By hannah hollinger
Published: 07/10/2020, edited: 07/13/2020
You’re toweling off your pup after a bath and turn your head for a split second—that’s when they make a break for it. Fifi rushes to the living room at warp speed, racing around the coffee table, knocking over your plants. There goes the lamp! The relay event turns into a carpet “rolling” episode and sneezing. What is going on here?!
No, your dog hasn’t gone crazy, Fifi has a case of the zoomies!
The scientific term for these odd and seemingly unpredictable bursts of energy are Frantic Random Activity Periods (or FRAPS.) The zoomies aren’t just limited to dogs, either. Many cats experience these episodes too.
Scientists aren’t sure exactly why animals get the zoomies, though they have a few ideas. The first theory is dogs get the zoomies to relieve anxiety and stress. FRAPs are common following high-stress activities like baths, vet visits, and car rides.
Another possible cause of zoomies is excitement or excess energy following a period of confinement or inactivity. Young dogs often get these hyperactive episodes right after waking up or when they’re let outside to potty.
FRAPs are very common, especially in young animals; however, zoomies have no age-limits! Some pups grow out of them whereas others continue having episodes into old age.
Zooming in a doggy-proof area is completely safe and quite healthy! These short bursts of energy are an excellent form of cardio and can help maintain your dog’s weight. The main threats to dogs while zooming is running into something or having an object fall on them.
If you think the urge to sprint is about to strike, place your dog in an area where they can’t collide with furniture or knock over appliances. A fenced-in yard or an empty carpeted room tend to be better spaces for zooming. Smooth surfaces like hardwood floors increase the likelihood of them falling or sliding into a wall.
Before an episode, many dogs will start “fake sneezing” and assume the play stance with their butt up, tail high, and their head close to the ground. The sneezing associated with zoomies isn’t a fluke; it’s actually a way dogs convey they want to play with other dogs.
Some pet parents find these episodes hilarious, whereas others find it downright annoying. If you fall into the latter group, there are a few things you can try to curb your dog’s urge to zoom. Behavioral conditioning, obedience training, and keeping track of your pet’s zoomie triggers are all ways to keep this activity in check.
Zoomies are a completely normal and harmless doggy pastime in the right set and setting. Designate a safe space for your dog to do their thing and let the good times fly!
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