pit bull terrier and mixed running / zoomies

Why do dogs get the Zoomies? Crazy pet-behaviour explained

Most dog-parents have experienced frantic behaviour from their pooch – either running around in circles or spinning? You might have wondered what this sudden burst of energy was all about. This is what people referring to as ‘having the zoomies‘.

Pronunciation /ˈzuːmɪz/ 


informal usually the zoomies


Zoomies (not zombies!)

Not to be confused with mythical undead revenants, the zoomies is a term to describe ‘A sudden burst of frenetic energy in which an animal (typically a dog or cat) runs to and fro’ (Lexico.com definiton). The zoomies are more officially known as Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs).

So, we are talking about energetic bursts, during which your dog becomes a full scale maniac. It could be after a bath, or while out in the garden, when you come back home after some time away, late at night, or while playing.

Running around in circles

Let’s give you a visual example. As you can see in the video below and featuring a young, and crazed Husky, running around in circles is a hallmark of zoomie behaviour!

When the zoomies happen

Your dog might be exhibiting the Zoomies at particular times of the day – late at night being a common one. Another time can be towards the end of the evening, or before bedtime. Usually it is young dogs or puppies who get them, but it can be older dogs too.

The later at night scenario can be common for puppies who have been in their crates during the day. This brings us to the next point: Zoomies arise from stored-up energy with a pup unleashing some of it in this way.

Why the zoomies happen

There is as yet, no determined cause for FRAPs, but as Dr Pamela J. Perry has pointed out, they help release pent-up energy.

This common theory for why dogs get these Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPS), is to relieve stress seems to be sticking. If your own pooch is not that fond of baths, he / she is more likely to release that tension in this way. Dogs can experience stress for a variety of reasons, so the zoomies may follow something that has created it.

Secondly, the zoomies can kick in as a result of excitement. Seeing or smelling an object that triggers it, like a fox, a WufWuf delivery, or you(!) can lead to a bunch of zoomies.

Thirdly, FRAPS can occur when seeing other dogs do energetic things. Dogs are likely to copy the actions of their peers in near proximity. This means that if one has the zoomies, another can catch them too!

Fourthly, as we’ve already alluded to, the zoomies might be your dog’s way of telling you they need more exercise!

Many dogs do not get the physical exercise they need, and they need it – partly to unleash our first reason above! This is particularly the case with high-energy dogs such as Pitbulls.

The zoomies – cause for concern?

There is no doubt that these bursts of activity can be entertaining to watch, but are they a concern?

In general, this is no cause for worry. The zoomies are common and to a large extent, this is natural behaviour. A display of excitement can also be indication of a happy dog, and certainly the zoomies is not destructive activity.

However, your dog has constant zoomies, you may want to consider ways to keep your pooch more exercised. There are a number of jumping toys and puzzles on the market. Our monthly themed boxes provide energetic puppies and adult dogs with a variety of treats and toys to keep them occupied. You can also find a range of stimulating toys and activities at our online shop.


As well as making sure your dog has regular exercise, it is worthwhile to reflect on any stress-causes and look for ways to eliminate. This is obviously dependent on the dog in question, but looking back at behaviour can allow you to link to a possible stressor.

Experts also advise keeping a clear room from any obstacles that might injure your pooch when crazily-running the lengths of it.

Looking for something to keep your dog mentally stimulated? Try our interactive dog toy – The Wuf Salad.

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