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Zoomies! The science behind why your dog acts weird
As dog owners, we have all seen it. All of a sudden your dog decides to get a burst of energy out of nowhere. Runs in circles after their tail, barks, chews on their leg, and chases other dogs just because they can. We call them zoomies. I call them canine crazies. Being the data nerd I am, I decided to do a little bit of research on the science behind zoomies. I want to know what really goes on in a dogs mind when they want to go 1000 miles a minute.
According to Dr Jessica Pierce on Psychology Today, zoomies have a scientific term. High bursts of energy are often called FRAPs or “Frenetic Random Activity Periods” It is theorized that FRAPs allow animals to release stress and stored up energy. However, the functionality and causes of frapping in animals is still unknown to veterinarians and scientists. Often times your pup can go from completely calm, to suddenly running around the house like a wild animal. Typically only lasting for a few minutes, this random act of energy is humorous and completely harmless to your pooch.
This behavior isn’t just related to dogs. Cats often experience these midnight crazies, bursting around the house at 3am. “One reason is that cats are naturally crepuscular, meaning active at dawn and dusk, which is when their natural prey (rodents) are active. Cats are not really nocturnal (a common misperception). So their internal rhythm just tells them, ‘It’s time to get active and start hunting.’ as stated by Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis on Inverse.
Managing Zoomies: Ensuring safety for your pet.
Here are things to consider when zoomies happen:
Do you have a high energy dog? What is their age? For example my husky girl requires MUCH more stimulation and exercise then my older beagle. Her zoomies are frequent, usually several times a day.
Do they get adequate energy outlets such as tug a war or fetch? The main reason why I started creating dog tug toys is to give husky girl a variation of tug ropes to chew on, toss in the air, and play fetch.
How many walks do they get during the day? Walks for dogs are vital to their mental and physical health.
How many hours are they crated or kept home alone? Stress and anxiety can build up where they need a release when they are let out.
Are they receiving any enrichment activities such as a kong, snuffle ball or snuffle mat to stimulate their brains? Dog enrichment can be just as satisfying to our canine friends than physical exercise.
Do they get time off leash to run and be a dog? Although leash walking is still needed, all dogs need time to experience freedom in an safe and secure environment.
Are the zoomies happening constantly even during times when everything is calm? From my research there are other causes, although rare, that can cause hyperactivity such as doggie ADHD or Dog OCD. If this behavior seems to occur longer or happens even during calm environments, it is best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.
Zoomies are a daily occurrence in my house. When I’m working during the day I often see my husky run as fast as she can making laps from my bedroom office to outside and back 5-6x. Once she’s done, she’s back to sleep. Although not ideal when I’m on conference calls, I know it’s husky girl just doing her thing.
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About the Author
Dog Mom, traveler, foodie and canine crafter. Kimberly is dedicated to enriching the lives of all dogs. She is inspired by her Two Idiot Balls of Fluff, a hyperactive white husky, Koda and her senior beagle, Winnie. Kimberly is passionate about sharing with you all the things she learned raising her two fur babies.