A dog releasing pent up energy with a burst of the zoomies.

Have you ever noticed your dog racing in circles at top speed, or a kitten leaping and pouncing non-stop? As an observer, it can be difficult to restrain your laughter at the cuteness overload.  You may wonder at the mystery of why your pets have the zoomies in the first place. The team at The Bluffs Pet Clinic is here to explain the phenomenon known as pet zoomies and the reasons for this strange behavior. 

What is a Pet Zoomie?

Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs) is the technical terminology for zoomies. Zoomies happen when pets have stored up energy that simply has to be released. For dogs, this can mean a top-speed race around the yard or house, pulling at rugs or carpet, or charging from one spot to another. For a young cat or kitten, it could be nonstop pouncing on toys or pet-mates, or even thundering through the house, room after room.

Generally zoomies happen with our younger pets that require a lot of energetic exercise each day, but they can also happen in adult dogs and cats, too. Basically anytime your pet is forced to stay still for long periods of time, or when they are experiencing an emotionally stressful situation, they can build up energy that may be released in the form of a zoomie. This can be seen in pets after a bath, or dogs that are crated during the workday who go zoomie-crazy after they are released. 

Encourage Your Pet’s Zoomie Behavior – It’s okay! 

It can be fun to watch your pet’s crazy zoomies until something gets broken, somebody gets scratched, or some other mishap occurs. However, discouraging zoomies will frustrate pets and could result in other more destructive ways of releasing energy—torn up pillows, ripped and chewed fabrics, garbage and trash strewn about the house. The trick is to encourage pets to let it all out in a healthy way: 

  • Establish a safe zone play space for kittens and young cats. Have lots of toys available, and take time to interact with your crazy fur balls to keep them revved up until they wear themselves out. But wait to handle them for a bit after a zoomie to avoid surprise attacks and scratches.
  • When you get home from work, before your uncrated dog tackles you with a body slam, greet them with a call to “Outside!” They’ll be trained to run to the door or their leash, and avoid jumping on you first thing. 
  • If your dog is crated while you’re gone, greet them with a leash in hand and make them sit once they are outside the crate. Make sure you have the time to take your pet outside for a walk or playtime before showing them the leash.
  • Consistency and reward are the keys to good pet behaviors
  • Sufficient daily exercise, regardless of the weather, keeps your pet happy and healthy

Older Pets and Zoomies

As pets age, their energy needs are usually met by well-established routine walks and playtimes. What does it mean if your older pet starts zooming? Could there be something wrong?

Older dogs, like many older humans, tend to slow down as they age. Zoomies for them might be an occasional event brought on by excess excitement, even anxiety. For older cats, though, zoomies could be an indication of an emerging health issue like:

  • Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (dementia)
  • Diminished capacity for hearing, sight, and smell that can trigger a startle reaction to environmental changes and bring on a zoomie.
  • Feline hyperthyroidism can cause hyperactivity and other symptoms such as hair and weight loss, increased hunger and thirst, and more. Zoomies in older cats, coupled with any other behavior or physical changes, means it’s time for a wellness checkup

The majority of the time, zoomies are perfectly normal behavior for your pets to let out pent-up energy! We’re here to help you tell the difference, and keep your pets healthy during all stages of their life. Call The Bluffs Pet Clinic to make an appointment at (651) 388-1103 or request an appointment using our online tool.