It’s usually pretty easy to spot a dog with the zoomies, as they run around at full speed, bouncing off walls or furniture in their own version of parkour, with a wide-eyed expression on their face. While “zoomies” may be the most accurate description of the intense burst of energy you just witnessed, the technical term for them is Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPS).
But what should you do if your dog is suddenly darting across the yard, or running in circles? When will they stop? And are they OK? Here’s what to know.
Are the zoomies something to worry about?
Although they are adorable and entertaining to watch, if you haven’t spent a lot of time with dogs before, you may see this high-energy behaviour and become genuinely concerned about their well-being. But don’t worry: According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the zoomies are completely natural and normal, and are safe for a dog, as long as they have enough room to run around and do their thing. Plus, the zoomies usually only last for a few minutes.
What to do (and not do) when your dog has the zoomies
As mentioned above, the zoomies are totally normal and nothing to worry about. According to Dogster, there’s no reason to prevent or discourage a dog from getting the zoomies, but it is a good idea to make sure their path is clear. Also, as funny as it may be to see your dog sliding on hardwood or tile floors looking like Scooby Doo, try to get them to zoom elsewhere, because you don’t want them to slip and get hurt.
One thing to avoid, however, is chasing a dog with the zoomies. Here’s how Sassafras Lowrey at Dogster explains it:
If you chase your dog, he is likely to misinterpret this as you playing with him. That will inspire him to continue running! Instead of chasing your dog, run away from him (in a direction free of roads or other dangers) and encourage your dog to follow you in a happy voice. It’s good to be prepared for this moment, and make sure to have high-value treats and/or toys on you at all times.
Finally, the AKC notes that if your dog has the zoomies constantly, it’s a good idea to keep track of what may be triggering them, and talk to your vet if something seems off with your pup.