What Causes “Zoomies” In Dogs And Cats
Ever had your dog or cat suddenly start racing around the house, bouncing off the furniture, and even crashing into you like a manic and possessed ball of fluff?
It’s called the “zoomies”.
And no, that doesn’t mean your pet is possessed, so don’t worry.
There is a technical term for zoomies, namely Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs). It has been theorised that FRAPs allow animals to relieve tension, release stored energy, and deal with excitement and play — however the function of frapping remains unknown. Zoomies vary from pet to pet, but they usually involve frantic, repetitive behaviours such as spinning around, sprinting back and forth, or running in circles.
The Differences Of Zoomies Between Dogs And Cats
Zoomies are a dog’s most enthusiastic way of expressing happiness. Dog zoomies are often characterised by sudden frantic sprints; their back end tucked as they go; a wild, excited look in their eyes; and lots of sharp turns, spins, or sudden changes in direction.
FRAPs can happen at random, but a few triggers are common for dogs. Dogs may get zoomies when they get excited or happy, when they go outside after being indoors for a while, when they see another dog, or when a loved one comes home. Several other circumstances can also trigger zoomies: a bath, pooping, grooming, and being released from a crate or any other type of restraint.
Cats can get zoomies too, but it’s more from a predatory aspect, and they usually express these zoomies with something they can chase or hunt. It is also common for cat to experience FRAPs after grooming or using the litter box. Compared to dogs, cats tend to sprint for less time when they get the zoomies.
Reasons Why Dogs And Cats Get Zoomies
- Excess energy
- After pooping
- After bath time
- After eating certain foods
- Upon seeing/visiting a familiar friend
- After spending some time in the crate/kennel
- When visiting the veterinary
- Getting petted in their favourite spot
- When they smell something interesting
A case of the zoomies isn’t life-threatening, and most of the time, it lasts less than a few minutes. Some cases of zoomies have been known to last up to 10 minutes, which is rare. It’s difficult to stop a pet in the middle of its zoomies, so it is usually better to wait it out. If necessary, you can change their direction by running away from them so they follow you to a safer spot. You can also distract them by tossing a toy in the direction you want them to follow. Avoid chasing a pet with the zoomies, since this will only increase their excitement and make it more difficult for them to calm down.
Consult a veterinarian if your pet suddenly starts getting restless and overly-active than usual. Other than that, if you see your dog or cat occasionally zooming around the house, know that this is a perfectly natural and healthy (and amusing) manifestation of self-expression!
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