If you’ve ever had an energetic puppy or young dog, you’ve likely witnessed the phenomenon known as “the zoomies.” The zoomies refer to sudden bursts of frantic energy and racing around exhibited by some dogs. What drives dogs to get the zoomies and what should you do when your pup gets a case of the dog zoomies?
What are the Zoomies?
The zoomies generally involve a dog running manically around at top speed while expressing sheer delight, much unlike your next Zoom call. They may gallop, jump on furniture, spin in circles, and even tear through obstacles in their way all with apparent glee and abandon. These bursts of hyperactivity seem to overtake dogs suddenly and then subside almost as quickly.
Dogs exhibiting the zoomies will often have flattened ears, a playful grin, and raised hackles. While intense, zoomies are not typically aggressive but rather just exuberant releases of pent-up energy. Oftentimes dogs will “zoom” by themselves though some pair their runs with toys or other dogs.
Why do dogs get the Zoomies?
Veterinarians and dog behavior experts have a few theories about what causes the zoomies in dogs. Here are some of the most common:
Many times dogs zoom when they become suddenly stimulated. This could be seeing their owner come home or the sight of a squirrel outside. Excess energy from being cooped up all day can also lead to zooming when a dog finally gets outside. The zoomies help release all that pent-up energy and excitement.
“The zoomies can best be defined as a dog’s most excited expression of happiness,” consulting veterinarian Dr. Zac Pilossoph of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance told People.
The zoomies frequently happen during or after dog play. Playing with other pups or fun interaction with their human causes excitement build up. A good play session will often culminate in a bout of the zoomies as dogs burn off the leftover energy.
Younger dogs are most prone to getting the zoomies, especially adolescents and energetic puppies under age 2. Their naturally high energy levels and impulse control challenges just need an outlet! Dogs typically zoom less as they grow older and mellow out.
Some behaviorists think zooming allows dogs to relieve stress or anxiety, almost like an emotional reset button. The frenzied activity elevates then refocuses a dog’s energy. Dogs may zoom after tense encounters with other animals or new environments.
Joy of Running
Since most zooming occurs outside, some believe dogs just enjoy the sensation of sprinting at full speed or that it taps into their bred instincts to chase prey. Zooming around for the sheer joy of running seems to be a natural canine desire.
Are the Zoomies harmful?
As long as your home is dog-proofed, the zoomies are usually harmless. However, some dogs may zoom to the point of minor injury by running into objects or falling. Puppies should be monitored so they don’t fall down stairs or harm themselves. Make sure your dog has a clear area to zoom safely if needed.
The best approach for a zooming dog is staying calm. Attempting to catch a zooming dog may trigger a game of chase. Simply let the episode run its course, then redirect their energy to a toy or training activity. With age and guidance, most dogs outgrow the zoomies phase.
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