One moment your dog is sitting quietly on the floor, when all of a sudden they're chasing nothing in particular, at a full sprint, knocking over anything that gets in their way. Then, suddenly as it began, your dog is sitting still again like nothing happened. Does this sound familiar? If so, take a deep breath. Your dog hasn't gone insane. Chances are, they just had a case of the zoomies.
“Zoomies”, or FRAP (Frenetic Random Activity Periods) as it's officially known, is a term used to describe a frantic burst of high intensity activity in your dog. It’s not the same as just chasing a ball or following you on a jog. Here are some zoomie symptoms to look out for:
A lack of situational awareness
Frantic jumping back and forth
A distinct running style that looks like they’re trying to squat and run at the same time
Bowing (This is when they put their butt in the air and their front paws on the ground)
Energy level going from zero to 60 in no time at all
As far as your dog’s health is concerned, zoomies are not a big deal. Sure, it might look weird to us humans, but it’s completely normal dog behaviour. Most dogs grow out of it after puppyhood, but it can affect dogs of all ages. If your dog is FRAP prone and you live in a small space or have a baby in the house, then steps should be taken to manage this behaviour.
Think of zoomies as a form of doggie self care. Dogs love things to be in balance, and a lot of the time this is how they get back to normal. When a dog is feeling stressed or anxious, a FRAP is how they burn some energy to help them calm down. Similarly, if your dog has been inactive for a while, there’s a good chance their energy has been building and building until they just need to blow off some steam. Energy builds up fast when a dog gets excited. If they see something like their best friend, or a hint at a nice walk, zoomies may kick in. On the flip side, zoomies can occur when your dog gets nervous— bath time is a notorious trigger.
While a good FRAP once in a while may not be harmful in and of itself, a dog in this state can be very accident prone. When your dog is acting this way, supervision is key. If you have a fenced in backyard, simply open the backdoor and let them zoom to their heart’s content. If inside, get all breakables and potentially harmful obstacles out of the way. Most importantly, don’t chase a zooming dog. The goal of this exercise is to burn enough energy to return the dog to normal, not to escalate.
If your dog is getting the zoomies a lot, they may be trying to let you know that they are not getting enough regular exercise. If a dog is not getting a daily walk or a chance to run around regularly, that pent up energy will come out in the form of a FRAP. Like most things in a dog’s life, zoomies are all about balance. If your dog is getting regular exercise and isn’t under stress, this shouldn’t be a chronic problem. But even if your dog is happy and healthy, we all go a little crazy once in a while and there’s nothing wrong with that!