be stressful and they need to release all that pent up energy when it is all over.
While the zoomies are most common in puppies, they can happen to dogs of any age. Yes, even senior pups!
Are the zoomies dangerous?
In a word, no. If your puppy or older dog gets the zoomies, there is no reason to panic. However, you do want to make sure your dog stays safe. Do your best to make sure they have a clear path and remove anything that they might trip over, crash into, or get caught on.
As a pet parent, you might feel nervous the first time your puppy gets the zoomies. They run fast! They crash into things! They’re completely ignoring you when you call out to them. Since the zoomies are generally short-lived, you shouldn’t worry about this too much.
When I brought my dog Charlie home from the shelter at 12 weeks old I didn’t have much time to get my house puppy-proofed but I worked quickly to make the space safe for him. Our local SPCA requires that dogs be neutered or spayed before heading into their adoptive homes, so I had brought home a pup a few hours post-op on very short notice.
After a few days together, I had just hung up from getting his health insurance set up when a zoomie struck. My 4 or 5-day post-op puppy who really wasn’t supposed to be running full speed just yet, took off full zoom and jumped off my couch. He then crashed himself into the end of my TV console. The one with a not lit glass candle on it.
I froze. I was so sleep deprived from all the early morning potty training walks and post-op care he needed that I burst into tears. We didn’t have a trainer yet and I hadn’t met his new vet.
I called my mom’s dog trainer who also happened to be a certified nurse in a panic and told her what happened. I was sure he was injured internally or had somehow hurt his tiny body!
She could not have laughed in my face harder and gently reminded me that puppies do this all the time and unless he was showing any sign of pain (he was not -- just confusion as to what all the fuss was about) he would be just fine. I on the other hand still wanted to bubble wrap him until he was done growing! And yes, to be clear, all candles and anything else he might have been able to zoom into was removed from my living space.
Should I ever worry about zoomies?
If your dog is getting the zoomies very frequently or you’re noticing a specific pattern of when your dog is getting them, it might be worth taking notes for a few days and talking it over with your vet. Like any consistent behavior or sudden behavioral change, frequent zoomies can be the sign of an underlying medical issue. You will want to work with your dog’s vet to ensure nothing serious is going on.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.