Some dogs - especially when they're younger - seem to have triggers that cause them to run at full speed, with their eyes wide open and their tongue out, almost as if they're so excited they cannot handle it, and they keep running and running and running, all at full sprint. This behavior is known as the "Zoomies."
Many dog owners find that the Zoomies are some of the cutest and most fun behaviors that their dogs do. If your dog regularly gets the zoomies or you have seen this behavior with other dogs, you may have wondered about the reasons behind it.
While scientists have not yet determined the specific cause of zoomies, we still have some good guesses for what makes dogs get the zoomies and whether or not it is something you should be concerned about.
The scientific name for zoomies is frenetic random activity periods, or FRAPs. During a period of FRAPs, a dog might display behaviors like running at full speed, turning in tight circles, jumping on furniture, and other explosive activities for a period of a few minutes. There are common times that dogs will get zoomies, such as:
Dogs likely use zoomies to release pent up energy since excessive and rapid activity gives dogs a chance to burn off that energy. Many of these instances occur after your dog has been stationary for a long period of time, such as overnight or if he has been locked in the crate all day while you are at work.
Dogs often get zoomies after bath time to release the stress energy they felt during the ordeal. During play time, energy is already high and the dog may find that he can no longer hold himself in check, but needs to run wildly about for a moment.
Zoomies are most common with puppies since they are usually more active and are still learning to manage their energy, although some dogs will experience zoomies throughout their lifetimes. The majority of cases of zoomies are completely harmless as long as they only last for a few minutes and your dog seems happy throughout - tongue out, wagging tail when he stops, and bouncing around you excitedly.
If zoomies are happening at inconvenient times, such as the middle of the night, are becoming excessive, or you have a small home or apartment where FRAPs put your dog in danger of running into furniture or knocking over your belongings, giving your dog more mental and physical exercise during the day can help limit zoomies. This exercise, which can include walks, play, training sessions, and mental stimulation games, can help your dog burn off all his energy during the day so that he is not dealing with a buildup of energy that turns into zoomies.