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

They might seem completely random and mysterious (if not inconvenient), but pet zoomies are perfectly appropriate. Humans have their own spontaneous responses to energy that include compulsive cleaning, impulse shopping, or even exercise. As for the cats and dogs we share our homes and lives with, they could be going about their business only to seemingly freak out, run around in circles, tear up the throw rugs, and zip up and down the hallway. What is really behind pet zoomies, and how should we react to them? The team at MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital is here to explain the phenomenon of pet zoomies and how to respond to them. 

Dash and Dance

Pet zoomies are characterized by sudden bursts of energy. Technically, zoomies are known as Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs). The reason they have a technical name is because this behavior is normal and common in both wild and domesticated animals. 

What Triggers FRAPs?

We can relate to the sensation of having excess energy bottled up without a way to express or release it. While we can rationalize our way through situations, such as sitting on a cramped airplane for numerous hours at a time, or working at a desk all day, animals must move their bodies in hyperactive ways to get the intense feelings out. 

Pet zoomies can occur when you first come home, or release the latch on their crate. Similarly, any time a pet has to stay still for any period of time, like during a bath, examination, or nail trim, they may need to zip around afterwards. Many of us assume that they run off like this to dry off, post-bath, but it’s really the fact that a pet has to release the wild, frenzied feelings that had built up.

Cats Are…Different

Cat zoomies alter a bit from dog zoomies. Since they are crepuscular animals, they are more likely to express their energy during the hours near dawn and dusk. That doesn’t mean your cat won’t find a reason to tear up the rug at 2 a.m. Many cats also get excited about new litter (or about a satisfying visit to the litter box), new food, or in anticipation of play time with a favorite toy.

Paying Attention to Pet Zoomies

It is easy to become surprised or suspicious of pet zoomies, especially when seeing them the first few times. Certainly, it’s always a good idea to watch your pet’s behavior closely for any changes, but pet zoomies aren’t typically connected with stress, anxiety, or obsessive compulsive behaviors. You might try to video examples of pet zoomies to show us the next time your pet comes in for an exam so we may either look for explanations, or provide resolution that their behavior is normal.

Room to Zoom

Pet zoomies are a natural expression of bottled up energy, but they can lead a pet to get hurt or cause damage to your home or belongings. As such, it may be worthwhile to secure any breakables or store fragile objects. If you ever suspect that your pet is in danger during a FRAP, try to contain them and lead them back to safety. Always allow your pet to get the zoomies out before they need to stand still or behave in a calm, appropriate manner (such as in a very public place).

Please give us a call (916) 939-1705 if we can assist you further with your pet’s health and behavior. Our veterinarians are always here for you at MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital.