The science behind your dog’s freak-outs

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By Dan Sears

All dog owners are familiar with the “zoomies” — when your pooch is revved up and rambunctious, sprinting in circles around the house or yard.

But what they might not know is the scientific term for the, uh, movement.

Veterinarian and TV host Dr. Katrina Warren revealed that those hilarious “zoomies” — also referred to as the “crazies” — are actually called frenetic random activity periods.

In a 15-second TikTok lapping up over 20,000 views, Warren describes FRAPs as “short explosions of energy.”

Experts don’t know the exact cause of the pooch phenomenon, but it’s widely considered a physical expression of joy — or a way to “get their energy out” after being cooped up inside.

dog running with toy
Zoomies aren’t dangerous — in fact, they’re a sign of happiness.
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“The zoomies can best be defined as a dog’s most excited expression of happiness,” veterinarian Dr. Zac Pilossoph told People.

While typically observed in puppies and “higher-ability dogs,” a canine of any age can get the zoomies.

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“Zoomies have to do with a dog’s personality — some are more enthusiastic, and some are docile,” Pilossoph explained. “In general, age, breed type and personality will play a part in whether your dog gets the zoomies.”

Before your pooch ruff-houses, Pilossoph encourages pet owners to clear the space of hazardous objects, especially if they have a bad hip or back.

According to Insider, zoomies are likely to occur when owners dish up meals, reach for the leash or toy, teach a new trick, or come home from work, but they typically subside after a few minutes.

Pups may also grow restless after sitting stoically for too long, like when they’re getting groomed or when they’re locked in their kennel — that pent-up energy could result in the zoomies.

Golden retriever with toy
Zoomies are more likely to occur when dogs have spent prolonged periods cooped up.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

On TikTok, proud pet parents boast their pup’s adorable zoomies, sharing footage of their dogs’ DIY obstacle course comprised of home furniture.

One 2021 video shows a pooch jumping on and off her owner’s bed at breakneck speed, while a dog tuckers itself out on the lawn post-zoom in a clip from last week.

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