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Dog Zoomies: Why Your Dog Runs in Circles (& What to Do)

Dec 10, 2020
AUTHOR Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Reviewed by Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced companion animal veterinarian with a passion for providing reliable veterinary insight & expert advice to help pet parents better care for their pups.


  • Dog zoomies, also known as frenetic random activity periods, are normal behaviors occurring commonly in all ages and breeds of dogs.
  • These random bursts of energy occur when your dog is excited and playful.
  • There is no reason to discourage zoomies as this is a normal dog behavior, but be sure to keep your dog away from kids while zoomies are happening to decrease the risk of injury to the child.
  • If your dog seems to zoomie excessively, you probably need to give him more exercise or mental stimulation.

Why do dogs run in circles when they get excited?

Most dog owners are very familiar with the explosive bursts of energy that your dog experiences when you let them out after having been gone all day. Your dog frantically runs in circles, and it almost seems like they are going a little crazy. These intense bursts of energy are called zoomies. The technical term for zoomies is Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs). Zoomies are a completely normal behavior. They occur because your dog has a lot of energy, and they need a way to release it. Your dog will sprint and run in circles because they are very excited and energetic.

Why is my dog going crazy?

Many people wonder if their dog is going crazy when they see them do zoomies. Actually, zoomies are a very normal behavior in dogs. Your dog isn’t going crazy, they are just releasing some pent up energy. Dog zoomies are their way of releasing their stored energy.

When do zoomies occur?

Dog zoomies can occur at any time of the day or night. Zoomies seem to be especially common after your dog has been alone all day, after a long nap, after bathtime, or when there is company over. Zoomies also occur sometimes after stressful situations such as veterinary visits. 

The AKC reported that zoomies may occur more frequently in younger dogs with more energy and occur more often if your dog has few opportunities to exert their energy.

Why do dogs get the zoomies at night?

As a veterinarian, I often get asked, “why does my dog go crazy at night?” Often pet owners report that zoomies are happening right before bedtime or in the middle of the night. If your dog is getting zoomies at night, they are probably not getting enough exercise and stimulation throughout the day. Because zoomies are a release of excess energy, your dog is likely going to sleep with too much energy. You may need to exercise your dog more during the day to decrease night zoomies.

What to do about aggressive dog zoomies?

Sometimes dogs can nip or bite when they are excited and doing zoomies. If your dog has a tendency to get a little too excited during zoomies, it is important to say safe and not get bit by your dog. Do not run or chase your dog while they are having zoomies as this may make the behavior worse. Also, be sure to not let your dog play with a child while doing zoomies because they could easily knock them over and hurt them. I knew a child that broke his arm from being knocked over by a dog doing zoomies.

Can zoomies be dangerous?

In general, zoomies are not dangerous. Occasionally, if a dog twists too quickly while doing zoomies, especially an older dog or a dachshund with back problems, they can become injured. Usually, for young dogs, zoomies are quite safe. It is important to make sure that your dog is not on a slippery floor or near stairs when they do zoomies as this can create dangerous situations where your dog can get hurt. 

If your dog is displaying odd behavior like excessively circling, bumping into things, or strange eye movements, then you should have your dog examined by a veterinarian to ensure that there are no neurological issues causing this behavior. I recommend taking a video of your dog’s behavior so you can show the veterinarian at your appointment. Often with video, a veterinarian will be able to tell if this is normal dog zoomie behavior or something more serious.

How do I stop my dog from getting zoomies?

You should not be overly worried if your dog has occasional zoomies. This is a normal behavior for dogs. If you would like to decrease the amount of zoomies that your dog gets, you should provide your dog with adequate exercise and mental stimulation. If you suspect your dog has high levels of anxiety, there are calming treats for dogs available, but keep in mind that you are not addressing your dog’s mental and physical needs, you are just calming them down. Also, you should always consult with your vet prior to starting any supplements to ensure that they are safe for your dog.

Here are a few suggestions to reduce the amount of zoomies:

What can I give my dog for calming?

It is normal for certain dog breeds to have high levels of energy. If your dog is driving you crazy, as a pet owner, you must find ways to provide mental stimulation and physical stimulation for your dog. The best way to calm your dog is to give your dog plenty of exercise. Going for a long walk several times a day will help to physically stimulate your dog. Also, mental stimulation is very important. You can provide your dog with puzzle toys or fun Bouncy Fish Toys to help calm down your dog. Providing your dog with a Kong can also help distract them and provide them with some stimulation. If you are interested in learning more about ways to calm down your dog, you should speak with your veterinarian. In addition, always speak with your veterinarian if you are considering starting your pet on any new medications or supplements.

Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced companion animal veterinarian who lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and currently practices in the central Kentucky region. Dr. Addie has special interests in preventative care, dermatology, and diseases, and she enjoys creating helpful educational resources related to these topics to help pet parents keep their four-legged family members happy and healthy. We love Dr. Addie’s passion for providing reliable veterinary insight and medical advice to help pet parents like us give their pups the happy & healthy lives they deserve!

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