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What Are Zoomies? – AZPV Blog

Jun 4, 2024 | AZPetVet, Cat, Dog, For Your Pet

Dog doing zoomies in yard

What Are Zoomies? – Understanding Dog and Cat Zoomies 

Zoomies, those delightful bursts of frenzied activity, are a common sight in households with dogs and cats alike. Zoomies are characterized by sudden erratic behavior such as sprinting, spinning, and leaping. Whether it’s a puppy tearing through the living room or a cat darting around the house with lightning speed, zoomies are a natural and entertaining display of our pets’ exuberance. In this AZPetVet blog, we dive into the world of zoomies, exploring why dogs and cats engage in this spirited behavior, how long it typically lasts, and if they will ever grow out of it. Join us as we unravel the mystery behind these playful antics and gain a deeper understanding of our furry friends’ zoomie moments. 

What Are Zoomies? 

Zoomies, also known as Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs), refer to the energetic bursts of activity commonly seen in cats and dogs. During zoomies, pets engage in rapid and erratic behavior, such as sprinting, spinning, and leaping, as a means of releasing pent-up energy. This spirited display is a natural expression of excitement and is often accompanied by playful antics. 

Why Dogs Have Zoomies 

Dogs often engage in zoomies, leaving us amused and sometimes bewildered. But why do they do it? Zoomies can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Understanding these motivations sheds light on their behavior and allows us to better cater to their needs for physical and mental stimulation.  

Reasons Why Dogs Have Zoomies 

Excess Energy 

Dogs, especially in adolescence, often have excess energy that gets pent up and needs to be released. Zoomies serve as a natural outlet for their energy, providing a burst of energy and excitement.  

Playfulness and Joy 

Zoomies can serve as a sign of a happy and playful dog. The excitement and happiness displayed during these episodes reflect the joy they are feeling being active in their environment.  

Stress Relief  

Just as some humans engage in physical activity as a form of stress relief, dogs can turn to zoomies to accomplish the same goal. It is a healthy coping mechanism that allows them to let off some steam and unwind.  


Dogs are very social animals that enjoy interaction with their owners and other animals and people. Zoomies can sometimes be triggered from the excitement of seeing a familiar friend or animal, or it can be a response to playtime with their human companions.  

Boredom and Stimulation  

Like their human counterparts, dogs experience boredom and crave mental and physical stimulation to keep their minds engaged. When they feel restless or under stimulated, they may begin zoomies to entertain themselves and add excitement to their day.  

Being Overtired 

If you’ve ever watched your dog engaging in zoomies after a walk, it might not just be a burst of post-exercise energy. Similar to how young children become hyper when they’re overtired, puppies can also experience overtired-related zoomie 

Why Does My Dog Get Zoomies After a Bath?  

Zoomies are a common behavior in dogs, especially after a bath. This can be caused by a couple of reasons like:  

  • They are relieved that bath time is over 
  • The want to get their own scent back (which is why they may rub on things)  
  • They are trying to dry themselves off 
  • The bath may have stressed them out, so they are releasing the excess energy 

Why Cats Have Zoomies 

Similar to dogs, cats also experience zoomies, those delightful bursts of frenetic energy that seem to come out of nowhere. While the exact reasons behind feline zoomies may vary from cat to cat, there are several common factors that can trigger these lively episodes. 

Reasons Why Cats Have Zoomies 

Playfulness and Predatory Instinct 

Cats are natural hunters, and zoomies are a way for them to stimulate their predatory drive and the thrill of the hunt. During zoomies, you will often notice behaviors such as pouncing, darting, and chasing imaginary prey.  

Physical Exercise 

Some cats spend a lot of their time napping, which can lead to some confined energy that needs to be released. Zoomies provide cats with a much-needed outlet for physical exercise and mental stimulation. Cats are creatures of habit, and spending too much time indoors without enough stimulation can lead to boredom. Zoomies allow cats to release this excess energy, which can help their overall health and well-being. 

Environmental Changes  

Zoomies can also be triggered when there are changes to your cat’s environment or routine. Things like moving to a new home, introducing a new pet or even just rearranging the furniture in your house could stimulate your cat’s curiosity and excitement and result in zoomies.  

Social Interaction 

Cats can experience these bursts of energy when interacting with their human companions or other animals. Playtime with toys, interactions with other pets or getting some attention from their owners can all spark a playful sprint around the house.  

Why Does My Cat get Zoomies at Night?  

If you have a cat, you have likely experienced them sprinting around the house chaotically in the middle of the night, raising the question, “Why are they getting zoomies now?” Contrary to popular belief cats are not nocturnal, they are actually crepuscular, meaning that they are most active at dusk or dawn. Since cats typically sleep throughout the day, it causes their circadian rhythms to differ from yours, making them feel awake and energetic in the middle of the night. 

A way to help reduce nighttime zoomies is to make sure your cat is getting enough mental and physical stimulation during the day in order to help them sleep more at night. Encouraging activity during the evening and morning hours to align more with when they are naturally more active. This can help to establish their circadian rhythm and align it more with yours.  

How Long Do Zoomies Last? 

The duration of zoomies can vary depending on the individual pet and the circumstances. In general, they typically last for a few minutes but may extend for longer periods in some cases. Factors such as the pet’s age, energy level, and environment can influence the duration of zoomies. While short bursts are normal and healthy, prolonged episodes may indicate underlying issues and should be monitored closely. 

Do Pets Get Too Old for Zoomies?  

Zoomies are most commonly observed in young animals, particularly puppies and kittens. As pets mature and their energy levels decrease, the frequency and intensity of zoomies may diminish. However, it’s important to note that some adult and senior dogs and cats continue to exhibit zoomies throughout their lives, albeit less frequently. Generally, zoomies become less frequent as pets age and their activity levels decrease, but they can still occur sporadically in older animals. 

The Importance of Mental Stimulation for Pets 

In addition to understanding the reasons behind zoomies, it’s essential to address the role that proper mental stimulation plays in managing this behavior. While zoomies are generally harmless and natural, they can sometimes become disruptive or even problematic if not managed effectively. Enriching a pet’s environment involves providing stimulating activities, toys, and experiences that cater to their natural instincts and promote mental and physical well-being.  

Ways to Promote Mental Stimulation in Dogs 

For dogs, this might entail offering a variety of toys that encourage interactive play, such as puzzle feeders, chew toys, and agility equipment. Taking regular walks in different locations, providing opportunities for socialization with other dogs, and engaging in activities like obedience training or scent work can also enrich a dog’s environment and reduce the likelihood of excessive zoomies. 

Ways to Promote Mental Stimulation in Cats 

Similarly, cats benefit from environmental enrichment that stimulates their hunting and exploring behaviors. This can include providing scratching posts, climbing structures, and interactive toys that mimic prey-like movements. Creating vertical space for cats to climb and perch, as well as offering opportunities for solo play and mental stimulation through puzzle toys or food puzzles, can also help prevent boredom and reduce the frequency of zoomies and help tire them out during the day so they sleep better at night.  

Zoomies and Your Pet 

Whether it’s the exuberant antics of our canine companions or the playful bursts of energy from our feline friends, zoomies are a natural part of pet ownership. While the exact reasons behind zoomies may vary, they often serve as a healthy expression of excitement, playfulness, and instinctual behavior. By understanding why dogs and cats engage in zoomies and recognizing the importance of mental stimulation, we can ensure happy and healthy lives for our pets. The next time you see your furry friend zooming around with reckless abandon, embrace the laughter in these lively moments, knowing that it’s their way of expressing themselves and enjoying life to the fullest. 

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.